Danny Davis has won the second US Olympic team qualifier, beating a talent-packed field that included Shaun White, amongst others.
The US Grand Prix, held at Mammoth Mountain, saw some of the finest halfpipe riding of the season so far, including possibly the two greatest halfpipe runs ever, as Shaun and Danny battled for the lead. You can watch their mind-bending final runs here.
Along with the likes of Louie Vito, Scotty Lago and Elijah Teter, Danny and Shaun were fighting for places in the four-man American Olympic squad. In the women's competition, Kelly Clark finished first ahead of Hannah Teter and the Australian Holly Crawford. Have a look at the mini-interviews with the winners below, filmed by the Boardistan crew.
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In qualification, Shaun had - as ever - looked like the man to beat. With his back-to-back double corks earning him a score of 47.10, he was three points clear of the rest of the field. Having qualified already, he relaxed a bit on his third run only throwing in two doubles. Check out this 'easy' run here, courtesy of the dudes from Boardistan.
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However, when the finals came around, it turned out to be Danny Davis' day. Dropping in in his typical laid-back style, Danny threw down a massive double cork to start with, followed by a cab 900, the obligatory straight air, another double cork and a final spin.
Going as big as ever but adding an extra level of techy steeze, Danny looked almost unbeatable. The judges gave him a 47.20, taking him four points clear of everyone else.
With Shaun still to drop, everyone held their breath. But despite throwing back-to-back doubles and back-to-back tens in the same run, Shaun couldn't score higher than 46.20.
As the second runs came round Scotty Lago threw down, earning a score of 45 that moved him up to equal third with Louie Vito, but once again it was Mr Davis who set the level.
Dropping in with a sticker that read "KP is OK" on his board - a reference to his fellow Frends crew member Kevin Pearce, who seriously injured himself training for this qualifier - Danny went huge. He only managed five massive hits in his run, but the tricks he pulled on each were something else.
He stomped a big cab double cork, a front nine, his customary crail grab and then back-to-back doubles to finish the job. This sequence nailed Danny a sweet 49.20. Athough Shaun whipped out a new variation on the double, a sketchy landing let him down, leaving Danny to claim the victory.
In his intimitable hippy style, Danny stood on the the podium carrying a banner with a CND Peace symbol and the words "Pearce be with You", another tribute to Kevin. Despite their scores being equal on 45, Scotty Lago just pipped Vito to third place.
While Shaun looked happy enough with his second, he must increasingly be aware that he is not unbeatable. On the women's side, Kelly's first place means she is the first US snowboarder to book herself a place at the Olympics.
Shaun won the frst Olympic qualifier at Copper Mountain a few weeks back, and at the moment he still looks the most likely to earn a place in the US Olympic squad, but competition for the other three spots is heating up.
With only two qualifiers to go, the Mammoth meet was supposed to act like the snowboarding equivalent of the cut in a golf tournament - from now on, only those with a statistical chance of making the team will be allowed to compete. And with the standard of riding among the US big guns as high as it is currently, this could shape up to be a very interesting Olympics indeed.
Check out the official results and Danny's opinion on the whole shebang below, and look out for the full-length interview with Danny in the forthcoming issue of Whitelines.
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2010 Sprint U.S. SNOWBOARDING GRAND PRIX
Mammoth Mountain, CA - Jan. 5, 2010
1. Danny Davis, Detroit, MI, 49.20
2. Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 46.20
3. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 45.00
4. Louie Vito, Sandy, UT, 45.00
5. Elijah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 44.90
6. Greg Bretz, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 44.50
7. Jeff Bachelor, Canada, 43.50
8. Mathieu Crepel, France, 43.00
9. JJ Thomas, Golden, CO, 41.30
10. Jack Mitrani, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 40.30
1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 48.40
2. Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT, 45.20
3. Holly Crawford, Australia, 44.40
4. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 42.50
5. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 42.40
6. Maddy Schaffrick, Steamboat Springs, CO, 38.70
7. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, VT, 31.00
8. Clair Bidez, Minturn, CO, 39.90