The seasons first of four Olympic qualifying events kicked off yesterday on another single digit morning. The US Snowboard Grand Prix is the nations undisputed top level competition series and this year is proving better than ever. All of the worlds best female halfpipe riders were there and just to get on the start list is multi year effort of training, strategizing and competing to become qualified. SMS Girls Shelby Simpson, Jenn Cohen and Serena Shaw lined up with the best and held their FIS seeding with style. With Shelby barely walking two days earlier and Serena only spinning for the recent three days of training due to injuries the girls made a sound showing.
Senior Jenn Cohen lead the way in 39th place. Serena and Shelby were 41st and 42nd respectively. I am very proud of the effort and ability to hold thier composure against the best from around the globe.
Top three qualifiers were Gretchen Bleiler, Kelly Clark and Soko Yamaoka of Japan. Huge news for SMS alumnus Ellery Hollingsworth who qualified in 6th overall for finals, making her the number four american. Right square in the hunt for 2010 Olympic berth. Lizzy Beerman was going for the big run but her fs 900 caused her some problems in the first run and she didn't land it in run two, she finished 23rd riding to compete for finals. Pretty cool way to go.
Spencer, Joe and Hames are competing today and im heading up momentarily to catch the action and enjoy some all around shredding with my crew before heading back Sunday. Woodward training this afternoon will be followed by an big air exhibition tonight.
photos; top Jenn Cohen fs-three. Bottom Serena Shaw boosted method air.