Palmer 38th in pipe |

Palmer 38th in pipe

Tribune staff report

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, Calif. — Shaun Palmer’s drive to compete in the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City got off to a bumpy start Wednesday in the Chevy Truck U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix.

Palmer returned to halfpipe competition with mixed reviews, placing 38th. However, the world-class field included 113 riders. The 33-year-old from South Lake Tahoe overcame a slow start in qualifying. His 19.9-point first run left him way back in the pack, but Palmer came through with a 28.4 score for his second run.

Scoring was inconsistent for Palmer’s second run, with totals ranging from a high of 6.7 to a low of 4.3 from the five judges.

Only the top 20 boarders competed in Thursday’s finals.

One of the world’s best boardercross riders is attempting to make the U.S. Olympic team in the halfpipe.

Olympic medalist Shannon Dunn of Steamboat Springs, Colo., edged ex-World Cup champion Tricia Byrnes of New Canaan, Conn, and Danny Kass of Hamburg, N.J., topped Olympic medalist Ross Powers of South Londonderry, Vt., in the first of two Olympic-qualifying halfpipes.

Kass’ best of two runs produced a 43.5 score. The defending Winter X Games superpipe champion was 1.3 points better than Powers.

Daniel Franck, who won Wednesday’s qualifying with 40.8, was well back in ninth place with a 37.3.

Dunn easily outclassed the women’s field, winning with a score of 37.6. Byrnes was second at 35.7 and Michelle Taggart third at 33.0.

A second halfpipe is set for Saturday and Sunday. Qualifying runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, with finals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday on Bowling Alley.

The Mammoth halfpipes will be broadcast Dec. 23 on NBC

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