AVSC’s Karlinski wins Grand Prix slopestyle
Jordan Karlinski of Snowmass Village won Saturday’s slopestyle exhibition at the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix in Mountain Creek, N.J.Karlinski, a member of U.S. Snowboarding’s C team, qualified first for Saturday morning’s finals, then stomped a near-perfect run to take the top spot on the podium. Official results were not available Saturday night.Because the course was so difficult, the field for the women’s final was reduced from eight to four after four riders pulled out.”There were only five features, and they were all all hand rails, like the ones you find on the street,” said Miah Wheeler, Karlinski’s head coach at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. “You don’t find those at many resorts, but in this event they were all that way. They’re incredibly hard. You have to be a very skilled rider to get them.”
Karlinski was having a hard time on the rails at the onset of Friday’s training runs, but learned quickly, Wheeler said . The same wasn’t true for the rest of the women’s and men’s fields.”About a quarter of the guys couldn’t do all of them,” Wheeler said. “It’s a world- class event, so it’s tough that the course was so hard. I felt really bad for the girls who didn’t compete. It speaks volumes to have some of the best females not even compete.”Volumes about 16-year-old Jordan Karlinski, that is. Her winning run included a backside lip slide on a 35-foot long rail, followed by a nose press to a front tail down a 20-foot flat-down rail.Karlinski then stuck a smooth 50/50 on a flat bar rail, before concluding her run with a smooth 50/50 to nose press on the final down-flat-down rail.
“She just kind of locked in,” Wheeler said. “You watched the guy’s finals, and 50 percent of them fell.”Karlinski’s older brother Teddy, 18, failed to advanced to the men’s final two weeks after finishing in the top 10 at the Grand Prix slopestyle at Mount Bachelor, Ore. He ended up 18th.His teammate Wallace Westfeldt fared better. Westfeldt, 20, qualified 13th Friday, then finished sixth Saturday in what was a close competition for the three spots on the podium in the final.”From fourth until sixth, there was less than a point between all of them,” Wheeler said. “It’s the second Grand Prix in a row that Wallace has qualified for the final.”While Saturday’s halfpipe final was canceled due to high winds, weather conditions for the mid-day slopestyle finals were pretty decent, Wheeler said.
As for how the snow in New Jersey stacked up to the snow back in Aspen, there’s no comparison.”The only snow here is like the six inches on the run,” Wallace said. “On the way here, we’re like, ‘Are we going the right way?’ The course was pretty flat, too. It was like riding on Fanny Hill.”Next up for Karlinski is the Winter X Games, where she’ll compete in boardercross for the second straight year. In her Winter X debut last year she finished 10th.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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Aspen Mountain opened for the season on Wednesday, a day earlier than originally planned. Top-to-bottom snowmaking, a solid recent storm and well-behaved guests made for a great experience despite all of the extra precautions.