Copper Mountain readies for U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix opener

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 24, 2009 3:18 pm

Copper Mountain has been the place to be, recently hosting the U.S. Ski Team for their on-snow training. Now, the snowboarders are coming to town, to prep for the upcoming U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, on Dec. 11 and 12.

“Copper is obviously a really critical event for everyone to get in on their quest to get on the Olympic team,” U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Head Coach Mike Jankowski said. “It gives them the opportunity to get in a good 22-foot halfpipe with their teammates and competitors and hopefully we’ll have a great event to kick things off.”

The competition is the first of three stops for the five competition series and will feature Olympic champions Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA), Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT) and Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT), Olympic medalists Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO), JJ Thomas (Golden, CO) and Danny Kass (Portland, OR) among others.

According to Jankowski spectators can expect to see the men’s halfpipers going bigger than ever. “The big buzz has been the double corks and the sport being taken to the next level and it truly has by with guys like Louie Vito [Sandy, UT] who are landing double corks already this spring and summer,” Jankowski said. “You also have guys like Greg Bretz [Mammoth, CA] who is learning double corks already as well this summer. These guys are a part of the progression and leading the pack in that progression area.”

As for the women, Jankowski also feels confident. “Our veterans continue on their track of being best in the world. Hannah, Gretchen and Kelly are coming back already having that experience and those Olympic medals under the belts,” Jankowski said. “It’s really a great situation as a team going into these Grand Prix events and towards the Olympics with talented and experience riders, along with our other women. It’s a great formula for success.”

“Having the 22-foot halfpipe at Copper is obviously very exciting for the riders,” added Jankowski. “Copper has gone above and beyond and really making sure that the team and the riders are very comfortable and well cared for.”