(Hit NEXT to watch Kelly Clark and Taku Hiraoka’s winning Burton US Open halfpipe runs)
Vail, CO (March 7, 2015) — Kelly Clark (USA) and Taku Hiraoka (JPN) earned the winning halfpipe titles today at the 33rd Annual Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships presented by MINI.
Both riders took home $45,000 each and ending their competitive snowboard season on top, with Kelly Clark’s win today making for a record eight first place US Open halfpipe titles. Taku Hiraoka’s win continues the theme of Japanese domination of the men’s divisions at the 2015 US Open following Yuki Kadono’s historic slopestyle win yesterday.
The final day of competition took place under sunny skies in front of a packed crowd surrounding the 22-foot halfpipe at Vail Mountain. The women’s event was a battle of 1080s between Kelly Clark and Chloe Kim. In the end, Kelly Clark took her record eighth Burton US Open halfpipe title landing a huge frontside air, backside 540 mute, frontside 1080 indy, Cab 720 mute, crippler stalefish, finishing with a method air for a score of 91.
Chloe Kim added a brand new super stylish frontside 1080 tailgrab to her run landing it for the first time in competition for a second place finish of 88.74. Arielle Gold took third place with a score of 83.87 and a great effort at putting down a frontside 1080 stalefish on her third run.
Clark said, “Today I saw these girls doing tens, and I was like, yes, that’s what I was waiting for! It’s about the progression of women’s snowboarding. I was proud and I was excited, I was also pretty overwhelmed getting to stand on the podium for the eighth time at the Open—it’s a big deal for me. I’m so grateful to still be a part of snowboarding and I know women’s snowboarding will be in good hands whenever these girls take over.”
Kim learned her frontside 1080 last week, she said, “The first time I tried it was at Mammoth Mountain, my 9s were feeling really good, and I was like, I could go 10 pretty easily right now, so I sent it and it came around really easily for me.” Kim strategically waited until the finals to unveil her new trick, surprising competitors and wowing the crowd.
The men’s finals featured a super competitive field with the podium ultimately decided on the final runs. For Taku Hiraoka, today’s US Open title marks the biggest win of his career, with past results that include silver at the 2014 US Open and the 2014 X Games, as well as a 2014 Olympic bronze medal. He set the high score of 90.99 on his second run with a frontside 540 indy, to a backside 900 mute, frontside double cork 1080 stalefish, Cab double cork 1080 mute, ending with a lofty frontside 1260 tail grab.
Hiraoka said, “I’ve been idolizing this contest since I was little, so being a winner here is really special for me. The US Open has the biggest crowd of all the contests I enter, and it motivates me a lot.”
Arthur Longo also rode hard throughout the three run finals with huge amplitude and style, putting down his second place score of 84.99 on his last run. Longo said, “This is a run I’ve never done before in practice or in competition, so it felt so good.” Longo progressed his run throughout the finals, which culminated with a stomped Switch Alley Oop Double Rodeo 900 Melon on his last hit. Ayumu Hirano came in a close third with a score of 84.75.
Today’s halfpipe finals also determined the World Snowboard Tour Pro Series champions with Kelly Clark and Ayumu Hirano taking home the halfpipe titles.
Burton US Open 2015 Women’s Halfpipe Finals Results:
1. Kelly Clark, BURTON, 91.00
2. Chloe Kim, BURTON, 88.74
3. Arielle Gold, RED BULL, 83.87
4. Xuetong Cai, NIKE, 71.00
5. Hikaru Oe, BURTON, 62.62
6. Queralt Castellet, YONEX, 52.50
Burton US Open 2015 Men’s Halfipe Finals Results:
1. Taku Hiraoka, BURTON, 90.99
2. Arthur Longo, VOLCOM, 84.99
3. Ayumu Hirano, NIKE, 84.75
4. Jan Scherrer, NIKE, 78.62
5. Iouri Podladtchikov, MONSTER, 73.25
6. Christian Haller, BURTON, 67.87
7. Danny Davis, BURTON, 62.12
8. Taylor Gold, MONSTER, 61.12
9. Ben Ferguson, BURTON, 49.12
10. David Habluetzel, BURTON, 24.87