Almost-overlooked Hansen wins women’s pipe |

Almost-overlooked Hansen wins women’s pipe

ADAM BOFFEYSummit Daily News

Summit Daily/Eric Drummond

BRECKENRIDGE – The winner of the first North American Open women’s halfpipe contest almost didn’t get to compete.Keltie Hansen, who took top honors with 72.6 points, was initially overlooked in Sunday morning’s jam-session qualifying round.”I wasn’t really sure what happened,” Keltie said when asked what she thought about getting left off the exclusive list of finalists. “They must have just missed me.”MC Waryas was given the nod by judges after the qualifying round, but she didn’t feel right about moving on if Hansen was held back.

“I was really lucky,” Hansen said. “MC was going to give me her spot, but they gave her another spot in the finals, which was really great. It would’ve been bad if she didn’t get to compete.”If Waryas was so convinced of Hansen’s undeniable talent, why didn’t the judges notice her?It’s hard to say for sure, but second-place finisher Angeli Van Laanen of Breckenridge offered a plausible theory on the matter.”I think they thought she was a boy,” Van Laanen said. “She tucks in her pony tail and goes so big.”

Event organizers not only did the right thing by admitting Hansen into the finals, they also let Waryas keep her coveted spot.”I’ve never seen anything like that in a competition,” third-place finisher Gina Gmeiner said, referring to the flexibility demonstrated by NAO decision makers.Gmeiner, of Park City, Utah, finished with 58.6 points, behind Van Laanen, who scored 65.2 (best of three runs).Van Laanen seemed slightly unsure about the quality of her performance prior to the judges’ announcement.

“I landed a safety run, but ran out of halfpipe for my 720,” Van Laanen said. “So I didn’t know how it was going to place because it didn’t have all my tricks in it.”When the results were finally announced, Van Laanen’s beaming smile kicked in.”I’m definitely pumped,” she said.Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at