Words: Tyler Davis
Photos: Owen Ringwall
January 22, 2012- You can argue that lately halfpipe contests have become too predictable, with straight air victory laps becoming the norm. The finals at the Pantech Invitational however, were quite the opposite. With the New England weather finally cooperating and the Killington superpipe looking perfect, the final turned into one of the best pipe events I have ever seen.
With the pipe illuminated, the final showcased 12 of the best pipe riders on the planet. The Frends crew was well represented, with Danny Davis, Mason Aguirre and the brothers Mitrani all making the cut. Younger brother Luke started his run off with a classic Michalchuck and ended it with a huge cab double cork that landed him in 4th place. Matt Ladley put together a great second run that included a 5, two 10's, a 9 and a perfect frontside 12. The real battle though was between Louie Vito and Iouri Podladtchikov. After run 1, Louie sat in first with a 94.25 and I-Pod was in second with a 91.75. As the final progressed no one was able to knock them from the top two spots and the contest would come down to their final runs. I-Pod dropped first and linked a perfect double mctwist 12 into back-to-back 10's and jumped into the lead. With only one rider left, Louie dropped in. He threw down an equally amazing run, stomping three double corks. Only the judges could decide their fate, and I can speak for most of the people in the crowd when I say it was a decision I was glad was not in my hands.
Matt Ladley's second run landed him in 3rd place. When the results came in, it was Louie Vito in 2nd and Iouri Podladtchikov taking the win. Both riders were incredible and it could have gone either way. When asked about the final, Iouri said, "It was super interesting to be in it and super interesting to watch it. After my run I was shivering. When you're in the position like Louie was it's kinda tough to be the last guy up there. You still gotta go and everyone is watching." And with that the second stop of the tour comes to a close. Make sure stay tuned to Snowboardermag.com throughout the season for up-to-the-minute event coverage.
1. Iouri Podladtchikov
2. Louie Vito
3. Matt Ladley