It seems as though 22-year-old Luke Mitrani has obliterated the odds. Intense experiences of a close friend almost dying while competing against the world’s best snowboarders would leave anyone shaken up. However, Mitrani won the overall U.S. Sprint Grand Prix Snowboard Halfpipe Championships in Park City, Utah and took home $20,000 cash in his pocket on Friday. Young Mitrani even topped 2-time U.S. Grand Prix winner Louie Vito in 2nd place and the iconic 6-times X Games champion Shaun White in 3rd. Shaun White made a surprise entrance into the halfpipe finals in Park City Mountain Resort to make sure he had enough FIS points to qualify for the Olympics next year. Shaun White won the Grand Prix with a score of 97.25 points, while Scotty Lago placed 2nd with 94.50. Louie Vito placed 5th with 87.25 points.
However, Mitrani’s 2nd place finish at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado, in January, sealed the deal for his first U.S. Championship title.
Mitrani completed a clean run which consisted of a backside indy, frontside 1080 double cork, cab 1080 double cork, frontside 900 tail grab and double Michalchuk. The double cork that Mitrani stomped brought back memories of close friend Kevin Pearce whose rising professional snowboard career came to a tragic end after a severe head injury three years ago in the same pipe while attempting a double cork. Despite the pressure of Shaun White’s unexpected arrival and the horrific memories of Kevin Pearce’s career-ending fall, Mitrani claimed bronze with 91.75 points.
ll wp-image-105383″ alt=”Scotty Lago 2013 U.S. Grand Prix ” src=”http://www.theskichannel.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Screen-Shot-2013-02-04-at-6.07.42-PM.png” width=”475″ height=”314″ /> Scotty Lago boostin' at Park City Mountain Resort | Getty Images-Doug Pensinger
Mitrani commented on his awesome performance, “I’m happy to have landed the run that I’ve been working so hard on. Today’s finish feels good, I am definitely stoked. But there’s still a lot of winter left this year to get on snow, have fun and keep dialing in my riding.”
Fresh to the U.S. Snowboarding Team from last year, Mitrani’s progression continues to grow rapidly. Known for his insane style and amplitude with his skateboarding background, Mitrani’s talent is recognized by many, including his sponsors Volcom, Amp Energy, Dragon Alliance Eyewear, Mammoth Mountain, U.S. Snowboarding Team, Vestal Watch and Frends Headphones. His training and preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games is as good as gold.
According to Deseret News, Mitrani stated, “The truth is, it doesn't matter who gets first or last, I've never been so happy after a run because I've always wanted to do that run,” said Mitrani who remains positive in all circumstances. “Whether I'm on top or at the bottom, I'm just happy to land my run. And just to be on the podium with Shuan, that's a big achievement for me. At the end of the day, to walk away from this half-pipe and nobody's hurt, I think it's a good achievement.”
SPRINT U.S. GRAND PRIX FINAL HALFPIPE RESULTS
Men’s U.S. Championship
1. Luke Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 1,400
2. Louie Vito, Sandy, UT, 1,050
3. Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 1,000
4. Nathan Johnstone, Australia, 1,000
5. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 960