The women's superpipe prelim came down to two riders: Torah Bright and Kelly Clark. Bright went technical, while Clark just went high, higher, and highest. But in the end the judges ruled Bright and her switch back 7s as the number one qualifier.
Both riders moved ahead of the pack, with Hannah Teter trailing a distant third. Gretchen Bleiler, who came down with a bout of stomach flu yesterday, had an impressive first run but came down on the lip of her first hit attempting a Crippler, and took a mean tumble-to-flat bottom on her second run. Not to worry: expect the Aspen favorite to come strong for tomorrow night's finals.
The only big surprise? Relative new comer Kaitlyn Farrington edging out Kjersti Buass by less than half a point for the final sixth-place spot.
As for Bright, she's been taking it easy this season. She competed at the first Dew Tour stop, but skipped the second. She also skipped the European Open, and of that series, will only be competing at the US Open at Stratton in March. "I'll probably do a couple FIS events, but I just want to take it easy and rest up for the Olympics next year," said Bright. In other words, she'll be doing just enough to qualify for the Australian team. This reason for rest from Bright might have something to do with a shoulder she dislocated a few weeks ago. Always good to side with caution.
So who's going to take it? I'm placing my money of Clark. Unlike several of the ladies, Clark looked the most comfortable on the new 22-foot walls, and although her prelim run was more focused on amplitude than it was technical, no doubt she'll bring the big spins come Friday.
And on a final note, shout out to Tricia Byrnes who, amazingly, is still competing. Though she landed a less than impressive second-to-last spot, she is the only rider who has competed in pipe for all 13 X Games. Man, talk about tenacious.
Here's who made the cut:
1. Torah Bright
2. Kelly Clark
3. Hannah Teter
4. Ellery Hollingsworth
5. Gretchen Bleiler
6. Kaitlyn Farrington