Last weekend marked the 22nd U.S. Phillip’s Snowboarding Open. The competition was one of the most exciting of the year, featuring top-ranked athletes that included Ross Powers, Danny Kass, Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark. Tens of thousands of spectators from as far away as Chile attended the event to cheer on their favorite riders.The U.S. Open was hosted by Stratton Mountain in Vermont’s Green Mountains and held in the Sunbowl Area. The event was broken up into two days – Saturday saw the halfpipe finals and Sunday saw the slopestyle finals.For the men’s group, championship titles were taken home by Jake Blauvelt for the slopestyle competition, while Kass won his third U.S. Open halfpipe title with one of his best runs of the season. Kass performed an unbeatable back-to-back 1,080 combo that won him the 2002 Open halfpipe and this year’s contest. Following suit, Powers landed his first back-to-back 1,080 combo in a contest finals.Clark took home her second women’s halfpipe championship and took a close second to Priscilla Levac for the slopestyle competition. This is the first major title won by both Levac and Blauvelt. In addition to her win in the halfpipe, Clark boasts victories at the Nippon Open, the World Superpipe Championships and a USSA Grand Prix in New Jersey. She has also won two Vans Triple Crowns.The U.S. Open was founded by Jake Burton in 1982 and has greatly increased in popularity over the years. According to http://www.usopen-snowboarding.com, it is known as the “most important gathering of the year for the global snowboarding community” and titles gained are considered a “huge honor.” This year a total of 245 snowboarders competed, including men’s, women’s and junior’s categories. Competitors first went through pre-qualifiers, then move d on to the qualifiers, semifinals and then finals rounds. Judging for the competition was based on difficulty, execution, variety, amplitude, progression and the combination of tricks a rider performs.Prizes included $20,000 for all first place men’s and women’s winners, $10,000 for second place and $5,000 for third place. If you didn’t catch the live coverage of the U.S. Open, be sure to check out the re-airing of the event on NBC April 11 at 1:30 p.m.Keller can be reached at rkeller@campustimes.org.



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