An absolutely packed field of the world’s best snowboarders are slated to compete next week at the 35th annual U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, the longest-running snowboard competition and one of the last major contests ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. From February 27th – March 4th at Vail, Olympic medalists scheduled to compete in the U.S. Open halfpipe and slopestyle competitions include two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White (USA) and three-time Olympic Medalist Kelly Clark (USA); 2014 Olympic Slopestyle Medalists Mark McMorris (CAN), Stale Sandbech (NOR), Jamie Anderson (USA) and Enni Rukajarvi (FIN); plus the entire 2014 Men’s Olympic Halfpipe podium of Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI), Ayumu Hirano (JPN), and Taku Hiraoka (JPN) are confirmed.
Enthusiasm for the U.S. Open competition is high, Shaun White says, “I’ve been riding at the Open since I was a little kid, and it’s always a good time. Last year’s Open was one of the best for me - I broke my old record of 24 feet out of the halfpipe with a 26-foot air on the first hit. All of the riders step up their game at the Open, especially with the Olympics less than a year out. I can’t wait to see how the contest shapes up this time around.”
As always spectators are invited to come watch all the exciting competitions for FREE as well as enjoy the Burton U.S. Open Live Music Lineup following each day’s competition, plus the full slate of U.S. Open activities.
The competition starts with the legendary Junior Jam on Tuesday, February 28th featuring a field of 16 boys and nine girls under age 14 competing in the full size Superpipe. These next-generation rippers are definitely the future of the sport – in fact this is where many of today’s pros first got their start. The top boys and girls finisher will each advance into the pro competition.
The pro competition kicks off on Wednesday, March 1st with men’s and women’s slopestyle semi-finals at Vail Mountain’s Golden Peak. Kyle Mack (USA) returns to defend his title following his 2016 win featuring back-to-back triple cork 1440s. He’ll face stiff competition with Mark McMorris (USA) coming off wins at Dew Tour slopestyle and multiple FIS World Cup Big Air events. Additional contenders include Max Parrot (CAN) who finished on the top spot at both the 2017 X Games Big Air and the Innsbruck Air & Style, as well as 17-year-old 2017 X Games Slopestyle Gold Medalist Marcus Kleveland (NOR).
The field is packed in women’s slopestyle with five-time Burton U.S. Open Slopestyle Champion Jamie Anderson going for her sixth U.S. Open title. She’ll be up against a heavy field including Anna Gasser (AUT), Hailey Langland (USA), and Julia Marino (USA) who’ve all finished on the top of the podium this winter. Expect the competition to be especially heated as women’s slopestyle progression continues to accelerate at astonishing speeds.
On Thursday, March 2nd, defending halfpipe champion Shaun White (USA) returns following his history-making 2016 U.S. Open run blasting a record-setting 26-foot air and winning with a commanding seven-point lead. White comes into the Burton U.S. Open following a first place finish at the Mammoth Grand Prix. He’ll be competing against previous podium finishers including Taku Hiraoka (JPN), Danny Davis (USA), and Ayumu Hirano (JPN) as well as hot-on-his-heels contender Scotty James (AUS), who’s coming off big wins at the 2017 X Games and the recent Olympic test event World Cup in South Korea.
Sixteen-year-old Chloe Kim (USA) is positioned to defend her 2016 U.S. Open halfpipe win against seasoned competitor and nine-time U.S. Open Champion Kelly Clark (USA). Clark is coming into the Open with plenty of confidence thanks to back-to-back wins at the Mammoth Grand Prix and the Olympic test event World Cup in South Korea. Also, look out for 2017 X Games Halfpipe Gold Medalist Elena Hight (USA) and Arielle Gold (USA) to be podium contenders as well.
“I’m really looking forward to the Open because I love going to Vail and it's a really fun contest,” says 2016 Burton U.S. Open Halfpipe Champion Chloe Kim. “It's great to see all of the progression that happens there.”
It all comes down to the finals, when 10 men and six women compete for equal share of the overall $343,000 prize purse in a progression-promoting three-run format, with slopestyle finals on Friday, March 3rd followed by halfpipe finals on Saturday, March 4th. As the grand finale of the competitive snowboard season, the U.S. Open draws the world’s top riders to compete at the top of their game.
There’s plenty of action off hill as well with an expanded Burton U.S. Open Live Music roster performing on the Solaris Concert Stage and at the U.S. Open closing party at Dobson Ice Arena in Vail Village. The lineup includes 13 live bands and DJs including Lizzo, D.R.A.M, Xavier Omär, Gramatik and more—all for FREE.
For details on all things U.S. Open, follow the hashtag #BurtonUSOpen and head to BurtonUSOpen.com or download the official Burton U.S. Open app on your mobile device. You’ll find a full list of invited riders, concerts, product demos, Burton Girls happenings, Kids Learn To Ride opportunities, and the history of the longest-running snowboard event in the world.