Sounds & shots from Copper Grand Prix: Taylor Gold lives up to his name, Greg Bretz stomps second

Comments by Kelli Lynn Hargrove/

In what is shaping up to be one of the craziest contest seasons to play out in years, the men’s Copper Grand Prix halfpipe wrapped last night under the lights, with breakout rider Taylor Gold taking the top of the podium. Gold put down a backside 540, frontside 1260, double Michalchuk, frontside double cork 1080, and cab 1080, cinching his win and his lead of the US podium sweep.

This marks the first of four Grand Prix contests- the next, set for January 8, 2014, just recently being moved to Breckenridge from Tahoe due to a lack of snow. Copper’s pristine pipe, which has hosted riders throughout the early season, went off under the lights on Saturday night.

Hear Gold discuss his win, Sochi, and his sister’s [Arielle Gold, who took second in women's pipe] success:

As the second of five Olympic qualifying events, the Copper Grand Prix plays a crucial role in who will be shredding Sochi’s halfpipe, and the pressure was on high. It is proving to be the year of the rookie for these pipe riders, as veteran defenders like Danny Davis, Louie Vito & Scotty Lago are losing their podium spots to young guns like Gold, who also took home second at last weekend’s Dew Tour, and Ben Ferguson, who snapped up third place in last night’s competition.

The 2013 men's Copper Grand Prix halfpipe podium: L-R Ben Ferguson, Taylor Gold, Greg Bretz | P: US Snowboarding The 2013 men’s Copper Grand Prix halfpipe podium: L-R Ben Ferguson, Taylor Gold, Greg Bretz | P: US Snowboarding

Davis, Vito, and Lago all took seemingly uncharacteristic falls, leaving a wide open lane for the up and comers to swoop in and sweep the podium.

Greg Bretz has been essentially unstoppable since this round of competitions started, taking first at Dew Tour after stomping his first run, and following that win up with a first in the Grand Prix qualifiers. Now, he adds a second place finish to his score sheet, and is one step closer to locking down his spot on the US Olympic team.

Greg Bretz talks taking second, and kicking off a killer season:

Full Results
1.Taylor Gold
2. Greg Bretz
3. Ben Ferguson
4. Arthur Longo
5. Taku Hiraoka
6. Scotty James
7. Benji Farrow
8. Christian Haller
9. Yiwei Zhang
10. Scotty Lago
11. Ryo Aono
12. Louie Vito
13. Ayumu Hirano
14. Danny Davis
15. Chase Josey
16. Matt Ladley