words: Mark Clavin
photos: Mary Walsh, Mark Clavin
On the final day of competition at the Burton US Open, the sun shined down in Vail, Colorado on what is commonly referred to as the marquee event of not just the weekend, but the entire season of competition. Whether it is fans in the cage of Open’s past, cheering and jeering their favorite riders, or Terje poaching the pipe with his legendary method, the Burton US Open halfpipe finals holds a strong place in the history of snowboarding, and the 35th year was no different.
First up, the women dropped in for practice around 10:00am. The crowds started to gather as Chloe Kim, Elena Hight, Haruna Matsumoto, Maddie Mastro, and Sena Tomita aired above their heads and felt the conditions out. Cameras and phones came out, the live streams started rolling, and ample amounts of sunscreen was applied just in time to hear Henry Jackson at the bottom of the pipe announce “Welcome to the 2017 Burton US Open halfpipe finals…”
The level of riding and progression from the ladies was insane. Chloe Kim and Maddie Mastro traded leads, but after Chloe’s second run, she never looked back. Spinning a frontside 1080 tail, Cab 720, and capping the run with a McTwist, Chloe’s score remained at the top until she bested herself during her victory lap. We cannot confirm, but we like to think that the 16-year-old was listening to Drake’s “Back to Back” as she defended her title and stomped in front of the huge crowd gathered along the pipe.
Elena Hight, landing front and back 900’s, relied on her third attempt to propel her onto the podium and into the number two spot! She also earned the only real bottle of champagne on the podium, passing on the sparkling cider that was given to the underage winners.
Maddie Mastro, at 17-years-old, found herself in third on her last drop and could not improve her score, ending the day with a solid 78.25! The field, sans Kim, was only separated by five points, attesting to the progression spreading throughout the start list.
Without trying to sound redundant, Shaun White also went back-to-back. After losing to Scotty James at the X Games earlier in the season, White, the oldest competitor in the field, came out swinging and landed enough shots to defend his US Open title and take down the Aussie that wears mittens closely resembling boxing gloves. James settled for second, and 21-year-old Chase Josey snagged third in a stacked list of riders.
Laying down a double chuckflip, frontside double cork 1080, cab double crippler, and more, Josey’s run had Ben Ferguson cheering at the bottom of the pipe. With such a technical run, Chase is looking to be a favorite heading in to 2018 Winter Olympics! Other standout tricks included Shaun’s mental cab double cork 1440 and Scotty James going 20 feet out of the pipe on his first hit for a backside double cork 1260.
Raibu Katayama was keeping his speed throughout the pipe and might have been going bigger than most the entire day! And although Danny Davis did not podium, his classic switch method and constant change-up of trick selection seemed to be a crowd favorite.
The men’s finals definitely had its fair share of drama, as a few falls and huge airs kept the crowd on its toes, but in the end, Scotty James could not land his last run which made way for a Shaun White victory lap in front of a stoked crowd. ” I knew everyone was going to be going for their hardest runs. I had to step it up,” said White following the win.
Full results below:
Women’s Halfpipe Finals Results
1. Chloe Kim (USA), BURTON, 87.12
2. Elena Hight (USA), VOLCOM, 80.12
3. Maddie Mastro (USA), BILLABONG, 78.25
4. Sena Tomita (JPN), HEAD SNOWBOARDS, 77.00
5. Haruna Matsumoto (JPN), SALOMON, 75.00
Men’s Halfpipe Finals Results
1. Shaun White (USA), BURTON, 92.74
2. Scotty James (AUS), RED BULL, 82.87
3. Chase Josey (USA), ROCKSTAR, 79.87
4. Iouri Podlatchikov (SUI), MONSTER ENERGY, 78.24
5. Raibu Katayama (JPN), BURTON, 77.75
6. Danny Davis (USA), BURTON, 59.50
7. Ayumu Hirano (JPN), NIKE, 51.00
8. Pat Burgener (SUI), SAMSUNG, 46.87
9. David Habluetzel (SUI), RED BULL, 44.87
10. Jake Pates (USA), ROCKSTAR, 38.62