Bleiler tops field in Breck
Vail, CO Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado ” Kelly Clark fell just short of a repeat victory at the Breckenridge Snowboard Grand Prix on Saturday, but the veteran rider seemed completely OK with being the runner-up.
“I don’t think there are any other people I would want to be on the podium with,” said Clark in reference to Gretchen Bleiler and Hannah Teter, who took first and third, respectively. “(I knew my second run) wasn’t good enough to beat Gretchen. … I had a little bit more amplitude and she had a few more technical tricks.”
“We get to travel the world together,” Bleiler said in regards to Clark and Teter. “So we’re all best friends.”
Clark, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2002, was the only returning podium topper from last year’s Breck Grand Prix stop, where Bleiler finished a disappointing seventh. Teter took most of last season off.
“It’s always amazing to win the first competition of the season,” Bleiler said. “Especially because it usually takes me a little while to get back to the level I was at during the summer.”
Bleiler’s winning first run, which was scored at 45.3, included a crippler, triple inside alley-oop, triple inside five, back-side five and front 900.
The Aspen rider came in knowing she would need a litany of sweet tricks to end up on top.
“The tricks are far above any year I’ve ever seen,” she said. “The level has stepped up like a full 10 notches.” Bleiler, who said she spent last week juggling practice time with “photo shoots, two commercials and a radio add,” found her groove when it really counted.
“I finally broke through today and did all the tricks I wanted to do,” said Bleiler, who walked away with $14,000 (Clark won $7,000 and Teter $3,500). “I didn’t quite throw the run I wanted to, but it was good enough.”
Teter, whose only competition last season was the X Games, has a plan in mind for her winnings.
“I donate all my money to charity,” she said. “I kind of got over competing, but now I have a new goal to raise money and raise awareness. I just think of the (impoverished) kids when I drop in (to the pipe) now. …. I have goal over the next five years of raising more than $500,000.
Teter, a 20-year-old Vermont native, said she sponsors a village in Kenya, which is mostly made possible by a profitable maple syrup business.
“Contest money is just a bonus,” said the reigning Olympic gold medalist.
Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at email@example.com.
Grand Prix Women’s Results
1. Gretchen Bleiler 45.3
2. Kelly Clark 42.6
3. Hannah Teter 41.9
4. Ellery Hollingsworth 39.4
5. Soko Yamoka 32.5
6. Kaitlyn Farrington 29.7
7. Anne Pellissier 27.6
8. Elena Hight 26.1