It was an epic day of stellar Halfpipe riding in Stratton, Vermont, as Finnish rider Peetu Piiroinen became the 08/09 Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour Champion at the 6Star Burton US Open.
Both the men’s and women’s fields were stacked with some of the best pipe riders in the world, with Australian Torah Bright winning the women’s pipe title and veteran U.S. pipe rider Danny Kass claiming his 5th US Open Halfpipe win amidst a roaring crowd and bluebird skies.
Danny Kass, a long time Halfpipe competitor and no stranger to the US Open flew under the radar until his third run where he stomped a Frontside 10, Cab 10, Backside 720 and a Switch Alley-oop 540 to become the most successful Halfpipe competitor in US Open history, bagging his 5th title. Peetu Piiroinen however, managed to improve on his first run immensely, sticking a Frontside 720, Cab 1080, Alley-oop Backside Rodeo, Frontside Alley-oop, Fronside 540 and a Backside 720. Peetu’s second place finish in the US Open pipe clinched his place in history as the 08/09 Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour Champion.
“I just heard that I won the TTR," said Peetu after the pipe finals. “It feels good, it feels good. I am the first Finnish guy to win that, so it’s super cool. I’m so stoked."
Similarly, the women kept the high-caliber competition consistent with a roller coaster finale. They kept it close right up until their third and final drops with Kjersti Oestgaard-Buaas, Ellery Hollingsworth, Gretchen Bleiler and Kelly Clark all stepping things up. Clark seemed to have a firm grasp on first place after her first run but a big surprise came from Torah Bright on her third and final run. Bright had some big trouble on her first two attempts but took first place with her last run that included a 720 Indy, Crippler, Backside 360 Indy, a sick Switch Backside 720 and a Backside 540. U.S. rider Ellery Hollingsworth rounded out the women’s podium in third.
The next day was a tough day of Slopestyle riding due to incredibly inconsistent snow conditions but US rider Chas Guldemond and Kjersti Oestgaard-Buaas of Norway managed to push through the weather and a tough field of competitors to become the men’s and women’s Slopestyle champs at the Swatch TTR 6Star Burton US Open. On top of his 6Star title and TTR World No. 2 position, Chas was also crowned the overall winner of the Burton Global Open Series, taking home $100 000, with Kjersti setting her sights on the women’s TTR World Tour Title.
After 15 male riders posted their first scores, Guldemond stepped up to the plate and stomped a line that would remain untouched throughout the remainder of the three run final. Chas stuck a Frontboard 270 out, 50-50 to Backside 180, Switch Backside Rodeo 900, an insane Backside 1260, a Cab 900 and a Backside Rodeo for first place and another $20 000 USD.
Canadian rider Sebastien Toutant was the only rider to come close to Chas with an amazing second run that ended with a huge, and unexpected, Backside double corked 1080. U.S. shredder Scotty Lago, who held on to second until Toutant laid it down, took third place with his first run of the finals.
Guldemond who performed consistently well throughout the season finished his TTR season as World No. 2 right behind the 08/09 Swatch TTR Tour Champion Peetu Piiroinen, who finished in 4th in the Slopestyle. Finnish rider Antti Autti who placed 5th, moved up one spot to TTR World No. 3 followed by Kevin Pearce (USA) in No. 4 and Risto Mattila (FIN) in No. 5.
The women had an equally tough time finding enough speed on the course, and a sudden snowstorm in the middle of the finals didn’t help things out one bit. Jenna Meyen-Weatherby although qualifying first was unable to compete in the finals due to an injury during practice, paving the way for the remaining female contenders. After two runs that had her sitting in the middle of the pack, Kjersti Oestgaard-Buaas was able to take the Slopestyle Title and $20 000 USD with her third and final run that consisted of a Nosepress, 50-50 to 180 out, Cab 540 Indy, Backside 360 Indy, Frontside 360 Stalefish and a sick Frontside 720 mute.
British rider Jenny Jones stuck a sick first run that held her up for second place followed by U.S competitor Chanelle Sladics finished third. Although the men’s TTR season has concluded, the race for the women’s Swatch TTR Tour rages on with one final event, the 6Star Roxy Chicken Jam. The US Open saw some big changes in the women’s Top 10 with Lisa Wiik (NOR), Sarka Pnacochova (CZE), Silvia Mittermueller (GER), Kelly Clark (USA), Sina Candrian (SUI), Ellery Hollingsoworth, and Cheryl Maas all rearranging the current TTR ranks. Surprisingly, Kjersti Oestgaard-Buaas, who currently sits in World No. 11, has a chance with her US Open Slopestyle win to take that No. 1 spot away from Jamie Anderson, making for an epic female showdown in Mammoth Lakes, California.