American boarders falter at world championships
Aspen, CO ColoradoAROSA, Switzerland – Steve Fisher of Breckenrdge was seventh in a shortened halfpipe contest Saturday to lead U.S. Snowboarding in the final day of the 2007 FIS Snowboard World Championships. Seabrook, New Hampshire’s Scotty Lago finished 12th, and was the only other American to make the 12-man final. Because rains continued to melt the quickly deteriorating halfpipe, organizers reverted to the old FIS format where only the top six men and top three women automatically move into finals after their first qualifying run. Riders positioned between seventh and 25th after their first qualifying run for men and fourth through 15th for women then received a second run.”It was a huge challenge and a big let down,” U.S. head coach Mike Jankowski said in a news release, “but they had to do it in order to get the contest off. We just did what we could. Sometimes it takes two runs to dial it in, but the harsh reality is that most of the team didn’t even get a second chance.”Tricia Byrnes of Vermont took 13th and Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler of Aspen finished 20th. Only six women qualified for the finals. Mathieu Crepel of France, who became the big air World Champion on Friday, also won the men’s halfpipe with a score of 46.7. Swiss rider Manuela Laura Pesko took the women’s title with 43.1 points.Warm weather had been a factor all week, forcing riders to train early in the morning each day under difficult light conditions. Qualifying for the finals also started at 8 a.m., and, according to Jankowski, it was difficult to avoid holes in the pipe walls.”We literally had three hours of training on this pipe and we’ve been here a week, but it was amazing that they could get this contest off at all and we’re glad they did,” Jankowski said. “It’s hard. Tommy [Czeschin, Mammoth Lakes] barely missed the final by a couple of tenths. Gretchen was riding great all week in training, but she landed in a hole on her qualifying run and didn’t get a second shot. Fisher and Scotty rode well and got in there, but unfortunately a podium didn’t happen. We’ve just got to shake this off, put it behind us and head into X Games with a clear head.”
X Games is back for its 22nd consecutive year at Buttermilk Ski Area starting Friday, with many of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders set to compete in halfpipe, slopestyle, big air and knucklehuck over three days.