By Justin Broglio
Published: January 11, 2011
Matt Margetts earned every dime of his second place podium finish on Sunday. After being dropped from the Winter X invite list this year, the 23-year-old Vernon, British Columbia native and recent addition to the Canadian Halfpipe Team was hurting for a comeback during the superpipe finals of the first stop of the North Face Park and Pipe Open Series at Northstar-at-Tahoe, Calif.
In a loaded lineup of pipe's rising stars—including Sunday's first place finisher and local favorite David Wise, WSI champion Walter Wood, New Zealand Open winner Taylor Seaton, FIS Junior World champion Noah Bowman and Gatorade Free Flow highlight Patty Baskins—Margetts put aside the inevitable psyche-out, closed off frustrations from blown practice runs and put down one of the most sensational runs seen in the pipe all day. Margetts stomped a huge double flair off the first wall then went back-to-back 900s into a switch 720, and nailed a perfect right-side 1080 down the pipe to earn him a 91.4 that held up through the entire afternoon. With it, he’s going back to Winter X with $1,250 traveling cash.
While Margetts was certainly the emotional story of the day, the pipe was littered with switch combinations, double flips, alley oop spins, inverts and variations that made the judge's seat a tough place to be.
"It went off today," said head judge Steele Spence. "Just an insane comp in the finals. Everyone was throwing down sick runs and there was some real progressive combinations out of all of these guys. They were all holding their grabs, linking back-to-back switch tricks and coming out with a real tough degree of difficulty."
The highest score of the day, a 94.2, during run number two in the men’s division, went to local boy David Wise, who had the best switch to switch combos and one of the most technical runs of the day. Wise went left 900 to right 900 to double flair mid run and finished with a high 1080 and not much pipe to work with.
Behind Wise and Margetts was Vail's Patty Baskins, who was one of the few competitors to stay on his feet and not miss a landing during competition all day.
Elsewhere in the field were several well-landed double flips; Walter Wood's classic air to fakie and a newly-learned alley oop 900; Peter Crook's quick 1260; Brian Kish's switch 1080; and the crowd favorite by far—Wing Tai Barrymore's double alley oop flatspin 900 on his last and final run.
Tahoe's legendary mid-day sun engulfed the Northstar-at-Tahoe mid-mountain venue on Sunday afternoon as the women took to the superpipe. With only eight competitors in the lineup, each one made sure the judges and crowd of cheering fans knew they had what it took to earn a spot at Winter X.
Devin Logan, fresh off her podium in slopestyle the day before, threw down a series of clean 540s in her first run and linked back-to-back flairs in her third run—enough to earn third place. Brita Sigourney nailed a 900 near the top of the pipe in her first run, but over-rotated on runs two and three leaving her fifth overall.
Second place went to Keltie Hansen, who spun right-side 540 to left-side 540 and then back to left-side 540 and right-side 720 to finish her run.
The first place check went to Dania Assaly, who is no stranger to victory after her win at the Winter Dew Tour less than a month ago. Assaly, who fell hard on her 900 attempt in run one, played it safe during run two and instead nailed a series of 540s and went high out of the pipe with a big 720, earning her a 90.0.
The Winter X Games slot went to fourth place finisher and birthday girl Maddie Bowman, who was the only other women to spin both directions in her first run with super clean left and right-side 540s.