Recap From the U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix Finals at Copper Mountain

Skiers push to lock down their spot for the Sochi Olympics

Aaron Blunck’s winning run in the pipe at Copper Mountain, Grand Prix halfpipe finals. PHOTO: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Freeskiing

Aaron Blunck’s winning run in the pipe at Copper Mountain, Grand Prix halfpipe finals. PHOTO: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Freeskiing

WORDS: Amara McLaughlin

Aaron Blunck’s high-flying double cork in the halfpipe competition on Friday night earned the 17-year-old gold, placing him in the lead for the U.S. Olympic qualification standings.

Blunck, who finished second on the Dew Tour last week, came back with a solid second run that landed him 92 points, sliding into the top spot. Kevin Rolland of France and Gus Kenworthy joined Blunck on the podium in second and third place, respectively.

In the women’s halfpipe, Brita Sigourney dominated with two of the highest scores in the competition, earning her a total of 86.6 points for the win. Sigourney’s teammate Maddie Bowman finished with silver. Although she wasn’t at the top of the podium Friday night, Bowman kept her overall lead in the U.S. Olympic qualifications as the team gets closer to Sochi with three qualifiers remaining.

On Saturday at Copper Moutain’s Grand Prix, Norway’s Andreas Håtveit outdid Nick Goepper on a weather-ridden course in the slopestyle finals. Goepper, who won last weekend’s slopestyle contest at the Dew Tour, eased off the throttle at the end of his first run. He had planned to execute a double flip on the last jump, but modified it to a single given the snowy course conditions that slowed skiers down.

On the women’s side, Canada’s Dara Howell scored 87.6 to win slopestyle gold against a field of eight competitors. Darian Stevens and Grete Eliassen took second and third place in the slopestyle finals.

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