Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Barrymore grabs skier halfpipe victory, $10,000

Copper Mountain World Cup race

Christmas came 16 days early, but instead of Santa Claus doing the delivery it was Wing Tai Barrymore, according to the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Web site.

Competing Friday, Dec. 9 at the U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mountain, Colo., the 19-year-old Barrymore won the men's skier halfpipe with an opening round 87.2 and collected $10,000 for his effort. He beat a veteran field, including Simon Dumont, Jossi Wells and David Wise.

It was Barrymore's first World Cup victory and biggest win ever. He had previously won the bronze at the 2010 U.S. national championships at Squaw Valley, Ca.

A member of the SVSEF Gold Team, Barrymore wowed the crowd and beat the field of 69 competitors by throwing a double-flat 900 and getting 20 feet out of the 22-foot halfpipe.

"Tai just beat the best guys in the world," SVSEF Freestyle Program Director Andy Ware said. "He has been working on putting his best run together when it counts, the finals. He nailed it this time!"

Ware added, "This is his fourth year competing in halfpipe and he has risen to the top faster than anyone that I can remember. This raises the bar for the upcoming season. He has the first stop of the Dew Tour next week and will be the World Cup points leader."

Coach Ben Verge, who is traveling with Barrymore, was super stoked to say the least since Brita Sigourney, 21, who is coached by Verge, won the women's skier halfpipe at Copper. It was Sigourney's second-ever World Cup race but her first podium and first win.

In Saturday's Sprint U.S. Grand Prix snowboard halfpipe at Copper Mountain, the winner was Olympic champion Kelly Clark of Mt. Snow, Vt. SVSEF racer Kaitlin Farrington made the finals of the 47-racer field and placed fourth.

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