OKEMO SUPER PIPE
It measures a whopping 440'L X 55'W X 17'H and promises some wild and high-flying action at Okemo Mountain Resort this season. Okemo's new Super Pipe opened on Sunday, November 25, 2000 the first Super Pipe to open in the East. The Super Pipe is 30% larger than a traditional halfpipe with larger walls and a greater transition.
The enormous size of the Super Pipe requires a specialized piece of grooming equipment called a Super Dragon manufactured by Pipedragon. The Super Dragon grooms the massive structure to perfection with a uniform shape and smooth transitions. Okemo is proud to be one of just a handful of resorts with a Super Dragon and the first pipe to open in the East.
"Riders prefer the Super Pipe as it allows them to go bigger and throw down more electrifying maneuvers than they are able to do in a smaller structure", commented Ethan Mueller, Okemo's Pipe/Park Director." "The Super Pipe has much larger and more forgiving transitions than a regular-sized pipe."
On December 15-17, 2000 some of the finest snowboard athletes in the world will compete at the Chevy Truck US Snowboard Grand Prix at Okemo Mountain Resort. This exciting week long snowboard competition will kick-off as the competitors begin arriving in the Ludlow region to train for the week's events starting on December 11th. World-class snowboarders will compete for top-honors in Giant Slalom, Halfpipe and Slopestyle Exhibition Snowboard events. Also adding excitement to this season's USSA Grand Prix is the fact that all four venues will feature Super Pipes. Shannon Dunn (Encinitas, CA) and Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson will begin defense of their overall titles and start their bid for another Chevy Truck (or a third in Dunn's case). The competition this year will be stiff as $400,000 is up for grabs during the season.
Okemo may be best known as excellent family resort with nice cruising runs and trails full of fun-sized rollers, but it's also recognized as an innovator and leader for snowboarding and on snow adventure.
The weekend kicks off at Okemo with a giant slalom race Friday, December 15. Super
Pipe will be run on Saturday, December 16 and the event concludes with the Yahoo!
Sports Big Air & Style slopestyle on Sunday, December 17. The Super Pipe, which will be
featured at all four Grand Prix sites this year, will be cut and shaped by Super Dragon
master, Pat Malendoski. Sunday's slopestyle will be the first time that discipline has been
seen on the Grand Prix since the inception of the tour in '96.
Visions of Dunn hanging out in the announcer's area with an anxious look on her face is what comes to mind when looking back to last season's Grand Prix Finals/U.S. Snowboard Championships at Okemo Mt. Dunn had won three Grand Prix pipe contests already and most figured she was a lock for the overall title and new truck. However, someone figured out that U.S. Snowboard Team rider Sondra Van Ert (Ketchum, ID) could rip the crown from Dunn if she could win the snowboardcross on the last day of competition. Van Ert cruised through to the finals, but ended up finishing fourth, giving Dunn her breath back and her third straight title.
It will be no lock for Dunn this season as last year's younger pipe riders have gained some experience and are stoked to knock off the big dogs. U.S. Team member Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT), who recently signed with Burton, is the reigning World Junior champion and took second in the superpipe last year at Breckenridge. Gretchen Bleiler (Snowmass Village, CO) was third at the '00 nationals and snagged a fourth at the Sierra Vans Triple Crown last season.
Several halfpipe veterans will also be shooting for the top podium spot. Vermonter Kim Stacey (Stratton Mt., VT) really came on strong last year to win the U.S. Championship at Okemo Mt., the Sims World Championships at Whistler and the Mt. Seymour Triple Crown. U.S. Open vet Tricia Byrnes (New Canaan, CT) has been training hard and Barrett Christy (Vail, CO) returns to action after being sidelined by an injury last year. Okemo's local riders, Adam Petraska and Elijah Teter dazzled the crowd last year in the halfpipe competition, so don't count them out for a top place finish.
In men's superpipe, local hero Ross Powers (S. Londonderry, VT) has to be considered one of the favorites. He has won just about every respectable contest, including all three Triple Crowns and the Gravity Games. U.S. Team rider Tommy Czeschin (Mammoth Lakes, CA) is returning from a late-season knee injury and teammate Rob Kingwill (Jackson, WY), last year's Grand Prix halfpipe champion, is a crowd favorite with his "Sato Flip," an inverted 900. Ricky Bower (Park City, UT) had an impressive training camp over the summer at Mt. Hood, so watch for him in the superpipe as well.
Turning to the non-judged event, Anderson is again a threat coming into the Okemo as he posted top-10 results in parallel World Cup races last weekend in Austria. Chris Klug (Aspen, CO) enters Okemo as the reigning U.S. giant slalom champion. Everyone's pulling for Klug to do well in this pre-Olympic season as he underwent a liver transplant this summer after being diagnosed with a rare liver disease. U.S. Team athletes Jeff Archibald (Salt Lake City), Jeff Greenwood (Hartford, CT) and Anton Pogue (Hood River, OR) will also compete.
U.S. competitor Sondra Van Ert (Ketchum, ID) won the Grand Prix alpine title last season, she will challenged strongly in GS by Rosey Fletcher (Girdwood, AK). Fletcher was the top American finisher in a pair of World Cup parallel giant slaloms this past weekend in Austria. Stacia Hookom (Edwards, CO), Lisa Kosglow (Boise, ID), Erin O'Malley (Mammoth Lakes, CA) and Lynn Ott (Bend, OR) are also looking to get on track in preparation for the '02 Olympics.
The Okemo Mt. Grand Prix is the first of four this year. The circuit will also make stops at Breckenridge, Colo., Mammoth Mt., Calif. and Sunday River, Maine.
The Grand Prix event at Okemo will be televised nationally by NBC on Dec. 30 at 3 p.m.
EST. The slopestyle will be covered by ESPN and will air Jan. 17 at 1 p.m. EST on ESPN2.