Steamboat Springs Another big event at California’s Mammoth Mountain brought another big day in halfpipe for snowboarders from Steamboat Springs.
Homegrown favorite Maddy Schaffrick slipped into the finals at the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix with an eighth-place result on the women’s side. Steamboat’s Matt Ladley also had a strong showing by laying down one of his best runs of the season to place 10th in the highly competitive men’s field.
The top eight women and top 16 men advanced to today’s finals and hope to secure a spot in February’s Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a top finish.
“It was a great day for both of them,” Spencer Tamblyn, the lead coach for Steamboat’s pro-am program, said about Schaffrick and Ladley. “They are both getting stronger and more confident with each run.”
Tamblyn said it’s also a good thing for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, which has been working for years to be in a position to qualify its riders at an event such as the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix.
“Three or four years ago, we didn’t even worry about the Grand Prix — our riders were not ready to ride at that level,” Tamblyn said. “Things have changed dramatically. We have Matt and Maddy near the top, and there are lots of riders in the pipeline looking for the chance to follow in their footsteps.”
Two of those riders — Steamboat’s Taylor Gold and teammate Paul Brichta — also competed Friday.
They didn’t make the finals, but Brichta landed a cab-1080 for the first time in competition, and Gold came through with a front-side 1080. Brichta was 26th, and Gold was 44th in the final results, but Tamblyn said both riders are showing promise.
Tamblyn is hoping for another big showing in today’s finals for Schaffrick and Ladley. The good news is that both riders already are qualified to ride in the final two Olympic qualifying events in Park City, Utah, this month.
The favorites in the men’s field today will include Shaun White, who qualified in the top spot, and Danny Davis, who won the first event of the week Wednesday.
Dylan Bidez qualified third, Jarret Thomas was fourth and Elijah Teter was fifth. Louie Vito rounded out the top six riders.
Kelly Clark is at the top of the women’s standings with Hannah Teter in second and Gretchen Bleiler in third.