Halopoff thrills hometown fans
South Shore rider Jimmy Halopoff took the Cab to the top of the Ford Ranger North American Snowboard Championships big air podium Thursday.
Halopoff, who grew up riding at Heavenly, threw a Cab 900 grab over the 60-foot Aspen gap jump to take first in the second big air event of the Vans G-Shock Triple Crown of Snowboarding. Heavy snow delayed the second run of the men’s big air – the final makeup event from the canceled Triple Crown event scheduled for Mount Seymour, British Columbia in January – until Thursday morning, but the men finished the competition in style.
“It feels very good,” said Vans team rider Halopoff, who also represents MLY Snowboards and Anarchy. “It’s been, like, three years since I won a contest.”
Halopoff approached the gap riding switch, then popped his board off the nose and made two and a half complete rotations before landing in his regular stance to complete the Cabellaerial – named after its inventor, skate legend Steve Caballero. The six-judge panel awarded Halopoff a combined score of 32.40 for his maneuver.
Unlike Wednesday’s women’s big air competition, the men saved their best runs for last. All three jumps that landed riders on the podium – Halopoff and second-place Quebec native Marc-Andre Tarte, and third-place Spy/Axis rider Charlie Morace, from Loon Mountain, N.H. – came on the second attempt.
“It was crazy,” said Morace, who stuck a switch 900 – similar to Halopoff’s Cab, only ollieing from his board’s tail instead of the nose – on his second attempt to take third. “This time, everybody was trying hard tricks.”
“The snow was way faster today, so it was easier to clear the jump,” said Morace, who jumped out of the 57th qualifying position to land on the podium. In fact, none of Thursday’s podium finishers broke 20 points in the first round. That included K2/Pro-Tec/Smith/Diz rider Tarte, who went big on the qualifier, but couldn’t stick the landing.
Tarte’s jump was much sweeter in the second round, but judges had a tough time deciding between Morace’s jump and Tarte’s 1080 stale fish. Tarte spun three times lip-to-lip, grabbing his heel edge behind his fully-boned rear leg before landing on the transition. Still, the panel awarded the two jumps the same score – 31.90 – before breaking the tie with the second judge’s individual mark, which was higher for Tarte.
“I’ve been waiting for this,” said Tarte, who sustained two concussions this year, which have hampered him in competition.
“Now I’m just having fun,” Tarte said. “I’m over doing the safety tricks. I’m trying to impress people.”
Tarte benefited not only from that attitude, but from a favorable U.S. – Canada exchange rate. His $5,000 second-place check is worth $7,000 at his home mountain, Whistler, British Columbia. Halopoff took home a $10,000 check for his first-place finish, Morace $1,750 for third.
Officials also presented the winners from Wednesday’s women’s final round with their checks. Tara Dakides, a three-time gold-medal winner at the X Games, who also won the first Triple Crown big air in December, earned $7,500 for first on her backflip indy grab. Ali Berntsen was second, and Truckee’s Kim Bohnsack third. Dakides didn’t see how close Berntsen came to the upset.
“I didn’t see anybody do anything,” Dakides said. “I don’t watch.”
Thursday’s event was the final big air of the Triple Crown season. The North American Championships, the final events of the Triple Crown, continue Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with snowboard cross, halfpipe and slopestyle.
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