Brita Sigourney (USA) takes the first halfpipe World Cup win in Copper Mountain
The FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup in halfpipe wrapped up today, with skiers putting on an exceptional show in the superpipe final. The first of two Grand Prix events that include skiing this season, this Grand Prix marked the first North American event of 2011-12.
After an exciting men's qualifier on Wednesday, and a women's qualifier early this morning—both of which featured a great deal of top-notch riding—the stage was set for the afternoon's action. Under sunny skies and with a perfect 22-foot pipe groomed for destruction, 10 females and 12 males took to the air.
The women kicked things off at noon. 'Twas a two-run format, with the higher of the two scores counting toward the overall ranking. The first high scoring run of the day came from Switzerland's own Virginie Faivre. Her trademark smooth style, along with some technical tricks in the form of back-to-back 540s and a 720 to cap off her run, earned her a score of 73.6.
Keltie Hansen (CAN) garnered the next best score on the day, impressing judges with a 900, a couple of 540s and a 720 on her last hit. Her efforts earned her a 75.8.
Last to drop in run #1 was two-time AFP champ, and last year's Grand Prix at Copper winner Rosalind Groenewoud (CAN). Living up to expectations, Ros opened with a lofty straight air and followed up with a 900, back to back 540s, a 360 and a switch 5 to conclude. Her technical run earned her an 81.4 and launched her into the lead going into run #2.
Virginie Faivre once again laid down her game in run #2, upping her amplitude and thereby bumping her score to 77.4.
A few riders later Brita Sigourney of Carmel, California—who bobbled on her first run for a score of 46.6—dropped in with the pressure on. She opened with a big ol' 540 on the right wall, and carried on stomping a 900, some lofty straight airs, an alley-oop 5 and a 720 along the way. The judges rewarded Brita for her performance with an impressive 86.6, the current lead.
Sarah Burke, Devin Logan and Jen Hudak, all formidable competitors who could certainly dethrone Brita, had all struggled on their first runs. They too came into run #2 with pressure on their shoulders, and unfortunately they were unable to lay down solid runs.
Ros G was thus atop the pipe, the lone competitor with the power to sway the standings. She started her run with a boosty straight air and a solid 900, but went down on her third hit, unable to hold on to a 540. And with that, Brita Sigourney had solidified her win, and added a sweet gold medal to her collection, which already includes a silver from last year's X Games 15 and a gold from last year's Dew Tour at Snowbasin, UT.
Signourney said of the win, "It felt so good, I don't usually compete well under pressure so it's a relief to be done and to so well at the first comp of the season. I was just trying to not put any expectations on myself and have fun, that's when I ski my best."
Other impressive performances today came from Japan's Mitsuboshi Manami, Anais Caradeux of France and Maddie Bowman of the US and A.
U.S. GRAND PRIX AT COPPER WOMEN'S PIPE RESULTS:
1) Brita Sigourney (USA) 86.6
2) Rosalind Groenewoud (CAN) 81.4
3) Virginie Faivre (SUI) 77.4
4) Maddie Bowman (USA) 76.0
5) Keltie Hansen (CAN) 75.8
With the women's final in the books, it was time for the men to take to the stunt ditch. 12 competitors had earned themselves a spot in the finals and they were all hungry for the booty, which, in the case of the U.S. Grand Prix comes in the form of medals, prize money, AFP points and World Cup points.