Saturday, March 5, 2011

Kelly Clark Wins US Snowboarding Grand Prix @ Mammoth

The U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth was well into the the finals of its halfpipe event when the Twitter Nation lit up the snowboarding switchboard with Kelly Clark tweets.

@SalMasekela: Kelly Clark did the most mental front 1080 about 15 feet out at Mammoth Grand Prix. #winning

@susiefloros: @kellyclarkfdn is the one with #tigerblood today. 1080s 15ft out = much higher than Charlie Sheen's toxic life.

Clark is no one-trick pony. She's got those 1080s in the bag. And after her win today, she's got her sights set on an even higher goal: total tour domination.

"This is definitely a big win for me," said Clark. "I came away with the Dew Tour title and the Grand Prix title now. I'm looking forward to next week and seeing if I can't step it up in the TTR and the Global Open series."

In a strange twist, instead of counting towards FIS points, as Grand Prix results usually do, today's USSA halfpipe contest was linked up with the TTR, and rated as a 5Star event. With this win Clark has moved into fourth place on the TTR World Tour ranking - a list that slopestyle dominator Jamie Anderson has been sitting on top of all season.

If Clark wins the US Open next weekend, decides to try her hand at slopestyle and places in the top 12 there, she will overtake Jamie Anderson and win not only the TTR Tour Title, but the Burton Global Open title -- effectively claiming every trophy there is to win in competitive snowboarding in a non-Olympic season that there is.

Clark was followed onto the podium by Gretchen Bleiler in second and Sarah Conrad, from Canada, in third.

On the men's side, the competition was anyone's game. Matt Ladley, the ultimate victor won with his first lap through the pipe finals.

"I feel great. It's hard to explain. It's surreal. I got a victory lap up there and I was thinking, 'I already won, this is crazy,'" Ladley said. "I knew I put down a solid first run but I saw a lot of those guys landing their doubles, but it turns out it held up pretty well."

Greg Bretz, who was riding for a hometown crowd was happy to come in second in front of friends and family, and while Louie Vito would have rather come in on top, he was happy to come away with the overall Grand Prix series title.
Nick CollinsIt would have been more shocking if these two hadn't won.

At the slopestyle portion of the USSA Grand Prix of Snowboarding in Mammoth, Chas Guldemond and Jamie Anderson did what they do best: win slopestyle contests. You could almost say it was a little unfair for them to even enter, as the two rode relatively uncontested.

There was a little confusion over the fact that, while the Grand Prix halfpipe event was TTR sanctioned, the slopestyle event only counted towards FIS rankings. Since there have been about seven million slopestyle and big air contests so far this season, give or take, when it was discovered that no TTR tour points on the line many high-level slope riders chose to take a much-deserved competition break before the U.S. Open, which starts in just a couple of days.

Despite Guldemond's apparent advantage over the competition field Spencer Shaw from Stratton, Vermont managed to hold the lead throughout the finals. It was only Guldemond's final run, which was also the last run of the contest, that bumped him into second place. Brett Esser rounded out the podium in third.

TTR 5Star Grand Prix halfpipe: Women
Rank Name
1 Kelly Clark
2 Gretchen Bleiler
3 Sarah Conrad

TTR 5Star Grand Prix halfpipe: Men
Rank Name
1 Matt Ladley
2 Greg Bretz
3 Louie Vito

FIS Grand Prix Slopestyle: Women
Rank Name
1 Jamie Anderson
2 Danielle Adams
3 Jamie Madrid

FIS Grand Prix Slopestyle: Men
Rank Name
1 Chaz Guldemond
2 Spencer Shaw
3 Brett Esse

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