All Words: Pat Bridges
On Friday February 19th, 2009 the Stratton Mountains Sun Bowl zone finally lived up to its name as the 28th annual US Open got under way. It is amazing that after nearly three decades Stratton still hosts an event which many believe is the most prestigious contest in snowboarding. Amazing! I say this because going to Stratton is akin to embarking on one big scavenger hunt where cell phone service and internet access are most elusive. Easier to locate are dread locks, mud, and old bitter skiers. The thing about having such nice weather at the open is it helps you focus on how shitty everything else about Stratton is. Enough of my gripes with Stratton because this article is supposed to be about today’s slopestyle which I must admit was outstanding.
While most media outlets, SNOWBOARDER included, have spent much of this past winter waxing about the goings on of the U-tube riders and their parlaying of the double cork into a must do trick, slopestyle has been having a renaissance of its own. Most halfpipe pundits would have you believe that modern double corks were spawned in the wilds of Colorado but the fact is that dudes like JP Walker, David Benedek, Eero Ettela and Travis Rice have been two timing these tricks on the regular for at least the past five years. Now every weekend nearly twice as many riders are throwing double corks in slopestyle contests than you’ll ever see chucked above the lip. The 2010 US Open Slopestyle finals were no exception.
Despite the shortcomings of its Stratton venue part of what keeps people coming back to the Open year after year is its equal pay initiatives. This means that the chicks get the same checks as the dudes in each and every event. The fairer sex put on a stellar slopestyle show at Stratton. Back to back 5’s and fs sevens were commonplace as the ladies put the Snow Park Technologies course threw it’s paces.
Third place for the ladies was won by Jamie Anderson. The South Lake shred could have taken the top spot after stomping a bs 5 on the first booter to sw bs 5 on the second but the third hit 720 didn’t turn out well enough to bump her up. New Zealander Shelly Gotleid linked up a cab 5 to back flip to take second and Swiss sensation SIna Candrian took top honors with a cab 5 to fs 7 at the top of the course.
Third for the dudes side of the card was Sebastien Toutant. After incurring an injury at the Air & Style in December Seb sat out much of the season waiting till Stratton and the Open to come off the bench which he did in a big way. Seb is one of the most technical slopestyle riders on the scene and his performance at Stratton was true to form as he chucked double Rippey flips and 1080 Murphy flips.
Ulrik Badertscher took second at Stratton with another dizzying display of double corkedness. What put Ulrik ahead of most of the field was his stunt off of the canon ball jib at the bottom of the course. While others were content to flat spin and backside rodeo off of this unique jib Ulrik chucked a double front flip a la Ben Hinkley off the top.
Mikkel “nickel bag” Bang easily won the open slopestyle with a run that included everything from 1260’’s to late backside 180 double poke shifty’s off of the canon. Right from run one Mikkel Bang had it in the bag.
Time to wrap this up as it is late and I am returning to the scavenger hunt in hopes of finding a cold beer. Though I have yet to find most of the items on the scavenger list I didn’t have any trouble spotting world class slopestyle riding which is why I suppose we all keep coming back to the open year after year. And since you are reading this on the internet I must have found the web somewhere as well. Lucky me.
2010 Burton US Open Slopestyle Results
Stratton Mountian, Vermont
March 19, 2010
15Kjersti Ostgaard Buaas