Hunter Mountain Halfpipe Finals Day 2

Throughout the night on Saturday heavy rain pounded the Catskills, after postcard perfect weather for Day 1 of the Hunter Mountain Halfpipe Finals.  As Day 2 began, the air during morning practice was damp and breezy, however, by noon gave way to partially cloudy blue skies and warm temperatures, for another great day of competitions.

The right side of the pipe sustained light damage from the storm and as a result the park staff, lead by Mike Valez, were busy grooming the wall by hand as the riders practiced.  While the pipe maintenance took place, we set up cameras at the top of the pipe for the first time this season.  The change in location paid off with near perfect conditions shortly before noon. The sun broke through the clouds as the riders were preparing to drop in for the first comp run, allowing for great video and photo lighting.

From inside the Yurt at the bottom of the halfpipe, Sirius Radio was pumping out “The Joint”, a popular roots and culture reggae show, for the judges, families and spectators that had gathered below.  The looks of anxiety and excitement could be seen on the faces of families and coaches alike.  For some athletes their invitation to Nationals at Copper Mountain was already secure, while for others this would be their last chance to qualify.

After dominating the competition on Day 1, Ira Futterknecht (Demarest, NY) kept the pressure on, charging the pipe again for back-to-back Golds in the Skier Boys (15-19) division.  With an onslaught of huge spins, nailing linked 720s on both walls, and amplitude that brought him boosting out of the pipe, Futterknecht secured his spot on the CMS Freestyle Ski Team for Nationals with an airtight 2nd run.

Look out, because this kid is on fire! It remains to be seen how well Futterknecht will do at Nationals. One factor to consider for a skier doing tricks this big will be the difficulty level of hitting the opposite wall after landing switch. However, for an athlete this talented anything is possible.

Halfpipe Winners 3.8.09 Hunter Mountain

Division - Athlete

  • Skier Boys - Ryan Breithaupt
  • Skier Men - John Gordon
  • Grommet Boys - Robby Meehan
  • Menehune Boys - Andrew Breithaupt
  • Skier Boys - Ira Futterknecht
  • Breaker Girls - Marian Lobell
  • Breaker Boys - Karl Lakata
  • Youth Men - Daniel Legg
  • Junior Men - Charlie Breest
  • Women's Jam - Michelle Kane
  • Kahuna Men - Erik Donaldson

Bukowski, who is headed to the Air Force Academy after school (congratulations), powered his way to 2nd place in a close battle with Tanner Amoratis (Branchville, NJ), who finished in 3rd.  Amoratis took home the bronze by stomping a sweet 5 to beat both Jordan Saccoccie (Climax, NY) and Donny Malone (Saugerties, NY). Both riders had impressive runs, finishing 5th and 4th respectively, but they struggled with their landings which pushed them off the podium.

For the Menehune Boys division Austin Lamoreaux’s (Milford, PA) climb to the top is all but complete.  After wining the gold on Saturday he passed on Sunday’s competition, having already secured his spot on the Nationals Team.  But has he decided to pass on going to Copper? This opens the door for Jeremy Redaelli (Monmouth Beach, NJ) who finished 3rd on Sunday and Chris Frignoca (Sparta, NJ) who finished in 2nd behind Andrew Breithaupt (Stafford, VA) in 1st place. Lamoreaux has dominated his class all season with fierce competition from Redaelli & Frignoca, who are next in line to be named to the Halfpipe team.

The West Point Military Academy Team had a strong finish in the Halfpipe Finals.  In the Skier Men’s division John Gordon (West Point, NY) took home the gold, solidifying his spot on the National Team. Fellow cadet Michelle Kane (Colorado Springs, CO) had the best run of the day for the women snowboarders. Kane, who is a strong contender in the Women’s Jam division, finished in first, securing her spot at Nationals.  Go ARMY!

Kahuna icon and local rider Erik Donaldson (Saugerties, NY) finished his last run with a skate inspired lip grind at the bottom of the pipe.  Donaldson clinched the win and his spot on the National Team.  Congratulations to everyone who competed in the Halfpipe this year.  Follow this link for a complete list of the athletes selected for the CMS Halfpipe Team.