It was an epic day of stellar Halfpipe riding in Stratton, Vermont, as Finnish rider Peetu Piiroinen became the 08/09 Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour Champion at the 6Star Burton U.S. Open. Both the men’s and women’s fields were stacked with some of the best pipe riders in the world, with Australian Torah Bright winning the women’s pipe title and veteran U.S. pipe rider Danny Kass claiming his 5th U.S. Open Halfpipe win amidst a roaring crowd and bluebird skies.
The 8-women and 16-men final amped up the competition considerably. The battle for the Swatch TTR World Title was set early on between U.S. shredder Shaun White and Peetu Piiroinen, but with Shaun out of the contest due to an injured ankle, all Peetu had to do was finish 8th or higher to become the Tour Champion.
The amplitude was huge, the grabs were boned out and the spins super smooth as riders like Charles Reid (CAN), Louie Vito (USA), and fellow Finnish rider Markus Malin gave Peetu a run for his money. Luke Mitrani (USA) set the bar high on his first run that included an insane Switch Double Backflip that ultimately landed him 3rd place.
Danny Kass, a long time Halfpipe competitor and no stranger to the U.S. Open flew under the radar until his third run where he stomped a Frontside 10, Cab 10, Backside 720 and a Switch Alley-oop 540 to become the most successful Halfpipe competitor in U.S. Open history, bagging his 5th title. Peetu Piiroinen however, managed to improve on his first run immensely, sticking a Frontside 720, Cab 1080, Alley-oop Backside Rodeo, Frontside Alley-oop, Fronside 540 and a Backside 720. Peetu’s second place finish in the U.S. Open pipe clinched his place in history as the 08/09 Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour Champion.
“I just heard that I won the TTR,” said Peetu after the pipe finals. “It feels good, it feels good. I am the first Finnish guy to win that, so it’s super cool. I’m so stoked.”
Similarly, the women kept the high-caliber competition consistent with a roller coaster finale. They kept it close right up until their third and final drops with Kjersti Oestgaard-Buaas, Ellery Hollingsworth, Gretchen Bleiler and Kelly Clark all stepping things up. Clark seemed to have a firm grasp on first place after her first run but a big surprise came from Torah Bright on her third and final run. Bright had some big trouble on her first two attempts but took first place with her last run that included a 720 Indy, Crippler, Backside 360 Indy, a sick Switch Backside 720 and a Backside 540. U.S. rider Ellery Hollingsworth rounded out the women’s podium in third.
“It feels good,” said Torah after standing atop the podium. “It feels good. I only just realized that this was the first Open that I ‘ve done all year and TTR event. So I am just happy to be here, in one piece and put together this good run and won.”
The U.S. Open also saw some big changes in the Women’s TTR Top 5 setting up for an intense day of Slopestyle riding tomorrow. Lisa Wiik (NOR) finished in ninth place today moving her into World No. 2 behind current Tour leader Jamie Anderson (USA). Sarka Pancochova (CZE) moved into World No. 3, and Kelly Clark snuck into World No. 5.
And, even with the Tour Champion crowned, male riders like Chas Guldemond (USA), Kevin Pearce, Antti Autti (FIN) and Risto Mattila (FIN) will be attempting to defend their spots in the TTR Top 5. Interestingly, if Shaun White heals up enough to ride tomorrow, despite not competing today, he still has a chance to move into TTR World No. 2.
To check out all the action that took place today at the 6Star Burton U.S. Open, including detailed news, full rankings and video highlights, head on over to www.ttrworldtour.com. Also log on to www.go211.com for full replays of today’s events and live coverage of tomorrow’s Slopestyle competition.