Park City halfpipe welcomes skiers, snowboarders

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31 2013 10:30 p.m. MST

The superpipe at Park City Mountain Resort Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) The superpipe at Park City Mountain Resort Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

PARK CITY — Maddie Bowman is on a hot streak that she hopes will continue in Park City this weekend.

The 19-year-old California native is enjoying an impressive winter with a Grand Prix win followed by her first X Games gold last weekend. She landed back-to-back 900s to win the skier halfpipe competition with a 91.33 in just her second X Games appearance.

"I really wanted to do well," Bowman said. "I'm really glad, and well, I definitely wanted to win. I did think I could do really well, but these girls are amazing skiers and it's always tough."

She had just a day to recover and travel to Utah for the Grand Prix at Park City Mountain Resort, which began Thursday with qualifying rounds. Bowman will compete Friday to qualify for Saturday's final, while the snowboarding field was whittled down to 12 men and 12 women.

With just a few hours rest, all of the athletes are battling each other, and battling fatigue, with their third big compeition in a row.

"I think we have a week off after that, and I'm looking forward to that," Bowman said laughing.

The finals for skier halfpipe will be Saturday at 11 a.m. MT, with snowboarding finals scheduled for 11 a.m. MT Friday.

About 70 athletes from around the world battled on Park City's halfpipe for just 12 spots in Friday's final. Among the qualifiers is Shaun White, who is coming off his sixth X Games superpipe gold medal; two-time Olympian Louis Vito; Luke Mitrani, Ben Ferguson, Zach Black and 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Scotty Lago.

On the women's side, X Games gold medalist Airielle Gold and Olympic champion Kelly Clark qualified for the women's final.

The competition is free and open to the public, and it will be streamed at www.ussnowboarding.com.

It will also be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.

Bowman said she won't change any of her tricks for this weekend's competition.

"There really isn't enough time," she said. "I may qualify with a little easier run, but I'll do the same tricks I did at X Games if I make the final."

She said the competition has gotten tougher since the IOC added skier halfpipe to the Olympic events that will be held in 2014.

"I think it has gotten much tougher," Bowman said. "I think the girls have definitely stepped up the skill level we're competing at."

And while the Grand Prix doesn't have the status of the X Games for snowboarders and free skiers, it's important because it helps them qualify for the U.S. Ski Team and the U.S. Olympic Team.

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