Air Ladies contest honors Sarah Burke
The inaugural Air Ladies quarterpipe contest took place this week in Tignes, France. The event raised more than $22,500 for the Sarah Burke Foundation.
Olympic halfpipe silver medalist Marie Martinod from France organized the event in honor of her friend, the late Sarah Burke, who died of injuries suffered in a halfpipe in January 2012.
"I started to write exactly what kind of contest I would like to see," said Martinod, seen here. "I really wanted to be able to donate the money to the Sarah Burke Foundation, so I started to think about how we could jump to get money. Then I thought, 'Yes! The quarter!' because we can go high and accumulate."
Nine women from around the world competed in the contest, which was more of a show and celebration than a competition.
In the qualification round, nine women each took two hits on the quarterpipe, with maximum amplitude being the goal. For every centimeter aired, money was raised for the Sarah Burke Foundation.
Olympic bronze medalist Ayana Onozuka from Japan was one of two athletes in the final round, but she was beaten out by France's Clemence Grimal, the only snowboarder in the field, who ended up in the top spot.
Marie Martinod took six years off from competing, but she returned in 2013 and won Ski SuperPipe gold at X Games Tignes in front of her hometown crowd. In February, she earned a silver medal at ski halfpipe's Olympic debut in Sochi, Russia.
In the days leading up to the contest, the participating women got out to ski some powder and enjoy French culture.
Martinod says she hopes the Air Ladies event will happen again next year, perhaps in a new location, and still in honor of Sarah Burke and her legacy.