Fans flip for Grand Prix

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:56

    VERNON — It was the prefect weekend for Dylan Reckart. The seven-year-old from Atlantic City was going to get to watch his favorite football team, the Philadelphia Eagles play in the Super Bowl and see his idols up close and personal at the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, at Mountain Creek. When asked if he had to choose one this weekend, the pint-size snowboarder yelled, "Both." And he even took it a step further picking Super Bowl XXXIX. "Patriots 0, Eagles 100," he said, with his green Donovan Mcnabb No. 5 jersey pulled over his snow jacket. Dylan wouldn't get his wish in the Super Bowl, but the Reckart family and some 6,000 other onlookers who packed Mountain Creek Saturday night got a great show from the nation's best snowboarders. To appeal to a broader audience that last year's inaugural event, the organizers this year added a TNT MotoX Exhibition. Dare devils on motorcycles hit jumps that amazed the crowd in the afternoon and once again before the finale. Still, the buzz Saturday night was on the halfpipe. "I came to watch (Ross) Powers and (Shaun) White, said Vernon's Tim Seger. "Actually I'm glad there is something to do in Vernon on a Saturday night." Seventeen-year-old Tony Labarck, also from Vernon, wanted to come last year but couldn't make. So this year, he was enjoying the action with his girlfriend, Andrea Vintimilla.. "The best snowboarders in the world are here," said Labarck. "This is great to see in person." Vintimilla worked at the event in the morning, and said it was a crazy but fun day. Others like Judy Vito traveled a lot farther. She was in town from Vermont to watch her son, Luke, compete in the finals. "I'm a wreck being here or at home," she said as she paced the snow anticipating the start. "Once he gets started, I am better. It goes so quick then." Many high school ski clubs made the trip to Mountain Creek. More than 200 students from Ridge High School in Bedminster watched the event closely, including 52-year-old advisor Tony Difiore. "It's exciting," he said. "But its too dangerous for me; I'm a skier." Becky Popiel traveled from Montclair to see her favorite boarder, Hannah Teter. She even wore a shirt claiming to be Teeter's biggest fan. Her friend, Mary Kastner tagged along to see teenage heartthrob Shaun White, whom the 14-year-old Kastner admits to having a major crush on. White finished second. Teter's brother, Abe, won the men's event, capturing $10,000 in cash and a new Chevy truck. Lindsay Jacobellis edged out Teter's younger sister in the women's event to capture the women's prize. Teter, who led after the qualifying round, finished fourth. The Grand Prix, now in its ninth season, is considered the premier snowboard competition series in the United States, providing American riders a clear path to qualifying for the Olympics. That path is so clear, that next year the team will be picked based on a points system from the grand prix, with the final stop being in Sussex County. Last weekend's action was taped by NBC Sports, which will air it at 2 p.m. on Feb. 20.