Pre-qualifier session 1 top finished Greg Bretz. PHOTO: Jake Stangel
STRATTON, VT (March 18, 2009) The second day of the 27th annual US Open saw a field of 121 men vying for 40 spots in Friday's slopestyle qualification round. Of those 40, only ten will move on to Sunday's semi-finals where they will face invited riders like Chas Guldemond, Shaun White, Tim Humpreys, Charles Reid, Risto Mattila and Sebastien Toutant.
It was another warm day at Stratton Mountain as the first session of men's pre-qualifiers dropped into Snowpark Technology's slopestyle course that featured a gap to down, flat box, up rails, and four kickers. Riders like Sage Kotsenburg, Drew Brighton, and Spencer Link were looking solid but Greg Bretz was untouchable. Both of his qualifying runs scored well over his next closest competitor, his second run scored a whopping 82 points, he started off with a frontside boardslide on the box, followed by a boardslide switch-up on the box, into a Cab 540 mute on the first kicker, followed by a big and clean backside 720 nosegrab, followed by a frontside 720 tailgrab, finishing with a backside 900 mute.
Slopestyle Pre-Qualifications Men Session I
1 Greg Bretz USA FORUM
2 Spencer Link USA DC SHOE CO USA
3 Ryan Hryckiewicz USA SKYLER THOMAS
4 Jeremy Thompson USA FLOW
5 Sage Kotsenburg USA QUIKSILVER
6 Zak Stone CAN K2
7 Eric Beauchemin USA DC SHOE CO USA
8 Drew Brighton USA DC
9 Ulrik Badertscher NOR NIKE ACG
10 Jacob Aaronson USA DSM INC.
11 Zeppelin Zeerip USA GNU
12 Josh Sherman USA O MATIC
13 Broc Waring USA NIKE6.0
14 Carson Pippin USA —
15 Sean Ryan USA FORUM
16 Danny Garrity USA GNU
17 Davis Johnson USA SALOMON
18 Bryan Daino USA SIMS
19 Joacim Nyhaugen NOR BATALEON
Although the skies darkened and the rain began to fall in the afternoon, the second session of men were undeterred and took to the course for prequals. Christian Haller, Ryan Stassel and Jake Knigge were holding it down, but Petja Piiroinen, younger brother of Peetu, killed it with a clean run that started off with a 50/50 on the downrail, followed by a 50/50 front 180 out, into a Cab 900 mute on the first kicker followed by an awesome backside 720 melon, into a big frontside 720 tailgrab, finishing with a backside 900.
Slopestyle Pre-Qualifications Men Session II
1 Petja Piiroinen FIN BILLABONG
2 Jake Knigge USA GNU
3 Christian Haller SUI BURTON
4 Ryan Stassel USA BURTON
5 Mark Hoyt USA LIB
6 Mark McMorris CAN O´NEILL
7 Silas Hatch USA BURTON
8 John Murphy USA ANALOG
9 Michael Goldschmidt USA MARY JANE
10 Jeremy Cloutier CAN ROSSIGNOL
11 Jack Kyle USA —
12 Josh Warnick USA BILLABONG
13 Wes Walsh USA OAKLEY
14 Scott James AUS DC
15 Joe Mango USA RIDE
16 Paul Brichta USA BURTON
17 Skyler Thomas USA —
18 Merrick Joyce USA K2
19 Hunter Wood USA NIKE6.0
20 Hans Mindnich USA BURTON
21 Derek Livingston CAN ICARUS SKATE &
The US Open action continues tomorrow with women's halfpipe qualifiers. The US Open is the last stop on the Burton Global Open Series and offers riders the chance to earn points towards a male and female championship title, each worth $100,000, currently the largest single payout in competitive snowboarding.
The 2009 US Open halfpipe, slopestyle and quarterpipe action can be seen on NBC, Sunday, March 29 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST. If you can't make it to Stratton, watch all of the semi-finals and finals live on March 21 and 22 on Go211.com, where webcasts and highlights of the competitions will also be available for on-demand viewing once the event concludes.
Burton would like to thank Stratton Mountain Resort, Volvo, SoBe, Go211.com, Paul Mitchell, Virgin America, GORE-TEX®, Corona, Emergen-C, Shiseido, R.E.D., ANON, Analog and Gravis for their support of the US Open. For more information on the US Open, head to www.opensnowboarding.com