Kelly Clark & Yiwei Zhang take first in 2014 Burton US Open halfpipe semi-finals

Comments by Kelli Lynn Hargrove/

A 50 degree day, no wind, and a hefty dose of halfpipe snowboarding. The Burton US Open halfpipe semi-finals went down today, with 16 women and 31 men battling for a spot in Saturday’s finals. With a $45,000 cash purse on the line, the competition has proven fierce, with much more to come.

Airing high over the ladies halfpipe semis | P: Jeff Patterson Airing high over the ladies halfpipe semis | P: Jeff Patterson / @burtonsnowboards

Kicking off the morning with the women’s semis, Queralt Castellet took an early lead after a hammer of a first run, holding onto the top spot straight through second runs before Kelly Clark stomped her way to the top of the leader board with an 87.53. Clark put down run that included a frontside 1080, Cab 720, frontside air, backside 540 double tail grab, frontside 540 indy, all wrapped up with a method air on the final hit. Castellet ended her day with a solid second— an 85.40— while Chloe Kim rounded out the top 3 with a 78.83.

A total of 31 men showed up to throw down, and after 62 runs through the halfpipe, Chinese rider Yiwei Zhang will lead the pack into Saturday’s finals. A method air, frontside double 1080, Cab double cork 1080 indy to mute grab, frontside double 1260, double barrel roll, and a frontside 1080 tailgrab earned Zhang a 93.00 and first place. Ben Ferguson, who trumped little brother Gabe for a temporary stint at the top, ended the day in third, with Taylor Gold in second.

“It’s such a relief,” said Gold. “I didn’t really know if it was going to happen coming in because I’ve had some trouble in the last few contests, so I was happy to get in with my first run score.”

10 men and 6 women will come out to compete in Saturday’s finals, vying for the 2014 Burton US Open halfpipe title and that $45,000 cash purse. Catch the whole contest on FOX Sports 2 and Burton.com/USO, beginning at 2pm MST.

P: Jeff Patterson / @burtonsnowboards P: Jeff Patterson / @burtonsnowboards

Full results:

Women’s Halfpipe Semi-Final Results:

1. Kelly Clark (USA), BURTON, 87.53

2. Queralt Castellet (ESP), YONEX, 85.40

3. Chloe Kim (USA), BURTON, 78.83

4. Hannah Teter (USA), BURTON, 74.08

5. Sophie Rodriguez (FRA), OAKLEY, 72.90

6. Rana Okada (JPN), BURTON, 72.78

Men’s Halfpipe Semi-Final Results:

1. Yiwei Zhang (CHN), MINI, 93.00

2. Taylor Gold (USA), BURTON, 84.38

3. Ben Ferguson (USA), BURTON, 81.85

4. Gabe Ferguson (USA), BURTON, 80.50

5. Jake Pates (USA), BURTON, 79.63

6. David Habluetzel (SUI), BURTON, 78.80

7. Louie Vito (USA), VIVE, 78.65

8. Taku Hiraoka (JPN), BURTON, 77.35

9. Kent Callister (AUS), LIB TECH, 76.28

10. Christian Haller (SUI), BURTON, 75.28