Video By Pat Fenelon
Sure, it’s called the US Open, but that’s not really telling the story of who you’ll be seeing on the podium. Yesterday, the Scandinavians dominated the men’s and women’s slopestyle, and today it was an American sweep in women’s pipe and an awesome Japanese/Swiss podium for men’s pipe. And thankfully, the weather cooperated.
The day started off with snowflakes falling gently over the hillsides of Vermont. The snow let up after practice in time for the six women to have a legit finals. Kelly Clark dominated today’s pipe event from start to finish. In a winter reminiscent of Shaun White’s 2006 Olympic run, Kelly has won every event she’s entered--eight in a row including all four Opens and the Winter X Games. Along the way, she’s pushed the progression of the sport for women introducing a front 1080 into her run first at the X Games and again today during her victory lap. She broke another record for the most wins at the US Open, beating Danny Kass’ with five top finishes. Winning today’s pipe, the Open series, 2nd in the TTR rankings, Kelly walked away at least $70,000 richer and the proud owner of a new Mini. Holy shit. She says, “The Open holds a really special place in my heart, and to have won five and set a record is just incredible. I’ve been coming to this event since before I was a competitor--I came as a spectator--never even being able to make it past pre-qualifiers for a number of years, so it’s just pretty amazing.”
Hannah Teter, has been practicing away from the watchful eye of us media types at her home resort in Tahoe and it showed in her riding, she impressed the judges with big airs and held grabs throwing a frontside 900 and a frontside 720 stalefish--that’s $10,000 more towards her charity Hannah’s Gold.
Given the total devastation occurring in Japan right now, pipe and powder pro Kazu Kokubo’s win today, his second consecutive at the Open, was about much more than snowboarding. It was a little glimmer of good news for our snowboarder friends in Japan. He said, “I hope my win brings a little joy and happiness to Japan.” Here’s what went down, Kazu was able to oust Iouri Podlatchikov in the second round going ballistic with a frontside alley-oop nosebone, front 900, Michaelchuck, frontside double cork 1080, to a Cab 1080 melon--holy smokes! Iouri wasn’t able to top his first run, which left him in a respectable second place, kicking off with a Cab double cork 1080, into a crippler, back 9, into frontside 1080, finishing with a Haakon flip. His strategy was to add his epic double McTwist in followed by a front 1080, but he wasn’t able to put the whole run together. Kohei Kudo took third with a front 10 and back-to-back 9s in a perfectly executed run.
Kazu celebrated his win during his victory lap by straight lining down the center of the pipe with a huge smile on his face--yeah Kazu! Check back for highlights from tomorrow’s Junior Jam, there were some 13- and 15-year olds poaching the pipe today and killing it. We’ll check in with them.
Women’s Halfpipe Finals Results
1. Kelly Clark (USA) Burton 94.95 $20,000
2. Hannah Teter (USA) Burton 88.10 $10,000
3. Gretchen Bleiler (USA) K2 86.30 $5,000
Men’s Halfpipe Finals Results
1. Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN) Burton 90.10 $20,000
2. Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) TSG 88.60 $10,000
3. Kohei Kudo (JPN) Oakley 87.90 $5,000
Burton Global Open Series Men’s Final Results
1. Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) Burton $50,000 and a MINI Countryman
2. Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) TSG $30,000
3. Christian Haller (SUI) Burton $20,000
Burton Global Open Series Women’s Final Results
1. Kelly Clark (USA) Burton $50,000 and a MINI Countryman
2. Jamie Anderson (USA) Billabong $30,000
3. Kjersti Buaas (NOR) Roxy $20,000
Men’s TTR World Tour Champion
Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) Burton $50,000
Women’s TTR World Tour Champion
Jamie Anderson (USA) Billabong $50,000