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2004 World Superpipe Championships: Clark has 900 reasons to learn new trick
Thursday, 19 February 2004





Snowboarder Kelly Clark enters Saturday's 2004 World Superpipe Championships with back-to-back victories, but she spent Wednesday working on a new trick anyway.

The Olympic gold medalist wants to master a 900, a 2 1/2-rotation trick, to remain competitive in women's halfpipe.

"I almost learned it today," said Clark, after training in the halfpipe at Park City Mountain Resort. "I'm hoping tomorrow."

Clark, a Vermont native, stopped Hannah Teter's months-long halfpipe winning streak with a victory earlier this month at the Van's Triple Crown at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., where Clark now lives. Teter, who is competing in Japan this weekend, finished second.

A few days later, Clark beat Teter again on the final stop of the Chevy Grand Prix in Vernon, N.J. Teter fell on both runs -- once on the 900 -- and placed fifth. But the 17-year-old Teter, of Belmont, Vt., already had wrapped up the Grand Prix title and the Chevy Colorado truck that went with it.

Winning streaks are nothing new in women's halfpipe. Two seasons ago, Clark -- using a McTwist with high amplitude -- was on one herself. Last season, Gretchen Bleiler of Snowmass, Colo., cleaned up. This season, Teter and her 900 pushed the trick level. Lindsey Jacobellis of Bondville, Vt., is the only other woman who consistently throws the 900.

But women's snowboarding is progressing so quickly that extended winning streaks may never happen again.

"Everybody is learning new tricks," Clark said. "The dominance factor is over in women's snowboarding."

Even if Clark manages to throw a 900 in training today, she says she likely won't use the trick in competition until the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships next month.

And once she's achieved that, there will be bigger and better tricks to learn. "I think the 9 is just the beginning of the big tricks we're going to see in women's snowboarding," Clark said.

The men's skiing halfpipe competition begins Friday at noon at Park City Mountain Resort. The women's snowboard halfpipe starts at 11 a.m. Saturday. Olympic gold medalist Ross Powers headlines the men's snowboard halfpipe, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free both days.

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