I’m used to snow falling down, and sideways snow–thats nothing new. But having it actually snow in a circle, I’ve never really seen that before. Well, no time like the 2004 US Open Slopestyle to experience something different, right?

Competition morning saw nasty winds kick up that didn’t just blow one way or another but all directions at once (including up), making the dumping springtime snowflakes an obstacle for both visibility as well as speed. Riders had to point it through the kicker line to avoiding knuckling, at least two goggle wipes were necessary during a given run, and the crowd, well, they were watching on the jumbo-tron from inside the lodge.

Now, the women didn’t have it quite as bad as the men because they went a bit earlier in the day. Canadian rookie Leanne Pelosi hucked a whirl, spinning two frontside sevens in her semifinals run but crashing on both and so not making it into the top ten. Later in the finals, another newcomer by the name of Sylvia Mittermuller made a big impact during her runs. She’s tall and rides big and strong, as evidenced by the goddamn frontside 900 she almost pulled off on the course’s final kicker. By the time she sticks that trick she will be winning these things. The podium spots, however, went to the more seasoned and consistent riders. Last year’s Open Slopestyle winner Hana Beaman touched down clean on tech Cab threes and her signature quarked frontside spins for third place. This year’s Superpipe winner Kelly Clark clinched second with probably the cleanest run of all the women, spinning off every kicker and handling the rails, too. Kelly ain’t just a pipe-jockey, she’s good at every aspect of snowboarding–obviously. The surprised and flustered winner of the women?s event, though, was none other than Whistler’s Priscilla Levac. She went big and made ends meet on a complex combo through the kicker line. Although her run wasn’t quite as clean as Kelly’s, she definitely had a spark in there that means big things to come.

The men’s finals were held simultaneously with a major weather event–a strange combination of freak spring snowstorm and Northeast hurricane. But despite all that, I saw lots of switch backside spins–threes, sevens, maybe not nines, though. Switch backside is the hardest way to spin and it seems to be the new shit on the slopestyle scene. Mikey Rencz, a young’un out of Whistler, put together two solid runs and was perhaps rooked a little bit in the scorecards, but what can ya do? Stian Solberg–yup, that’s JP Solberg’s little brother–came all the way over from Norway to let people know he can snowboard. Well. Danny Kass stomped everything he did, but he didn’t do the switch rodeo like you probably saw in the X-Games. The top three (Christoph Schmidt, Travis Rice, and Vermont local Jake Blauvelt) all shredded it, too, although it was a bit of a surprise (even to the Blauvelt himself) that he won it. But that’s what’s great about the Open, right? Anything can happen.

Results

Men

1. Jake Blauvelt

2. Travis Rice

3. Christoph Schmidt

4. Danny Kass

5. Tyler Emond

6. Nate Sheehan

7. Mathieu Danault

8. Mikey Rencz

Women

1. Priscilla Levac

2. Kelly Clark

3. Hana Beaman

4. Jamie MacLeod

5. Natasza Zurek

6. Sylvia Mittermuller

7. Marie-France Roy

8. Laura Hadar