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Grand Prix endures tough weather

BAY KELLEY

When putting on winter events in the mountains, there is always the chance for a storm. It is difficult, however, to account for four consecutive days of a storm.

Every conceivable type of snow and heavy gusts of wind provided substantial obstacles for the world class athletes competing in the Chevy S-10 U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix held at Northstar-at-Tahoe this weekend. The action was not affected.

The four day event consisted of halfpipe competition on Thursday and Friday and a boardercross competition Sunday. On Saturday, all eyes were on the Doritos Loud Air and Style contest.

United States Snowboard team member Shannon Dunn of Steamboat Springs, Colo., a considerable favorite in the halfpipe event, won her third consecutive competition – also winning the Grand Prix competitions held at Mammoth and Breckenridge in December and January, respectively. Dunn claimed the win with a first run score of 37.90 in a best of two runs format, edging out Autumn Rose of Olympic Valley who finished with a 35.50. The victory afforded Dunn a purse of $10,000.

Mark Reilly of Rutland, Vt. picked up his first series win on the men’s side. Reilly had the biggest air and by far the biggest score, posting a 44.60 on his first run. Vermont’s Ross Powers celebrated his 21st birthday by claiming a second place spot in the competition with a score of 41.20.

Tommy Czeschin of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. provided one of the highlights of the competition by executing a 1080 (three full rotations) in his second run.

The triple air exhibition event on Saturday comprised three different parts. At the top of the hill, near the starting gate, was a selection of three differently shaped handrails on which competitors could slide and launch tricks. Next was a big hit that would propel the riders 20 to 30 feet in the air en route to a quarter pipe at the bottom of the run.

Nick Franke claimed the win in the men’s competition with a score of 27.2 on his first run. Jason Borgstede scored a 25.4 for second place and Ricky Bower came in third with a score of 24.5.

Tara Dakides, who won golds in the best trick and slope style competitions at the winter X-Games in Vermont, won the women’s competition with a 24.0 on her first pass. Janna Meyen came in second place with a score of 20.2 and Jamie McLeod finished in third with a score of 19.3.

Jason Brown and Kate Fletcher won the first ever snowboardcross of the Grand Prix competition on Sunday.

There was little challenge for Brown who braved the slushy conditions and won by a sizable margin in the finals. Seth Wescott finished the competition in second place and Marc Shulz finished in third. Wescott, a member of the US Snowboard team also finished third in the halfpipe competition.

Fletcher was joined on the podium by her sister, Beth, who placed third in the event. Lynn Ott finished the competition with a second place finish.

The event will be televised on March 26 at 4 p.m. on CBS.

The Grand Prix Series concludes with the X-Nix Championships, March 23-26 at Okemo Mountain in Vermont.


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