All words: Laura Austin
Photos: Huggy & Peter Morning
Another beautiful day at Mammoth Mountain, at least for the most part until winds started to pick up at the tail end of the Grand Prix Superpipe finals. The big story today was Kelly Clark. Now I'm not trying to pump up female snowboarding because I am an XY chromosome human that happens to ride a snowboard, but Kelly Clark really blew minds today. I happened to be standing next to Greg Bretz, Louie Vito, Trevor Jacobs, and Mason Aguirre at the top of the pipe during Kelly's first run and even they were blown away. Kelly was easily boosting higher than a majority of the men's field. I could go on a tangent about how stoked I am to see Kelly at the level she is at right now, but I will just say the today Kelly Clark made me proud. It is awesome to see females truly progressing the sport.
Yes there happened to be other ladies competing in today's superpipe competition besides Ms. Kelly Clark. People had high hopes for Kaitlyn Farrington, one of the few female competitors that may have been able to come close to Kelly. Unfortunately Farrington must have felt the pressure on her shoulders, slipping out in the middle of what appeared to be a solid run. Kelly Clark had the privilege of finishing things off with a victory lap where she did not hold back at all by throwing a GIANT 1080 in the middle of her run. This earned Kelly the overall Grand Prix title. The consistent Gretchen Bleiler was able to lock down the second place position and rounding out the top three was Sarah Conrad.
And then of course there was the men's competition, which definitely consisted of more twists and turns that the ladies' field, forcing me to give you the play by play as to how things unfolded. Trevor Jacob took the lead after his first run, showing some of he best amplitude throughout the day. Greg Bretz had a very solid first run which would have put him in the top three until he washed out on a double cork his last hit. One of the crowd favorites, Louie Vito, unfortunately didn't land his first hit of his first finals lap… leaving the podium a complete toss up. Then came the top qualifier Matt Ladley who nailed his line earning him a very impressive 45.4 out of 50, moving him into first place and a hefty 5 point separation from Trevor Jacob who was bumped down to second. Bretz was able to redeem himself after falling on earlier with a run that earned him that second place position. Louie Vito came back and put together an impressive combination including back-to-back doubles, which bumped him up to third place, finishing off the men's podium, but still able to take the overall Grand Prix title. Zack Black was the rider to follow Louie with a chance to bump someone from the podium, but unfortunately he washed out on his last hit, leaving Ladley with a victory lap.
That's a wrap for the Grand Prix at Mammoth. Thank you Mother Nature for the sunny weather during finals and this impending goggle tan. Now it is time for a concert in the village from War Paint, and people trying to take advantage of that 10% rule.
Mammoth Grand Prix Superpipe 2011 Results
1. Matt Ladley
2. Greg Bretz
3. Louie Vito
1. Kelly Clark
2. Gretchen Bleiler
3. Sarah Conrad