Pates makes finals at Burton US Open
VAIL — Locals will have a snowboarder to cheer on in the Saturday halfpipe final at the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships, as Eagle resident Jake Pates landed a solid run in Thursday’s semi finals to make it through in fifth position.
The men’s semi-final narrowed a field of 32 down to 10 qualifiers; Japanese snowboarder Yuto Totsuka was the top qualifier with a score of 89.37, and Scotty James, of Australia, was just behind him with a score of 89.12.
Pates was the top scoring American on the day, one of only two U.S. riders to make it through to Saturday’s final. Danny Davis qualified in 10th position.
Japan will be the best represented nation in the Saturday men’s halfpipe finals, with Raibu Katayama and Ruka Hirano also qualifying on Thursday.
Katayama said the Japanese snowboarders are friends as well as rivals.
“Always, every day, every time, we push each other,” Katayma said. “We are getting higher and higher with each other.”
Scotty James, who won both X Games and the halfpipe snowboarding World Championships this season, will also have a compatriot in the finals as Australian Kent Callister made it through, as well.
“I’m looking forward to Saturday, it’s going to be an exciting show,” James said. “I’m just grateful to be a part of it.”
The men’s halfpipe finals are scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Vail’s Golden Peak venue. The event is free for spectators to attend and will be broadcast free for viewers on BurtonUSOpen.com.
Money has poured in from all corners of the valley to support a new bike park in Minturn.