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The Season Opener For Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup Sees James & Castellet In First

It may have been snowing like the Dickens at Copper Mountain, Colorado, but that didn't stop the best and brightest halfpipe riders from giving it their all at the Land Rover US Grand Prix Halfpipe World Cup this past weekend, which also happened to be the season-opening event.

Spain's Queralt Castellet Takes 1st For The Ladies

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Though the weather was rough and the speeds were slow, the tricks were still flying as the Women tore up the halfpipe. Standing out at this competition was Queralt Castellet, who took first place right from the get-go. The 87.75 she received as her first-run score would not be caught that day.

"Today was hard, so I believe my experience paid off well," Castellet said from the finish area, "We knew the weather was coming in and there was already a bit of snow in the halfpipe when we started, so I decided to go with a strong run from the beginning instead of just doing a safe run to start out, and that paid off well. The weather really came in hard after that and my run held up, so I'm stoked."

With a score of an even 80.00, Jiayu Liu of China would pull the second-place finish, making for her 19th career podium. It should also be noted that she, along with teammates Shaotong Wu (5th) and Xuetong Cai (6th), made for three Chinese riders in the top ten that day.

As it is with any international sporting event, it is always a delight to the crowds to see a hometown athlete make the podium. Coming in third-place was American rider, Maddie Mastro. This was the youngster's third consecutive podium appearance at Copper Mountain.

“It’s always nice being back here it Copper,” said Maddie. “The pipe is always dialed. Today the weather was challenging, but somehow when I compete at Copper, I find a way to put everything together. I’m stoked to be on the podium."



Scotty James Wins Again For The First Time

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It could be said that winning the first event of the season is a glorious thing for any athlete. That may or may not be true, but Aussie rider Scotty James not only pulled it off for the first win of the season, but this marks his third straight win at Copper Mountain and a winning streak that runs back into last season. The boy doesn't lose.

"It feels absolutely amazing," said James before the awards ceremony, "I had big expectations after last season, so coming in here today I had to iron those emotions out and come out with a clear head and approach it as a new season. So I did that and came out here today knowing what I had to do to be on top. Obviously the elements today weren't in our favor, but everyone rode really well like I knew they were going to. I knew I had to bring it today."

As for spots two and three on the podium, they were both taken by Japanese teammates Yuto Totsuka and Ruka Hirano. Though American rider Toby Miller was in third after the first run, he was not able to maintain that placing and moved to 4th place behind Hirano at the end of the day.



Thumbnail Credit: Copper Mountain/FB

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