Kelly Berger, a member of the Mammoth Snowboard Team, flies out of the pipe in the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix. Competing against some of the best women in world, Berger ended up taking a seventh place result on the final day. Photo/Susan Morning
Mammoth Mountain’s Olympians Kelly Clark and Greg Bretz weren’t the only local athletes to compete in the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, Jan. 14-19.
Although somewhat overshadowed by their local counterparts, three Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team riders were also on the roster, including Brandon Davis in slopestyle and Kelly Berger and Chloe Kim in halfpipe.
In the first slopestyle contest, Davis took seventh, followed by a 12th place finish in the second event.
However, Davis showed his strength against the best in field by taking third place in the first run on the final day of slopestyle, only to see his score of 89.80 be bested by Ryan Stassel’s 90.80, dropping Davis to fourth place.
In the first two women’s halfpipe competitions, 13-year-old Kim chased 30-year-old Clark to take second place in each event, while her teammate Berger was ninth in both events.
“This is a first, even for me, two contests in one day," Clark said afterward. "The pipe was amazing. I thought the women rode amazing today, and I was happy to come out on top. I think for me it’s all practice, so it was great for me to come out and put down some technical runs. I want to be able to put down the most difficult runs that I can, so that by the time I get to Sochi perhaps they’re not as difficult for me anymore.
"So it was even really good practice falling on my first run and coming back and being able to put it down.”
On the final day of the Grand Prix, Clark was second, Kim fourth and Berger moved up to take seventh.
Later that afternoon Clark was named to her fourth Olympic Team and Bretz to his second, while Davis, Berger and Kim, who is too young to compete in this year’s Olympics, will have to wait another four years.
But, Davis and Kim won’t be thinking of that as they immediately left for the X-Gamesin Aspen today (Jan. 23) through Sunday, Jan. 26.
There, they will join other Mammoth athletes including Trevor Jacob, Kaya Turski, Bretz and Clark.
Mammoth Snowboard Team Head Coach, Mike Ramirez commented that, “Brandon is in slopestyle where only the top 16 male slopestyle riders in the world are invited.”
He added that for Kim the selection is even tighter as, only the “top eight female halfpipe riders in the world” are invited to compete.