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