2009 Burton New Zealand Open Superpipe Gallery

Drunken late nights and heavy dance sessions didn't hold the people in Wanaka back from heading up to Cardrona Alpine Resort to witness the best class of international pro snowboarders ever showcased in New Zealand. Saturday was the final day of the 7th Burton New Zealand Open. The riders pushed the current contest standards of riding to a new high in halfpipe with never before seen tricks thrown down by a handful of riders. A perfectly built slopestyle course allowed riders to throw down hammers over the mellow 40 and 50 footers. The third jump was a poppy 70 footer that saw massive double corked spins. The Cardrona park crew added a unique up-stair feature to quaterpipe at the bottom of the course. Canada's Sebastien Toutant along with Jamie Anderson took home first in slope. Gold medalists Shaun White and Kelly Clark won the halfpipe.

It was a hectic four days that saw three nearly perfect blue bird days after a miserable soggy first day. New Zealand showed off its characteristic beautiful scenery with a sea of clouds hanging low in the valley below on the second day with perfect blue skies on the mountain. Saturday had nearly perfect weather for the pipe final, with a massive crowd frothing to see the riders throw down their runs. Friday saw 42 men and 16 women contending for the $24,000, with $6,000 going to the winners of the slopestyle.

2009 Burton New Zealand Open Slopestyle Gallery

Women's & Men's Slopestyle

The women started off slopestyle with New Zealand's own Shelly Gotlieb impressing the judges and taking the top spot heading into the finals. She threw down solid runs, consisting of cab 540s, big laid out backflips, backside 360 tailgrabs, and holding it down on the rails. But, it was Jamie Anderson stealing the show with a run of a tailslide, 50-50 to fakie on the box, setting up for a switch backside 360, followed by a Cab 540 melon, then throwing a smooth front 360 melon off the big jump. Janna Meyen-Weatherby showed her strong riding, picking up second place stomping a 720, and some cab 540s.

The men threw down for the finals with Sebastian Toutant taking the top spot with his "Toutsie Roll", a double corked out backside 1080 that helped him land in second at last winter’s 2009 US Open. His winning run was a backside 270 disaster, 50-50 backside 360 off on the second rail, into a backside rodeo 540 Indy, into a Cab 900 stale, to his "toutsie roll", then a noseslide on the uprail with an alleyoop backside 50-50 on the quarterpipe, ending with a frontside boardslide on the kinked down-flat-down. Torstein Horgmo threw down to get second with a switch backside 900, to frontside 1080, and a backside 1080. Eric Willet, from the states, showed consistently good style to bag third place with back-to-back 900s and good combos on and off the jibs. Tim Humphrey's double backside rodeos off the second jump were a huge crowd pleaser. 2009 US Open Slopestyle winner Chas Guldemond was throwing the best looking backside rodeo 540s and going for massive backside 1260s on the last jump. Danny Kass entertained everyone while throwing smooth spins while jamming out to a ghetto blaster held by Scotty Lago as he followed close behind Danny. The Frends crew had a strong showing with Mason Aguirre and Danny Davis putting down smooth runs.

Burton Open Halfpipe Finals – NZsnowboard.TV from NZsnowboard.com on Vimeo.

Superpipe Eye Poppers

The last day kicked off with what many are already calling the best pipe competition ever held in the history of snowboarding—a good place to start for this Olympic competition season. History was made when Louie Vito stomped the first double corked out 1080 in a pipe competition. Forty men and 21 women competed on the final day. The battle for the $6,000 prize was a heavyweight battle between Louie Vito, Luke Mitrani, Shaun White, and Kazuhiro Kokubo. Despite having arguably the best run in the semi-finals, Vito didn't land his complete run in the finals and got ninth place. Kazuhiro Kokubo, of Japan, was sending every hit with massive amplitude. Kazuhiro's first hit mcTwists were some of the best looking hits of the day. He ended up getting third. Luke Mitrani blew the crowd away with his massive hits. He took home second with a run consisting of a double inverted 900 melon, a frontside 720 Indy, a Cab 720, followed by a frontside 900 tailgrab. But the winning run went to Shaun White. He threw down a run scoring a 97.0 with a massive frontside lien air, into a backside 900 melon, a frontside 1080 stale, to his new Cab double corked 1080, finishing with another frontside double corked 900. Best trick went to Luke Mitrani for his massive Double Michalchuk.

For the Women the Asian competitors had a very strong showing. Zhifeng Sun took home third for China, throwing a frontside 900 in her run. Fellow team rider from China, Jiayu Liu, got second. Her run consisted of back-to-back 720s and back-to-back 540s. Kelly Clark received a score of 83. 67 to take the top spot with a huge frontside air to backside 540, to a frontside 720 tailgrab, into a cab 720, followed by a frontside 540. Best trick went to Elizabeth Beerman, for a huge frontside 900.

Afterparty Action

The action was not only limited to snowboarding, as all four nights in Wanaka had events and parties. Wednesday night hundreds of people piled into the Lake Wanaka Centre to watch footage from the day and the world premiere of Burton's B Movie. The crowd was stoked on the movie, getting a sneak peak at White's back-to-back double corks in the halfpipe (which you'll see more of in the October issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding). Thursday night the Gravis Open Sessions kicked off with music from Black Sun Empire, and State of Mind at the Lake Wanaka Centre. Friday night got a little crazy with Kass showing the new Grenade movie, Get Boned, at Shooter's Bar. Saturday was the finale of the event with a concert at Lake Wanaka Center featuring Tiki Live, and DJ Reno. After that it was a blur to most spectators and riders in the 7th Burton New Zealand Open.

And In Closing …

The biggest snowboard competition in New Zealand was far from disappointing. The scenery of New Zealand mixed with the level of riding and the after parties made the four days a fuzzy non-stop show of entertainment and snowboarding progression. Kiwi riders had a good showing with Shelly Gotleib placing third in the slopestyle. For those who didn't get to witness the insanity of the pipe finals, there will be more to come as the days to the 2010 Olympic Games count down. With the event coming to an end, people can only imagine how crazy this coming season will get as the riders have pushed the standard of riding to a whole new higher level.

Slopestyle Final Women
1 Jamie Anderson, USA
2 Janna Weatherby, USA
3 Shelly Gotlieb, NZL
4 Joanna Dzierzawski, USA
5 Silvia Mittermueller, GER
6 Hana Beaman, USA
Slopestyle Final Men
1 Sebastien Toutant, CAN
2 Torstein Horgmo, NOR
3 Eric Willett, USA
4 Tore Holvik, NOR
5 Seppe Smits, BEL
6 Stef Zeestraten, NZL
Halfpipe Final Women
1 Kelly Clark, USA
2 Jiayu Liu, CHN
3 Zhifeng Sun, CHN
Best Trick: Elizabeth Beerman, Frontside 900
Halfpipe Final Men
1 Shaun White, USA
2 Luke Mitrani, USA
3 Kazuhiro Kokubo, JPN
Best Trick: Luke Mitrani, Double Michalchuk
Best Overall Kiwi Female – Shelly Gotlieb (Ohakune)
Best Overall Kiwi Male – James Hamilton (Auckland)