US Snowboarding Grand Prix 3 Mammoth Update
Gretchen Bleiler and Shaun White win the 3rd US Grand Prix of snowboarding in Mammoth Mountain, California. Under milky skies and perfect halfpipe conditions Bleiler and White win one of the most important contests of their careers. With this win Shaun has earned a spot on the US Olympic team, and Bleiler is only a contest away from earning her spot on the team.
What happens when you combine the best Halfpipe snowboarders in the world with good weather and awesome conditions? The answer is next level snowboarding that has the world watching. Today was a big day for Oakley snowboarding and the team delivered in a big way. We couldn’t be more excited about the outcome as JJ Thomas and Elena Hight both showed the strong field of riders that they are taking chances and it is paying off.
Shaun completely changed his run from the previous contest only a few days ago. Using amplitude as his new strategy, White was able to use that to his advantage. Starting with a straight air and then going into an onslaught of spins and super stylish grabs. There was no question today was his day. Although Shaun was the rider of the day, you can’t deny that the story of the week was JJ Thomas. No stranger to the Olympic qualifying process, Thomas stomped the biggest and arguably the most stylish tricks of the day. He ended up in 3rd place and once again is fighting for his right to compete on the US Olympic snowboard team.
JJ had this to say about his podium finish today in Mammoth, “Today was a perfect ending to an amazing sunny week in Mammoth. It all came down to the last run on the last day. And I put it all on the line. I want to thank Oakley for stoking me with a new jacket, which is now my lucky coat. Oakley for life and one love to everyone at the factory.”
The women’s field was poised and ready to make their mark in the finals. And the podium looked different than it had in the past weeks with Gretchen Bleiler in the top spot, and her Oakley women’s teammate in 2nd place beside her. Gretchen completely went with a new run today and shocked the judges with big airs and technical spins. Elena showed here skills by landing back-to-back 900’s and back-to-back 720’s. She displayed a run that very few if any other female riders can pull off. Look for Gretchen and Elena at the next Grand Prix stop in Park City, UT where the US Olympic team will be named.
Gretchen was mobbed by reporters after the awards ceremony and said this about her experience today in the Halfpipe. “I’m so excited about today’s win and that I’m one-step closer to a spot on the Olympic team. I switched things up with a new run and it paid off, and I’m looking forward to Park City.”
Look for Oakley team all winter as they are out there dominating the competition. And showing the world that Oakley has the best athletes, who choose to use the best products.
Special thank to Tom Zikas Photography