Hey everyone, Paul Brichta here checking in and giving you an update of what’s been going on.
In December I finally finished my first semester of college at the University of Minnesota. I am planning on a degree in physics and I had a 3.25 GPA my first term! After finishing school I immediately left for Colorado, my home for this winter, and started to practice in Copper’s 22 ft halfpipe. After riding there for a few days I had to pack my bags again and left for Mammoth Mountain in California for the US Snowboarding Grand Prix.
Check out my video at the bottom of this page!
Day 1 & 2
My first day riding at Mammoth was awesome; no competition venues were open yet so we ended up free riding some awesome terrain and goofing around in some of the many the smaller terrain parks. The next day halfpipe practice started and it was time to get down to business. I spent the first part of my day working on some easier tricks to get a better feel for the pipe. Then in the afternoon I began to throw some harder tricks. It was after a few runs that I landed flat on an alley-oop backside rodeo and caught my back edge hitting my head pretty hard. I suffered a minor concussion and wasn’t able to do much else for the rest of the day.
The next day after my head injury was my first competition since USASA Nationals at Copper, and I was feeling better and excited to ride. Practice started out great and my runs were even better. I landed both of my runs and on the second run I landed back-to-back 900s for my first time in competition. I had a great day after not being able to practice much the day before and I finished 32nd out of 50 riders.
The following day was halfpipe finals, for the top 16 riders from qualifiers, and slopestyle practice. Since I didn’t make it to finals in halfpipe I focused on riding slopestyle. That morning they open the slopestyle for practice and those jumps were some of the biggest I’d ever seen. At first the jumps were a little intimidating but after awhile I got used to them and it wasn’t so scary anymore. Later that day I watched Danny Davis beat out Shaun White in halfpipe finals. It was an awesome and suspenseful halfpipe final to watch and it really got me stoked to get out there and ride my best too.
The slopestyle competition went off! Today was slopestyle qualifiers and there were a ton of riders throwing big tricks and stomping them clean trying to make it to finals. However, my day didn’t go as well as I hoped. I fell on both of my runs, washing out on the second jump in my 1st run and falling on the first jump in my 2nd run. Even though I didn’t have my best day, it was a great day for some other USASA PacSun Team riders, Brett Esser and Nick Sibayan made it to finals in slopestyle.
Day 6, another halfpipe competition and the final chance to qualify for Park City. This turned out to be one of my best days riding pipe ever. My first run was the highest I’ve ever gone in any halfpipe, but I fell on a cab 720 on my last hit. I stomped my second run (backside air, frontside 900, backside 900, frontside 720, cab 1080) and it was the first time I landed a 1080 in competition, I was stoked! After riding pipe for only a few days I couldn’t have been happier with my riding. I finished 26th out of 50 riders, missing finals by only 10 spots.
Today was the second halfpipe final and the top 16 qualifiers competed for $10,000 and a spot on the Olympic Team. It was another exciting event to watch. Shaun White won with back-to-back double corks and earned himself a spot on the Olympic Team. After watching all the pros compete and ride so well this trip, I’m really excited and determined to ride my best this season and progress to a point where I can compete with the best.
The last day of riding, and possibly the most fun I’ve had snowboarding EVER. We rode everything from powder and steep chutes to an epic halfpipe session and some fun jibs. What a way to finish such an amazing trip. Oh yeah, and watching slopestyle finals go off!
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