Riders Push for Olympic-size Superpipe
Park City, Utah
March 3-5, 2000
After claiming his second World Cup win of the season, Czeschin said "I went for a safe first run, with smooth and clean landings and just some spins and a flip, so I could really let it all out in my second run. The pipe was really good, a little small, maybe, but it otherwise was fine."
Ross Powers took 2nd not bad for his first World Cup event of the season. "I've been mostly staying in the States," said the '98-'99 halfpipe champion, "but it was fun riding with all those guys that I haven't seen for quite a while. Tommy and I have been close all year, I'm stoked seeing him finally get up there on the podium and beat me. He was riding good all year and definitely pushed my riding today, so it was fun. The snow conditions in the pipe were really good, even and smooth, you didn't have to think about where to do a trick. The walls were pretty even which was really good. It would just be nice to have it bigger, like those superpipes, then it would be awesome."
Powers is not alone; many riders have been talking about their desire to see the World Cup pipes brought up a notch or two, to the level of the superpipe, the latest and greatest in halfpipe design, with walls reaching heights of around 14 feet. Many riders are even hoping for a superpipe in the 2002 Games, here in Salt Lake.
"I know the US athletes are pushing the superpipe," said Ted Martin, chief race director of the FIS Snowboard World Cup, "but in all fairness to the other 80 percent or our World Cup athletes, we need to make sure that everybody has an opportunity as equal as possible to train and compete in superpipes.
"One problem is that the Superpipe Dragon is really expensive and the resorts have bought their grooming machines. I don't know if a lot of them will buy a new one and spend the money to build a pipe with the amount of snow needed. If superpipe is the direction, then FIS has to do everything in its power to make sure that we have superpipes in the future."
It's not just male competitors who want to compete in bigger pipes on the World Cup level. "We have been riding a lot superpipes this year," said Kim Stacey, who finished behind teammate Tricia Byrnes in the women's division, "and I hope we will have one here next year."
The Swedish team, which has been dominating halfpipe competitions all season, had some bad luck here at Park City; both of their top riders were injured before today's finals. Fredrik Sterner, currently 2nd in the halfpipe standings, crashed during the warm-up runs during qualifications, landing on his hand and finishing his season two weeks early. His teammate Tommy Johansson, who was leading after the qualifications today, crashed in practice prior to the finals and hurt his foot. The good news for him is that none of his rivals for the halfpipe World Cup will be able to catch up, so he is already guaranteed the Crystal Globe.
Magnus Sterner did manage to grab a podium spot for the Swedes, finishing 3rd. Sterner keeps 2nd place in the standings, behind Johansson. Pasi Voho from Finland is still 3rd in the standings, although he did not compete here. He will be back at the last two events in Italy.
With tomorrow's giant slalom, the "Countdown to Gold" will be concluded on "CB's run," the slope for alpine GS and snowboard parallel giant slalom at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games.
Britta Semmler, MountainZone.com Correspondent
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