Martinod wins ladies ski halfpipe Grand Prix event at Copper Mountain, consoles injured countrymen | SteamboatToday.com

Martinod wins ladies ski halfpipe Grand Prix event at Copper Mountain, consoles injured countrymen

Antonio Olivero
aolivero@summitdaily.com

French freeskier Marie Martinod hopped the blue fence at the base of the Woodward Superpipe and dashed uphill just a few moments after she officially was crowned champion of the Freeski World Cup Ladies Ski Halfpipe at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain.

About a third of the way up the 520-foot long pipe, Martinod's teammate Benoit Valentin lay in a crumpled heap after he severely injured his leg on his final run. Though Martinod took home the title, the pomp and circumstance of the moment wasn't too much for the 2014 Sochi Olympics halfpipe silver medalist to console her teammatte and friend.

"He's my friend," Martinod said. "He's my best friend. He is a part of me, we are a team — the five of us (French) freeskiers. "And I owe him a lot. I was super sad and I was just hoping that nothing really bad had happened."

The reigning Winter X Games Superpipe gold medalist Martinod won the championship Friday despite the fact that she said her main focus this week wasn't to take the title. Rather, she is currently perfecting a new run for the Olympics.

"So I was not expecting to win at all," Martinod said. "I was just trying to put everything together because it is the begging as the season and I'd like to do this new run as soon as possible.

"My tricks are upside down," she continued, "and compared to last year,(I want) to have the opportunity to send a 1080 by the end."

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Martinod finished more than three points ahead of her nearest challenger, American and 2014 Sochi slopestyle silver medalist Devin Logan, who registered a 79.60 on her first run.

Logan described her runs this week at Copper as a confidence boost heading into next week's Dew Tour at Breckenridge Ski Resort. She was the only American woman to reach the podium Friday, as Kexin Zhang of China finished in third place with a score of 77.60. Americans Annalisa Drew (77.20), Maddie Bowman (77.00), Brita Sigourney (75.80), and Carly Margulies (69.00) finished in fourth through seventh places respectively.

"For it only being the fourth day in the pipe, the pipe was an amazing cut," Logan said. "And I had a really good time, so I felt as good with my runs as you can for the fourth day. I'm so happy to land on the podium today."

"The pipe was awesome," Logan added. "It gave everyone the best playing field to throw down the biggest and best runs that they had, so you couldn't have asked for a better day. I am happy I landed the flat fives. That was only my third one of the day and I landed two out of the three — just not with that much time in the pipe, I was happy to put it down and hopefully going into Dew Tour I can add the nine into my run."