Grand prix pros compete in Park City

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The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix will make its second domestic stop at the Park City Mountain Resort with snowboarding and freeskiing half pipe competitions this week.

The four-day event will launch with the Paul Mitchell Progression Sessions Big Air contest on January 30. Half pipe snowboarding qualifiers are held on January 30, half pipe skiing qualifiers on January 31 and finals held on February 1-2. All events are free to the public and held during the day.

Eagle Superpipe in Park City is a top favorite venue for athletes to compete. The battle will continue after a week of competing at the 2013 Winter X Games in Aspen.

Expectations are high for 19-year-old freeskier, Maddie Bowman, who took home the gold last weekend in Aspen. Bowman recently moved to Salt Lake City for school and goes to Park City to train, making this her first competition at her new home in front of her friends and family. Bowman also dominated this year’s Copper Mountain Grand Prix by landing left and right 900’s just a few weeks ago.

“I’m going to try to land the best tricks that I can land,” Bowman said. “This is a World Cup event so it’s pretty important.”

The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix is a 5Star World Snowboard event and the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix is a Platinum AFP event. Both events help athletes gain points for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games qualifications.

“It’s a pretty competitive field,” Bowman said. “All the girls are skiing great and you never know when someone is going to land something new but Brita Sigourney is definitely one to look out for.”

Bowman is not the only one with expectations for Sigourney. Men’s freestyle skiing aerialist Dylan Ferguson said on Twitter, “I got my money on @britasig (Sigourney) in the U ditch this year!!”

Brita Sigourney, a two-time X Game freeskiing medalist, took sixth at her last Park City competition. She has suffered injuries the last two seasons (knee injury in 2012), but does not seem hindered after a third place podium finish at Copper Mountain.

Top men’s freeskier, David Wise, will make another Grand Prix appearance after a win at the Grand Prix in Mammoth last year. Wise added another gold to his collection in the men’s superpipe finals last weekend in Aspen. After the best pipe ride of his life he is top competition for the men’s freeskiers.  

Louie Vito attempts his fifth Grand Prix championship this year and is working hard during training to do so. Vito took third at Copper Mountain putting him in good standings for the rest of the season. Vito, originally from Sandy, will also have the advantage of competing at home this weekend. A full schedule can be found on ussnowboarding.com.

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