Yuki Kadono wins men’s slopestyle at Burton US Open in Vail; Dusty Henricksen earns second with quad cork 1800
Yuki Kadono reprised his winning role from 2015 in Vail on Friday with the same closing salvo at the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships.
Kadono landed a switch backside 1620 off the final jump on the Golden Peak slopestyle course, the same trick that earned him his first US Open victory five years ago.
Dusty Henricksen also stunned the snowboarding world with a backside quadruple cork 1800 that solidified his second-place position.
Silverthorne resident Red Gerard finished third, landing a switch backside 1440.
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‘What’s another flip?’
The many professional snowboarders in attendance, who stormed Henricksen and tackled him in the finish coral when he landed the quad cork, had discussed technicality of the tricks on the final jump.
But a full slopestyle run is much more than its final jump, and Kadono had a higher degree of difficulty, and rotation, in several of the tricks leading up to the big finish. While Henricksen spun in three of the four directions a snowboarder can spin, Kadono spun in all four. Henricksen did not perform the difficult switch backside rotation, while Kadono included two switch backside tricks in his run. Kadono also managed to perform a 1260-degree spin on one of the course’s quarterpipe-style “side hits,” while Henricksen opted for 900-degree rotations on the side hits.
Watching from the judges booth, 2018 slopestyle champion Mark McMorris assumed, correctly, that Henricksen’s near-completion of his first attempt on the quad cork was his first time ever trying the trick.
Henricksen told McMorris he was right, and the reason he chose the backside 1800-degree rotation over a 1620-degree rotation was to avoid landing switch after such a heavily spun trick.
“So I figured, what’s another flip?” Henricksen said.
Gerard said he understood completely.
“Going back 16, you kind of fall into a couch position if you over-rotate, and it can be pretty painful,” Gerard said.
“I don’t know if I agree, but he said it’d be easier to do four flips,” Gerard added, with a laugh.
Gerard did opt for a switch landing in his final trick, in a trick that’s also spun in the switch backside rotation, making the whole trick a switch effort.
“I don’t think I’m going to ever do that trick,” Henricksen said of Gerard’s switch backside 1440. “It’s super-gnarly.”
For Henricksen, who is 17 years old, the 2020 US Open was a much different experience than that of Gerard and Kadono, who have both won US Open titles in the past.
Henricksen said that despite the fact that the competition is tougher at the US Open, his most difficult contest of the season was not the US Open, but rather an event where athletes older than 18 are not allowed to compete.
In January, Henricksen won gold at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games, an International Olympic Committee sanctioned event designed to provide a younger replica of the traditional Olympic Games experience.
“I think the run I did there was harder than here,” he said following Friday’s competition in Vail. “The course was way different, super-flat landings.”
While that was a breakout moment for Henricksen, the performance wasn’t one the larger world of snowboarding would witness.
Flash forward to Friday, when Henricksen found himself amid the entirety of the professional slopestyle community, in an encouraging and relaxed atmosphere.
“I’m just riding with the boys,” he said. “It’s pretty mellow vibes, so how can you get too scared?”
Gerard said that’s the atmosphere Jake Burton Carpenter hoped to create when he started the Burton US Open in 1982.
“This year was definitely one of the best years, everyone’s whole vibe was having fun and remembering Jake,” Gerard said. “I think that his No. 1 thing was to have the best time, and I think that’s why he created the Open.”
Results from Friday’s slopestyle finals:
- Yuki Kadono
- Dusty Henricksen
- Red Gerard
- Darcy Sharpe
- Hiroaki Kunitake
- Torgeir Bergrem
- Staale Sandbech
- Sven Thorgren
- Judd Henkes
- Sebe DeBuck
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.