Despite the cold conditions, athletes thrived at the Toyota US Grand Prix and Visa Big Air competitions | Jobs Reply

Scotty James gets a head wind during the US Grand Prix men’s snowboard halfpipe final on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, at Copper Mountain Resort.
Liz Copan/For The Summit Daily News

Although temperatures hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit for most of the day, the competition really heated up on Friday, December 16, the third day of the Toyota US Grand Prix and Visa Big Air Competition at Copper Mountain Resort.

The competition featured four finals throughout the day, including the men’s and women’s freeski big air finals and the men’s and women’s snowboard halfpipe finals.

Women’s frisky big air

As the first event of the day, frosty conditions played a role in the early part of the women’s freeski big air final. At the start of the eight-woman final, several competitors fell while attempting to land the hard, packed slopes.

France’s 2022 Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledoux fell particularly hard in her first three runs. Once competitors knew what to expect after landing, though, the field had several jaw-dropping runs.

Canada’s Megan Oldham had the best first run, successfully landing a muted 1260 to score 89. With just two of the three runs counting towards the final score, Oldham made sure to come up big in its second run as well.

On his second run, Oldham performed a right 1260 with a mute grab to combine for an 87 score and a 176 score.

Oldham’s two runs were enough for her to win the women’s freeski big air title, but she was closely followed by Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud and Canadian teammate Olivia Asselin.

Greymaud finished second with a combined score of 172 from his first run and a top run score of 88, while Asselin finished third with a combined score of 169.

New Hampshire’s Grace Henderson was the top American with a combined score of 134 for seventh place overall.

Henderson had a shaky first run, recording a score of 20.25, but he made huge strides in the second and third runs with 1080 and 900 spins.

“I was very nervous playing today because all the best girls are here and I just didn’t make it to the finals,” Henderson said. “The exercise was a bit tricky, but I managed to land two jumps and I’m very happy.”

Overall Henderson was happy to compete alongside his younger brother – Hunter Henderson – who competed in the men’s freeski big air final.

“We’ve been competing here in copper since we were little,” Henderson said. “Being on the sidelines with our parents at the World Cup final is amazing. We give each other a good luck hug before every race, so it’s nice to have him with me.”

Men’s Freeski Big Air Final

In the men’s freeski big air final, 2022 Norwegian Olympic gold medalist Burke Ruud, France’s Timothée Sivignon and Norway’s Sebastien Scharv run into the competition.

Rudd succeeded in securing another first place in the copper, stringing together three clean runs for a combined score of 192. Ruud scored the highest in his fist run when he successfully completed the 1980 spin with a mute grab.

This maneuver earned Rudd a score of 96.75, which he matched with his third run score of 95.25.

“I love my job,” Ruud said. “It’s incredible that it’s my job and I have so much love for skiing. It’s easy for me to keep going (big) and push myself to do better and in the end I do my best.”

Rudd was challenged to his first place by Sivigon who was able to stomp 1980 while grabbing his skis. This maneuver earned Sivigon a score of 95, which he combined with his third run of 89.25 for a total of 184.25 points.

Civignon’s performance put him just ahead of Szarov in third place with a combined score of 182.50.

Like her sister, Hunter Henderson was the highest American to finish in a 10-person final. After scoring 19.25 on her first run, Henderson put together two impressive jumps on her second and third attempts for 169.75 points for fifth place.

Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe Final

After nearly 20 years on the women’s snowboard halfpipe scene, five-time Olympian Quaralt Casselet, 33, proved she’s still at the top of her game.

Castellet demonstrated why she is among the best female halfpipe riders in the world with a huge first run. Castellet rocketed well off the superpipe and spun like a top, earning a score of 89.75 on her first run.

Castellet’s first run score was enough to top Elizabeth Hosking’s score of 88.75, adding another podium finish to her long resume of success.

Hosking was followed by Japan’s Mitsuki Ono, who shot 85 in his first run of the day.

American Olympian Maddie Mastro tried to punch her way to the podium, but had trouble landing a double crippler cleanly on her second run. Mastro’s third run was without any major faults, but it didn’t impress the judges enough to make it into the top three.

Mastro finished fifth with a best run score of 72.75. American Bea Kim, 15, placed sixth and Sonora Alba, 16, placed eighth.

Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe Final

The men’s snowboard halfpipe final is bound to be electric. The 10-man field includes four Americans, Olympic silver medalists and record holders for highest half pipe wind.

The men didn’t use their first run of three to feel piped out. Rather, they flew high while trying to add their own distinct style.

Australian 2022 Olympic silver medalist Scotty James wowed the judges, announcers and crowd with his performance on the copper pipes.

James scored a 97 on his first run, but he scored a 99 from the judges when he strung together a switch McTwist and a double McTwist on his second run.

James remained untouchable after his earth-shattering run and easily topped the podium as the champion of the US Grand Prix men’s snowboard halfpipe competition.

“I felt amazing,” James said. “Ninety-nine is definitely the highest score I’m so thrilled today, everything seemed to be clicking, and my flow was in the right place. Landing that run felt incredible.

Scotty James takes first place during the US Grand Prix men’s snowboard halfpipe final at Copper Mountain on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.
Liz Copan/For The Summit Daily News

Behind James, Switzerland’s Jan Scherer finished second with a huge second run that earned him a score of 96.25. Japan’s Kaishu Hirano – the record holder for the highest half pipe wind – finished third with a top run of 88.25.

Steamboat Springs product and Summit resident Taylor Gold was inches away from breaking the podium, but she failed to run better than her first attempt.

Gold scored an 86.75 on her first run thanks to an air to fackey, a cab 1080 and a frontside 1260. Gould finished fourth with fellow American teammate Joey Okeson fifth, Chase Josi sixth and Telluride’s Lucas Foster ninth. .

Gould was pleased with her performance, but she realized a lot was needed to take the stage on Friday.

“It takes a unique approach. It takes a lot of hard work regardless,” Gould said. “I think it takes the right day for some people. For me, I think some days I’m there, and some days I’m not. Today is close. Was, but I’m not there yet.”

Gold is looking forward to spending Christmas and New Years in Steamboat Springs and enjoying the powder left over from a string of recent storms. Gold will then travel to Lux, Switzerland for the next Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup competition.

On Saturday, Summit’s Chris Corning will attempt to make the podium at the Visa Big Air Snowboard Competition. The event is open to the public and is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. The event will be streamed live on

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