Martinud, Critchton win superpipe
The halfpipe beneath Vail Mountain’s Riva Bahn Express lift brimmed with some of the finest freeskiing talent the pipe has ever seen as the 2004 U.S. Freeskiing Open came to a close early Sunday evening with the men’s and women’s superpipe finals.
Maria Martinud, of France, walked away with her second-straight victory in the women’s superpipe, and David Critchton, of Ontario, came up with possibly the most blazing pipe run in U.S. Freeskiing Open history.
Critchton’s inspired run received an 89.00 from the judges, which gave him a four-point edge over defending champion Tanner Hall – of Park City, Utah – an earned him a $7,000 check. Hall took second, Simon Dumont placed third, Aspen’s Peter Olenick came in fourth and Sweden’s Jon Olsson took fifth place.
Martinud’s best run in the finals was worth $2,500 and a score of 68.00. Martinud beat out Jamie Sundburg of Jackson, Wyo., by two points to defend her title. Jen Hudak, of Okemo, Vt., placed third, Grete Eliasson, of Lillehammer, Norway, took fourth and Gina Gmeiner was fifth.
Martinud had this advice for a less successful male competitor after the competition: “It’s good to crash because you learn so much when you crash.”
Among the crowd of spectators lining the halfpipe was Saturday’s big air champion Mickael Deschaenaux, who carried his trophy in one hand and dangled a bottle of Dom Perignon in the other.
“I had a good time. The pipe was icy this morning, so I was a little nervous, but the sun came out this morning and the pipe turned out nice,” said Eliasson, who is in her first year as a professional freeskier after four years of racing for the Norwegian Ski Team. “I’ve been skiing since I was two or three years ol, so when I see someone with the same amount of experience doing something like this, I think that I should also be able to do it.”
Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext.610, or at email@example.com.