Martinod wins ladies ski halfpipe Grand Prix event at Copper Mountain, consoles injured countrymen | VailDaily.com

Martinod wins ladies ski halfpipe Grand Prix event at Copper Mountain, consoles injured countrymen

Antonio Olivero
aolivero@summitdaily.com
France's Marie Martinod, far left, hugs Kexin Zhang, of China, following the halfpipe finals during the U.S. Grand Pris World Cup event Friday, Dec. 8, at Copper Mountain. Martinod won the event with a score of 83.00
Hugh Carey | hcarey@summitdaily.com |

French freeskier Marie Martinod hopped the blue fence at the base of the Woodward superpipe and dashed uphill just a few moments after she officially was crowned champion women’s ski halfpipe at the U.S. Grand Prix World Cup at Copper Mountain.

About a third of the way up the 520-foot long pipe, Martinod’s teammate Benoit Valentin lay in a crumpled heap after he severely injured his leg on his final run. Though Martinod took home the title, the pomp and circumstance of the moment wasn’t too much for the 2014 Olympics halfpipe silver medalist to console her teammate and friend.

“He’s my friend,” Martinod said. “He’s my best friend. He is a part of me, we are a team — the five of us (French) freeskiers. “And I owe him a lot. I was super sad and I was just hoping that nothing really bad had happened.”

The reigning Winter X Games Superpipe gold medalist Martinod won the championship Friday, Dec. 8, despite the fact that she said her main focus this week wasn’t to take the title. Rather, she is currently perfecting a new run for the Olympics.

Unexpected Win

“So I was not expecting to win at all,” Martinod said. “I was just trying to put everything together because it is the beginning as the season and I’d like to do this new run as soon as possible.

“My tricks are upside down,” she continued, “and compared to last year, (I want) to have the opportunity to send a 1080 by the end.”

Martinod finished more than three points ahead of her nearest challenger, American and 2014 Sochi slopestyle silver medalist Devin Logan, who registered a 79.60 on her first run.

Logan described her runs this week at Copper as a confidence boost heading into next week’s Dew Tour at Breckenridge Ski Resort. She was the only American woman to reach the podium Friday, as Kexin Zhang, of China, finished in third place with a score of 77.60. Americans Annalisa Drew (77.20), Maddie Bowman (77.00), Brita Sigourney (75.80) and Carly Margulies (69.00) finished in fourth through seventh places respectively.