Aguirre wins women’s rails
VAIL – Mammoth Mountain’s Molly Aguirre was stoked just to get an invite to The Session this year. “Actually, I was so nervous,” Aguirre said. “This is actually my first rails contest, and it’s such a prestigious contest that I was a little overwhelmed to get invited to it.”When Aguirre dropped in on The Session rail course for the first time Saturday she didn’t ride like a nervous first-timer. The same could be said for every run she took during the whole hour-long rails contest.The older sister of 17-year-old Mason Aguirre, with whom she rides on the Burton team, did more than just prove that she deserved her invite to the event. She proved she was the best rider overall in the field of 22 competitors by finishing with two $2,000 first-place prizes to go along with two $100 fifth-places – a haul of $4,200 total.Utah rail specialist Laura Hadar finished second with $3,700, Leanne Pelosi gained momentum in the second half of the 60-minute session to finish third with $3,200, and Vail local Rachel Nelson finished fourth with $2,000.Aguirre also walked away with The Malay Factor, the award for best trick. A phone call to Mom and Dad was definitely in order, she said, after she finished her final run on course.”I’m still in shock,” she said. ” My parents are going to be so surprised. I’ve never won anything like this before.”Aguirre kept her name in lights on the scoreboard with a number of stylish trick combos, but her most impressive came early on when she pulled a backside method off the quarterpipe and then flew onto the kinked rail with a frontside Smith followed by a frontside tailslide.
Not to be overlooked, however, were repeated 50-50s on to the down-flat rail linked with either drawn-out nose or tail presses that drew big cheers from the crowd. “This course is very strategic,” Aguirre said. “I’ve never hit anything like this before. It’s timing the quarterpipe just right so that you land in front of the rail. You have to hit it just perfect.” Hadar stays on the radarHadar and Pelosi both came on strong in the second half of the rails session. Both riders were fourth and fifth, respectively, after the first two 15-minute intervals. The second 30 minutes were a different story. Hadar grabbed the 2,000 first-place prize at the 45-minute mark, with Pelosi in second with $1,000. The two then flip-flopped spots at the final 60-minute marker. The most impressive trick from Pelosi, who was one of the stronger riders on the quarterpipe, was a 180 into a frontside boardslide down the 40-foot-long down/flat rail. Hadar’s rail slides oozed with style – something the four-judge panel took into account in scoring.She said her favorite trick was one that she wasn’t able to do until the very end. She didn’t know if it was scored or not, since riders rode about five minutes past the final 60-minute scoring juncture.”I was having super hard time,” she said. “I just wanted to do a switch boardslide to frontside. It took me a couple times, but I finally got it at the end. It was super fun. This was a rad contest.”
Nelson kills itNelson, who grabbed two second-place $1,000 prizes at the first two scoring intervals of the night, was super stoked to do so well in front of a rowdy home crowd.”It feels amazing,” she said. “This is my home and I got to represent it well. I just had a blast with all my friends out here cheering me on.”She was noticeably disappointed toward the end of the rails session, however, after not being able to stick a trick for her late friend and teammate Josh Malay on the kinked rail.”I’m a little frustrated, but it’s OK” she said. “Basically, I was thinking of him. I did have some of the most fun riding that I’ve ever had tonight.”A scary momentJacqui Berg, another Mammoth rider, provided the scariest moment of the two days of action at The Session with a fall midway through Saturday’s rail competition that silenced the entire crowd.Berg took too much velocity into the left side of the quarterpipe and flew off the ramp full speed, back-flipping over photographers and the top course boundary, before landing about t10 feet off the course on the backside of the mound of snow pushed together for the rail island. Aside from a bruised and scraped left eye, Berg managed to avoid serious injury and actually went back up top to take more runs.
“It was an ego thing,” she said about the decision to continue competing. “It was like, ‘Did I really just do that?’ I just had so much speed that I didn’t know what to do. There’s no time to stop before that rail. I landed on my face. I’m probably going to have a black eye. It was really hard to figure that quarterpipe out. I’m stoked for the girls that did.”Admiral sightingFormer NBA star David Robinson, who won two championships with the San Antonio Spurs, was among those in attendance Saturday at the bottom of the Golden Peak course with his three sons.Turns out, Robinson’s boys are huge fans of Shaun White, who won again on The Session slopestyle course with a jaw-dropping run packed with four 900s.”He’s the best,” David Robinson Jr. said. “He gets lot of air and stuff. It’s fun to watch to him.” While scores of admirers stopped to shake The Admiral’s hand, Robinson himself said he was just happy to be a fan himself for a night.”I think this is our third time out to Vail,” Robinson said in the VIP tent. “Just a little family vacation.”Staff Writer Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at email@example.com.Vail, Colorado
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