Only two Canadian riders qualified for the finals at the U.S. Grand Prix contest at Copper Mountain last weekend, an event that counts towards the national team selection for the 2010 Games because of the pipe's 22-foot walls.
Despite the large target painted on his back after winning the 2006 Winter Games and every other pro halfpipe event of note in the past six years or so, Shaun White continued to set the pace with a 47 point run out of a possible 50 points. Louie Vito of the U.S. came closest with 45.6 points and second place, followed by Zachary Black with 44.1 points.
Quebec's Charles Reid, who just turned 19, was the top Canadian in 12 th place.
"It went really well in the practices today," he said. "In my first run I did some really nice frontside 1080s to start, but fell on the basic trick of straight air. It is quite disappointing to fall on that trick, but it happens. In the second run I landed flat on my cab 1080 in the middle of the pipe and crashed again.
"My day was done. I was definitely nervous."
Banff's Dustin Craven, who was better known for his freeriding until he decided to make a run at the national team last season, placed 15 th overall, also crashing in both his final runs.
"In the first run I had technical difficulty as my binding broke," he said. "In the second run I just popped a little too hard and landed flat and fell. The pipes are not going anywhere so I'll still snowboard tomorrow. I'll just keep working at it and try to get a top five in Mammoth at the (next) Grand Prix."
No Canadians qualified for the finals in the women's contest. Kelly Clark of the U.S. took the win, followed by Gretchen Bleiler of the U.S. and Soko Yamaoka of Japan.
U.S. riders accounted for 11 of the 16 athletes to qualify for the finals. Over 90 athletes took part.
On the women's side only eight of 48 women qualified, with Canada's Palmer Taylor, 17, just missing the cut in ninth place.
"I am actually really excited about my results," she said. "I landed a run I wanted to do, and (I'm) happy to have beaten a lot of good pros."
Sarah Conrad placed 13 th .