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Riders dazzle at Vans Cup

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Photo by Ryan SalmAntti Autti of Finland performs a stylish trick during the Vans Cup at Tahoe Superpipe competition at Northstar on Sunday.
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Sunday was a good day to be a spectator at Northstar-at-Tahoe.

And plenty played the role throughout the comfortably warm afternoon as one world-class snowboarder after another charged the Superpipe walls in rapid, jam-style succession for the third and final day of the 2007 Vans Cup at Tahoe.

“As always, it was amazing,” Keir Dillon, who placed fifth in the Superpipe competition, said after the men had wrapped up their 45-minute session. “It’s cool because there’s no pressure (with the jam-style format). It’s also tiring because you’re taking as many runs as possible, but overall it was real fun.”

Also feeling the fatigue after squeezing a half dozen runs into the allotted time was Scotty Lago, who led the field in the morning qualifier before finishing 10th in the finals.

“I’m actually exhausted; I’m shaking,” he said. “I rode all day yesterday and the day before, and I might have overdone it.

“It was sweet, though. There was a lot of good riding. Everyone in the contest had a legit chance of winning.”

Indeed. The judges had their work cut out for them.

In the end, Danny Kass of Mammoth took top honors ” worth $21,000 ” with a series of varied technical runs highlighted by a frontside 1080 to Cab 1080 combo. Antti Autti of Finland finished runner-up and Russian Iouri Polatchokov took third. Autti was awarded $12,000 and Polatchokov $7,000.

Kass, who has competed in each of the Vans Cups at Northstar the past three years, winning the Superpipe in 2005, ranked this one as his favorite.

“I’m gonna go with this one being the best,” he said. “The pipe went off today. It was warm and it was just a great time.”

On the women’s side, Elena Hight of South Lake Tahoe took first place ” and $17,000 ” by stomping back-to-back 900s, which were the only successful 900s on the day from the ladies. Kelly Clark, who led the way in terms of sheer amplitude, and Clair Bidez completed the top three of the women’s competition.

“That just happens to be one of my strengths,” Clark said of her big airs. “When the pipe is good and consistent, it lets me push the level of amplitude.”

Norwegian Andreas Wiig and Southern California shredder Hana Beaman captured the men’s and women’s titles in the Vans Cup Slopestyle event Saturday.

Wiig, who took first at the X Games in Aspen last month, won $21,000 for his efforts, while Beaman flipped spots with X Games gold medalist and defending Vans Cup slope titlist Jamie Anderson of South Lake Tahoe to win $17,000.

Scotty Lago and Danny Kass rounded out the top three for the men, and Canadian Marie-France Roy was third among the women.

Incline Village local Erin Comstock topped Silvia Mittermuller and Leanne Pelosi in Friday night’s women’s Rail Jam to take home $2,600 from the opening event of the Vans Cup.

Comstock won over the judges with a smooth frontside boardslides on the down rail and powerful 50-50’s through the kinked rail before an enthusiastic crowd that gathered under the lights.

Lucas Magoon of Silverthorn, Colo., took the top spot over Yale Cousino and Keegan Vailaika with the most technical combos on the rails against a larger men’s field. Magoon took home $12,000 for his win.


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