MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, Calif - Local riders Clair Bidez and Broc Waring are rubbing shoulders with some of the best this week in Mammoth, Cailf., and their holding their own.
Bidez finished seventh among the women as did Waring with the men during Day 1 of the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix in California, and have advanced to todays halfpipe finals.
The event is the second of five Olympic qualifiers. While the Olympic Team will not be named until after the final event Jan. 23, Bidez and Waring are doing what they can to keep themselves in consideration.
To give an indea of the type of competition the lacals are facing, Olympic gold medalists Kelly Clark and Shaun White were first in Tuesday's qualifying.
Under the sunny California sky, Clark was once again the queen of the halfpipe, landing frontside air, back-5, front-7 tail, cab-7, indie front-5, indie backside air, for her top of the pack status.
Backing Clark up in the standings was fellow gold medalist Hannah Teter and Aspen's Gretchen Bleiler.
"It's always encouraging being able to make it to the finals having done so well. Being able to be consistent in the qualifiers is a great way to head in to the finals," Clark said. "I'm looking for some consistent results, and it should set me up for a fun week."
In the men's halfpipe field, athletes again double-corked their way to the tops of heats, led by none other than White whose second run of the day, a frontside air, backside 540, frontside double cork-10, cab double cork-10, frontside-7, cab-10, was the top of the charts for the men.
But the innovative trick didn't stop with White's board as Greg Bretz showed some love for the home crowd, finishing first in his heat and second overall for the day with an air, back-9, front-10, cab-10, front double cork-10.
Canada's Jeff Bachelor followed Bretz in third and Vito finished fourth.