David Wise qualifies first for the men in the halfpipe qualifers. (Getty Images/Gene Sweeney Jr.)
Wednesday kicked off qualifying rounds for all Sprint U.S. Grand Prix events in Park City, UT, including the Visa U.S. Grand Prix ski halfpipe. The top six women of 19 qualified for the pipe finals, while—in two heats—10 men qualified from a field of 36. Eight women and 15 men competed for the Americans, against a stacked international field.
Even after accidently showing up late to practice at Park City Mountain Resort, recent X Games gold medalist winner Maddie Bowman (S. Lake Tahoe, CA) won Wednesday’s halfpipe qualifiers with a solid run. Devin Logan (West Dover, VT), who was second at December’s Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, grabbed the sixth qualifying spot.
“Qualifiers were great! The pipe is so great and it’s great to be at home,” said Bowman, who lives in Salt Lake City, just 30 minutes away from Park City. “I know this pipe and this mountain. It’s really cool.”
Devin Logan competed in the halfpipe qualifiers at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City. (Getty Images/Gene Sweeney Jr.)
There were many bumps and bruises during the men’s qualifiers today, including toboggan rides for two foreign athletes on the steep halfpipe. The Americans grabbed five out of the 10 spots. David Wise (Reno, NV) and Torin Yater-Wallace (Basalt, CO) both qualified first in their heats, with Alex Ferreira (Aspen, CO), Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, CO) and Kyle Smaine (S. Lake Tahoe, CA) taking spots, as well.
“Park City is kind of like a second home for me,” said Wise after his qualifying run. “I’ve grown up skiing here. It’s not too long a trip from Tahoe.”
The ski pipe finals take place Saturday at 12:00 p.m. MST. It will stream live on NBC Live Extraat 2:00 p.m. EST, and will air on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. EST.
Maddie Bowman’s winning run: straight air to a left cork 9 to a right 5 high safety to a left 5 tail to a right 7 tail to a switch 5 safety.
David Wise’s winning run: switch right 9 into a switch left 7 to an alley-oop flat 5 to a left dub cork 12 into a right dub cork 12.
Maddie Bowman, Ayana Onozuka of Japan, Sabrina Cakmakli of Germany, Janina Kuzma of New Zealand, Cassie Sharpe of Canada and Devin Logan will compete for the women in the finals.
Torin Yater-Wallace, David Wise, Justin Dorey of Canada, Simon D’Artois of Canada, Alex Ferreira, Benoit Valentin of France, Kevin Rolland of France, Gun Kenworthy, Kyle Smaine and Noah Bowman of Canada will compete for the men in the finals.
QUOTES Maddie Bowman Qualifiers were great! I accidently showed up late to practice, but had a great time. This pipe is so great and it’s great to be at home. It was really fun. I’m going to add some stuff to my finals run. I’m going to mix it up a little.
It feels so great to be at home, to have the gym here and have everything. I know this pipe and this mountain. It’s really cool.
David Wise We’ve been watching this weather system and hoping that it would stay away long enough to get the qualifier out of the way. The pipe was amazing today. Conditions were good. Definitely a high level of riding out here, so I just came out and was having a good time. I landed a couple of solid runs and I’m really looking forward to the final.
Park City is kind of like a second home for me. I’ve grown up skiing here. It’s not too long a trip from Tahoe. I’ve done that drive across the desert a million times, so it feels like I’m here and home just skiing. I love this halfpipe—it’s always one of my favorite halfpipes of the year. It’s on a really steep pitch, so you can carry a lot more speed. You’ll see a lot of guys going really big for the finals, so it should be a good contest.
I feel like I didn’t quite get it done as well as I wanted to at X Games, so I’m looking forward to throwing it down here.
Gus Kenworthy It went OK out there. It was definitely really windy. It was kind of a mind trip just getting around the wind and power through, just because it wasn't consistent. Some runs you'd get it; some runs you wouldn't. I was originally going to do a switch double on my first run, but felt the wind hit before, so I bailed on that. I just kind of improvised a double at the bottom. That worked out. I made it through in fourth in my heat. So, that’s all I needed for today. Hopefully we’ll have better weather and no wind for the final. I’m definitely looking to step it up.