South Lake Tahoe’s Jamie Anderson wins third straight slopestyle gold at Burton U.S. Open
VAIL, Colo. — At the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, Jamie Anderson reasserted her dominance in slopestyle by winning with ease. The South Lake Tahoe native captured her third straight U.S. Open title Friday, March 4, at Vail Mountain Resort.
In a straight-final format where each of the 16 semifinal competitors were given two attempts at a winning run, Anderson completed that winning run on her first attempt by performing two 540-degree spins and a 720 off the jumps on the Golden Peak course. It was a relief for the seven-time Burton U.S. Open winner who smacked her face down hard on a big air jump in Oslo, Norway, the weekend before and is coming off a tough month of travel.
“It was fun, but definitely hectic. I think all of us are pretty beat up,” Anderson said after the competition. “The jumps were pretty massive.”
Semifinals scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, were canceled due to snowy conditions on course. A testament to just how big the jumps are, Anderson said the snow wasn’t even slowing things down enough to prevent the course from being rideable.
“It was a whiteout blizzard and we still had speed to be able to hit the jumps,” she said.
Anderson said the course took some figuring out, with two sections of rails containing several options of flat-to-down slanted and rainbow rails, two sections of transition jumps with a 13-foot mini pipe feature and a 55-foot jump with side hit options. The final two jumps measured in at 65 and 75 feet from takeoff to landing. She took two practice days, with 15 to 20 runs each day.
“I’m sure if all of us could ride it for a week and get comfy on it, it would be a totally different ballpark of riding,” she said.
Following the competition, Anderson thanked Cheryl Maas for her contributions to snowboarding over the Dutch veteran’s long career in the sport. Maas, a mother of two, landed a 900 off the final jump on Friday to secure her spot on the podium.
“Watching you ride in Oslo and watching you push the level and doing all these crazy new tricks … always motivates me to get better,” Anderson told Maas after the competition.
The Burton U.S. Open followed an intense couple of months of competition for Friday’s podium finishers, which also included American Karly Shorr in second and Maas in third. The competitors were in Korea for the 2018 Olympics slopestyle test event Feb. 21, which Anderson won. The following weekend they were in Norway for the X Games Oslo big air contest, which Maas won. They hung around Vail on Saturday, March 5, before taking off for the FIS Snowboarding World Championships in China that start Wednesday, March 9.
“We leave on Sunday, so we get one day off,” Anderson said. “We’ll be able to celebrate in the halfpipe though, hopefully try to poach a couple of runs.”
In the men’s competition, Kyle Mack finally reached that high platform Friday after a decade of expectations. Competing against a tough field of 32 riders, the 18-year-old from Detroit, Michigan, landed the run of his life to claim the first big win of his career.
“There were a few guys who could have topped my run,” he said after the competition was over. “I was definitely nervous watching it … All the riders here are top notch, best in the world. So it feels good.”
After completing an impressive run early in the competition, Mack was forced to watch as rider after rider started off looking like they could top him, then faltered along the way. Mack’s run contained some of the best tricks on all sections of the course, ending his performance with back-to-back triple cork 1440s.
Tribune Sports Editor Anthony Gentile contributed to this story.
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After more than 70 years of operating with a term deemed derogatory by many Native Americans, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has changed its name to Palisades Tahoe.