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Birk Irving Captures U.S. Grand Prix Halfpipe Skiing Title On Dramatic Final Run

by Todd Kortemeier

Birk Irving poses after the men's freeski halfpipe finals at the 2022 U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain on Dec. 17, 2022 in Copper Mountain, Colo.

 

U.S. Olympic freestyle skier Birk Irving had settled for fourth place and missed the podium in his last two world cup starts in the halfpipe at Colorado’s Copper Mountain.
He ended that streak dramatically Saturday in the U.S. Grand Prix, which also served as the season opener for halfpipe skiing, stomping a final-run 93.75 to win his first world cup event since September 2019 in New Zealand. The victory came at a venue located just 60 miles from his hometown of Winter Park, Colorado.
“I’ve gotten a few world cup wins before, but this one hits a little different,” said the 23-year-old Irving. “Home turf, whole family is here — it feels really good. It’s awesome.”
There was nearly another Irving on the podium as Birk’s sister, Svea, finished fourth in the women’s final for her best-ever world cup showing.
Birk Irving, who made his Olympic debut last winter at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, put up an 89.25 on his first run to rank second, but he needed something special to move into first place. He found it on his third run, featuring a switch 10 blunt, right dub 12 Japan, left dub 14 safety, switch right 7 tail and then a left double down the pipe high safety, finishing off with a progressive blocked 720.
“It’s like a double Michalchuk 7,” Birk said. “It’s like a pretzel flip — so it’s kinda weird. I’ve done it a few times before. I had it in my head today, but I wasn’t sure I was going to need it, but at third run I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m definitely going to need it.’ ”
Irving topped a pair of Canadians in Brendan Mackay with 92.50 and Noah Bowman with 91.00. Mackay nailed the 92.50 on his third run to temporarily retain the lead, then Irving followed with his spectacular run.
Two-time Olympic medalist Alex Ferreira finished fourth with a 90.25 on his second run, while fellow American Hunter Hess placed eighth with a best run of 77.50.
Irving has won three times on the world cup circuit. A 2021 world championships bronze medalist in halfpipe, Irving won the halfpipe gold medal at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
In the women’s final, 2022 Olympian Hanna Faulhaber, 2018 Olympic bronze medalist Brita Sigourney and 2022 Olympian Carly Margulies were sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
The next halfpipe world cup is set for Calgary, Alberta, Jan. 19-21, 2023.


Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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