Bidez duo hits Grand Prix finals
BRECKENRIDGE The human body is able to bounce when it hits down in a halfpipe. This is the one thing in which the mother of two top-notch snowboarders finds solace when watching her children crash in a contest.”We’ve had some broken bones,” said Minturn local Patty Bidez, mother of Clair and Dylan, while watching her children compete in the Breckenridge Grand Prix halfpipe finals on Saturday. “But we’ve been really lucky. I think it was when Clair was 5 months old. She was in one of those bouncy chairs that have wire in them. She bounced herself right off of the coffee table and onto the floor. It was one of those things when you knew something was happening …”The bounce helped Clair Bidez through a rough week in Breckenridge. She placed 10th in Wednesday’s Grand Prix finals, and had so many problems with her bindings, including her foot coming out of them during her runs, that she found some spares coming into Saturday’s contest. In her qualifying run Saturday, Bidez had too much lean coming off oa frontside 540 and hit the middle of the pipe head-first.”I got over my toes, so when I landed, I fell right on my face,” said Bidez, who, after a shoulder massage from her father after her first finals run, came back for her last show of the day with a big frontside Indy grab, a backside 540 to a frontside 5, followed by a method, a tail grab and a backside 720 grand finale that she didn’t quite land, but which put her in 10th place again.
“This competition wasn’t a very good example of my riding,” said the 18-year-old after the contest. “My head hurts and I feel like I got punched in the stomach.”What was more important to Clair Saturday was seeing her younger brother make it into his first Grand Prix finals. “I was so happy for him,” she said. “I was way more happy for him making finals than I was for me making finals. I guess I like watching Dylan progress over the years. He’s always been a super strong rider. I feel like he’s finally getting recognized for it.” Big little bro
Dylan, 15, put down the first hit of his first finals run with such unexpected amplitude that he flailed a bit before landing and proceeded to finish his run with a set of big spins. In his second run, he put together a big frontside 7, followed by a melon grab, a backside 7 and a frontside 9. This gave him a 17th place – his best Grand Prix finish to date.While result-wise, the younger Bidez has some catching up to do to reach his sister, he was the first in the family to ever ride a snowboard.”I started snowboarding when I was like 5,” Dylan said. “I went to nationals and when (Clair) saw the competition, she decided she wanted to do it. Ever since she started, she’s been doing really well. Just seeing my sister make the U.S. Team makes me want to be as good as her and be as well-known as her.”The younger Bidez stands almost a foot taller than his sister. While not yet able to land a 1080 in the pipe, he can put down some impressive 900s. After breaking his arm three times – one time after the next – two seasons ago, Dylan spent last season “getting caught up” with the competition. He is now on par and hoping to continue his success on the Grand Prix circuit.
Meanwhile, his “little, big sister” says she’s not taking her eyes off the Olympics yet. There are, after all, three more Grand Prixs in which to qualify for the Winter Games this February in Torino, Italy.”I feel like I can step up in the next couple of months,” Clair said. “I have a lot to work on. At this point, it’s just kind of fine tuning.”While the taller Bidez is playing catch-up, the two ride and train together at Copper Mountain whenever they can, giving each other pointers and helping the other excel.”We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Clair said. “It’s easy for us to point it out to each other and we can tell each other that stuff without worrying about hurting each other’s feelings.While acknowledging that there exists a chummy sense of family competition between them, the Bidezes are out primarily to support each other at all costs.
“I’ll see her do a trick, and if I can’t do it, I’ll be working really hard to get it,” Dylan said. “Because I don’t want my sister to be better than me. But we give each other tips. This was my first time being in the finals with my sister, and I’m pretty stoked on it. I hope there’s more.”Sports writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14632, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado