LIVE: March 19, 2000
[preview] [duel slalom] [big air] [halfpipe] [boarderX]
The 2000 US Open has come to an end and the crowds have finally dispersed. The BoarderX ran Sunday, the podium was drenched in champagne, and now it's time to get this party started!
The course was long and fast with hits big enough to leave you crying for mommy. While some of the tabletops weren't being cleared and a few landings were missed (completely), the competition was fierce with Ina Poetzl (AUT) and Xavier Delerue (FRA) taking home firsts.
Ina Poetzl was first out of the gate in the women's finals and didn't look back until she crossed the finish, well ahead of the other women. Nobody could touch her, she only increased her lead through every turn and over every kicker. Because she jumped to the front of the pack early on, Poetzl had the bottom of the course to herself.
Despite having some technical difficulties, Poetzl liked the course. "I liked the gap better than the tabletops. I was landing flat every time and most of the women weren't clearing, but the course was fun. It was really fast!"
|"Carlee Baker went down hard and didn't get up. Line Oestvold was right behind her and accepted a DNF to tend to Baker, who was sprawled out on the transition...."|
It was behind Poetzl that the real battle was taking place. As the women soared over the road gap in the middle of the track, it was still a tight race. Grouped closely together, the pack stomped the landing, but Carlee Baker went down hard and didn't get up. Line Oestvold was right behind her and accepted a DNF to tend to Baker, who was sprawled out on the transition.
Leslee Olson was just in front of the mess and continued chasing Poetzl, crossing the finish line in second. The third car on this runaway train was Amy Johnson, who was right on Olson's tail.
The men were elbow to elbow from start to finish. Xavier Delerue fought off the pack over the first kicker and ultimately took home the biggest check of the day. He won every heat he ran, netting him $6000 for the top podium spot. Being first out of the gate was key in today's race, and that is exactly what Delerue was.
"The start was tight, everybody touched my board over the first table. I was leading but I felt my board clinking against everyone else's," Delerue said. "It's difficult to stay stable in the air with so many riders around you."
Canadian terrors Drew Neilson and Jasey Jay Anderson, who took 2nd and 3rd respectively, had been breathing down Delerue's bindings, hoping he'd make a mistake.
Also following close behind, though well overhead, was a helicopter with a cameraman dangling out its side. The chopper was hovering above the start gate as the men took their spots for the final heat. The noise from above was deafening and Delerue jumped out of the start early, tumbling over the gate. Despite the false start, the officials allowed Delerue to return to the gate and run the course.
Unfortunately, the day had its fair share of carnage. Along with Baker, Travis McLain was injured in the men's quarterfinals just after he charged out of the start and launched the first hit. Things got ugly when he crash landed and injured his leg. Ski patrol was quick to respond and took him down the hill in a sled.
Junior Halfpipe Jam
While the big boys and girls were racing BoarderX, the future of the sport was tearing up the pipe. The up-and-coming rippers (ages 14 and below) were dropping in all morning, and from the looks of things, they'll be showing their elders how it's done in just a few years.
The Junior HP Jam wouldn't have been complete without a few 5s, a couple of McTwists, the best tunes of the weekend and the biggest spills kids know no pain. It was the same format as the seniors, 30- and 50-minute sessions, minus the luxury of sled rides to the top (they had to hike).
Kari White must be tagging along with her older brother Shaun. Her style is a step ahead of the rest. White had a solid run, consistently a few feet out of the pipe and was rewarded with the podium's top spot. Twelve-year-old Hannah Teter (Abe's lil' sis) took 2nd with some not-so-junior amplitude and threw in every grab in the book, despite breaking her binding after several runs. Third went to Lauren Whalley, who will be feared in the future.
Next the junior boys stepped up. Patrick Moore linked several solid runs and took first. Renaud Belisle found himself in 2nd, followed in 3rd by Cody Rosenthal. None of the sparkly stuff at the junior podium just grape juice (white grape juice, moms).
The BoarderX marked the end of The Open and the riders were on the loose. Late Sunday night, there was a mass arrest at one of the local hotels. One of the teams (who will remain anonymous, cuz I ain't one to spread gossip) was loaded into a paddy wagon, dressed in stripes, and put behind bars. They were stumbling around the hallways, beers in hand, keeping everyone up with their celebration. When they were asked to quiet down, they claimed that they were superstars and could do whatever they liked!? Sure fellas...let's keep it real, huh?
It's over. The Open is closed. The lifts have stopped, the banners have been torn down and there's finally enough room in the parking lot to do donuts. It was a good one...see you next year.
Lucas Kane, pulling the rental's parking break for MountainZone.com