Young rider impresses in men’s pipe |

Young rider impresses in men’s pipe

Devon O'NeillSummit County correspondent

Aspen, CO ColoradoBRECKENRIDGE – Many of the world’s elite halfpipe riders often need months before they are able to compete at the top of their abilities. Danny Davis needed less than a week.The 18-year-old superstar-to-be arrived at Breckenridge early this week, practiced for five days, then on Saturday went out and won the first major pipe competition of the year, the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix opener. Davis didn’t just squeak through the stacked 20-rider field, either. He laid down both of the day’s top-scoring runs, eventually winning with his second score of 45.9 points on a 50-point scale.Mason Aguirre, another U.S. teenager and arguably the fastest-rising pipe specialist not named Shaun White in the contest world today, took second with 43.5 points, leaving a healthy gap between him and Davis.”It’s only been a few months since I’ve ridden,” Davis said later, as if what he did should come as no surprise.The Michigan native, who honed his skills at the Stratton Mountain School in Vermont, strung together nearly identical first and second runs; both began with back-to-back 1080s and ended with back-to-back 900s, with an alley-oop sandwiched in between.”I just practiced that run the past few days and just kinda put it together today,” he said.This was his first career Grand Prix win – he took third twice last season, when he came up just shy of qualifying for the Olympics – but apparently tour promoters were expecting big things this winter: Davis is pictured on the cover of the series program high above the Breck pipe.The promoters aren’t the only ones who have taken notice of Davis, who opened plenty of eyes when he won the U.S. Open quarterpipe contest last year and took second in the halfpipe. Aguirre, whose back-to-back 1080s in his first run clinched his runner-up finish, was far from surprised to see Davis claim the $14,000 winner’s check. “Danny, he’s just been progressing every contest,” said the 19-year-old fellow Midwesterner, who took fourth at the Olympics in February. “He’s just been killing it, man. … It was his day today.”As for his own performance, Aguirre said he’s not where he wants to be yet, but “I feel like I’m pretty close. Today my run was pretty good, and I felt real comfortable in there. I’m looking forward to going back to Mammoth and riding some more pipe and jumps and rails and just getting all my stuff dialed.”Two-time Breck Grand Prix champ and No. 1 qualifier Tommy Czeschin used a trademark clean run to take third (41.6); in doing so he prevented fourth-place finisher Brad Martin from interrupting an all-USA podium.

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