Friday, December 20, 2002
Steamboat Springs Tanner Hall and C.R. Johnson acted more like brothers than they did competitors following Friday afternoon's big air contest at the Bashor Bowl.
Maybe that's why the finish area at the second of four events in the Paul Mitchell Ultimate Bumps & Jumps seemed more like a party after the final event of the day had been decided -- rather than a fierce battle for a $10,000 paycheck.
"Of course I'm always happy for one of my boys," a pleased Hall said after the event. "He (Johnson) deserved to win the money with that 1260 corked out crazy grab thing he did. I don't even know what just happened here."
What happened was that the two friends dominated the first two events of the freeskiing event.
Hall collected a check for his efforts in the superpipe earlier in the day by edging his friend in that event. Hall scored 86 points and Johnson finished with 79.60 despite reaching nosebleed heights on his first hit on both runs.
"I knew that Tanner's run was technically better than mine, so I went for the amplitude," Johnson said.
The high-flying act might have been a sign of things to come in that afternoon's big air contest, which also came down to the two freeskiers who are good friends and travel together when they are competing.
This time, Johnson threw a bio 1260 (basically an off-axis 1260) to score 92.20 on his final effort and earn a combined score of 178.40. Hall netted a score of 178.40 (best two out of three jumps) with his switch 720, rodeo, mute grab.
"After I won the halfpipe, there really wasn't any pressure on me," Hall said. "Now I can finish last in all of the other events and I will still be happy when this thing is over."
It also didn't hurt that he lost out to a guy he truly respects.
Johnson said he had landed the jump that pushed him past his friend one other time -- that was at the U.S. Freeskiing Open last year. Hall also finished second in that event.
"We are kind of like a team when we go out on the road," Johnson said.
In fact, he travels with both Hall and Evan Raps, who finished third in both the big air and the superpipe Friday.
"Evan and Tanner help me a lot," Johnson said. "Evan is great with the mental aspect of things and Tanner is always there to help me with the skiing."
All three athletes were excited to be part of the Ultimate Bumps & Jumps and are excited about the television exposure the event will bring to the sport when it airs at 3 p.m. Dec. 29 following NFL football.
Hall is hoping the freeskiing's superpipe event will be added to the Olympics sometime soon.
Until then, he will be content to keep competing and collecting prize checks on the freeskiing tour with his friends.
The Ultimate Bumps & Jumps will continue today with two freeskiing mogul events (which include a table top kicker and slide rails). The singles will begin at 10 a.m. and the dual moguls will start at 1 p.m. on the Voo Doo run. The winners of each event earn a check for $10,000 and the overall winner will also get an additional check today.
Hall and Johnson are tied for the lead in the overall results with 15 points. Raps is in third with 12 points.