Gold and silver for Steamboat’s Golds at Copper
Brother-sister combo score big at season's 1st half-pipe competition
Copper Mountain — It’d been seven months since Taylor Gold and Arielle Gold had ridden in a snowboard competition, so it’d be understandable, competing at the U.S. Grand Prix snowboarding half-pipe at Copper Mountain, if there was a moment of uncertainty, a second of hesitation or a lack of confidence.
The Golds left no doubt, however. A season after they each made their first Olympic team, they still have it.
Oh, wow, do they still have it.
Arielle Gold was solid on her second of three runs and better on her third to lock down a second-place finish.
Taylor Gold, meanwhile, bobbled and wiped out on his first two runs but nailed his third, catapulting himself from the back of the pack to the very front, first place in the first big snowboarding event of the season.
“It’s always great to come into the season and start off really strong,” Arielle said. “It’s awesome to have both of us medal.”
Arielle locked down her big result first.
She finished second in Thursday’s qualification round, behind still-snowboarding snowboard legend Kelly Clark, and that’s where Gold finished Saturday.
She fell on her first run but bounced back to lay down two clean scores, 82.50 on her second run and 87.00 on her third.
She hit a method, a frontside 900 mute grab, a backside 540, a frontside 720 and a cab 900 on the best-scoring run.
Those 900s made the difference, especially the last one, which surprised even the event announcers.
“Normally I don’t do both of the 900s in the same run in the first contest,” Arielle said. “It’s one of my harder runs, for sure.”
Only Clark, a three-time Olympic medalist, was better. She finished with the top three runs of the day, in fact, scoring her best on her second attempt, 92.25.
Hannah Teter was third with a score of 78.75.
“I always use contests as practice. I didn’t need to land that third run today, but sometime this winter I will,” Clark said. “However many times you’ve done it, it’s always challenging to come out in the first event of the year. There are nerves and butterflies, so it’s great to come out and see where my snowboarding is.”
Taylor Gold’s climb to the podium came with decidedly more drama.
A small bobble on his first run cut his score down, and he fell bigger on his second.
The rest of the field set the bar high, too. Ben Ferguson leapt out early with a first-run score of 92.50, but he got bumped down with three riders to go in the final run as China’s Yiwei Zhang landed a 95-point run.
Gold, mired in eighth out of the 10 competitors, came up with his best run of the week to answer, flying high with a method to open, spinning with a frontside 1260, landing the double Michalchuk that helped push him onto the Olympic team and hitting two double cork 1080s.
Zhang ended up second and Ferguson was third.
“I just wanted to land my run,” Taylor said. “I was trying not to think about the result too much.”
He did, and in that one dash down the snow, he highlighted another great day for Steamboat’s Gold family in the half-pipe.
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