The 2005 U.S. Open


Chock-full of history-defining moments-try not to get choked up.

By Jennifer Sherowski

“The first time I went to the Open was ’95, and it was amazing just to watch. Terje and Brushie were going bigger and smoother than anyone. I remember riding the pipe after the comp and getting chased down the thing by the big dogs hauling arse-the pipe seemed so big then.”-Danny Kass

If snowboarding had a Wimbledon or Kentucky Derby, it would have be the U.S. Open. People remember their first Open down to the last detail, whether or not they were a scared young schmuck dropping into the Junior Jam for the first time or a gripped spectator forcing their way through the rowdy halfpipe crowd to catch a glimpse of Haakon. Since the inaugural event held in 1982, the Open has managed to preserve history and at the same time travel forward into the future with progressive formats and features. True, no one I know indulges in strawberries and champagne or mint juleps come Open time-in fact, the thing only started airing on national TV a couple years ago. Still, if you call yourself a snowboarder, then you know that like Wimbledon and the Derby, what goes down at the U.S. Open is the difference between history and heritage.

With that said, every U.S. Open seems to have some sort of defining event-like the year of Markku Koski’s 1440, or the riot in Stratton Village during the post Big Air hip-hop show, or when little Kazu Kokubo did that absolutely gigantic McTwist. Well, I guess not every year has one of those, but most do, and the ones that don’t are remembered as the “mellow” years-which are landmarks in themselves.

So what about 2005? This definitely wasn’t a mellow year. No, this was the season that Danny Kass became the first person to ever win four U.S. Open halfpipe titles (Terje Haakonsen himself only owns three). “I was so excited to even podium at the Open,” says Danny. “It was always the most prestigious freestyle event in snowboarding to me and my friends.” Funny thing how times change-how the very contest that Kass and his crew of Jersey hellions used to glue their eyes to every year is now the event that other young scrubs pilgrimage out to to glimpse Kass’ run. Back-to-back 1080s, a frontside seven, an alley-oop 360, an effortless switch backside rodeo-it’s the legacy carrying on. Says Danny, “Making it into Open history was the highlight of my snowboard career.”

Another way the Open hypes up its roots is through the tradition of controlled Superpipe-finals poaching that has developed over the past few seasons. So what if Terje didn’t make the finals? You still get to see him shred in between competitors’ runs, all smooth and stylish back in the pipe he used to dominate. Abe Teter also keeps the downtime up by going into orbit as usual. DCP? He rarely does pipe contests, but you can still bear witness to him and Romain De Marchi frolicking their way through a train run. It’s about fun and a little bit of lawlessness. Yep, even if they do search every backpack for booze before letting you into the venue these days, at least you can still see a little organized mayhem inside the halfpipe.

Speaking of back in the day, some of you might not know, but this year’s Slopestyle winner Janna Meyen has actually won the U.S. Open before. Yep, the year was 1991, the event was halfpipe-Janna was a rookie am all of fourteen years old, and she beat out older, more established pros like Michele Taggart and Tina Basich with her new skate-influenced way of shredding. It took her fourteen years to come back, but when she did, she used that same strong style to dominate the slopestyle-truly manhandling her spins and rail tricks like she’s been doing for the past few seasons.

Enough looking back, though. The U.S. Open Rail Jam is complete forward-thinking. A brand-new rail-feature beast generated by Planet Snow Design was introduced a couple years ago, and it has since become signature to the contest-sseven different rails and ledges meant for attack (nearly every one of them five to seven feet tall) all fused to a single chunk of staircase madness. For the last two years at least, this has provided an outlet for the complete ball of jibtastic energy that is local East Coaster Chris Rotax: backside 450-ons and whatnot earning him the best-trick award this year and yelps from the crowd. The jam also attracts your usual handrail destroyers, like Eddie Wall, who won the thing with clinical consistency, and Leanne Pelosi, who ain’t afraid to wreck herself a few times if it means finally being able to wreck shop in the end.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, a lot went on at the 2005 Open-just like every other year, of course. Rookies like Risto Mattila, Danny Davis, and Jed Anderson came up, veterans like Gretchen Bleiler and Danny Kass defended titles, spectators froze, riders ate shit on Vermont ice, beers were downed at the good ol’ Green Door, Jake Burton flew over the action in his private helicopter-it was beautiful, it was ugly, it was the U.S. Open.


Men’s Superpipe

1. Danny Kass

2. Steve Fisher

3. Antti Autti

4. Keir Dillon

5. Danny Davis

Women’s Superpipe

1. Gretchen Bleiler

2. Torah Bright

3. Hannah Teter

4. Tricia Byrnes

5. Junko Asazuma

Rail Jam

1. Eddie Wall

2. Yale Cousino

3. Jed Anderson

4. Sylvain Beauchesne

Women’s Rail Jam

1. Leanne Pelosi

2. Hana Beaman

3. Spencer O’Brien

4. Marie-France Roy

Men’s Slopestyle

1. Risto Mattila

2. Jussi Oksanen

3. Andreas Wiig

4. Scott Lago

5. Matt Dano

Women’s Slopestyle

1. Janna Meyen

2. Leanne Pelosi

3. Natasza Zurek

4. Jamie Macleod

5. Marie-France Roy