Mammoth rider wins men’s pipe final
Jack Mitrani didn’t get an invite to Winter X Games 10 at Buttermilk last month. That might change next year for the 17-year-old-rider from Mammoth Lakes, Calif., after he edged Winter X veteran Luke Wynen in the men’s snowboard halfpipe final Saturday at the inaugural Aspen/Snowmass Open at Buttermilk.Mitrani’s winning score of 88.67 came during his trip down the Winter X superpipe after he landed huge back-to-back 900s, followed by back-to-back 720s.He tried to go even bigger in his second run, but decked out hard on a trick midway down the pipe. Wynen also fell on his second run, which left him in second with his first-run score of 83.67. Third-place finisher Tyler Troy (75.5) and fourth-place finisher Matt Ladley (75.33) each had their chances to dethrone Mitrani as well in their final runs, but also fell.”This is just super fun,” Mitrani said after the win. “I didn’t make it into the X Games, so this was fun just to ride this pipe. It was a little cold this morning, but the afternoon session was awesome.”At 28, Wynen was the oldest competitor in Saturday’s field. He was also one of just two riders in the final to ever compete in the Winter X Games. Alex Deibold, a member of the U.S. Snowboarding team with both Mitrani and Wynen, has competed at Winter X in boardercross, but never in the superpipe. Deibold finished seventh with a score of 60.5. “I just love this halfpipe,” Wynen said. “With this contest, I think it’s such a great opportunity. I hope that this event sticks around and it builds every year. It’s one of the reasons I came, and it’s one of the reasons Jack came. It’s important for pros to seek out contests that are a little under the radar and come do them, because it’s a good way to make them grow. If pros don’t show up, it doesn’t look as good on TV, and then it turns people off from coming.”
Wynen’s first run also included a pair of 720s and a pair of 900s. He also did his signature “PA roll” on the second hit, a version of the McTwist done by only two other riders in the world.”Keir Dillon and I do it, because we’re from PA [Pennsylvania],” he said. “We’re the only people in the world to do it, other than one Japanese guy, and you never see him.”
Ladley, at just 14, is also another rider who will definitely be on the X Games radar next season. He was the No. 1 qualifier out of Saturday’s semifinals, and rode like a 14-year veteran in the final – not a 14-year-year-old middle schooler.His succession of tricks in his first run included a frontside 900, a backside 540, a frontside 720 and a huge Haakon flip (an inverted 720).
Ladley said he’s definitely heard the comparisons between him and Shaun White, the 19-year-old phenom who is the favorite to win the gold medal in today’s Olympic men’s halfpipe final White was known as “Future Boy” when he competed in his first Winter X Games at age 12.”Yeah, sometimes I hear stuff like that,” he said. “I’m just like, OK, cool, if you think that.”Mitrani said the comparisons are justified.
“That kid’s gonna win the Olympics one day,” he said. “He’s just progresses every day he’s out there. I’ve rode with him for three years now and I’ve never seen someone progress so much as him.”Jesse Csinscak was fifth (71.67) after Ladley. The other riders to round out the 10-rider final were Drew Brighton (66.83), Deibold, Nick Larson (54.17), Shayne Popisil (38.67) and Jeff Meon (29.83).Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
Despite being a big star, Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen has frequently connected with the young AVSC athletes while training at Aspen Highlands over the years.