Anderson a rider to watch at Friday’s slopestyle finals | VailDaily.com

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Anderson a rider to watch at Friday’s slopestyle finals

Jamie Anderson is the only snowboarder currently in Vail to win both gold in Sochi and top honors in semi finals at the Burton U.S. Open. Anderson and the slopestyle riders compete in finals today starting at 11:30 a.m.

Jamie Anderson is the only snowboarder currently in Vail to win both gold in Sochi and top honors in semi finals at the Burton U.S. Open. Anderson and the slopestyle riders compete in finals today starting at 11:30 a.m.

VAIL — At Golden Peak this weekend, Jamie Anderson is the only athlete in the field who won gold in Sochi, returned to the states and topped the field in qualifiers at the next competition following the Winter Olympics, the Burton U.S. Open.

For Anderson, who warms up for slopestyle competitions by burning sage and meditating, being in the present is very important to her athletic prowess. And presently, she’s an athlete at the top of her sport, a true pleasure for the judges to watch.

Not that she cares.

“I always just focus on myself and my riding, I don’t really try to think about what the judges want to see, or don’t,” she said after dominating the competition in slopestyle semifinals on Wednesday. “I just decide what I want to do for myself and ease my way into it.”

In Wednesday’s semis, judges awarded Anderson a score of 86.80, 8.35 points higher than second-finishing Isabel Derungs, of Switzerland. That gap was larger than the one that separated Derungs from the rest of the riders who qualified for finals, as the difference between second and sixth was only 7.65 points.

“Jamie Anderson just slayed the competition,” event announcer and pro rider Jack Mitrani said during the event. “She’s just so smooth, so much style.”

RIDING AND WRITING

When Anderson’s not riding, she enjoys writing.

“I journal pretty regularly, ever since I was a little kid,” she said. “Every few days or every night.”

Now 23, she’s been doing it since she was 7 years old.

“I want to be able to read it when I’m older,” she said. “I can’t wait to reflect on all the stress I was dealing with going into the Olympics.”

Anderson recently bought pocket journals for some of her friends. Her goal is to get those friends to join her in keeping a journal of their days as 20-something-year-old on-snow athletes, traveling the world and competing in top-tier events.

“We’re going to, at first, keep (the journals) to ourselves, but I think the goal behind it is to share them publicly, to inspire young kids or athletes or anyone out there to set goals, believe, write your goals down and reflect on yourself — where you are and where you want to be,” Anderson said.

Today’s slopestyle finals are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., with women’s practice starting at 10 a.m.