Powers’ Ranger: Rider wins halfpipe, truck
It wasn’t Austin, but rather Ross Powers who got his mojo back just in time to wrap his overall Vans Triple Crown of Snowboarding men’s title Monday.
Powers, of South Londonderry, Vt., threw down a swingin’ second Superpipe run at Sierra-at-Tahoe to win the halfpipe at the Ford Ranger North American Championships of Snowboarding and wrap his overall Vans G-Shock Triple Crown title. After struggling in his practice and preliminary runs and falling on his first chance in the finals, he nailed a 540 McTwist, a frontside 900 and a flip in the pipe for his third win in three Triple Crown halfpipe events.
“I knew second run there were going to be some strong runs thrown down,” said Powers, whose 24.7 total score was just enough for him to edge second-place Dani Costandache, who finished with a 24.6 from his first run. Canadian Guilliaum Morisset was third with a 24.5 from his second run. Tommy Czeschin, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., was the top American behind Powers, finishing fifth.
“I didn’t have even my normal get-in-the-finals run (working),” Powers said. “I had to learn some stuff before the finals, for sure.”
With the win, and French rider Philippe Conte’s sixth-place finish in Friday’s final Triple Crown snowboard cross, Powers finished as the male rider with the most points in the series. That added a new Ford Ranger pickup truck to his day’s haul of $30,000 in prize money.
“Triple Crown is definitely one of the best events for me this year,” Powers said.
Conte’s teammate on the big green snowboard machine of Santa Cruz/O’Neill, Ine Poetzl, wrapped the women’s Triple Crown title and a trip to Hawaii on her day off. Poetzl, who won the first two snowboard crosses of the Triple Crown season – at the December premiere in Breckenridge and in the makeup from weather-canceled Mount Seymour at Sierra on Feb. 22 – held off big-air specialist Tara Dakides for the overall championship and a free trip to Hawaii. Dakides, the women’s big air champ Wednesday, landed a backflip on her second run in the halfpipe Monday, but couldn’t approach a podium finish. Norway’s Stine Brun Kjeldaas, the X Games halfpipe gold medalist, blew away the field, turning in two winning runs.
“I thought I had a really good first run, and I really thought I should do it higher because my amplitude was not that good,” said Kjeldaas, whose 24.00 second run was the highest score of the day – one point better than her 23.00 first run. Kjeldaas stuck a 540, a frontside 700 and a 360 Cab clean on her second run.
“I think I was going for it a little more in my first run, but my second run was cleaner.”
Stratton, Vt. rider Kim Stacey was second with a 22.6, ahead of third-place Norwegian Christel Thoresen. Only one tenth of a point separated Gretchen Bleiler of Snowmass, Colo., from the podium, while North Shore rider Cara Beth Burnside was half a point behind with a 19.2 score from her first run.
“They were judging more on amplitude,” said Burnside, who hit one of the pipe’s lips and crashed on her second run. “If (your tricks) were not as high as a straight air, then you might as well just do straight air.”
The halfpipe finals wrapped the Triple Crown stop at Sierra. Monday’s finals were the last event of the North American Championships after snow delayed the event from Sunday.
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