Edwards’ Ryan Wachendorfer back at it at Burton US Open | VailDaily.com

Edwards’ Ryan Wachendorfer back at it at Burton US Open

Ryan Wachendorfer of Edwards performs a fronside doublecork 1080 with a melon grab during the halfpipe semifinals at the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships on Thursday, March 8, in Vail.

VAIL — Ryan Wachendorfer started off the season with a difficult new trick in his bag and a shot at the Olympics.

The 22-year old halfpipe snowboarder from Edwards was enjoying his first year in the top level of the U.S. program, known as U.S. Snowboarding's pro team, and was landing the frontside doublecork 1260 in switch stance, an unnatural variation of a trick few can do the natural way.

In the second Olympic qualifier of the year, the Dew Tour in December, Wachendorfer went from nearly landing the trick to falling hard at the bottom of the halfpipe with a fractured humerus, fractured radius and dislocated wrist.

A few hours later, he was at The Steadman Clinic in Vail being operated on, and a few hours after that, he began plotting his return. His goal was to make it back in time for the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships.

"Once I could start moving my arm, I had no tricep, so I couldn't even hold my arm above my head," he said. "It was definitely a process trying to get that muscle back and being able to fire it again. But it came back fast, once I started working on it."

Wachendorfer returned to snow two weeks ago, and participated in a big air contest in Copper Mountain last weekend, where he finished third.

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"That was a surprise," he said. "I just thought it'd be good to put a bib on again."

'Feels so good to the back'

Returning to the halfpipe for the Burton U.S. Open, Wachendorfer said coming back wasn't easy. He washed out on his first run and didn't quite time out his second run properly, leaving a little bit of halfpipe left at the end and getting docked on his score. He finished in 15th place, five spots away from making finals.

"The goal was just to come out, have fun, ride with my friends and hopefully land a run," he said. "I couldn't ask for anything more really. It feels so good to be back — classic U.S. Open with perfect weather and great vibes."

Catch Wachendorfer in the superpark photo shoot this summer at Mammoth Mountain and the Launch photo shoot later this season at Copper Mountain, both in "Snowboarder Magazine."