Americans sweet podium at Mammoth Grand Prix halfpipe
The Vail Daily
Grand Prix World Cup
Mammoth Mountain, California
Ski halfpipe final results
1. Torin Yater-Wallace, USA
2. Gus Kenworthy, USA
3. Taylor Seaton, USA
4. Aaron Blunck, USA
5. Benoit Valentin, France
6. Joel Gisler, Switzerland
7. Simon D’Artois, Canada
8. David Wise, USA
9. Kevin Rolland, France
10. Hunter Hess, USA
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, Calif. — Local halfpipe skier Taylor Seaton enjoyed his best ever finish at a Grand Prix World Cup on Saturday with a third place result.
Americans Torin Yater-Wallace and Gus Kenworthy finished first and second, respectively, in a contest that saw multiple delays and an eventual cancellation of finals. As a result, the scores from qualifiers were used to determine the final standings.
“We had crazy weather in Mammoth all week so I wasn’t surprised to see finals canceled,” Seaton said. “I was hoping for another chance to put down my run, but oh well. I’m happy to be on the podium.”
Seaton’s run had seven tricks in total and included four different forward facing 900-degree spins, a feat that had never been accomplished in competition before Wednesday’s qualifiers. The qualifiers had two heats with separate judging panels; Seaton’s score of 90 was enough to lead his heat, but Yater-Wallace scored a 92.33 and Kenworthy scored a 92 in their heat. When finals were canceled, the scores from both heats were used to determine the podium, putting Seaton in third.
The Mammoth Grand Prix was the first of four Olympic qualifier events to determine which four halfpipe skiers from the U.S. will compete in PyeongChang, Korea, in 2018. The minimum requirement to make the team is two top-three finishes at Olympic qualifier events; with Seaton, Kenworthy and Yater-Wallace already securing one of those two podiums, competition will be tough at the remaining events.
“The field was really deep in Mammoth so it’s pretty cool to see four guys from Colorado take the top four spots,” Seaton said.
Aaron Blunck, a Crested Butte native who graduated from the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy in 2014, finished fourth, with Benoit Valentin of France finishing fifth. Nevada native David Wise, the Olympic gold medalist from 2014, finished eighth. Hunter Hess of Oregon rounded out the top-10 for the Americans in tenth.
Halfpipe skiers will head to PyeongChang next for an Olympic test event scheduled for Feb. 10-18. The event will double as an International Ski Federation sanctioned World Cup competition.
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