Teens bop through superpipe prelims
BRECKENRIDGE –When Jake Black finished his first run in Saturday’s Vans Triple Crown superpipe preliminaries, he knew he could have gone just a little bit bigger.
So he tried to on his second run, and with only a couple of moves to go before reaching the end of the pipe, he fell.
He was attempting a frontside-720, which he had already accomplished in the first run; when he realized he didn’t have enough air to finish the second revolution, he slammed onto his knees as he fell into the pipe.
Not all was lost, however. Black’s first run got the 15-year-old Dillon resident into the semifinals of the event, which also serves as the Mountain Dew Pro Nationals Championships of Snowboarding.
Black’s first run score of 67.33 was the 27th best of the day by the field of 120 men, and allows him to start fourth in today’s semifinals. Practice for the semis begins at 8:30 a.m., while the competition begins at 9:15 a.m.
In order to advance the finals, Black must finish in the top 20. If he does advance, he will win at least $200. The real prize is the $12,000 first-place prize which attracted international riders like Luke Wynen, Steve Fisher and Miikka Hast.
“I’m extremely excited,” said Black, as he headed out to do volunteer work at the annual Team Summit Ski Ball Saturday night. Black rides for Team Summit, as well as the Keystone junior team.
Shortly before Black had his day, Minturn teenager and Copper Mountain Freeride team member Clair Bidez also had two fantastic runs during the women’s superpipe qualifier.
While her first run score of 75.00 would have easily granted her a top-10 finish in the women’s qualifier, her second run score of 80.00 turned out to be the sixth best by a women of the day.
“I was pretty happy when I found out,” said the 16-year-old after she learned her official results. “I won the Breck Spring Massive and USSA western regionals last year, but they weren’t as big as the Triple Crown.”
As to taking on the world’s elite in the superpipe tomorrow, she said: “I’m really just concentrating on having fun and hoping it works out.”
Bidez will start ninth today in the women’s semifinals, only a few competitors ahead of such well-known superpipe specialists as Kelly Clark, Barrett Christy and Gretchen Bleiler.
If Bidez advances to the finals, she could win a cash prize ranging from $500 to $8,000.
The women compete in the finals at 10:15 a.m. after a 30 minute warmup.
Tyler Emond posted the highest men’s qualifying score at 87.33, while Anne Molin Kongsgaard bested the women with a score of 86.33.
The semifinals consist of two 20-person heats for men and one 20-person heat for women.
Out of last year’s Vans Triple Crown overall rankings, 10 men and five women are already prequalified for today’s semifinals. The top 20 men and the top 10 women in the semifinals advance to the finals.
Last year’s winners, Luke Wynen and Kjersti Buass Osstgarrd, have automatic berths into the finals.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.