Photos: Nick Hamilton
Words: Joel Muzzey
Yes, another contest--but one of the very best, the historic and heavy 28th Annual U.S. Open. On top of the prestige of this classic contest, the conditions today in Stratton, Vermont couldn’t have been any better. It was one of those perfect Spring days when chucking your meat is just not as scary--at least according to the dozens of riders who made the final and who were in fact, chucking. Snow Park Technologies pushed up a solid slopestyle course that opened up opportunities for riders to to unleash. For instance, Chaz Guldemond, who threw back-to-back twelves and Marko Grilc who double back-flipped. Spring sun was cooking but the course held up for the 16-man, 17-woman, 3-run final. Sounds like a big contest--it was.
Okay--to the chase. For the ladies the last hit--a jumbo pole-jam called the Shocker was a little scary, but on the rest of the course, it was all business. You cannot argue that Jamie Anderson has the best style and most skill on the rails. And she’s also no slouch on the jumps. Jamie got third. New Zealand’s Shelly Gotlieb nabbed second even after falling in her first two runs. She had to go all in on the third one and she stomped. All-around contest girl, Switzerland’s Sina Candrian took the top of the US Open podium--incidentally, the three highest scoring runs of the day for women were Candrian’s three runs. Watch the video to see what these ladies did.
It was a battle for the men, too. However, there were a few holes in the start list. Where was Andreas Wiig, Torstein Hormgo, Halldór Helgason? Probably filming is the easy answer. Well there were dudes charging and definitely some young bucks hammering: Tyler Flanagan, Nick Julius, Mark McMorris, Stale Sandbech, Seb Toutant are all under eighteen and unscared. So in third, came Quebec’s Seb Toutant--this kid got second in the event last year and stomped today in a heavy field. In second was Norway’s Ulrik Badertscher--you may not recognize the name, but you should recall this video of his 1620. Anyway, Ulrik’s high-scoring run included a backside rodeo nine, Cab nine, backside ten--and then homeboy double-front-flipped off the Shocker box thing. Ridiculous riding, really.
Another Norwegian, Mikkel Bang stole the show. Crushed it. First of all, hardly anyone exhibits style in the midst of a ten-eighty. Mikkel is one of the few. Pretty much every landing from that kid is like he’s being gently jarred from a nap he was taking mid-flight. Smoother than microwaved butter. He posted a 98--maybe the highest score anyone’s ever gotten in the history of the US Open. His jumpline went: Cab ten, switch back twelve, frontside ten. Mikkel earned this win, no doubt about that. Before stepping onto the podium, he said (a little-too casually), “I can’t even believe I just won this.” Well, everybody else could. And once Mikkel is done celebrating his first Open victory, he goes back to filming for the new TransWorld movie, In Color.
Not to rain on a sunny, epic day, but it bears mentioning that Chaz Guldemond got shafted today. He stomped back-to-back twelves in his third run--something this event has never seen--and somehow wound up in fifth. Not to take anything away from Stale Sandbech or Seb Toutant, but the judges know this one was jacked. Oh well, that’s how it goes. The Rail Jam (remember those from 2005?) goes down tonight and tomorrow is pipe.
Check the US Open Slopestyle Video HERE
|15||Kjersti Ostgaard Buaas||NOR|