Helicopters and stretchers were a common sight at the BoarderX competition during the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships at Stratton Mountain, Vermont today. But surviving through the world-class lineup of riders were Frenchman Xavier Delerue and Austrian Ine Poetzl to take the men’s and women’s titles.

On the men’s side, Delerue qualified first in the time trials by almost two seconds faster than the next competitor (and got a 1,500 dollar bonus for the feat), then proceeded to win all his heats and take the finals and the 6,000-dollar winner’s check. While he came from one side of the bracket, a collision course was set at the finals with Tor Bruserud, who won his three races before the finals. But in the end, Bruserud only ended up in fifth, ahead of Mark Schulz, but behind overall tour winner Philippe Conte who was fourth, Canadian and this year’s Open Dual GS winner Jasey Jay Anderson, and another Canadian, Drew Neilson. Neilson took first in his first-round heat, then road the Delerue’s coattails and took second to him in each of the next three heats.

“I followed him pretty good earlier in the day,” said Neilson. “Delerue schooled everyone in the time trials by three seconds, but when you’re following in a race, you can stay with him. It’s not you against the clock, it’s you seeing this faster guy ahead of you and trying to stay with him. He made two little mistakes toward the end in the finals and I caught up, but couldn’t get by him.”

The course was super good,” said Delerue. “It was the first fun race after a couple of bad races.” He may have had an unfair advantage over the other competitors because Delerue actually helped build the course. But no one was really complaining.

Although Delerue was undefeated during the day, he said that finals were especially challenging. “I had a good start, but everyone was touching the tail of my board. I took good advantage at the beginning because it was kind of tricky. And got a good hole shot and just kept on going.”

The story was similar on the women’s side, with Poetzl taking each of her heats, as well, on her way to the winner’s podium.

Second-place finisher Leslee Olson had won her quarter and semi final heats, and was looking for the showdown with Poetzl, but came up just a little short. The final was rounded out by Stratton’s own Amy Johnson, and Katharina Himmler. Line Oestvold, who had qualified first in the time trials, didn’t finish the final heat because of a crash with the other finalist, Carlee Baker. Baker crashed on the road-gap and was taken off in a stretcher.

She wasn’t the only one. The course was tight at the beginning, with a roller into a table jump right off the start. There were numerous collisions going over the first table as riders pushed for the hole shot into the first bank. Travis Mclain was a victim of this table in his quarter-final heat and took the sled down as well.

After several more medium jumps and banks, the course opened up to a huge road-gap drop that had a safety route around it. All the men went for the gap, while almost all the women opted to go around, with the exception of Poetzl and Leslee Olson. “I liked that so much,” said Poetzl. “It was just like flying. You didn’t know where to land because you just flew off it. But it was easy. You just had to have speed.”

In a unique twist, TV film crew and the contest organizers decided to follow the action on the BoarderX course with a helicopter during the quarterfinals and semi finals, but it proved to be a little bit of a distraction, when during the men’s semi heat, Delerue couldn’t hear the start over the noise of the helicopter hovering just overhead, and started out of the gate before it dropped. He tumbled out of the gates while everyone else just looked on. Luckily for him, the officials let him get back in the gate and start over, recognizing the distraction flying overhead. “I think Terje wanted to go over as well,” Delerue said.

BoarderX Final Results
1. Xavier Delerue
2. Drew Neilson
3. Jasey Jay Anderson
4. Philippe Conte
5. Tor Bruserud
6. Mark Schulz
7. Dieter Happ
8. Seth Wescott
9. Martin Freinademetz
10. Terje Haakonsen
11. Eric Warren
12. Ueli Kestenholz

1. Ine Poetzl
2. Leslee Olson
3. Amy Johnson
4. Katharina Himmler
5. Line Oestvold
6. Carlee Baker
7. Brigitte Kock
8. Alison Clark
9. Katharina Keller
10. Marni Yamada
11. Tanja Frieden
12. Lindsey Jacobellis