US Open 2011 Pipe 002 Ipod

After his second place finish at the 2011 US Open Iouri signed 78 autographs and each one of those kids is going to get home, look at the paper and think someone owes them ri Podladtchikov. R: Iouri Podladtchikov P: Laura Austin

Words: T Bird

The US Open at Stratton Mountain, VT commenced today in true fashion with the men’s and women’s pipe finals. 10 men, 6 women, one pipe, and sub-par weather. Luckily for the competitors, speed was not an issue and the light was good enough to see the deck from about 15 feet above it.

US Open 2011 Pipe 033 Ipod

Kelly Clark, Rebecca Sinclair, Gretchen Bleiler, Hannah Teter, Soko Yamaoka, and Kjersti Buass battled it out above the lip for the $20,000 first place prize. Sinclair couldn’t put down a run, Soko got bumped at the last minute, Kjersti failed to land, and obviously, the remainder of the field made it to the podium. The first of those three was third place finisher Gretchen Bleiler. Her first hit Cripplers were well overhead, and it’s my belief that her dwindling amplitude cost her first or second. Regardless, Gretchen is back. And she’s still on it. Now, I gotta give her credit. I’ve been hard on Hannah Teter through the years. Don’t ask why. I just have been. And I will now cease to be. Hannah came out swinging, boosting massive airs and grabbing her board when she spun. It sounds like an underhanded compliment, but in the past, her failure to grab may have been fuel for my fodder. Hannah rode insane today, and if it weren’t for Kelly’s dominance, Hannah would’ve clearly crushed it. Ahhhhh, Kelly. No one can beat her. Literally. The gap between Kelly and the other girls is an abyss at this point, and from her first run, when she put down a 90-something score, she had it in the bag. She landed the front ten. She went massive. And she is quite literally, head and shoulders above the rest of her peers. I look forward to Torah’s return, as I think she is the only one who can give Kelly a run for her money at this point.

US Open 2011 Pipe 005 vito

Even female snowboard photographers lose focus when Louie Vito is around. R: Louie Vito P: Laura Austin

And now for the men. Matt Ladley was out with the flu, but (Oh God, this is gonna be bad) that didn’t mean the rest of the guys couldn’t get sick on-hill. Zack Black, Ryo Aono, Iouri Podladtchikov, Louie Vito, Jan Scherrer, Kazuhiro Kokubo, Kohei Kudo, Markus Malin, and Eiju Hiromi took to it at about 1 o’clock. A few double corks and straight airs later, there were three, and two of them were Japanese. One was Swiss. Canadian Open pipe champ Kohei Kudo took third with a flurry of overhead airs, and as I claimed after his Cano win, Kazu finally has someone to pass the torch to. And that’s a fucking great thing. The man they call Ipod fell on his third and final run but put down two double corks in his second run on his way to a second place finish. And finally, reigning US Open pipe champion Kazuhiro Kokubo took his second title. His second run score in the mid-90s was more than enough to make him $20,000 richer and every single snowboarder on earth infinitely more hyped on this event. In a final marked by a heavy Japanese presence, two ended up in the top three, and given the recent world events and the devastation in The Land of the Rising Sun, I don’t think there was a single person watching who thought that it probably felt pretty damn good to win one.

US Open 2011 Pipe 010 black

Obviously Zack Black's parents wanted his first and last names to rhyme. He's pretty stoked his surname wasn't Pink. R: Zack Black P: Laura Austin

Men’s 2011 US Open Pipe Results:
1. Kazuhiro Kokubo
2. Iouri Podladtchikov
3. Kohei Kudo

Gretchen Bleiler took time off from doing all sorts of charity shit to compete at the US Open. Ironically she wasn't too charitable to the rest of the women's field at the 2011 US Open as she flipped, spun and stomped her way to an appropriate podium finish. R: Gretchen Bleiler P: Adam Moran

Women 2011 US Open Pipe Results:
1. Kelly Clark
2. Hannah Teter
3. Gretchen Bleiler


Not only does she have two Olympic medals and numerous US Open titles as well as some impressive hula hooping skills but Hannah Teter is also the only women's halfpipe standout who has inspired Eddie Wall to write a song. R: Hannah Teter P: Adam Moran

US Open 2011 Pipe 019 Kudo

Who remembers those short-lived candy bars from the eighties named Kudos? Actually apparently they are still around. Either way SNOWBOARDER wishes Kohei kudo's on his third place finish. R: Kohei Kudo P: Laura Austin

US Open 2011 Pipe 020 ryo aono

Ryo Aono has some big shoes to fill if he hopes to bring Rev Snowboards back to its former 90's glory when JP Walker, Jeremy Jones and JF Pelchant rode for them. R: Ryo Aono P: Laura Austin

US Open 2011 Pipe 038 black

Rumor has it that Shaun White isn't actually injured but rather he insisted on an appearance fee in order for him to compete at the Open. This rumor is being supported by the fact that Shaun was paid a considerable amount of money by Disney and ESPN to ride in the 2011 X Games. What this has to do with Zack Black is that had Shaun competed there would have been a chance of this being a true Black and White photo. R: Zack Black P: Laura Austin

US Open 2011 Pipe 148 malin

Subliminal advertising is still alive and well as Markus Malin uses his base graphic to prompt his female fans to show him their affection. R: Markus Malin P: Laura Austin

US Open 2011 Pipe 165 Crowd

Some photos are so good that they produce caption anxiety. There are way too many possibilities and it can cause a cerebral log jam. Therefore is calling our readers to leave their top caption ideas in the comments below. The best ones as chosen by the Snowboarder staff will be featured in the comments section. P: Laura Austin

US Open 2011 Pipe 022 kazu

Snowboarder would like to have a moment of silence for Kazuhiro's countrymen and the tragedy that has befallen them ………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. R: Kazuhiro Kokubo P: Laura Austin

US Open 2011 Pipe 058 kazu

A well-deserved and classy victory lap for Kazuhiro Kokubo. R: Kazuhiro Kokubo P: Laura Austin

Women's Podium (L to R) Gretchen Bleiler, Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter P: Laura

US Open 2011 Pipe 065 podium

Men's Podium (L to R) Kohei Kudo, Iouri Podladtchikov, Kazuhiro Kokubo