While history was made yesterday on the 2015 Burton US Open presented by MINI Slopestyle course, for 33 years the tradition of halfpipe has molded this event into what it is today. Starting at 10:00 this morning, competitors and poachers alike took to the stunt ditch for US Open glory. For the riders that stuck the top runs of the day it was a display of ability unlike any other competition in snowboarding, for what makes a US Open placing so rewarding is how each competitor has had the whole season to bring their A-game. Runs have been practiced, tricks dialed and style tweaked, making a title here arguably the most weighted win of the season.
There is no doubt that Kelly Clark owns the US Open halfpipe. With the highest airs of the morning, Kelly secured her eighth win over the past 13 years with totality and yet absolute humility. But her title did not come easy. Not even old enough to have a driver’s license, Chloe Kim landed her first frontside 1080 to a roaring Vail crowd, and Arielle Gold is tremendously close to sticking the most coveted trick in women’s halfpipe as well. There is no doubt that any of the three ladies that stood atop that podium today could have taken the top spot, and what we saw today is a taste of the progression to come to next season’s pipe.[juicebox gallery_id=”180″]
As the afternoon sun baked down on Eastern wall of the pipe, the men of the 2015 Burton US Open began their runs with ferocious air, style, and technicality. More often than not, when a halfpipe slam is bad, it’s bad. Both Taylor Gold and Ayumu Hirano gave us scares today but fortunately they were able to ride off the course relatively unscathed. Some of these falls can be attributed to the varying conditions of the pipe, making a flawless run that much more difficult and impressive. For Taku Hiraoka, it was only a matter of time before he put a win under his belt. The Japanese rider has been on point since the beginning of the season, earning the gold alongside his countryman Hirano. Our second place finisher, Frenchman Arthur Longo, is also one of the few riders of the field putting out a full video part with his insane segment in Volcom’s Mr. Plant. And while he didn’t break into the top three, Danny Davis was definitely the crowd favorite with his multiple poached runs, handplants and signature style in the pipe.
With Taku Hiraoka dropping into the pipe for his victory lap this afternoon it marked yet another incredible Burton US Open for the history books. With any luck, Todd Kohlman will be posting throwback photos of this event years from now, showing new generations of snowboarders how snowboarding has evolved over the years. Thank you Burton for supporting the most cherished snowboarding competition in the world. Now let’s go ride powder!