Dec 9, 2013
Author: The North Face Park and Pipe Open
The first stop of the 2014 The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series presented by Nissan (PPOS) concluded yesterday with light snowfall and chilly conditions at Copper Mountain, CO on the only superpipe currently open in North America. Over $25,000 in prize money and product was awarded to the top finishers including U.S. Freeskiing athletes Gus Kenworthy of Telluride, CO and Annalisa Drew of Andover, MA who both took first place. Additionally, Evan Schwartz and Isabel Atkin received last chance qualification into the U.S. Grand Prix Series as a result of their solid performances.
Fifteen females and fifteen males skied in a highly competitive finals day striving to win the first Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) U.S. event of the season. Athletes attacked the pipe with confidence and laid down their best runs without regard to the frigid temperatures.
Men's champion Gus Kenworthy (USA) started off his winning run with a leftside 900 tail grab, rightside 1080 tail grab, switch leftside 1080 tail grab, followed with an alley-oop 540 critical grab, and finishing strong with a leftside 1080 tail grab landing switch. The run earned Kenworthy a high score of 93.5.
Kenworthy en route to the top spot. Photo: The North Face PPOS
"It was an awesome competition today. Copper had the pipe cut perfectly and The North Face Park and Pipe Open presented by Nissan is always a fun event," said Kenworthy. "This is an Olympic qualifying year so I am competing in every competition I can this winter to qualify for a spot representing the United States in Sochi."
In second place was The North Face athlete and Canadian Freeskiing Team member Mike Riddle (CAN) scoring a 92.25 on his second run. Rounding out the men's podium was Kyle Smaine (USA) who took the third place with a score of 86.25.
The men's podium. Photo: The North Face PPOS
U.S. Rookie Freeskiing Team athlete, Annalisa Drew (USA) placed herself on top of the women's podium with a run consisting of a leftside 900, rightside 540, leftside 540, rightside 540, leftside 720 and a smooth finish with a switch rightside 540, scoring an 84.5.
"I felt really good today and am stoked to come out with a win at the first event of the season," said Drew. "It gives me confidence to do well in future events and hopefully I will land an Olympic spot."
The North Face and U.S. Freeskiing Team athlete Devin Logan (USA) of West Dover, VT scored an 82.25 putting her in second place. Finishing off the women's podium in third place was Ayana Onozuka (JAP) who scored an 82.00.
The women's podium. Photo: The North Face PPOS
Hard work materialized into opportunity for Evan Schwartz and Isabel Atkin who both qualified for a spot in the U.S. Grand Prix series. The Series is the Olympic qualification for freeskiing athletes in the U.S. and will ultimately select the athletes who will be members of the first U.S. Freeskiing team at the February 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Founded in 2010, The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series presented by Nissan (PPOS) is one of the only open-format event series in North America giving amateurs the opportunity to compete alongside top pros and advance their athlete rankings.
"All the athletes came to this first competition of the season super prepared. There was a huge amount of talent displayed and some amazing halfpipe runs," said Steele Spence, PPOS/AFP head judge. "Kenworthy executed three out of the four 1080 maneuvers possible in his winning run, which was really impressive. The ladies were also integrating more grabs, tricks and amplitude into their runs-a great sign of future things to come."
An one-hour broadcast of the competition at Copper Mountain will air on several television networks including KMGH-ABC in Denver, CO January 12, 2014 at 2:00PM MST. Additional broadcasting information will be listed on www.TheNorthFacePPOS.com.
The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series presented by Nissan continues throughout the 2014 season with stops at Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada (Jan. 13-16), Stratton Mountain, Vermont (Feb. 20-22) and a fourth location to be announced.