3 Colorado skiers in top 5 at World Cup halfpipe season opener
Eagle County well represented in New Zealand
With Birk Irving of Winter Park in first, Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy grad Aaron Blunck — of Crested Butte — in third, and Avon athlete Taylor Seaton in fifth, Colorado was especially well represented at the World Cup season opener for ski halfpipe.
Lyman Currier, also of Colorado, finished seventh.
The first World Cup ski halfpipe competition of the 2019-20 season took place Friday under blue skies with no wind in Cardrona, New Zealand. Just one day earlier, the competition was canceled midway through the first run, when visibility became so bad a large portion of the field was unable to complete their runs.
“Couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Seaton said of the second day of competition, which contained both qualifiers and finals in the same day.
Irving said his run contained two tricks he’s been wanting to attempt for a long time – a 1440 and a seldom seen double down-the-pipe-720.
“I am so surprised and psyched I was able to put them both down together,” Irving said following the competition. “I’m probably the most hyped I have ever been about a run.”
Blunck and Currier both said their only goal on the day was to make the finals.
“It’s a cherry on top to make the podium,” Blunck said.
Blunck’s run also contained a 1440, and a double down the pipe 900, similar to Irving’s 720. Having never seen the 720 version of that trick, Blunck was especially excited for Irving.
“I couldn’t be happier for Birk,” Blunck said. “It was amazing to watch him progress the sport today. I knew he wanted to try the down the pipe double-cork-720, and I just thought to myself — just land it, I don’t care what the score is, but just land it because it’s such a high consequence trick.”
While the Cardrona competition officially kicks off the 2019-20 ski halfpipe season, the next event isn’t until early December at Copper Mountain. Blunck and Seaton, however, will stay in New Zealand for the 4th annual Monster Energy Jossi Wells Invitational — a rail jam, halfpipe and big air competition — taking place today through Sept. 15 at Cardrona.
This story contains material from a US Ski & Snowboard press release