Kiwi Halfpipe riders into Finals at US OPEN

March 22nd, 2010

Stratton Mountain Resort, Vermont – The last few days have seen impressive action from New Zealand riders progressing through pre-qualification and qualifying rounds at the 28th annual Burton US Open in Vermont.Tuesday was men’s halfpipe pre-qualifying where James Hamilton, fresh off his first Winter Olympics, went to town posting the highest score of his session with back-to-back 1080s. Ben Stewart also progressed, placing fifth in his heat.

During the qualifying rounds the tables turned and Stewart, demonstrating consistency and style, finished 14th overall securing his spot in semi-finals, while Hamilton came unstuck, sketching a front 9 on his last hit in what would otherwise have been one of the top runs of the day.

The US Open rider roster includes all three men’s 2010 Olympic halfpipe medallists.

Wednesday saw the slopestyle riders throw down with all three kiwi males: James Hamilton, Nick Brown and Nick Hyne, making it through the first round, Brown posting the highest score of the three, qualifying in 11th place.

It was Rebecca Sinclair’s turn Thursday in the halfpipe. Sinclair stomped both runs, qualifying in sixth place and earning a spot in the semi-finals amongst a field of fellow Olympians.

The entire women’s US Olympic halfpipe team is competing at the US Open, including 2010 Olympic halfpipe medallists Hannah Teter, and Kelly Clark, making it a challenging field for the Kiwis.

Meanwhile back on the slopestyle course it was step-up time for the team determined to make it through.

Hyne had an uncharacteristic sketch on the first jump while Brown and Hamilton both landed their runs, finishing third and 16th respectively. When the scores were tallied, Brown made the cut to the semi-finals, while Hyne and Hamilton missed out.

It’s slopestyle semis and finals action on Friday (Saturday NZT), where Nick Brown and Shelly Gotlieb will have an opportunity to go all the way.

Ben Stewart and Rebecca Sinclair compete Saturday (Sunday NZT) for the halfpipe semis and finals day.

The 28th Burton US Open is the oldest and one of the most prestigious snowboarding events, setting the standard for snowboarding events around the globe. As the final event in the Burton Global Open Series, the US Open is the competitors’ last chance to make a play for the men’s and women’s 2010 championship titles.

Over $500,000 in prizes will be given away at the US Open, including a new Volvo to the top male and female rider. The US Open is also honoured to be the event where the men’s Swatch TTR World Tour Champion is crowned.

For more information or to follow the action live go to www.opensnowboarding.com.

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