Steve Fisher (Breckenridge, CO) won the second stop of the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix on Saturday with Louie Vito (Bellefontaine, OH) and Tommy Czeschin (Mammoth Lakes, CA) completing a U.S. Snowboarding sweep of the men's podium. Fisher's victory came less than a week after adding another X Games gold medal to his collection when he upset 2006 Olympic gold medalist Shaun White on January 28.
Kelly Clark, a two-time Olympian and gold medalist from 2002, was the women's champion with Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, CA) second and Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO) in third.
The Five Star Ticket to Ride (TTR) event awards points to the top finishers at Mt. Bachelor, which will count towards winning the overall TTR World Tour, a culmination of independent freestyle snowboard events.
"I'm really excited about all of this," said Fisher, who also won the X Games in '04, "My second win in like six days - yeah, this is pretty sweet. Everyone was riding really well and my run was a little different from what I did at X Games, but I just went big and smooth and that's what it took to win this one too."
Fisher's first run of frontside air, baskside 540, frontside 720, cab 720, frontside 900 to backside method was good enough for 44.5 points, a full 4.9 points over Vito.
"I just bought a new condo on a golf course at the base of Breckenridge, so this is definitely going to help pay the bills on that one. I was on the podium last year at Mountain Creek, but it's been a few years since I've won a Grand Prix, so this feels pretty good because these contests are always tough to win."
For Vito, a Stratton Mountain School grad, making the Grand Prix final used to be the goal, but after becoming a regular in the finals last season, stepping up to the podium was just a matter of time: "I'm pretty happy, mostly because I finally landed a run in finals. I fell on both my runs in the first Grand Prix at Breckenridge, then again on both of them at the X Games - so I'm pretty stoked to stomp one and make the podium with these guys. I just needed to go bigger, but don't worry, that's coming," said Vito.
As the only man to reappear on the Grand Prix podium this season, Czeschin matched his finish at Breckenridge, placing him in good position toward winning the overall Grand Prix title and the new Chevrolet that goes along with it. "Two thirds in a row, not bad. It was a long day for all of us since both the guys and girls had qualifiers this morning, then finals in the afternoon, so I'm pretty tired," said Czeschin, a 2002 Olympian. "With one more to go at Tamarack [ID], I'm feeling pretty good. I'm going to go home and ride hard, learn a few more tricks and try and take Tamarack."
"All of the riders in the final are such great riders, but I think we had the three best guys up there today," added U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Mike Jankowski. "Fisher, Louie and Tommy all landed their first run and that's 100 percent ideal - you want to get your first run stomped and then see what you can improve on with the second.
"Kelly had easily the biggest amplitude like she's known for and she had two clean runs, that's what put her on top, but both Elena and Gretchen didn't land the run they wanted. They still rode well, but they didn't land their best run. Ideally, you want all the riders to land their best run and let the points play out and that didn't happen," he said.
Bleiler agreed saying that she still hasn't landed the run that she and coach Jankowski know she's capable of doing. She's been consistently stomping it in practice, but just hasn't been able to put it together in competition: "I'm stoked to be on the podium - I still haven't landed the run I wanted, but it's coming," said Bleiler, who is rolling off silver at last weekend's X Games. "Bachelor did a great job keeping the pipe together, but having qualifiers and finals in the same day is pretty tough. I'm going to take the next two weeks off, hit some jumps at home, work on some other aspects of my riding and then get ready for Tamarack."
The third and final stop of the 2007 Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix is set for Feb 22-25th at Tamarack. It will be the first time the resort has hosted the Grand Prix and will feature both a 22-foot halfpipe and the tour's only snowboardcross competition.
"We're all looking forward to Tamarack, they've been getting ready for this event for a long time and the pipe is going to be huge and perfect. It's a new resort, so all of their facilities are going to be top-notch. It's a great way to cap off the Grand Prix this year."
2007 CHEVROLET U.S. SNOWBOARD GRAND PRIX
Mt. Bachelor, Feb 3rd, 2007
Men's Finals (12 make final)
- 1. Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, CO, 44.5
- 2. Louie Vito, Bellefontaine, OH, 39.6
- 3. Tommy Czeschin, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 38.10
- 4. Ross Powers, Stratton Mountain, VT, 36.10
- 5. J.J. Thomas, Golden, CO, 35.20
- 6. Luke Wynen, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 34.00
- 7. Michael Goldschmidt, Stratton Mountain, VT, 33.80
- 8. Keir Dillon, Shawnee, PA, 32.70
- 9. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 28.80
- 10. Tim Humphreys, Basking Ridge, NJ, 25.00
- 11. Ross Baker, Reno, NV, 17.40
- 12. Broc Waring, Edwards, CO, 14.40
Women (six make final)
- 1. Kelly Clark, Mount Snow, VT, 46.00
- 2. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 41.80
- 3. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 41.10
- 4. Torah Bright, Australia, 37.90
- 5. Clair Bidez, Minturn, CO, 34.60
- 6. Tricia Byrnes, Stratton Mountain, VT, 34.10