Greg Bretz qualifies first for Breck Grand Prix men’s halfpipe, Vito & White take second, third

Comments by Kelli Lynn Hargrove/

Under grey skies and spitting snow, the second stop of the US Grand Prix went off today in Breckenridge, bringing out 42 of snowboarding’s top halfpipe riders to fight for one of 16 spots in the event’s finals, which will be going down on Saturday, January 11.

Continuing in his podium-topping trend, Greg Bretz stomped his first run through the pipe, earning himself a score of 91.40 and the first spot heading into finals. Wrapping up the top three, Louie Vito sits comfortably in second after putting down an 88.80, topping Shaun White’s 86.60 and relegating him to third.

Finals will start at 12 pm/MT on Saturday January 11, as riders return to the superpipe in an effort to take another step closer to Sochi 2014.

Of the 42 men who threw down in qualifiers, the following 16 will be heading into finals:

1. Greg Bretz — 91.40

2. Louie Vito — 88.80

3. Shaun White — 86.60

4. Nathan Johnstone — 85.00

5. Iouri Podlatchikov — 84.60

6. Ayumu Nedefuji — 84.20

7. Danny Davis — 80.00

8. Brett Esser — 79.80

9. Matt Ladley — 79.40

10. Masakaze Yoshida — 77.00

11. Kent Callister — 76.00

12. Zack Black — 72.40

13. Taylor Gold — 70.80

14. Spencer Shaw — 68.40

15. Ryo Aono — 17.40

16. Christian Haller — 66.80

There are five Olympic qualifying events in total, two of which — the 2013 Dew Tour and the Copper Grand Prix— have already wrapped up. The next three Grand Prix events will help determine which snowboarders will represent the US in Sochi, as the riders with the best two finishes of the five earning a spot on the team. In total, four riders of each gender will go to Sochi for halfpipe, and four for slopestyle. The final team will be announced at the end of January after the end of the Mammoth Grand Prix.

Heading into this third Olympic qualifier, here’s how the US men’s halfpipe team is stacking up:

1. Greg Bretz: 1,800

2. Taylor Gold: 1,600

3. Shaun White: 800

4. Ben Ferguson: 600

5. Louie Vito: 500

6. Benji Farrow: 500