Luke Mitrani, Shaun White, Scotty Lago

Luke Mitrani, Shaun White, Scotty Lago
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Luke Mitrani, Shaun White and Scotty Lago took it tonight putting Luke in a precarious predicament with Greg Bretz and JJ Thomas for the fourth spot. Apparently we find out who that fourth person will be. P: Huggy

Words: T. Bird

Well, the mayhem is over…until Vancouver, when it transforms into a whole other kind of mainstream beast. However, the final Grand Prix event went down tonight in Park City, Utah and snowboard journalists, bloggers, Team Managers and fans can breathe a sigh of relief for now. Plainly put, Shaun White is simply unstoppable, and Kelly Clark looks to be no different on the women’s side. So yeah, Shaun and Kelly won. Same as last night. However, a few things did change.

But first, a recap of the action. On the women’s side, young Maddy Schaffrick proved to the thousands of spectators that although she will not be riding for the ol’ stars and stripes up in our neighbor to the north, she most certainly has the drive and the skill to make a serious run for the gold in the coming years. Did I mention that she’s only in her early teen years? Elena Hight landed some solid runs throughout the evening and rumor has it that she just might be the fourth member of the US Olympic Women’s Team. Now here’s a quick talking point that you can do with it what you will. If Elena does indeed make the Olympic Team, that will be the exact same roster that represented the 2006 team in Torino. Think about it. 4 years and no newcomers. It’s rad and it’s odd, however, there is some young talent on the horizon that proves to hold some potential for the future. Ellery Hollingsworth, for example, who rode very well tonight, and Kelly Marren, who couldn’t quite put it together tonight but has some tricks up her sleeve, and Kaitlyn Farrington. Kaitlyn nabbed a third place finish this evening and ended her Grand Prix season remarkably well. Standing in between Kelly and Kaitlyn was none other than everyone’s favorite hippie Hannah Teter. With her bouncy demeanor, philanthropic endeavors and constant smile, Hannah also has the skill to take home the gold (again) at the Games. [Editor’s Note: If you didn’t read the previous post, the women’s team is Gretchen, Hannah and Kelly, until the name the fourth rider on Monday. As for the men, it’s Louie, Lago and Shaun, with a fourth to be named also. Sounds like that spot will go to either Luke Mitrani, Greg Bretz or JJ Thomas.]

Aside form Shaun’s repeat from the night prior, the men were gunning for him, and though they came close to taking down The Red Bull (copyright SNOWBOARDER Magazine), he came out on top for the fourth time this season out of five Grand Prixs to continue his winter of halfpipe dominance. Scotty Lago led the field for a little while as Luke Mitrani edged his way into podium position and the standings stood still for almost the remainder of the contest. Louie Vito couldn’t quite put it together tonight, but who really gives a shit? The dude was locked in for a spot on the team, and we’re stoked that he’ll be representing us in February. Louie is legit. Young Zach Black was on the cusp of making the coveted roster but fell a little short due to Greg Bretz and JJ Thomas putting down damn fine runs. Wondering what happened to Elijah Teter? Well, halfpipe’s most underrated rider didn’t crack the top three, however, landed technical runs with fluidity and style (something that happens at every contest, yet isn’t always rewarded for). While I’m on the subject, I will say that I think Jack Mitrani got sodomized a slightly in the final. The dude boosted higher than almost every other rider and put down a solid back twelve tail, yet somehow ended up in sixth. I personally think that should’ve been higher, but I’m not a judge, nor could I ever be, nor would I ever want to be, so who the hell am I to talk shit? Those dudes have a tough job. All in all, the contest was one of the best pipe events I’ve ever witnessed and it looks like Team America is stronger than it’s ever been and we’re a few weeks before the Games. Wonder how many new double corks these guys and gals will learn before game time. Check back to snowboardermag.com for upcoming X Games coverage and the frenzy north of the border that is just around the corner.

2010 US Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe Qualifier #5
Park City, Utah January 23, 2010

Women’s Final Results:

  1. Kelly Clark
  2. Hannah Teter
  3. Kaitlyn Farrington
  4. Maddy Schaffrick
  5. Elena Hight
  6. Ellery Hollingsworth
  7. Gretchen Bleiler

Men’s Final Results:

  1. Shaun White
  2. Scotty Lago
  3. Luke Mitrani
  4. Greg Bretz
  5. JJ Thomas
  6. Jack Mitrani
  7. Dylan Bidez