White, Kim win Burton US Open halfpipe
VAIL — Shaun White is no stranger to the top of the podium.
“I’ve been doing it so long, it’s just muscle memory,” he said after winning Saturday’s Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships halfpipe competition.
It was his sixth halfpipe win at the Burton U.S. Open, the longest-running snowboarding competition in the history of the sport, now celebrating its 34th year. Calling it one of his easier runs, White landed back-to-back double cork 1260s — one spinning forward, one spinning backward — to claim the victory on Saturday. His score, a 95.62 out of 100, was identical on his first and second runs.
‘It feels good’
“It feels good,” he said. “I don’t know when the last time I rode was, it’s been about six weeks.”
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The only other halfpipe competition White entered this season was the Dew Tour in December, which he also won.
“It feels good to be back,” he said of the Burton U.S. Open, which he had not competed in since 2013. “I’ve always loved this event.”
‘So Stoked Right Now’
Second place finisher Ben Ferguson celebrated his first-ever Burton U.S. Open podium after finally landing a clean run on Saturday.
“I fall a lot in finals,” he said of his own contest history, which includes many appearances in finals at the world’s top contests, but not a lot of podiums. “I get amped, and I got for it, and I fall. So this year I’ve been putting together runs, and I’ve been landing them, and it’s been feeling great. I’m so stoked right now.”
Kim is five for five
On the women’s side, it only took four tricks for Chloe Kim to win her fifth straight event in the halfpipe. The 15-year-old snowboarder from California performed back-to-back 1080s to win her first-ever Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships event on Saturday; bookending those 1080s was a big method air and a frontside 540. As a contrast, veteran rider Hannah Teter performed seven tricks in her best run on Saturday, earning her fifth place. With amplitude such a major focus of halfpipe judging, Kim said that’s what she has to concentrate on doing.
“I feel like me traveling down the pipe so much is what allows me to go bigger,” Kim said. “I definitely wish I got maybe five or even six hits.”
After winning X Games on Jan. 29, Kim has finished first in every competition she has entered since then, including four halfpipe competitions and even a slopestyle. She attributed the win streak to her enjoyment of the sport.
“This year I’ve been having so much fun riding and have gotten so many cool opportunities,” she said.
Headed to China
White and Kim will now join the women’s second-place finisher from Saturday, Xuetong “TongTong” Cai, at her home mountain in China for the FIS Snowboarding World Championships.
“So that’s a big show,” Cai told her fellow competitors. “I want to compete with these girls and have fun in China.”