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Words & Photos: Laura Austin
Another sunny day with nothing but blue skies graced Mammoth Mountain for the Grand Prix Halfpipe finals. You have to hand it to the park crews this year, despite the less than optimal snow conditions plaguing North America they are still able to step up with amazing features, and that definitely was the case with the pipe today.
The men took to the pipe first in their two run final. Most having trouble sticking their initial run all the way through with a score of 68.2 holding the top spot through most of run one until Zack Black snuck in with an 86.4. Luke Mitrani was definitely a standout with his lofty double Michael Chuck right out of the gate, earning him the Maloof Best Trick that was accompanied with a $10,000 check. Top qualifier, Louie Vito, threw down an impressive first run which included a double crippler and higher amplitude on every hit than most of the competition. This run put him into the lead with a 94.2.
As the second run rolled around it was Greg Bretz who knocked Louie Vito out of the top podium position with a solid run earning him a 95. Luke came back and cleaned up his second run, landing everything smoothly, and once again throwing a giant double Michael Chuck on his first hit. Luke improved to a 90, locking him into a 3rd place position. The only rider left, Louie Vito, earned himself a victory lap which he took full advantage of throwing 3 double-corks and a HUGE roast beef on his last hit, improving his score to a 98.2. This win made him the national champ earning him a 20k purse, plus the 10k for first place. Definitely not a bad day for Louie Vito. Following Louie was Greg Bretz, and then Luke Mitrani with that third place spot.
On the ladies side, the field was opened up with the absence of Kelly Clark but Elena Hight, Kaitlyn Farrington, and Ellery Hollingsworth were still in the mix. Young 14-year-old Arielle Gold was a head turner, not only because of her full tiger print outfit, but she held pretty good amplitude throughout her whole run earning her a 84.6. Kaitlyn Farrington put down a solid first run. Ellery stepped up next including a cab 9 and an inverted 720 into her run moving her into 3rd place. But after all was said and done with not much moving of positions, it was Elena Hight earning herself a victory lap which included a beautiful alley oop backside rodeo on her last hit.
Couldn’t have asked for better conditions for a halfpipe contest, granted the sun made one side of the pipe pretty soft, but everyone was in high spirits. Congrats to all the riders, and as for the Grand Prix… see you next year.
Mammoth Grand Prix Halfpipe Results
1st - Louie Vito
2nd - Greg Bretz
3rd - Luke Mitrani
1st - Elena Hight
2nd - Kaitlyn Farrington
3rd - Ellery Hollingsworth
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