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Kempainen, Cumming Take Home Superpipe Crowns

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posted: 02/03/2008

Copper Mountain, Colo. - Finnish hero AJ Kempainen and American Jess Cumming went big and bold in the Superpipe today, taking home their first U.S. Freeskiing Open wins.

Kempainen scored a high 89.25 in his second run, starting off with a switch 720 into a rightside 9, going for double grab with corked out style. Taylor Seaton will take the second spot for his third run score of 87.75. Frenchman Xavier Bertoni slides into third for his score of 87.

Cumming won her spot atop the podium with a score of 80.5, landing a big 720 in the beginning of her run. Mirjam Jaeger takes second with her score of 78.25. Roz Groenwood nails third with a 76.

"In the past I got third, so it's pretty surreal to sit on top," Cumming said.

Although the guys slammed four to five high hits in each run, the girls' sizes and lack of speed helped them to fit in 12 or more jumps. A few straight airs, with a lot of 540s and 720s mixed in ruled their runs, with the best technical abilities moving the dominant girls on.

Kempainen was thrilled and surprised at his run, expecting to not place as high before coming to compete.

"I have been working for this for so many (months)," Kempainen said. "When I came here I expected (a lower standing) but I say let's do this."

Last night's Big Air winner, Colby West competed in the pipe, and was happy for Kempainen's successful run.

"It didn't go that well, but I am okay with it," West said. "Props to AJ and Go Pats."

A virtual no-name coming into the competition, 17-year-old Taylor Seaton pulled a large switch 7 octo to clinch his seed.

"I just decided to go for a 10 but I think the 7 with the octo grab will be it," Seaton said. "It's awesome. My skis are fast and it's just great."

Grey conditions and Super Bowl showings depleted the crowd early in the day, making competitors turn to each other to get amped. Cumming thanked a fellow skier for the advice she gave at the top for help with her run. Byron Wells enjoyed the support from his family at the bottom for a job well done. 14-year-old Wells knocked the ball out of the park in his first run, getting a 74.5. Wells still wants to compete against older brother Jossi (last night's second place finisher in Big Air) to really test his skills.

The Superpipe ends the eleventh annual U.S. Freeskiing Open at Copper Mountain. Make sure to check out all the details and slideshows at http://www.skinet.com/skinet/ target=_blank>Skinet.com to see highlights from every event from the weekend.

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