|Women's podium: Kelly Clark – USA (2st), Torah Bright – AUS (1st) and Queralt Castellet – SPA (3rd) | 2013 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Copper Mountain | Photo: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Snowboarding|
The USA Sprint Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, CO was nothing but pure stoke for U.S. snowboard athletes Friday, January 12th. It was the first local stop for snow-savvy athletes to gain points to qualify for the Olympics and 5Star World Snowboard event. American riders Luke Mitrani and Kelly Clark both placed 2nd while Louie Vito made 3rd in pipe. Australia’s Nathan Johnstone and Torah Bright both placed 1st but many U.S. boarders finished strong.
|Men's podium: Luke Mitrani – USA (2nd), Nathan Johnstone – AUS (1st) and Louie Vito – USA (3rd) | 2013 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Copper Mountain | Photo: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Snowboarding|
Luke Mitrani had a solid run that consisted of double Mikalchuk, front 900 tail, backside air, front 1080 tail, and a cab double 1080. Mitrani was stoked and commented after the competition, “ You know, I really like the halfpipe here at Copper and I am stoked to see how the Olympic qualifying period will continue to go, it feels good to be here and I am looking forward to the next Grand Prix at Park City”. It is only the beginning and Mitrani has a promising season with his ridiculous style.
Kelly Clark had a clean run that involved a front 900, backside 540 mute-grab, front 720 indy, cab 720 mute-grab, and a front 540. Clark remained optimistic and stated, “I rode more conservatively than I usually do today, but I am OK with
that. I feel really good about my riding and I am happy with where I ended up. I think if you are pleased with your riding than that is really all that matters. This feels really good going into X Games. I am going to train next week and get myself set-up and ready for X. The Grand Prix’s are always great events and I had a great time this week”. Kelly might have had a “conservative” run but it was definitely a solid ride.
Louie Vito | 2013 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Copper Mountain | Photo: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Snowboarding
Louie Vito had a noteworthy run including a double crippler, back 540 mute-grab, back to back double corks, and a front 1080 tail. Vito remained supportive for his fellow U.S. competitors and commented, “I’m glad I was on the podium today and it just makes me want to do better for the rest of the season. I am happy for Luke, he rode so well today and it’s great for all of us to start our Olympic qualifying points at the Grand Prix”. Vito is just getting warmed up and everyone should expect to see more of his undeniable skills in the upcoming competitions.
Five American men and five American women placed in the top 7. Some of the five American men who placed included Zach Black in 5th, Greg Bretz in 6th, and Benji Farrow in 7th. As for the American women riders, it was Arielle Gold in 4th, Kaitlyn Farrington in 5th, Ellery Hollingsworth in 6th and Elena Hight in 7th.
With the insane style, progressive endurance and the positive attitude of the American athletes, it is not hard to say that the best is yet to come.