US OPEN HISTORY
For 31 years now, Burton Snowboards has brought together the top riders in the world to compete at one of the biggest contests of the year. While some of the first US Opens were a little different than they are today, every one of them had the same spirit of progression and friendly competition. From the spandex-clad racing days and hand-dug halfpipes, to double corks and precision-cut Superpipes, the US Open has always been the place to witness the progression of the sport. Here is a look back at some memorable moments over the years:
The year it all began. Paul Graves and a tight group of Snurfers and snowboarders created the National Snowboarding Championships at a small mountain called Suicide Six in central Vermont. Jake Burton was there. Doug Bouton ripped the course and won it.
This year, the National Snowboarding Championships was held at Snow Valley, near Manchester, VT. No lifts – you hiked to ride. The boards and the riders were getting better and faster.
Snow Valley hosted the event for the second and last time. Andy Coghlan took both the men’s slalom and downhill events. It was his first of several Open titles – he was now the man to beat.
The event officially became the US Open Snowboarding Championships and moved to Stratton Mountain where it still reigns today. Riders rode in speed suits to increase their times. Tom Sims won the men’s slalom event while Andy Coghlan defended his downhill title.
The event was gaining popularity faster than anyone expected. Over 200 competitors showed up for pre-qualifiers. Andy Coghlan won both the slalom and downhill events, adding to his growing list of Open titles. The new Burton Cruiser killed it on the slopes.
Craig Kelly was on the scene and won the men’s slalom event.
The halfpipe made its debut at the US Open and was immediately deemed the standard for all other competitive halfpipes to follow. Craig Kelly captured the ‘Overall’ title. An ice storm turned the hill into concrete the night before the event began.
This is the year the press started to show up – not just the locals and the snowboard magazines – but media from all over. Craig Kelly won his first US Open halfpipe title and the last US Open downhill competition.
Terje Haakonsen made his debut in the US Open Halfpipe on a Micro Air. He was up against tough competition including Craig Kelly, Shaun Palmer and Jeff Brushie. Craig Kelly won the halfpipe title again for the second year in a row.
The rider and crowd size doubled. Janna Meyen beats out reigning champ Tina Basich in the women’s halfpipe. With bigger pipe walls, lots of riders threw down inverts for the first time in a competition.
It just kept getting bigger and better. Terje exploded onto the scene and took the Men’s Halfpipe with control and amplitude, beating out Brushie, who was on his new Burton pro model. Tricia Byrnes won the women’s halfpipe, edging out reigning champ Janna Meyen.
Fresh snow and bluebird skies – what could be better? Shannon Dunn emerged on the scene. Terje rode his first Burton pro model to a second consecutive halfpipe victory. And what did Jake have to say? “The best thing about the US Open is that anyone from Terje Haakonsen to a 10-year-old kid from New Jersey gets to ride and hang out with their friends in a rider-controlled environment.” Tell it like it is Jake.
The crowds and riding were huge. Shannon Dunn and Todd Richards dominated the halfpipe contests. Terje sat this year out with an ankle injury.
The Big Air contest made its debut at the Open. Terje triumphantly returned and won the Men’s Halfpipe for a third time. Victoria Jealouse appeared on the scene and won the Women’s Super G.
This was the year the face of competitive snowboarding changed forever. It was announced that snowboarding would be featured in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Snowboarding was here to stay, and the US Open was bigger and better than ever. Peter Line and Cara-Beth Burnside took home the Big Air crowns. And Jimi Scott and Satu Jarvela won the halfpipe competitions.
The halfpipe event drew a massive crowd of more than 10,000 spectators. Todd Richards narrowly edged out current Halfpipe World Champion Terje Haakonsen, while Barret Christy ruled the women’s pipe contest. The Big Air Finals saw huge inverted airs. It just kept getting bigger.
“The Year of the Mist”. It was so damn foggy, you couldn’t see from the top to the bottom of the pipe. Mike Michalchuk threw down an unthinkable double backflip and Terje pulled out a mammoth final run. But nobody could top Rob Kingwell, whose smooth and consistent riding earned him the halfpipe title. Nicola Thost had just won the first Olympic halfpipe contest and went on to win the US Open halfpipe title. The Boardercross competition made its debut at the Open as well.
Hometown hero Ross Powers stole the show and won the Halfpipe contest with huge McTwists and 900s. Nicola Thost won the women’s halfpipe title for the second year running.
