Red Bull Double Pipe
Behold the Red Bull Double Pipe
Red Bull debuted a new concept in halfpipe snowboarding this weekend in Aspen, Colo. By taking the existing superpipe at Buttermilk -- the same pipe that is used for the X Games -- and building an identical one next to it, Red Bull created a "double pipe." Invited riders spent the week figuring out how to make the transfer over the spine from one pipe to the other. Once they figured it out, it was game on. Here 14-year-old Gabe Ferguson -- who, incidentally, was the first rider to figure out how to do a 360 transfer over the spine -- drops in. Each superpipe in the Red Bull Double Pipe feature was more than 550 feet long, approximately 68 feet wide and 22 feet tall and had an approximately 4-foot wide spine located in between each pipe. Including the outside walls, the overall feature was 180 feet wide and more than 550 feet long, making it the largest halfpipe structure ever built to date.
Taylor Gold, Winner
Taylor Gold impressed all when he took the win at the heavy, heavy pipe contest that was the Burton U.S. Open this year, throwing creative grabs into a highly technical pipe run that solidified his spot at the top of the podium. He proved that performance was no fluke here at the double pipe, landing clean, technical runs mixed with old-school grabs -- like this Taipan here -- to advance out of semifinals in the top position and then take the win at the end.
Chase Josey, Second Place
When asked to name a standout from the week, most riders mentioned 18-year-old tour newbie Chase Josey, from Hailey, Idaho. "Chase was a big standout," Taylor Gold said. "He was just blowing my mind all week. Watching him was just like, 'What are you doing? That's just insane.'" "I didn't even know him [before this event]," Arthur Longo said. "But he's been really impressive. I love his riding." The judges must have agreed, because in a contest stacked with halfpipe riding veterans, Josey landed in the second-place spot.
Arthur Longo, Third Place
X Games Tignes 2013 SuperPipe silver medalist Arthur Longo took third in the double pipe with a creative run that included a switch double backside alley-oop rodeo and back one off the hip to a Cab 7. "The first day was kind of scary," said Longo, echoing other riders' sentiments about the difficulty of getting used to the pipe-to-pipe transfer in the early days of practice. "Then we all got used to it. Now it's such a good day. It was slushy on the walls ... I feel comfortable, but it's still really challenging, not easy to ride. But the spine is something we never get and it's so enjoyable."
"It's a really cool feature, I've never ridden anything like this," said Greg Bretz, who finished the weekend in a respectable fourth-place position. "It's an awesome opportunity to come out here and take creativity to the next level. It's definitely [been] hard to figure out how to ride."
"It's a lot different than what we're used to, so everyone's having to use their creative side," said Scotty James, an Australian pipe and park double threat. "The first day it took us a little bit to figure out. The spine transfer was the trickiest part for everyone to adjust to. But the best part about this event is it's a really good vibe and everyone has been feeding off each other, so once one person did it everyone was able to do it."
Chase Josey, pipe transfer
"The transfer is gnarly and hard to get right," said Ben Ferguson of the pipe-to-pipe transition, illustrated here by Chase Josey. "But once you get it right it's super fun. I've never really ridden anything like it."
"Benji Farrow is utilizing everything -- the rail in the middle, the wall," Scotty Lago said. "Benji is the only one doing tricks on the rail," Greg Bretz said. Though he didn't make the podium, when asked to name a standout from the week, Benji Farrow was the other rider mentioned by nearly everyone.
"It's insane man," Scotty Lago said. "It's hard to come up on one side and come down perfectly on the other. It's also a little dangerous if you don't make it, but it's really fun once you figure it out. The double pipe is such a spectacle. It's just really cool, doing transfers and utilizing the halfpipe. It's like a work of art."
"A normal halfpipe is a blank canvas," said Ben Ferguson, who was another early standout this week. "You can hand plant, alley oop, double cork, you can do anything. But to add another halfpipe or another feature makes it insane and gives it that much more. It's sick to be doing something different, and it's changing the way we're snowboarding now."
"This event pushed the creativity of snowboarding," head judge Tom Zikas said. "With the first-ever double superpipe we saw 360 transfers and backside lipslides on 10-foot extensions. The overall use and flow of the double pipe was amazing, especially to see the overall tricks and combinations the riders put together." Here Zack Black demonstrates the height of creativity by pulling off what appears to be the kicker-trick Sage Kotsenburg invented, the Holy Crail.
"The pipes are super fun," Louie Vito said. "It's nice weather, it's soft. You've got two sick pipes. I think it would be nice to have something like this as a tradition."
"We were fortunate because SPT built this so the shape of the pipes were perfect," said winner Taylor Gold. "So that leveled the field so we could work on more creative aspects of riding them." Of winning the event, Gold explained, "I wanted to prove that I'm not just a pipe jock and show that I can do something different and Red Bull Double Pipe allowed me to do that. This is where halfpipe is going to be headed."