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U.S. Grand Prix 2006 -
Breckenridge, CO  

photos/text by Ilana Sochaczewski

The Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix Series had their first stop in Breckenridge, Colorado. Also stopping in Mt. Bachelor, Oregon, and Mountain Creek, New Jersey, the Series will determine the 2006 U.S. Halfpipe Team for the Olympics this February in Torino, Italy. Because the Series is open registration, the Grand Prix is prime time for up and coming pro riders. Riders such as 17 year-old Danny Davis, 14 year-old Luke Mitrani and 16 year-old Elena Hight caught the attention of the fans as well as the judges and media. The U.S. Snowboard Team will be chosen at the end of January based on the athletes’ performances throughout the series.
The world-famous pipe in Breck, was the main event from December 13th to the 17th, thanks to master-cutters Brad Hoerter and Pat Malendoski. The memorable performances of the riders proved that they were not fazed by the below freezing weather and vicious wind. At the end of the event, Shaun White came out on top dominating the men, and Gretchen Bleiler took the win for the ladies. White threw down flawless runs all week long, including a backside 9, to back-to-back 10s, to frontside 9, to a mctwist. Gretchen pulled out her crippler 5s, and frontside 9 to impress the judges. A corked 5, frontside 10, and cab 7 were a few of the tricks that allowed Mason Aguirre to take second, and Danny Davis take third. Elena Hight earned herself second place with a frontside 9, to frontside 7, to cab 7. And veteran Tricia Byrnes came in third with her solid riding. I’d also like to give a shout out to JJ Thomas, Keir Dillon, Andy Finch, Hannah Teter and Danny Kass for their big air and blazing style. All this action was just a taste of what we are all going to see during the pipe event in February at the Olympics.
After the stressful week of the Grand Prix, everyone gathered in downtown Breckenridge at the Paul Mitchell Progression Session with their flasks and rolling paper. Hand-picked by Pat Bridges, editor of Snowboarder Magazine, the riders were towed-in and jammed out at the 31-foot quarterpipe in a parking lot. Dingo and Todd Richards hosted the event, and at one point in the night Todd suggested that Camel Cigarettes should have sponsored the quarterpipe so it could be called the “Camel-Toe-In”. Good one Todd! The winner of the Boosty Mcboosterton award, in my book, goes to Luke Mitrani boosting 30 feet above the deck of the quarterpipe. I was speechless. Riders who made it to the finals included Travis Rice, Steve Fisher, Scotty Lago, Danny Davis ripping an ally-oop rodeo, Kevin Pearce throwing out huge mctwists and Chad Otterstrom dropping massive 540s. Results of the quarterpipe: Kevin Pearce 1st, Chad Otterstrom 2nd and Danny Davis 3rd. Digital Underground performed for the crowd after the award ceremony—how could anyone forget the classic “Humpty Dance”? For the athletes and VIP, free alcohol, funny looking hors d’oeuvres, and the spin-master Marc-Frank were waiting to start up the after party at Cecilia’s bar. Next time you go to an after party, I suggest not eating fish tacos with corn salsa. It’s not a pretty sight.

Chad, Kevin and Danny
Chad, Kevin and Danny Davis

JJ Thomas
JJ Thomas

Tommy Czeschin
Tommy Czeschin

Ross Powers
Ross Powers

Danny Davis
Danny Davis
Dan Kocer and Gretchen Bleiler
Dan Kocer and Gretchen Bleiler

Luke Mitrani
Luke Mitrani

Shayne Pospisil
Shayne Pospisil


"Let's Ride!"






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