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Snowboarders last chance

Jen Watkins, Of the Record staff

Snowboarders who were training Wednesday for the final Grand Prix events said they were nervous that an incoming snow storm would make the halfpipe competition at Park City Mountain Resort more difficult. However, Krista Parry, spokesperson for PCMR, said the resort is more than prepared.

"We’re used to this," Parry said. "We’ve been holding halfpipe competitions for more than eight years and all but one year we’ve been able to move ahead."

Parry said the snow should make the whole experience more "magical" but not dangerous for the athletes. She said PCMR will send slippers down the halfpipe to clear out any fresh powder that could get in the way of the athletes.

Residents are invited to watch the athletes as they compete on PCMR’s 22-foot halfpipe. Both men’s and women’s finals – there are no qualifying competitions – will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with awards immediately following. A free concert will be performed by 30 Seconds from Mars at the base of the First Time lift followed by the naming of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team. All events are free to the public.

Nearly 30 athletes descended on Park City last week to train for the final qualifying event that could take them to the Olympics. Shaun White (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, Vt.) have already secured spots. with Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, Colo.) the leading contender on the women’s side and Louie Vito (Sandy, Utah) leading the men. Six of the eight members of the Olympic team will be named after Saturday night’s event with two more members to be named next week, said Lindsey Sine, public relations coordinator for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

After Friday night’s competition, snowboarders doing the math will have a pretty good idea who’s going to the Olympics. Although Friday’s results were not available at press time, Scotty Lago (Seabrook, N.H.) said on Wednesday he needs a third-place finish at the very least.

"I’ll be happy with a third but I’m really going for a first or second," Lago said. "I feel like this pipe is to my advantage. I’m feeling more confident than I ever have."

Up and comers Broc Waring (Vail, Colo.) and Brennen Swanson (Stillwater, Minn.) said they’re just hoping to finish in the top five, while Luke and Jack Mitrani (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) are hoping to compete for the remaining Olympics spots.


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