The 2016 Burton US Open halfpipe champions successfully retained their titles on Saturday, as both Chloe Kim and Shaun White beat all comers in one of the most thrilling pipe events in recent memory.
Despite appearing a little shaky in the semi-finals, Chloe was always going to be the favourite in the women’s event – more so after Kelly Clark took a knock in practice and was ruled out of the final. It wasn’t a top-drawer routine that Chloe put down at first, but it was one that she was able to build on. By her third run, she had pulled well clear of the rest of the pack thanks to her run of backside air, frontside 1080 tailgrab, cab 720 melon, frontside 900 and McTwist on the last hit. ,
“The first hit became a pissing contest of sorts, with every rider looking to go bigger than the last”
Despite Kelly’s absence it was an all-American podium – Maddie Mastro impressed the judges enough with her run for third place, while Elena Hight took home a silver US Open medal to hang next to her X Games gold. Better luck next year, Japan.
So marred with technical hiccups was the start of the men’s event that we half expected La La Land to be announced as the winner. Things eventually got a lot smoother, though – both in the commentary box and in the pipe.
The first hit became a pissing contest of sorts, with every rider looking to go bigger than the last – which may explain why so few managed to put a complete run down on their first attempt.