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Transmissions from the US Open: Things I’ve Learned in Vail and the Pipe Semis

The Burton US Open at Vail, CO: Day 3

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Things I’ve learned in Vail in the past 24 hours:

– Matching full-length his and hers fur coats exist. Fur boots, however, are optional.

– Despite the glamorous façade, there is a typical dirtbag community here. And, like in most mountain towns, they like to party on Wednesday nights.

– It’s possible to have a bronze statue on every corner.

– The free public transportation system here is amazing—every mountain town should have such efficient people movers.

– Vail is a very big mountain. The tree riding is probably pretty damn good when it snows enough.

– Style still counts. Case in point? Scotty Lago qualified in first place.

– It seems snow squalls come at night around here, and it pops blue during the day. Ideal for a little refresh on course and good lighting conditions when it’s time to drop.

This, admittedly, is my first time attending a world-class pipe comp. I missed the women’s qualifiers whole navigating a few natural ditches in the Vail alpine, but rolled up just in time for the start of the men’s competition. And even though it was just the semis, it was undoubtedly impressive. Slopestyle is cool and all, but the edge control—and air control—it takes to boost 20 feet out for seven or eight hits and keep it together takes a special kind of skill set. Apparently, a skill set favored by the younger generation—in a world-class field, Shaun White, at 26, was the second-oldest rider to drop in.

But that’s not to say age is detrimental—White cruised to a first-place qualifying spot in heat #2, with the ever-stylish Scotty Lago only needing one run to take heat #1. But Mr White will have to wait until Saturday to celebrate by adding another fur coat to his collection. Tomorrow, things get heavy with slopestyle finals ramping up and 45 grand on the line for the winners. That’ll buy you a few fur coats—heck, one could even spend it on a bronze statue.

Women’s Halfpipe Semi-Final Results:

1. Kelly Clark USA, BURTON, 80.50

2. Arielle Gold USA, BURTON, 80.15

3. Queralt Castellet ESP, YONEX, 79.90

4. Kaitlyn Farrington USA, GNU, 77.80

5. Hannah Teter USA, BURTON, 74.78

6. Gretchen Bleiler USA, OAKLEY, 71.68

Men’s Halfpipe Semi-Final Results:

1. Scotty Lago USA, FLOW, 85.15

2. Shaun White USA, BURTON, 83.80

3. Peetu Piiroinen FIN, NIKE, 81.75

4. Louie Vito USA, RED BULL, 81.53

5. Stale Sandbech NOR, OAKLEY, 80.45

6. Spencer Shaw USA, UNDER ARMOUR, 79.78

7. Taylor Gold, USA, BURTON, 79.03

8. Ayumu Hirano JPN, BURTON, 78.65

9. Christian Haller SUI, BURTON, 78.63

10. Ryo Aono JPN, YONEX, 77.50

11. Benji Farrow USA, THE NORTH FACE, 77.28

12. Taku Hiraoka JPN, BURTON, 76.70

For a report from day 2, click here.

For a report from day 1, click here.

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