Toyota Grand Prix - Copper Mountain, Colorado

Toyota Grand Prix - Copper Mountain, Colorado

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 03:36
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After qualifying for finals in Copper Mountain, Aaron struggles in final runs.

Aaron Blunck going large on his first hit in qualifiers at the Grand Prix.
Aaron grabbing tail on a left cork nine, setting him up for his massive final air.
Finals
Finals
Finals
Finals

Copper Mountain was home to the first Olympic qualifier of the season, the Toyota Grand Prix. After an extremely low snowpack and high temps, Copper struggled to make snow in order to open the first halfpipe in the U.S. for the 2017-2018 ski season. With that being said, all of the competitors really only got a couple of days to mess around in halfpipe before the qualifiers rolled around. The day of qualifiers, temperatures dropped drastically and snow slowly started to flutter down from the sky. This could only mean that this was going to be a rough halfpipe competition with slow snow and brutal visibility. Being a bit rusty and filled with nerves, many of the top competitors were still able to make it into finals including Aaron. Aaron was a victim to the rough conditions which ultimately affected his amplitude throughout his run. 

Two days later it was time to decide the podium of the first Olympic qualifier of the season. The snow had cleared, the sun had come out, but the temperatures were still hanging out around 0 degrees. The halfpipe was in the competitor's words, "scary". It was icy but the temperature of the snow made the speeds throughout the pipe inconsistent. It was all up to the ski techs at the top of the halfpipe hoping that they had guessed the perfect mixture of wax. It was clear that many of the competitors had conquered the snow conditions and the nerves that were present in the qualification. The level of tricks and the amplitude of each hit was a clear indicator that the cobwebs had been dusted off. Unfortunately, Aaron could not quite overcome those nerves or the variable snow conditions that lingered in the pipe. Aaron decided to change up his run a little bit with a switch drop in. This is a technical and unique way of dividing himself from the rest of the competition. With only a couple of days of skiing halfpipe before the competition, Aaron could not put this new trick together with the proper amplitude that would place him at the top of the podium. Aaron ended up finishing eighth as David Wise, Noah Bowman, and Simon d'Artois rounded out the podium with the top scores of the day. 

Hopefully with a little bit more time spent in the halfpipe, Aaron can clean up his new run for the next competition. The next competition, Dew Tour, will also be an Olympic qualifier that will take place in Breckenridge, Colorado.