The new millennium brought the first Superpipe to the US Open – a 300-foot long monster with 15-foot walls. This was the year of Canadian domination in the halfpipe – Guillaume Morisset and Natasza Zurek made Canada proud with their winning pipe runs.
Danny Kass took the coveted halfpipe title this year, edging out Vermont’s Abe Teter by two-tenths of a point. And for the second straight year, Natasza Zurek dominated the women’s pipe contest, bringing home another title.
Just one month after snowboarding dominated the Olympics, the US Open went down with more media and spectator attention than ever before. Over 30,000 people descended on Stratton. It was the first time most of the Olympians had competed against each other since the explosive event in Salt Lake City. Danny Kass may have gotten silver at the Olympics, but he wasn’t about to settle for second at the Open. He defended his title and won the Halfpipe event for the second year running. Kelly Clark kept her gold streak alive, winning both the Quarterpipe and Halfpipe events at the Open.
It was a year of firsts in 2003. The Open held its first Rail Jam ever, won by Travis Rice. It was the first time the Open was ever broadcast live on television. And Philips was the first title sponsor of the US Open. Ross Powers joined the elite group of two-time US Open halfpipe champions, winning the event in a tight final competition. Gretchen Bleiler dominated the women’s halfpipe competition. Shaun White won the Slopestyle event, and Hannah Teter won the best overall rider award at the Open, driving away in a pimped out Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon.
The 22nd annual US Open was filled with landmark moments. Women competed in the rail jam for the first time with Leanne Pelosi claiming the top spot. Kelly Clark won the halfpipe event and joined the elite group of two-time US Open halfpipe champions, increasing her winning streak to six major contest titles during the 2003/2004 season alone. Terje Haakonsen made a surprise appearance at the Open, treating the tens of thousands fans at the halfpipe contest to one poached run after another. Up-and-comers Priscilla Levac and Jake Blauvelt won the slopestyle contest, both claiming the first major contest titles of their careers. And snowboarding history was made when Danny Kass threw down one of the best runs of his career, becoming one of only two riders in the event’s 22-year history to win three US Open halfpipe titles. Danny also went home with the Overall Champion title, winning a Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited.
The 2005 US Open definitely left its mark on the snowboarding history books. Danny Kass became the first rider ever to win four US Open halfpipe titles. It was Tricia Byrnes’ 16th consecutive year competing at the Open. Janna Meyen won her first US Open title since she won the women’s halfpipe contest in 1991. And for the first time ever, three siblings - Abe, Elijah and Hannah Teter - all made it to the halfpipe finals. Eddie Wall, Leanne Pelosi, Danny Kass, Gretchen Bleiler, Risto Mattila and Janna Meyen all earned championship titles in the rail jam, halfpipe and slopestyle respectively. Risto Mattila won the men’s Volvo Best Performance Award for his sixth place standing in the men’s halfpipe finals and his victory in the slopestyle contest. And Leanne Pelosi won the Volvo for the ladies after her first place win in the rail jam, competing in the halfpipe semifinals and placing second in the slopestyle contest. Both riders won the keys to a new Volvo V50 Sports Wagon.
The 24th Annual US Open wrapped up with 2006 Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White winning both the US Open halfpipe and slopestyle events, officially breaking all known snowboarding records by winning twelve consecutive competitions in one season. The Open got off to a great start with the revival of the Friday night quarterpipe contest where Danny Davis and Hana Beaman took the top podium spots. The men’s and women’s halfpipe finals drew over 15,000 spectators to watch many of the best riders in the world compete for the first time since the 2006 Olympics. Shaun White won his first US Open halfpipe title after his first run, which easily topped his gold medal performance in Torino. Torah Bright also earned her first US Open halfpipe title, impressing the judges with a super technical run that included a switch backside 540. On the final day of the US Open, Hana Beaman and Shaun White won the slopestyle finals. Shaun’s unbeatable skills and Hana’s two wins at the event earned them the Volvo Most Valuable Rider award and the keys to a Volvo C70 convertible. Up-and-coming riders Chas Guldemond and Ellery Hollingsworth claimed the Ski-Doo Outstanding Rookie Award and each won a Ski-Doo Freestyle Snowmobile. And Matieu Crepel was crowned the Global Ticket To Ride (TTR) Tour Men’s Champion.
