Mark McMorris, Jamie Anderson win Burton U.S. Open slopestyle titles
It’s been less than 12 months since Mark McMorris suffered a career-threatening injury in the backcountry, weeks after winning the men’s slopestyle at the 2017 Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships in Vail.
On Friday, McMorris stomped out his third and final run to continue his Burton Open reign, adding his fourth title in six years.
“I think with everything I’ve been through and all of the days wondering what I was doing, today makes it worth while. Just seeing the stoke and smiles on everybody’s faces and also everybody that reached out to tell me I’ve helped them through something that’s hard in their life, I don’t regret pushing to get back to pro snowboarding at all,” McMorris said. “This is my life and this is what makes me most happy. It’s been a crazy year and I’m really thankful to be here.”
‘IT COULD HAVE WENT EITHER WAY’
With flat light and gusting winds, the 10-rider field met at the top of the course earlier in the day to determine the safety of the course. In the morning, the women canceled their finals, but by afternoon, the men decided it was good enough to go.
“It’s a ski racing course, so it’s going to be as fast as you want to go,” said second-place finisher Chris Corning, out of Summit County.
With McMorris’ final run in the books, Corning landed a clean run that put him 0.15 points behind McMorris and into second place.
“It’s hard to say,” McMorris said afterward about waiting for Corning’s score to appear. “I don’t really remember what I was feeling, I was definitely feeling my rib — it’s really hard to breathe in right now. It could have went either way — that’s just how contests go.”
Marcus Kleveland finished third.
After his third run, McMorris was greeted by his dad and uncle, who surprised him by showing up in Vail for the Burton Open.
And it was a short drive for the Corning Clan from Silverthorne.
“I had my parents out there, some sponsors and good family friends hanging out,” Corning said. “They helped me out and are so supportive. They’ve been there through everything that I’ve pushed myself through.”
Unlike fellow Summit County snowboarder Red Gerard’s family, the Cornings were not shotgunning beers.
WHAT’S IN THE PACK?
Well, we sort of got a peek at what’s in Fridtjof “Fridge Street” Tischendorf’s backpack.
The Norwegian snowboarder qualified for the finals — hitting the course with a backpack.
When asked earlier in the week what was in the backpack — which can’t be ideal for hitting 65-foot jumps and rails — he deflected the question.
Burton Open announcer Henry Jackson picked up the pack and confirmed it had some weight to it.
After his third and final run — filled with crowd pleasers — Fridge Street unzipped his backpack and pulled out some Jack Link’s beef jerky before the camera panned away.
Will we ever know what’s in Fridge Street’s backpack?
Women’s slopestyle finals canceled due to high winds
It’s impressive to see a sport where athletes huck themselves off jumps and rails talk about safety — something other sports could take note of.
After high winds caused the Burton U.S. Open women’s slopestyle finals to be canceled on Friday, the riders all seemed happy with the decision.
“It was cool that the Burton Open was down to let everyone have a discussion,” said Jamie Anderson, who earned her sixth Burton Open slope title after Wednesday’s qualifying results determined the podium with finals canceled. “Democracy is really cool because sometimes we don’t get to have a voice.”
The six women racers set to compete in the finals met the morning of the race and decided against holding the finals, citing safety.
“I think if the weather would have been good today, it would have been a great show,” said Anna Gasser, who claimed second place. “Jamie’s been riding so well, she would have for sure been the one to beat here.”
Julia Marino took third place by a margin of 0.55 over Kokomo Murase.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.