Hall hardest hitter in the halfpipe
VAIL – Maybe Tanner Hall’s short stint in handcuffs gave him a new perspective. But he didn’t appear to be subdued in the halfpipe Sunday, when he won the contest with a nearly flawless first run.Hall won the event, which was the last in this year’s U.S. Freeskiiing Open, with a 91.6-point score. Lake Tahoe’s Sean Field took second with 87.8 points and Corey Vanular from Ontario, Canada, took third with 84.2 points.
Hall put his first run down with a 540 spin and Japan, followed with an ally-oop 180 into a 900 tail grab. He wrapped it up with a rightside 540.”My first run was one of the better pipe runs I’ve ever had,” he said after the contest before results were determined. “That (second) run, that one was … I was just too excited. I wanted to do a little more. Sometimes over-psychedness can be a bad thing. Today it was. But you know what? My first run, I’m hoping it takes first place.”Hall and some friends were arrested early Saturday morning and charged with disorderly conduct after a skirmish at Fubar in Vail Village. Hall took second place to Quebec’s Charles Gagnier in Friday’s slopestyle and was released in time to compete in Saturday night’s big air event, where he made it to the finals but didn’t place in the money. After winning Sunday’s halfpipe, he received a check for $7,000. Judges at Sunday’s event said they based their assessment of halfpipe tricks on their overall impression of each athlete’s run.”There’s a lot to look at,” said Tom Zikas of the International Judges Commission. “Definitely amplitude – how high you’re going over the lip of the pipe, the difficulty of the tricks you’re doing and actually grabbing; that plays a big part.”Field, at the tender age of 16, has already come to be known among freeskiing circles as the three-hit guy.
He gets so much amplitude on each hit that he only has time and space for three during each pipe run. Most competitors hit the walls at least four times per run. His huge cork 540 to a straight air to a cork 9 sent him well over 10 feet above the pipe walls each time and impressed the judges enough for second place.”If I were to take it more up the walls, I’d be getting more hits. But I travel pretty far down the halfpipe,” Field said. “I’m stoked to be going big.”Field said vertigo set in more than once during his finals exhibition Sunday.”I definitely scare myself,” he said. “That last run, I scared myself quite a bit. I can say I’ve been scared through all of this. I’m usually not scared.”Scaring oneself is one way to get on the podium. Linking technical tricks is another way.
“Just a lot of tech stuff and amplitude are key factors,” said Vanular, 17, after his cork 5 links to a cork 9 with a top safety and ending with a cork 1080.Copper Mountain’s Greg Tuffelmire gets props for biggest spin Sunday. He threw a 1260 on his first hit, which he landed and followed up with a clean stretch on his first run for 83 points, which gave him a fourth-place overall finish. Local freeski phenom John Spriggs ended up with fifth Sunday, Andy Woods sixth, Mathias Wecxsteen seventh, Dan Marion eighth, Jean Laurent Ratchel ninth and Craig Coker 10th.With everyone pulling their biggest tricks out of their ridiculously baggy pants, Hall said it’s the prettiest that earn top points.”A lot of kids are going big and a lot of kids have a lot of tricks. But, you know, you have to make it look good,” Hall said. “It’s coming down to who can do it the best. Everybody’s landing. It’s about who makes it look the nicest. Everybody’s doing crazy stuff.”Sports Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or email@example.com.Vail Colorado