Banners flying high in Vail at the Burton US Open slope course read, The World’s Greatest Snowboard Event. You don’t make that claim unless it’s true, and today there was no other way to describe it. Plus 10 degrees in the sunshine a hectic and next level slope course brought the best out of every rider in the finals.
The 5 lady finalists kicked things off and there were 2 highlights in our mind. 1st, Spencer Obrien’s 3rd place finish. If you follow Spencer you know she’s had a tough year battling minor injuries and finding her confidence. Just before dropping into her semi-finals run on Wednesday something switched on and stayed lit. After her podium ceremony in the VIP, she was double fisting Pacifico’s and wearing an unstoppable smile. “This year has been a weird one for me,” she says, “this is the first week I’ve felt like myself again. I’m so stoked to podium here. I love the open. I mean Anna had an insane run, she was pretty much untouchable.”
Anna Gasser’s win was the other highlight. She blew the competition away today. Her double cork 900 was something the rest of the field didn’t even think of touching. The level she’s at will be the benchmark going into the Olympics next year.
Anticipation was high when the men dropped into the their first of 3 final runs. And when Chris Corning dropped in first and stomped the shit out of his run, we knew this contest was going to be one for the history books.
Everyone rode out of their skin. On Seb Toutant’s second run he went top to bottom dropping a Backside Triple 1440 and the world’s first Cab 1620 Tail Grab along the way. In the judges mind it was only good enough for 8th place. “My rails weren’t as good as they could have been,” Seb explains, “but my jumps, I don’t think I could have done them any better. I mean, Cab Triple 16 Tail Grab it’s never been done before.” Seb was verbally disappointed with the way the judges saw his run. “I think they messed it up, the judging. I thought it was a podium run in my heart.” And in the winners circle there were riders echoing that statement. Although it’s impossible to take anything away from the dudes who landed on the podium.
Sven Thorgren qualified 1st and settled for 3rd. His run was fire, style, double grab creativity, and everything you want to see in snowboarding these days.
“Money Making Mike” Mikey Ceccarelli. He landed his first run clean, it wasn’t enough to crack the top 5. On his third and final run he went all out. Switch Backside 270 on the first rail. Hella deep on two 1080’s and then dropped a perfect Cab 1620 Melon that had all his oversized heads in the crowd getting tossed into the air. Mikey has only landed that trick one time before. Never in a contest and he hadn’t tried it here all week. “To land that run, I’m tripping out. So stoked. Couldn’t ask for a better day.” Mikey made his first appearance in the US Open final count. “I kinda knew if I made finals I wanted to send a hail mary.” And he landed his touchdown pass. “It feels great especially here, it’s such a cool contest.”
Mark McMorris is always in it to win it, and he did. His near perfect run included a Board Slide 810 out off the cannon box into a perfect Switch Backside Triple 1620 Melon. “I hadn’t landed that trick at all during practice.” Mark explains, “I’m just so happy to put it down.” Canada took half of the podium spots available today and when Mark was asked, “What’s up with Canada?” His response was straight, “When you’re riding with the best riders in the world, you’ll ride better.”
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Huge day for the Canada Snowboard team. An insane 1/2 Pipe Final is set for tomorrow watch it live here: www.burtonusopen.com