The US Open celebrated 25 years of making snowboarding history in 2007. No other snowboard competition in the world has been around for a quarter of a century – and that’s a lot to be proud of in itself. At the 25th Anniversary of the US Open there was more at stake for the competitors than ever before. Shaun White and Torah Bright won the first ever Burton Global Open Series presented by Motorola Championship titles. Jake Burton presented both Shaun and Torah with a $100,000 check, currently the largest single payout in competitive snowboarding. 2002 Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark and 2006 Olympic gold medalist Shaun White won the US Open halfpipe competition. Kelly made US Open history, becoming the first woman to win the US Open halfpipe competition three times. Friday’s slopestyle finals took place despite blizzard conditions. Travis Rice, who has been competing at the Open since 1998 and Jamie Anderson won the slopestyle finals.
Glory, fame and fortune were on the line at the 26th US Open Snowboarding Championships, where the world’s top riders battled for five different prestigious titles, two Volvo C30 R-Designs and cash awards worth a total of $471,500. Those big winners were 2008 BGOS champions Torah Bright (AUS) and Peetu Piiroinen (FIN); 2008 US Open halfpipe champions Torah Bright (AUS) and Shaun White (USA); Shaun White (USA) Kjersti Buaas (NOR) took first in Us Open slopestyle; 2008 Men’s Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour Champion Kevin Pearce (USA); Volvo Most Valuable Riders Cheryl Maas and Shaun White; and 2008 US Open big air champions Cheryl Maas and Tim Humphreys.
Epic weather and impeccable riding greeted over 30,000 fans and many of the world’s top snowboarders at the US Open Snowboarding Championships. No strangers to the top spot on the US Open halfpipe podium, Danny Kass took home his record-setting fifth US Open halfpipe title and Torah Bright earned her third US Open halfpipe title. In slopestyle, Chas Guldemond (USA) and Kjersti Oestgaard Buaas (NOR) won slopestyle finals and $20,000 each. Chas Guldemond and Jamie Anderson (USA) are the new Burton Global Open Series Champions, each taking home $100,000, currently the largest single payout in the sport. Scotty Lago (USA) and Kjersti Buaas will be driving new Volvo XC60s after winning the Volvo Most Valuable Rider Awards. And last but not least, Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) was crowned the new Men’s Swatch TTR World Tour Champion, claiming $50,000 for his amazing efforts throughout the 2008/2009 TTR season.
It was time to break out the tanning lotion as a bright sun and warm temps rolled through Vermont for a fan-friendly weekend of impressive riding on slushy features. Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN) won his first US Open Halfpipe with style the world had come to recognize earlier that season in Vancouver. Kelly Clark (USA) meanwhile had a record-setting homecoming as she became the first woman to win four US Open Halfpipe titles. Mikkel Bang (NOR) took an early lead in the slopestyle before dropping an insane 98.00 score on his second run to seal his title. Sina Candrian (SUI) had her title wrapped up from the gate, and only bettered her score as she went, as well. The season’s big winner at the conclusion of it all, however, was Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) who bagged both the TTR and BGOS titles…for the second time.
The 29th annual US Open came in like a blizzard as Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN) won his second consecutive US Open halfpipe title, which he dedicated to tsunami-ravaged Japan. Kelly Clark (USA) stole the show with a record fifth consecutive US Open Halfpipe title and her first Burton Global Open Series championship, helping her take home a brand new MINI. Eric Willett (USA) and Enni Rukajärvi (FIN) clenched their first US Open titles in Slopestyle, but not without some stiff competition. The unique setup at ‘The Jam’ was impressive to say the least, but Charles Reid (CAN) and Kjersti Buaas (NOR) held on with creative runs helping them clench the top spots. Jamie Anderson (USA) and Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) locked in wins for the second and third times, respectively, in the TTR World Tour rankings. Peetu took home a brand new MINI as well to go with his BGOS title.
The 30th the US Open did the event justice at its home for the last few decades. A freak mid-day snowstorm couldn’t dash hopes of a 1st place for Seb Toots and Jamie Anderson, and they swept slopestyle with ease. Shaun White stomped his 1st run and couldn’t be beaten as he walked away with another US Open halfpipe title. And Elena Hight inched out Kelly Clark, ending her win streak, and seized her first US Open championship. The Jam had 37 men and women competing under the lights on a course consisting of rails, jumps, quaterpipes, wall rides and more—it was chaotic to say the least. Chas Guldemond and Kjersti Buass walked away with Best Air accompanied by Shaun Murphy and Christy Prior for Best Rail.