Gus Kenworthy competes in Wednesday's qualifying round, making the cut for Friday's finals at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix/Visa Halfpipe Event. (Getty Images-Tom Pennington)
COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO (Dec. 3) - The best freeskiers in the world dropped into Copper Mountain's perfect 22-foot halfpipe today to kick off the 2014-15 season at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix.
Torin Yater-Wallace, with impressive double flat 900s, led a stacked international field of skiers to take the top spot, followed by French skiers Kevin Rolland and Benoit Valentin. Aaron Blunk (Crested Butte, CO), Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, CO), Alex Ferreira (Aspen, CO), Seaton Taylor (Avon, CO) and Olympic champion David Wise (Reno, NV) also qualified for the finals, making six of the top 10 finalists American. Wise once again proved he has doubles on lock, landing an effortless left double 1260.
Progression was also high in the women’s competition. Annalisa Drew (Andover, MA) landed a never-been-done run with a flat five, a flare and a right 900, earning the top spot for the Americans behind Japan’s Ayana Onozuka and New Zealand’s Janina Kuzma. Olympic slopestyle silver medalist, Devin Logan (West Dover, VT) and Grand Prix finals newbie, Kimmy Sharpe (Park City, UT) also qualified for Friday’s finals.
Ten men and six women will compete in Friday’s finals starting at 12:30 p.m. MST. The event will be live streamed on NBC Sports LiveExtra and broadcast on NBCSN Saturday at 5:00 p.m. EST.
Tomorrow, it’s game on for the snowboarders. Olympians Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter and Arielle Gold will be the ones to watch on the women’s side, and Greg Bretz and Taylor Gold are all ready to pick up where they left off last season. The competition starts at 9:30 a.m. MST with the women.
QUOTES Devin Logan The pipe was really fun today. All the girls were sending it. It was a little cutthroat with only six spots in finals, but thankfully I got that sixth spot! Dropping in before my first run, I need to take a few deep breaths. It was nice to get the nerves out of the way and get ready for the season.