Red Gerard tops men’s slope semis at Burton US Open
VAIL — Red Gerard felt great on the Golden Peak slopestyle course at the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships on Wednesday, landing the top scoring run on the day.
“The course is awesome, probably one of the better courses I’ve ridden,” Gerard said.
Not everyone found the fast and technical slopestyle venue so easy to navigate.
A mandatory “side hit” – where the competitors must jump off a quarter pipe style transition onto the side of the jump, rather than hitting it head on – added a degree of difficulty for snowboarders who aren’t used to that style of jump. Often times in competitions side hits are an option, but not mandatory.
Gerard said he usually goes for the side hits when they are an option.
“Whenever they’re in a course, I always try to hit them,” he said.
In this case, “the mandatory side hit is awesome, one of my favorites,” he said.
Mark McMorris, a four time US Open slopestyle champion, had to make a mid-air adjustment on his qualifying run to avoid crashing off the side hit. He held it together and rotated a 720 to his feet, and was able to land the rest of the run and advance to Friday’s finals in eighth position.
“It feels good to land but it was super nerve racking,” McMorris said.
The men’s Slopestyle Finals are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Friday at Vail’s Golden Peak venue. Spectators can watch for free and the event will be broadcast free on BurtonUSOpen.com.