Colorado snowboarder Jake Canter wins boys Junior Jam at 2018 Burton US Open | AspenTimes.com

Colorado snowboarder Jake Canter wins boys Junior Jam at 2018 Burton US Open

John LaConte
Vail Daily

VAIL — Two years ago, Evergreen snowboarder Jake Canter watched the Junior Jam at the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships with a broken arm.

Last year, Canter — then 13 — made it into the prestigious halfpipe contest for kids 14 and younger, but failed to land a run.

"I'm 14 now, it's my last year in the Junior Jam, I had to do it," Canter said this year from the finish corral after ascending the podium. "I'm speechless."

Canter's story is similar to a lot of Colorado snowboarders. He found his love for the sport in backyard arenas before taking his skills to the resort.

"I had a lot of neighbors who were always snowboarding and it looked so much fun," he said.

After making it to the Junior Jam at the 2017 Burton U.S. Open, Canter quickly realized it was his favorite among all the events he has participated in.

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"It's so much fun, hanging out with all your friends and the pros, it's just a blast," he said.

Canter landed his first two runs, but not necessarily with ease. The heavy, seven-hit runs contained combos deemed difficult even by the pros.

"Most pipes aren't as long as this one, so it was pretty hard," he said. "I was tired at the end."

Canter landed three different variations of the 720, and also landed back-to-back 540s and a 900. He performed five different grabs in the run, something he thinks the judges appreciated.

"Doing different spins, landing switch, doing back-to-back tricks, that all gets you big points," he said.

Winning the Junior Jam gives competitors an entry into the halfpipe semifinal competition against the pros on Thursday. It's an outcome Canter said he had not considered.

"I don't even know what I'm going to do," he said after winning the Junior Jam. "It will be so fun to ride with my idols. I just want to put a run down, honestly."

 Canter has trained with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club with coach Nichole Mason.

Vail LOCAL IN fourTH

Canter's score, an 89.49, beat out second-place finisher Valentino Guseli, a 12-year-old phenom from Australia, and third-place snowboarder Kyotaro Tanaka, of Japan, who is 13.

The fourth-place spot went to Vail rider Fynn Bullock-Womble, who scored an 81.12. The 13-year-old is originally from North Carolina but now lives near Copper Mountain and rides for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

"It was a heated event, everyone was throwing down," he said. "But I'm stoked to land the best run I've ever landed in the halfpipe."

Ono on top

In the girls' competition, 14-year-old Mitsuki Ono, of Japan, took the top spot handily, scoring an 84.5.

Second-place finisher Tessa Maud, a 14-year-old snowboarder from California, scored a 77.24. She said Ono was fun to chase.

"She's already amazing, but she's going to be really amazing," Maud said of Ono.

Maud won the Junior Jam in 2016, at the young age of 12.

She since went on to earn a start in a U.S. Grand Prix competition, a World Cup level event.

"The Junior Jam is a good opportunity for young kids to get more into the industry," she said. "You get to ride with pros, which is super fun."

Participating in the final Junior Jam of her young career on Tuesday, Maud said she was sad, but was going to have as much fun as possible and soak in the experience.

"This is definitely my favorite event, you get to hang out with all of your friends and ride the best pipe ever," she said.

The Burton U.S. Open continues Wednesday with the women's slopestyle semifinals beginning at 10 a.m. at Golden Peak.

jlaconte@vaildaily.com

JUNIOR JAM PODIUM

2018 Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships

Boys

1 Jake Canter, USA, 89.49

2 Valentino Guseli, Australia, 87.62

3 Kyotaro Tanaka, Japan, 79.99

Girls

1 Mitsuki Ono, Japan, 84.50

2 Tessa Maud, USA, 77.24

3 Kinsley White, USA, 75.00