Bidez fourth in halfpipe at Mount Hood |

Bidez fourth in halfpipe at Mount Hood

Nate Peterson
Special to the DailyMinturn's Clair Bidez finished her competitive snowboarding season in Oregon Saturday.

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. – Ah, summer vacation at 17 for Minturn’s Clair Bidez.On Saturday, Bidez finished fourth in her final snowboarding engagement of the season, the halfpipe competition at the Abominable Snow Jam at Oregon’s Mount Hood. She flew home Monday night, unpacked and washed her clothes Tuesday, and then packed again. Today, she is getting back on a plane to head across the country in the opposite direction, off to Dartmouth University in Hanover, N.H., for a 10-day intensive Spanish course.Whichever direction Bidez is headed, it seems, she knows where she is going in life.”I don’t know about relaxation,” Bidez said Tuesday when asked about her summer vacation plans. “It’s a 10-day deal where I won’t be able to speak anything but Spanish. So, I’m kind of nervous. Hopefully it will force me to learn real quick.”

As for snowboarding, Bidez has learned real quickly what it takes to compete against the best females in the world in halfpipe. The fourth-place finish at the Abominable Snow Jam closed out another impressive season – one which included a debut at the Winter X Games in Aspen.Winter X Games halfpipe champ, Gretchen Blieler, also won the four-competitor halfpipe final at Mount Hood, stomping her signature crippler numerous times and also consistently landing frontside 900s and backside 540s.Trish Byrnes was second, followed by Elena Hight in third. Hight appeared to be in good position to pull off the upset on Blieler, the favorite, but she decked out on an 8-foot high backside trick to put her out of the running. Bidez said her best run was the one that put her into the final, not a particular one she did in the final. Originally, event organizers had only planned for a three-female final using a 45-minute jam format, but there was a tie between Bidez and Hight following prelims, so both riders were given a spot.”On that run (before the finals), I just had a frontside 5(40), backside 5(40), frontside 7(20) and a cab 5(40),” Bidez said. “That ended up being the best run that I landed. In the finals, I was trying to land my cab 7(20) and I just didn’t quite pull it off. It was actually my last trick. I tried it a couple different ways. I landed it one run, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. I just landed with a cab 5(40) instead of a cab 7(20).”

Bidez said scoring for the 45-minute final was judged by overall performance, not by best run. The Web site for the Abominable Snow Jam said that Bidez won $300, but on Tuesday she said she still wasn’t sure what her prize check was going to be worth.”At first they were telling me it was going to be $250, then they said it was going to be something like $700,” she said. “Now, the internet says its $300. I have no clue.”As for the rest of the summer, following her trip to Dartmouth, Bidez said she plans to spend a little time recouping as she prepares for the start of the next season. Not too much time. In August, she plans to go to New Zealand to ride at Snow Park, a small resort partially owned by Winter X Games halfpipe designer Frank Wells. For now though, it’s Spanish at Dartmouth. If she is asked to write a personal essay during her stay in Hanover, “Mi Verano Loco” might be a fitting title.

Staff Writer Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at Vail, Colorado

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