All hail the Burton US Open - a rare blue riband event that, alongside its European cousin the Laax Open, is all about the snowboarding. No schedule-juggling with snowmobile racing (we’re looking at you, X Games), or ski aerials (FIS World Championships). While there are some musical acts, it’s not a glorified festival with the riding as the sideshow, a la Air + Style. No national uniforms either - just all the best contest riders in the world.
As a true open event, even the semi-finals can be brutal. A field of 14 female slopestyle riders has to be whittled down to just 6, while the 32 men fight it out for just 10 final spots. There’s only two opportunities to get a score, meaning no room for riding conservatively.
"One of the best things about the US Open is the unexpected, leftfield stuff thrown up by those who usually get snubbed by the invite-only contests"
- Jamie Anderson - 83.75
- Anna Gasser - 80.95
- Julia Marino - 75.85
- Kokomo Murase - 75.30
- Klaudia Medlova - 75.00
- Silje Norendal - 74.75
Unless you’re Jamie Anderson, that is. Knowing that even a safe effort by her standards would be enough to secure a strong qualification spot, the Queen of Slopestyle put down a run of 50-50 gap to boardslide, switch boardslide, backside boardslide 270 out, backside 540, cab 5, and frontside 7.
In the end it didn’t just get her through, it gave her the morning’s highest score. Anna Gasser ran her close - and was the only one to launch off the narrow take-off - but wasn’t quite as clean overall. She’s got much bigger tricks in the locker though, and will be looking to take the title back.
Julia Marino posted the third-highest score thanks to a solid run that included a super-corked cab 5, and a big front 7 that very nearly came unstuck. That means she’ll be dropping after Kokomo Murase, Klaudia Medlova and Silje Norendal on Friday.
- Mark McMorris - 83.85
- Marcus Kleveland - 82.30
- Chris Corning - 82.25
- Yuki Kadono - 81.60
- Takeru Otsuka - 81.35
- Fridtjof Tischendorf - 80.30
- Stale Sandbech - 78.15
- Roope Tonteri - 78.10
- Tyler Nicholson - 78.00
- Nikolas Baden - 77.75
Then it was on to the men, where the likes of Mark McMorris, Max Parrot and Marcus Kleveland were looking to get back on top after Red Gerard bested them all in Pyeongchang. Former US Open champ Yuki Kadono was also back in action, after missing the Games in controversial circumstances.
Despite giving the transition take-off on the last jump a miss, Mark qualified in 1st place with a tidy run that kicked off with a half cab to 50-50 to backside boardslide pretzel out. Next up was a sizeable switch backside 270 on, switch boardslide 270 out, switch backside 1260, frontside double cork 1080 (channeling Billy Morgan with a double grab), and a backside triple 1440 to finish.
Marcus’ run featured his now signature cab 270 on, corked 450 off, but with both hands down for the save his score took a minor hit. It didn’t put him too much off his stride, however, with a cab 1620 popping up later in his run. After disappointment in the Olympic slopestyle, Chris Corning found some redemption by taking the third best score of the day.
With everyone going all out, it was a hard job for the judges, and in the end the top ten riders were separated by only 6.1 points. Seb Toots, Max Parrot and Red Gerard were the highest-profile casualties in the semis, and with no Big Air event happening, that’s their US Open over. The same goes for Torgeir Bergrem, but his improvised back 3 after coming off a rail early meant that he’s going home with the best moment of the comp already sewn up.
One of the best things about the US Open is the unexpected, leftfield stuff thrown up by those who usually get snubbed by the invite-only contests like X Games. Case in point: Fridtjof Tischendorf, who made us all smile with his double jerk flip (after we spotted the single version in practice). It wasn’t just a crowd-pleaser, though; the rest of his run was one of the day’s best, earning him 6th place ahead of fellow Norseman Stale Sandbech.
Takeru Otsuka went so huge on a backside triple cork truck driver and opened up so early, he looked like he’d have enough time to get a quad round. Meanwhile in the women’s event, his compatriot Kokumo Morese did more than enough to suggest that she’ll be cleaning up at events like this one day.
Halfpipe semis are going down later today, with slopestyle finals to follow on Friday. Keep it on Onboard for the full results.