Open Class Halfpipe Championships
Managing the Half Pipe
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colorado. April 1, 2015. The Men’s and Women’s Open Classes took over Copper Mountain’s 22 foot Halfpipe for one of the most exciting events during this year’s USASA National Championships. The “pipe”, with its 17 percent grade, has traditionally held some of the most exciting events of the National Championships.
“The Dream Team,” headed up by Technical Supervisor (TS), Mark Sibayan, has overseen the safety (and fun) at the stop of the “stunt ditch” for the past several years. The group has worked together for so long that it’s a seamless effort. Sibayan, who is also the Director of the Southern California Series and a member of USASA’s Executive Board, is ably assisted by Emily Jackson (Adirondack Series), Kasia Brodka (Mid Atlantic and Appalachian Series) and Jessica Basil (Catskill Series).
As the TS, Sibayan is in charge of the venue for the day. This includes making sure that the venue is up to par, all staff are in synch, Patrol is in attendance, the judges are working within the established parameters, and that the event runs in a timely fashion. “I started about 18 years ago,” Sibayan explained, “Chuck (Allen, USASA founder) was a mentor of mine. I started with USASA when my son was a Ruggie and next year I will start my four year-old grandson as the third generation.” The engineering firm employee continued, “I was at the first National Championships held at Snow Valley.”
It’s not surprising that Sibayan has seen the sport of snowboarding evolve over his many years of participation. At today’s Open Class Halfpipe event, he witnessed a varied group of men and women. Prior to the event he reviewed rules and procedures with the athletes including the fact that the qualifiers would be whittled down to four women and eight men. The women hailed from three countries and seven states. The men came from three countries and seven states.
One of the men in Wednesday’s Open Class Halfpipe event was 13 year-old Justus Judd Henkes from La Jolla, CA and The Unbound Series. The oldest competitor, Chanhassen, MN and Upper MidWest ALT rider, Tyler Anderson is twice his age. Both qualified for the finals.
Benjamin Wisner, Program Director for the Mammoth Snowboard Team, and coach for young Henkes explained that even though he has a young rider on his team, he tries to treat every rider as a snowboarder first, every rider is different and age is just one factor.
The Open Class competitors performed both their practice and competition runs under the watchful eyes of Head Judges Ben Hugo and Carter Backie and their panel of six. Hugo commented, “I want to say ‘WOW’, as judges, we are still fans.” Backie added, “We root for every rider.”
The pair broke down the basis fundamentals of scoring the Open Class Halfpipe by explaining the acronym DAVE whereas D means Difficulty of the Run, A means Amplitude, V means Variety and E means Execution. When all of the components come together in just the right way, it can mean a good score. Beyond “DAVE”, the judges are also looking for consistency and for elements of risk – doing more difficult tricks higher in the pipe.
In addition to having a finals round, the Open Class at Halfpipe has a different judging factor from the other divisions competing at the pipe – the outlier scores for each rider are discarded and an average is taken from the remaining four judges for the final score. The podium finishers are the riders with the best representative score.
- by Marjorie Fay
April 1 on the Mountain
Open Class Halfpipe
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colorado. April 1, 2015. Noelle Edwards and Tyler Anderson won the Open Class Halfpipe competition at the 2015 USASA National Championships today. The event featured a field of national and international athletes competing for Ticket to Ride (TTR) points as well as thousands of dollars in prize money. The event included athletes from five countries (USA, Canada, New Zealand, France, Australia) competing in the freshly cut super pipe at the Copper Mountain Resort. Guests at the resort had great viewing from the base of the area, entertained by Eddie “MC PUMP” Kennedy, who emceed the event.
Blue sky, sunny conditions prevailed during the morning qualifying runs, with clouds moving in for the early afternoon finals. The pipe at Copper was in great shape throughout the contest with multiple slip crews maintaining the pipe throughout the contest. Commenting on the conditions today, Technical Supervisor Mark Sibayan, who also serves on the USASA Executive Board and runs the Southern California Series stated, “It was really epic conditions in the pipe today. The pipe held up great and competitors were stoked to compete. The comp ran really smoothly and all Open Class men and women were on their “A” game. There was really strong depth in the talent at this year’s comp, especially in the men’s field.”
Edwards, of Stamford, Connecticut landed a run that featured an indy to mute to frontside 720 followed by a cab 360 to a frontside 540 to indy grab, roast beef grab to backside 540. Tyler’s winning run featured huge amplitude on his first trick, a massive twelve foot frontside grab to backside mute 540, to frontside 720 indy to Haakon flip indy to frontside inverted 900 tail grab.
Best trick for the day was awarded to Joshua Bowman of Mammoth Lakes, California. Bowman rides in the USASA “Unbound Series” and received a new Under Armour Jacket for landing his thirteen foot out, frontside 900 tailgrab.
Open Class action continues tomorrow with Slopestyle competition, scheduled for April 2 at the Copper Mountain Resort. For info, please check www.usasa.org or the USASA app: m.mobile.usasa.org
The 2015 USASA National Championships is the final event of the season for USASA athletes. Over 1,900 athletes are competing in up to seven different disciplines from March 29 through April 7 at Copper Mountain. Disciplines of competition include: Snowboard Alpine Giant Slalom, Snowboard Alpine Slalom, Boardercross, Slopestyle, Halfpipe, Rail Jam and Banked Slalom. At the conclusion of snowboard competitions, Banked Slalom on April 3, the USASA and Copper host four additional days of Freeski competition featuring Skiercross, Halfpipe, Slopestyle and Rail Jam.
Founded by Chuck Allen in 1988, the USASA is proud to represent the recreational and competitive interests of amateur snowboarding and freeskiing in the United States. USASA accomplishes this by supporting 31 series across the country that present over 500 events at more than 100 resorts throughout the season. The goal of the USASA is to promote fun, fair, and safe events while fostering a competitive spirit in the snowboard and freeski athlete community. In addition, USASA emphasizes education for coaches and competitors, and promotes an overall healthy snowboard and ski lifestyle.
HEARD ON THE HILL:
In the pre-dawn hours, riding up the lift in the dark, today’s GS course setting grew was dismayed to learn that they would be pulling double duty. The Slalom course setter had mixed up his scheduled assigned date and slept in, meaning that the GS setters would have to set the slalom course immediately following their first set of the day. Neil Sunday took it all in stride and remained focused on the giant slalom set, headed back up on the chair for the slalom set, only to find that it was already half complete. PUNKED!! After all, it is the first day of April…
Not content with their April Fool’s “the slalom course setter slept in” prank, the Alpinista course crew decided to step it up a notch and set the lower half of the entire course with the stubby on the outside, long pole on the inside. Really? PUNKED PART 2!!
Chairlift banter included a mom who reported that although her son hadn’t performed up to his expectations in the Slopestyle competition, he was still happy as could be on this April Fool’s Day. He pulled off the old “Saran Wrap on the toilet seat” prank on his dad with much better results than anticipated.
April Fool’s pranksters were all over the mountain today here at Copper. A crowd favorite was the dude wearing the 70’s, poly attire, humongous afro wig and requisite boom box playing disco hits at top volume. Gaper outfits were in abundance and the crowd at USASA Nationals were treated to some bizarre attire and behavior throughout the day.