World Cup riders get started
VALLE NEVADO, Chile – Five Americans, including U.S. Snowboarding’s Hannah Teter of Belmont, Vt., and Danny Davis of Highland, Mich., qualified for the finals Tuesday in the season’s first World Cup halfpipe contest.
In front of the Olympic judging panel (the same six judges who will preside over halfpipe competition in Torino), four American riders earned their required World Cup top-25 result, making them eligible for the U.S. Olympic Team.
“We have so many Americans set up to be eligible for the Olympics,” said U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Head Coach Bud Keene. “With at least 10 women and nearly 20 men, we have more eligible halfpipe athletes that any other nation. It will make for quite a show at the Grand Prix series this winter.”
Results from the four Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix halfpipe contests will determine the halfpipe riders named to the 2006 U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team.
With the Olympics in mind, Keene said it also is valuable to have these contests in Chile judged by the 2006 Olympic judges. The judging format for the next Winter Games has changed since 2002: In 2006, athletes will be judged on overall impression by all six judges instead of each judge scoring a different component (rotations, amplitude, etc.).
“This really helps us get a feel for the judging,” Keene explained. “We can experiment with the construction of runs, get a feel for the best structure and what scores well. Then we can make plans accordingly.
“Judges will use the same criteria as a template, but I think this scoring format is much more with the spirit of freestyle snowboarding. People express themselves in different ways in the halfpipe and want to be rewarded for it.”
Along with Teter and Davis, those Americans rewarded for their performances Tuesday also include men’s finalists Pat Moore, Rob Kingwill and Travis Rice, all of whom needed to post a top-25 World Cup result. On the women’s side, Sabrina Ste-Marie captured her needed top 25. Keene said it is part of U.S. Snowboarding’s mission to assist all qualified American riders who have the opportunity to make the U.S. Olympic Team.
As for conditions, record snowfall (more than 20 feet this season), warm temperatures and clear blue skies are challenging pipe riders who have been facing an alternately unstable and icy halfpipe. Keene said the snow was very dry, and the powdery conditions forced organizers to spray the pipe with fire hoses at night. The result is a severly icy pipe, but one that can withstand the competition.
“It was a great day and we’re psyched to have five riders in the first final,” Keene said. “We’ve got another qualifier (Wednesday) and hope to put more women in the second final (also being held Thursday).”
The other U.S. men competing in Chile are Tommy Czeschin of Mammoth Lakes, Elijah Teter of Belmont Vt., and Scott Lago of Seabrook, N.H.
Also scheduled for the World Cup opener in Chile are two snowboardcross events. World champions Seth Wescott of Carrabassett Valley, Maine, and Lindsey Jacobellis of Stratton Mountain, Vt,m and last year’s winner Graham Watanabe of Sun Valley, Idaho, will lead the charge for the Americans.
NOKIA SNOWBOARD FIS WORLD CUP
Valle Nevado, Chile – Sept. 13, 2005
Halfpipe Qualifier 1
1. Mikka Hast, FIN, 44.9
2. Christophe Schmidt, GER, 44.2
3. Daniel Franck, NOR, 41.3
4. Xaver Hoffman, GER, 40.3
5. Antti Autti, FIN, 38.6
6. Patrick Moore, USA, 37.1
7. Jan Michaelis, GER, 37.0
8. Brad Martin, CAN, 36.8
9. Travis Rice, USA, 36.5
10. Danny Davis, USA, 36.4
11. Rob Kingwill, USA, 35.5
12. Sergio Berger, SUI, 35.2
1. Doriane Vidal, FRA, 42.0
2. Kjersti Buaas, NOR, 40.6
3. Hannah Teter, USA, 37.3
4. Sophie Rodriguez, FRA, 35.0
5. Mercedes Nicoll, CAN, 34.6
6. Holly Crawford, AUS, 31.9