Weather over the weekend included everything: from sunny warm, t-shirt
riding weather, to light clouds, heavy clouds, and eventually clear skies
and strong gusty wind, with icy temps which delayed the important half-pipe
practice before the final Finals Sat. night. The strong winds ultimately
caused the surprise postponement of the event until Sunday morning.
The halfpipe was in excellent shape, which was amazing considering the 50
degree temperatures on Friday. Keep in mind that the only places in New
Jersey with ANY snow on the ground that weekend were Mountain Creek and the
nearby Hidden Valley slopes. Everywhere else the ground looked like late
Friday Night's pre-halfpipe finals in the warm weather caused the pipe to
have one area slightly out of whack, and many of the pros fell during their
runs. The format was best run of 2.
Click on Player Image Below for
Shaun White and Danny Kass Halfpipe
runs, Mountain Creek Grand Prix 2006
(3min.14seconds -- It's 11 Mb and takes a while to load in a new window)
Friday Night Winners
full list and more pictures
1. Shaun White
2. Danny Kass
3. Keir Dillon
Shaun clinched yet another 1st place finish, to make it four straight in
a row. This is amazing considering last year he didnąt finish well at all
in the Grand Prix contests. He finally figured out this season what the
judges are looking for. Huge amplitude and smooth back-to-back1080s, a good
10 feet out, gave Shaun the win. This was also one of the first big finishes
for Keir Dillon in the Grand Prix. Keir is known for his huge, stylish
There was an amazing turnout for the Saturday night finals. Last season
there were an estimated 6,000 people for the finals. This season it
appeared to easily double, if not triple in attendance. Unfortunately, the
practice session and then the event were cancelled due to the heavy winds.
This was an excellent call on the judges' part. These dangerous winds
could have caused the riders to miss the transition and end up being thrown
on the deck or even in the flat of the pipe. Shaun White told me he was
sorry the contest was postponed, he was anxious to get home and give his Mom
the new car he had won, before she had her old car repaired.
But the patient crowd, some of whom had waited for 2 hours or more before
the event to secure their locations along the halfpipe, did finally get a
bit of a show after the 90 minute wind delay.
When the pipe contest was finally postponed for wind, after a delay
during which there was nothing to look at but each other and an empty pipe,
the pipe spectators were rewarded for their wait by the spectacle of seeing
almost all the competitors throwing down big tricks in the pipe at the same
time. They got to see Danny Kass and Danny Davis throw 720s, ending up only
breathtaking inches away from each other without colliding. Neither of them
realized how close they were to each other until after the fact.
Shaun White opted out the "back door," pulling his silvery bandana
face-disguise up to his goggles and riding down the hill outside the pipe,
vanishing into the local crowd of Mountain Creek riders. Mountain Creek is
open for nighttime riding, so there were plenty of people to disappear
among. Friday afternoon a careful observer would have seen many of the pro
riders on the lift and playing on the hill, but you really had to know what
to look for as these people can blend anonymously into the crowd when they
It was on!!! The pipe was looking perfect, nice and firm with plenty of
sunshine from Mother Nature, and one wall in shade. The female riders
commented on how the consistency of the pipe would be perfect by the time
their match began a little later, with the sun higher, the shade receding,
and the pipe softening up a bit.
If you imagine that the starting area at the top of the pipe is filled
with adrenaline charged athletes chomping like race horses before their
runs, think again. The atmosphere is as calm as a tea party at a senior
center. The athletes chat quietly and stretch a bit. Gretchen Bleiler does a
little yoga and dancing to stay limber. Tricia Byrnes listens to a mix on
her iPod. I chatted with Danny Kass about his new Grenade clothing line and
very cool jacket he was wearing. He asked me how the SnowboardSecrets.com
website was going, and I told him about
the feature I did on him being nice
to his fans.
Powers is very focused on his run, and he even visualizes it, swinging his
hand back and forth to simulate his trick points, when he's standing at the
really hoped to make this his second trip to the Olympics.
Shaun White had an amazing run. Starting off with a huge frontside air,
followed by a FS 1080, to a Fakie 1080, to Back to back 900s, and finishing
it off with a McTwist.
Andy "The Pit Bull" Finch put on a great show, as always. Instead of
breaking under the pressure, he pulled some of the biggest airs of the whole
day. Boosting huge, smooth 900s and 1080s a good 15 feet out, the whole way
Scotty Lago and Danny Davis who
were looking to be Olympic contenders unfortunately couldnąt link it
together. They both choose to go for the 1080 right out of the gate.
Unfortunately they couldn't keep in an edge in the landing, resulting in
them sketching out or even falling. These will definitely be two guys to
watch out for, for years to come.
Click here for more results
Click here for more pictures
Click here to see Grand Prix party pictures