Riddle, Bowman win North American halfpipe opener
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. — The first stop of the 2013 The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series (PPOS) concluded Sunday in chilly temperatures with variable light conditions at Copper Mountain.
With Olympic qualification on the horizon and halfpipe athletes now looking to augment their FIS bonafides, the competition saw some of the biggest names in the business, including Tanner Hall, who competed on American snow for the first time since his accident. Over $10,000 in prize money was awarded to the top finishers, Mike Riddle of Whistler, B.C. and Maddie Bowman of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., who both took first place at the NorAm-level event.
On Saturday, an international field of 62 male and 23 female athletes from countries including the United States, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Russia and more skied in a highly competitive qualifier day. The men were divided into three heats with the top four scores in each heat moving on to the finals as well as the next top four male scores. A total of 16 men and 12 women advanced to Sunday's final round.
Men's champion Mike Riddle started off his winning run with a left-side double cork 1260 mute grab. He then executed a clean right-side 900 tail grab moving into a left-side 900 opposite Japan grab. An alley-oop flat spin 360 bow-and-arrow-grab led to his final trick, a switch left-side 900 mute grab. The run earned Riddle a high score of 90.
"The PPOS Finals at Copper Mountain went down amazingly well with athletes competing at a top level for any standard," said PPOS Head Judge Steele Spence with AFP. "This open series format is so important for up-and-coming freeskiers to have the opportunity to compete alongside the pros. In addition, athletes at Copper were able to earn both FIS and AFP points."
Rounding out the men's podium in second place was Peter Crook of the British Virgin Islands scoring an 86.4. Finally, U.S. Freeskiing Rookie Team athlete Aaron Blunck out of Crested Butte, Colorado took the third place spot with a score of 84.6.
U.S Freeskiing team member Maddie Bowman placed herself on top of the women's podium with a run consisting of a straight-air tail grab, a left-side 900, a right-side 540, a left-side 540 mute grab, a right-side 720 and capped off her first place run with a smooth switch left-side 540 scoring a 85.8.
Anais Caradeaux of France took second place with an 81.4 followed by Angeli VanLaanen, former World Cup halfpipe Champion out of Salt Lake City, UT, who scored an 80.8. A one-hour broadcast of The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series event at Copper Mountain will air on the CBS Sports Network Dec. 23, 2012 at 1pm EST and again on Dec. 25 (time TBD).
The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series continues throughout the 2013 season with stops at Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada (Jan. 14-17), Waterville Valley, New Hampshire (Feb. 23) and Northstar California Resort (March 8-10).
Men's Results — PPOS Copper Mountain (Top 40 shown)
Women's Results — PPOS Copper Mountain
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