Main photos below. Bonus click through gallery above. Video at the end of the post.
All Photos: Laura Austin
Words: Pat Bridges
Video: Tanner Pendleton
Going into today's US Open slopestyle finals reigning champion Mikkel Bang was noticeably absent from the field. Yet had he been on the start sheet his past coronation wouldn't have done him much good because the 2011 Open Slopestyle was all about deciding who would earn the title of raining champion.
The US Open has never been an event for the faint of heart. Though unseasonably warm temps the past few years have been a welcome respite from the icy conditions the Open has been notorious for, rain has rarely been
among the harsh cards encountered at this annual contest. Such wasn't the case for 2011 as the Stratton skies opened up like an emo with tourettes on sodium pentathol. Actually it was just a drizzle so pardon the hyperbole. Since the actual 2011 US Open slopestyle lacked the drama and action of other world class freestyle spectacles I am simply reaching for a way to spice up the story.
Despite the main portions of the Open still being staged in the Sun Bowl the slopestyle course has been moved to a neighboring trail allowing for a series of features with better speed and flow. These advantages were somewhat diminished by the weather so the runs on tap were noticeably less dynamic than those seen recently. In other words anyone expecting 1440's and triple corks was left with 7's, 9's, a few 10's and no more than two doubles a lap. Considering that Eric Willet, Marc Mcmorris and Chas Guldemond, 1st, 2nd and 3rd on the day respectively, have consistently spent the their time on the tour in 2011 pushing the limits of jumping today's display was a let down. This is no fault to these riders or their talents because each one rode beyond the conditions. All we can do is chalk it up to the breaks encountered when dealing with a weather dependent sport.
Tomorrow is another day and the halfpipe at the Open never disappoints, rain or shine.
Women's US Open Slopestyle Finals Results
1. Enni Rukajärvi (FIN) BURTON 86.50
2. Jamie Anderson (USA) BILLABONG 84.80
3. Silje Norendal (NOR) NIKE6.0 78.70
Men's US Open Slopestyle Finals Results
1. Eric Willett (USA) QUIKSILVER 90.40
2. Mark McMorris (CAN) BURTON 87.80
3. Chas Guldemond (USA) ROCKSTAR 87.20