After a blowing storm shut down Mammoth Mountain and caused the qualification and finals for the U.S. Grand Prix ski and snowboard events to be delayed and then condensed into one long day, the event finally kicked off Friday with snowboard slopestyle. Joanna Dzierzawski won the women's side while Chas Guldemond took the men's with Indigo Monk and Sage Kotsenberg coming in second, respectively.
"After a gnarly storm passing through, it turned bluebird for us today, exactly the reason I live in the Sierra in the first place," said Guldemond who won with a cab 1260 on the second-to-last jump before stomping a backside double cork 1080 to top it off. "It's unbelievable to have won again, especially with Sage putting the pressure on like he did at the end."
His winning run was just enough to edge out Kotsenburg, who pulled a frontside double cork 1080 and a backside 1260 to get 92.00 points that landed him in second place. Guldemond has won the event three years in a row.
While much of the usual slopestyle field, including Winter X slopestyle medalists Mark McMorris and Sebastian Toutant, are over in Switzerland for the Burton European Open, U.S. Olympic hopefuls such as Eric Willet chose to stay and compete in this USSA event instead.
"Doing an event like this which paired up the TTR and FIS governing bodies together, something they have been trying to do for a long time is good thing to support" Willet said of his choice to remain stateside.
Jamie Anderson and Spencer O'Brien are also at the BEO, and with their absence it was South Lake Tahoe's Dzierzawski who won the event by spinning off three of the four jumps styling out massive 360s in both directions.
"If I could explain how excited I am, I would, but right now that is impossible," said an ecstatic Dzierzawski who stood atop the podium with a $10,000 smile.
With more typical California weather to soak the weekend in sunshine and warm temperatures, conditions should be primed for Snowboard Pipe coming up Saturday as well as Mammoth Mountain's concert series and after-party featuring indie rockers Shiny Toy Guns lighting up Canyon Lodge at night.