VAIL, Colorado - With heavy snow falling throughout the day Friday, the Burton U.S. Open made the decision to cancel the women's slopestyle finals because course conditions became too dangerous.
The six women who made it into the finals also voted and most girls didn't want to take the risk of competing given the weather conditions, said Spencer O'Brien, the top semi final finisher.
So Wednesday's semifinals essentially became the finals - the top three finishers in that competition took home the podium prize purse totaling $75,000.
O'Brien said it was definitely the right decision to cancel the event.
"A lot of time TV takes (priority) over rider safety," O'Brien said. "It's nice to come to an event where they sit down and talk to us. ... I really think it was the right call."
O'Brien took home the first place prize of $45,000. When asked if she thought the results might have turned out differently had the women competed today, she said it's always a possibility. There's no telling what the girls who held back on their qualifying runs would have done with $45,000 on the line for first place.
"I think on any given day, the results can vary, but luckily for me (that didn't happen)," she said.
O'Brien's winning run was her second of two runs on Wednesday. Her tricks on the upper features included a frontside boardslide, wallride to gap to frontside lipslide and 50-50 frontside 180 out. For the three jumps, she did a switch backside 180 mute grab, a frontside 360 and a backside 540 Indy grab.
"Not the sickest run ever," she joked at Friday's press conference.
Second-place finisher Jamie Anderson, who took home a $20,000 prize, said it became obvious during practice runs Friday that competing would be dangerous. She said at the beginning of practice, the girls "could almost clear the jumps," but conditions quickly deteriorated.
The girls were enjoying the course, too. After some rider feedback earlier in the week about the upper features, Snow Park Technologies "fixed it up right away," O'Brien said.
Brooke Voigt finished third and took home $10,000. She also won Burton's U.S. Open rookie award.
As for being in Vail, these ladies think the Burton U.S. Open's new home feels good.
"These mountains out here just build amazing parks and the snow quality is so good," O'Brien said, adding that in order to progress both the sport and the event, the change was necessary.
As for Anderson, the Winter X Games gold medalist this year in slopestyle, she has family in Vermont and was sad for the event to move, but being in Vail this week has made her feel differently.
"Vail did an amazing job hosting all of us and the conditions were really good for the most part," Anderson said. "I think the weather from Vermont kind of followed the energy of the Open."
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.