Shaun White, Judd Henkes, Chloe Kim, Kelly Clark, Greg Bretz, Brandon Davis, Maddie Mastro and Brock Crouch all gave us incredible stories to talk about at this year's Burton US Open.
Shaun White is always under scrutiny, probably more so than any other athlete in action sports so his mere presence at the event was headline news. There were questions about Shaun's intentions and whether he was in riding shape. But after he dropped in on his first run and did the biggest backside air anyone has ever seen, those questions were promptly answered. You could almost hear the competitor's area mutter "he's baaaaaack..." under their breath.
Where were you when you were 14 years old? GI Joe, Transformers and video games come to mind for many of us. Judd Henkes was standing on top of the pipe at the US Open, an arena that should have been as intimidating as a gladiator pit, but he was not flinching. After a win in the Junior Jam
that could be summed up as a total slaughterfest, Judd was given an entry into the Main Event. When Judd dropped in the commentators spoke with a tone you would use when describing your friends baby, almost demeaning if it wasn’t obvious they were trying to play his underdog card. That all ended after Judd’s board left his frontside wall in the pipe and blasted a 20 foot fs 540 with style to burn. As the announcers scrambled to find words for what they were witnessing Judd continued to annihilate the pipe. And if there were any doubters left watching, the young man chucked a 20 foot fs 900 on his final hit, catching the last few feet of pipe before flying into the finishing chorale and spraying the crowd, which at this point was going nuts. Welcome to the party Judd, you made our Open.
Chloe Kim continued her incredible season with another dominating win at the US Open. Her massive backside air/fs 1080/switch fs 1080 combo is changing the way women’s snowboarding is viewed. As one viewer wrote in to the broadcast; “Could Chloe compete in the men’s event?”. Pro snowboarder/announcer Jack Mitrani answered “yeah, pretty much.” This is uncharted territory folks.
Kelly Clark competed, and podiumed, with a severely strained hip. Her injury made it painful just to get on the snowmobile up to the top of the pipe and had her in tears as she waited to drop for her run. But the Open is a special event for her, one which she has won 8 Times! And like the absolute legend she is, she dropped in and sent it the best her body allowed. Truly inspiring stuff. View Run HERE
Fresh off of his win last month at the World Cup event in South Korea Brock Crouch rode with a newfound confidence and landed with a solid top fifteen finish. Without a little hand drag on a cab 12 on his final run he could’ve been well up into the top 10.
Greg Bretz is no stranger to US Opens and his comfort with the crowd and energy in this year’s was palpable. Greg’s first two hits of his first run were simply massive and if he could’ve held on there’s no doubt he would’ve been on the podium. As the pipe got softer Greg still stepped up and laid down an insane run and earned a solid 6th place.
Somehow Brandon Davis has managed to fly under the radar a bit. With a win at the Grand Prix in Mammoth and a trick repertoire that matches anyone’s, it should come as no surprise that he was well inside the top ten at the US Open. Announcers put Brandon at the top of your list of NAMES I NEED TO KNOW.