Vail’s Baskins makes debut at top level
Vail, CO Colorado
COPPER MOUNTAIN – Vail’s Patty Baskins was on the receiving end of one of the crowd’s largest ovations as he dropped into the Copper Mountain halfpipe at the U.S. Grand Prix Finals on Friday.
“That was all my friends and family from Vail. Because it’s the closest competition to home, they all came to check it out,” Baskins said.
The 19-year-old skier narrowly missed cracking into the top 10, finishing 11th in snowy conditions at U.S.’s longest-running snowboarding tour, which included skiing for the first time this week.
It was also a first for Baskins, who was making his debut on “the big stage” after qualifying 11th out of 71 skiers on Wednesday. He said the butterflies were at minimum, as he stayed focused on the things within his control, not getting too concerned with what people were thinking.
With deteriorating conditions and a slowing halfpipe during the course of the afternoon, Baskins’ first of two runs was better. He was one of the few competitors to send it switch on the first two hits, which was something that really impressed the judges.
He nailed the switch 900 into a switch 720 in his first attempt, but couldn’t muster up the speed on the second run to pull off the final half rotation on the first hit.
“My first run started out well. I didn’t have enough speed to do my nine hundred on the third hit, so I switched it to a five,” Baskins said. “I had even less speed on the second run, so it wasn’t going to work in my favor today. Training this morning, I had a lot of speed. Then, when the comp came around, it just got really sticky.”
He rounded out his run with an alley-oop, flat-spin tail grab and a 720 to close it out. It was good enough for some props and encouragement from a couple of the older vets on the circuit like Matt Margetts and Justin Dorey.
For Baskins, it was a great start to the winter season, which will also include an emphasis on the Freeski World Tour (FWT) – a big-mountain skiing circuit where he took an unheard of 12th in his debut competition last spring.
He will be entering into the competitions at Crested Butte, Snowbird and Telluride, where he plans to utilize some of the park and pipe skills to wow the judges. Starting off the run with a 180 and skiing part of his line switch into a switch 540 is something that is not really being done at the moment, and it’s something he would like to do.
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