Red Bull Double Pipe effectively redefines the notion of what to expect in a snowboarding contest. Twin halfpipes, separated by a spine with wallrides, rails and gaps scattered throughout, give riders freedom previously unexperienced in halfpipe competitions. Double Pipe is more or less an experiment with how much course designers can change the status quo, and the result was better than we could have possibly expected. By blending slopestyle and traditional park elements into transition, Snow Park Technologies improved on last year’s course design to create a pro rider’s playground at the base of Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain.
With no question, the most striking aspect of the Red Bull Double Pipe is the bi-level spine transfer running down the middle of the course. Beginning as 22-feet-tall, halfway down it drops down to 18-feet and ends in a volcano, and it took riders all week to make adjustments to find a rhythm for crossing over this feature. Simply airing over it was no easy feat. But seeing Ben Ferguson land a frontside 720 over the spine was quite simply a game changer for the competitive field.
Despite all of the creative, technical lines coming from yesterday’s top qualifiers, 19-year-old Chase Josey from Hailey, Idaho strung together a sequence of hits that pushed preconceived limits of Red Bull Double Pipe. Chase stomped a Cab 900 off the jump, a Michalchuk over the channel, followed by a frontside double cork 1080, a switch transfer over the 22” spine (not easy), a switch alley-oop backside rodeo 720, a backside 360 transfer over the 18” spine, a crippler over the wall ride and concluded his run with a frontside 720 at the bottom of the feature over the volcano. Eight hits total, compared to the five or six that are typically seen in a traditional halfpipe contest. Claiming the next top spots were Ståle Sandbech in second, who demonstrated that his pipe riding was on point for someone that focuses their time in slopestyle, and Australian Scotty James whose Cab double cork 1080 was the defining trick of his third place run.
Riders will also be competing in a Doubles and Best Trick competition tomorrow from 11am–2pm, and the People’s Choice Award will also be announced. You can watch all the action on demand on redbull.tv, and as part of the Red Bull Signature Series as a full-length broadcast Saturday, March 14th at 10am PST/1pm EST on NBC.
There is no doubt that a format like this requires continued tweaking in order for riders to maximize its capabilities. But this is a step in the right direction for contests that beginning to rely more and more on spins, flips, and height to determine a winner. With any luck we will see Red Bull Double Pipe’s influence on other major competitive events throughout the year, and hopefully change the growing dismissive attitude towards contests.
Find more information about the event here.
Red Bull Double Pipe 2015 official results
|Rank||Name||Country||City||Year of Birth||Sponsor|
|1.||Chase Josey||USA||Hailey, ID||1995||CAPiTA|
|3.||Scotty James||AUS||Warrendyte||1994||Red Bull|
|4.||Gabe Ferguson||USA||Bend, OR||1999||Burton|
|5.||Benji Farrow||USA||Breckenridge, CO||1992||Zion|
|7.||Ben Ferguson||USA||Bend, OR||1995||Burton|
|8.||Arthur Longo||FRA||Les Deux Alpes||1988||Volcom|