VAIL — Jamie Anderson said after winning the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, she nearly skipped the Burton U.S. Open this year.
“It was pretty easy, once I put it out to the universe, to realize I want to be here and want to support this event,” said Anderson, a South Lake Tahoe resident who was a three-time Open winner going into this year’s contest. “It’s definitely different than any of the other events I’ve been able to do this winter.”
Calling the snowy course a “winter wonderland,” Anderson said while the conditions were challenging, she was enjoying them nonetheless.
“It didn’t really slow us down,” she said.
‘THANKFULLY I LANDED’
Anderson’s run over the Golden Peak course’s three massive jumps — 55, 65 and 70 feet — was the same combination that won her the gold in Sochi. Anderson said her second run in finals was the first time she had attempted that run, which contains a difficult switch (non-dominant stance) backside 540-degree spin and switch frontside 720.
“For me it was a little scary because I hadn’t done cab 7 or switch back 5 on this course,” she said. “As long as I had the speed I knew I could do it, so I just went out in my second run and decided to step it up. And thankfully I landed.”
Anderson said she was very impressed by the tricks being performed by her competitors at the Burton U.S. Open.
“I thought all the girls were riding very good considering the conditions we were dealing with,” she said.
Second place Spencer O’Brien, of Canada, landed a frontside 720 jumping off her toe edge — a very difficult trick that’s often mistaken for an ordinary front 720 off the heel edge.
“That front 7 off your toes is next level,” Anderson told O’Brien after the event.
Third-place Isabel Derungs, of Switzerland, was the only competitor in the finals landing a massive inverted trick, a rodeo 540 (backflip with a backside 180 at the end) that Anderson said she herself is not able to perform.
“It gets me excited because I’ve been wanting to learn that trick forever,” Anderson said to Derungs. “You inspire me.”
Derungs said her rodeo was better in semis than in finals, due to the challenging weather on Friday.
“In the last run, I thought I was kind of fast, but in the air I could feel the wind, so it slowed me down,” she said. “As soon as I know the speeds, I can do (the rodeo) on anything, and I love to do it on anything.”
“Give me some pointers!” Anderson responded.
Anderson’s win earned her the points she needed to claim the World Snowboard Tour’s 2014 slopestyle overall title. The World Snowboard Tour includes results from non-International Ski Federation competitions like the Open and X Games.
“I’ve been doing the TTR World Series since I was 15,” she said. “It always feels good to be a part of a world tour system.”