USASA Nationals Open Class Slopestyle
By Mike Lewis
After an epic, red carpet of a bluebird day was rolled out for the halfpipe finals on Tuesday, Mother Nature decided it was time to make it interesting for the USASA Nationals Open Category Slopestyle finals. The clouds rolled in, the mercury fell, and the course stayed rock hard, but despite the firm conditions, the riders proved harder and stepped to the course.
"It's bulletproof everywhere," said Bryce Maxwell, technical supervisor for slopestyle. "It just speaks to the confidence these kids have in their tricks."
Confidence straight oozed from the men's champion, 18-year-old Silverthorne local, Brett Esser, who front 180'd to 50-50 on the first rail, switch board to 270 on the second, and nailed the triple line with a switch backside 9, front 9, and a cab 9, finishing things off with a nose press to take the $3,000 purse, adding to the grand he took home for his second place finish in Open pipe yesterday.
Anchorage, Alaska local Ryan Stassel, also 18, took home $2k for his second place finish that included a cab 9, backside 7, front 10 combo, and Minnesota's Tyler Anderson rounded out the top three.
While Eric Beauchemin, 20, out of Stratton just missed the podium, coming in 4th,, he stomped the best trick contest, called the Hot Shot Award, for his backside rodeo 7, which head judge Shawn Carney said definitely caught all the judges eyes with its unique style.
On the women's side, Ty Walker, 14, took the cake and the $2k purse for Stowe, Vermont with a backside 50/50 and boardslide on the rails, into a front 3 melon, tail grab, back 3 method combo through the booters, closing things off with a 50-50 nosepress on the bottom rail. Coming in on her heels was 11-year-old phenom Maddie Mastro from Wrightwood, California in second, and Julianne Bracket, 16, from South Lake Tahoe.
The purses were based on field sizes—events with 50 or more riders, such as the men's slope field with 64 shreds, earned top competitors $3k, $2k, $1k, comps with under 50 riders, in a group like the women with an initial 31, carried $2k, $1k, and $500 checks for the top three.