Steamboat’s Maddy Schaffrick goes big in halfpipe to get 2nd at Grand Prix event at Copper Mountain |

Steamboat’s Maddy Schaffrick goes big in halfpipe to get 2nd at Grand Prix event at Copper Mountain

The 17-year-old Steamboat Springs snowboarder hadn’t competed in 18 months, and on Saturday – in her first competition back from injury – she registered the biggest finish of her young and promising career.

And if Saturday’s second-place finish in the halfpipe at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mountain was any indication, there will be a lot more awards and accolades coming Schaffrick’s way.

“It was kind of unexpected,” said Schaffrick, who finished just behind eventual winner Kelly Clark. “I was feeling good going into the competition. I had a good feeling that I was going to ride well. But I guess the placement is a nice surprise.”

Indeed it is.

Schaffrick blew out her right knee two seasons ago and had gone through the long, arduous rehab process. She admitted she was nervous Saturday morning – nervous enough that she almost couldn’t keep down her go-to breakfast of scrambled eggs and salsa.

“Before my first run this morning I was shaking and felt like I was going to throw up,” she said. “I landed my first run and after that I was fine.”

Just landing a run was Schaffrick’s goal. But she qualified for the finals, where she went to her favorite routine.

Her second-place run included a backside air, frontside 720, Haakon flip, frontside straight air, frontside alley-oop 360 and a switchback side 720.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboard director Jon Casson said. “I’m left a little speechless. She’s been an up-and-coming rider for some time. We knew she was capable of this, but I’m not sure anyone saw this coming so fast.”

Schaffrick’s result highlighted a good day for Steamboat snowboarders. Benji Farrow finished sixth on the men’s side, Taylor Gold was 12th and Matt Ladley was 16th.

On the women’s side, Arielle Gold finished 26th.

The next halfpipe event is Friday at the Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011