Recap: T. Bird
Photos: Laura Austin
Captions: Pat Bridges
The grand finale of the 2012 Burton US Open went down last night under the lights. As the only portion of the Open to not be held at the Sun Bowl (Washed Up Cup not to be included) the night event took center stage and stood alone as the icing on the cake in what was one of the best Opens in recent memory.
Thirty years ago, snowboarders hadn't even considered ollieing off a small bump and locking their base onto a piece of metal, but due to the exponential evolution of our sport, rail riding is now a heavily marketed and fully legit genre within snowboarding, and has helped riders discern themselves from those that don bibs and drop into slope courses and perfectly cut pipes. Now, I use the term "rail jam" loosely when it comes to what went down on the front side of Stratton Mountain, because this feature–though it was composed of insane rails–was far from lumped in the category of a jibber-only offering. It was a behemoth, and the cutters, pushers, and shapers over at Snow Park Technologies worked tirelessly to make this one of the most photogenic and functional park features that has ever made an appearance at an Open.
With two wallrides, half-a-dozen rails of different sizes and varieties, a massive quarterpipe, and a booter that could send any willing contender over the entire setup, there was a lot of options for the riders. One the women's side, Kjersti Buass was the only female competitor to send it over the jump with front three stales and stylish backside 180s. On the rails, it was Marie Hucal and Christy Prior who showed their mettle on the metal, with Christy taking the top spot for her efforts. As far as the men, Ulrik Badertscher, Mark McMorris, Chas Guldemond, Justin Morgan, Kyle Mack and Roope Tonteri took to the air in a dizzying display of double corks, every variation of 900, and double back rodeos. Needless to say, the crowd went crazy, because let's face it: When a bunch of East Coasters who normally don't witness acrobatics of that magnitude see a dude flipping through the air during a techno-fueled laser light show, they freak out. Oh yeah, Chas won…and he also hit the jump shirtless.
Quarterpipe standouts were: Kim Rune Hansen who tossed up numerous double overhead Michalchuks; Danny Davis, with some gigantic air-to-fakies, and of course Jack Mitrani, whose backside airs were enormous. The men's rail portion featured Yale Cousino, Ethan Deiss, Zak Hale, Shaun Murphy, Mark and Craig McMorris, Dylan Dragotta, Mike Ravelson, Jeremy Cloutier, Jason Dubois, Dylan Thompson, and others who showcased their skills for the thousands of fans on-hand to watch the madness unfold. Aside from a few near collisions, it was a controlled chaos that was as fun to watch as it looked like it was to ride. After a handful of Open night event showings, Shaun Murphy finally got his due and took the win for the men.
The 30th annual US Open Snowboarding Championships are a wrap, and the SNOWBOARDER crew is off to Loon and Waterville, NH for Eastern Boarder's Last Call on Monday and Pat Moore's annual Back to the Boneyard the following day, so be sure to check back for all the action from the east coast, only on snowboardermag.com.
Men (Jump): Chas Guldemond
Women (Jump): Kjersti Buass
Men (Rail): Shaun Murphy
Women (Rail): Christy Prior