By Steve Hemphill
Photos by Dave Lehl

What started out as a brisk cold morning at Copper for the 2010 USASA Nationals Open Division Slopestyle slowly turned into a sunny day with spring like conditions. Both the men and women tore apart a manicured course that had a top section with three jumps and bottom section littered with rail features. After two qualifying runs the field of 21 women was cut to 8, while the men’s group went from a large 75 to a select 16. Throughout the day the soft snow conditions and competitive nature of the riders made for a fun competition.

Starting early and shredding the course, the women were laying down runs with style.  Throughout qualifying the ladies were throwing frontside and backside 3s, catching big air, and slaying the rail section with 50-50s, boardslides, and even some disasters on the down-flat-down rail. Qualifying for finals and laying down a solid run with a backside 3 and rail switch-up from Minnetrista, Minnesota was Mikaela Casey. “This is awesome, my family is here and it is just a great time riding with all my friends.” Also laying down for the women was Danielle Adams of Evergreen, Colorado. Adams fell her first run but did not succumb to the pressure, she laid down a solid second run, “I’m so stoked that I landed my second run, I put everything down perfect and am excited to move onto finals.” Other women in the open division who threw down were 13-year-old Ty Walker with a huge 5 off the third jump and Jamie Madrid with a styled out 3 on the bottom air.

As the men took to the course the snow became even softer allowing them to spin and flip their bodies all over the place while vying to get a place in finals. Throughout qualifying both frontside and backside 5s, 7s and 9s were stock along with an assortment of rodeos. However, separating themselves from the big field of 75 were sixteen riders who would advance to finals using style and a variety of spins. Tyler Anderson of Chanhassen, Minnesota was one of those with a run that consisted of a backside 7, frontside 7, and backside 9. “The course is in great shape and the field is stacked. It’s a lot of fun just being out here, I’m stoked.” Anderson said. Along with Anderson, Jake Laure of Ward, Colorado threw some of the days largest rodeos and corked spins landing him in the finals. Also, throughout the competition a few doubles were thrown and a variation of flips and spins were thrown off of the cannon box in the rail section.

After a long men’s qualification, the early afternoon proved to be the time for the ladies to step it up and get after it again. Get after it they did, especially Faye Gulini from Salt Lake City, Utah who qualified first and carried her momentum into finals.  Gulini in her final run stomped a solid 5 and 3 to earn her a third place finish. In second place, taking it up a notch from her qualifying run was Mikaela Casey. Casey threw a big frontside 3 stale and put together a nice run at the bottom in the rail section. Ousting the rest of the women though was 16-year-old Jamie Madrid from Fontana, California. “I put down a good run and am stoked, good vibes for sure!” Jamie said after her run. To take home first, Jamie stomped a clean frontside 3, threw a huge mute, smooth frontside 180 off the big jump, and had a clean rail section including a 50-50 to boardslide on the down-flat-down.

After the field of men was narrowed to 16, the riding was raised to a whole new level. Throwing down some of those big tricks was third place winner Blake Paul from Jackson, Wyoming. Paul earned a podium spot with a Cab 9, backside 7, frontside 7, and smooth 270 out of the cannon box.  Taking second place and flying back home to Anchorage, Alaska with a big smile was Ryan Stassel who spun his way onto the podium with a switch backside 9, backside 7, and frontside 1080, accompanied by a clean rail section. However, having the best run of them all and taking home the 2010 USASA Men’s Open Class title was local boy Scott See from Frisco, Colorado. “The course was fun and the weather was good. I’m excited I came out to Nationals.” See said. See put down a perfect first place run consisting of a frontside 5, Cab 9, backside 9, and a smooth switch 180 onto the cannon box followed by a 450 out.

All the open riders both men and women took advantage of a beautiful day at Copper Mountain and left it all on the mountain at the 2010 USASA Open Slopestyle Nationals.