What a week it's been for British competitive snowboarding. On Tuesday, news trickled through to us that Billy Morgan had stomped the bejesus out of his first ever backside triple cork 1440 - and the video footage that dropped the following day confirmed exactly that. It's a trick that if Billy can consistently incorporate into his slopestyle runs, will see him at the very top of the discipline.
The mid to tail end of this week has all been about Jamie Nicholls and the Burton US Open. 2013 marks the first year that the prestigious event has been based in its new home of Vail, Colorado, after 30 years at Stratton, Vermont. The event is one of the very biggest in the competitive snowboarding calendar and over the years, entire careers have been launched after solid performances on its courses.
But even though Colorado is known for its sunny skies, Mother Nature is not one to make promises and the weather conditions at yesterday's slopestyle finals were proper challenging. It had snowed a foot overnight and didn't let up throughout the day and many riders, despite tucking at the earliest possible opportunity, simply couldn't find enough speed to clear the first kicker.
After the first runs, only a handful of riders (including our Jamie) had actually made it to the bottom of the course, with Mark McMorris stomping a run that stuck in the top spot for the duration of the competition. His run consisted of a Mini wallride to gap to lipslide, gap to backside lipslide, double backflip indy, frontside 1080 double cork mute grab, and backside 1080 double cork mute grab.
Top qualifier Torstein Horgmo seemed to be having no problems with the speed and put down a massive first run that included a switch backside 270 on, switch front blunt 270, switch backside 540, frontside 1080 double cork and backside 1080 double cork which was ultimately good enough for second place. Torstein was also the only competitor to stomp a triple cork on the day but had fluffed the rail section earlier in the run bringing its score down.
Chas Guldemond was also clearing the jumps with ease and stomped a huuge cab 270 in a run that was good enough for third.
Jamie's second run was the one that all came together perfectly with a cab 270 on, 270 off, front lip on the wallride, gap backside 270 on the down flat down, gap to lipslide, frontside 720, backside 1260 and cab 1080 which saw him in fifth place.
After the men's comp wrapped up, the snow continued to fall and sadly, the decision was made to call off the women's slopestyle finals, with the results from the semi finals sticking and smiley Canadian Spencer O'Brien walking away with the tidy $45,000.
By making into yesterday's slopestyle finals, Jamie Nicholls has achieved something that no British male has done before. Jenny Jones won the event back in 2007 and remains the only other Brit to have seen a comparable level of success at the coveted event. And to finish up in 5th place sandwiched between Air & Style winning Japanese prodigy Yuki Kadono and the machine that is Peetu Piiroinen, with only Chas Guldemond, Torstein Horgmo and Mark McMorris above him, truly speaks volumes at how much talent we have in our British Freestyle snowboard team.
Nicholls, you hero.
BURTON US OPEN 2013 SLOPESTYLE RESULTS:
1st - Mark McMorris
2nd - Torstein Horgmo
3rd - Chas Guldemond
4th - Peetu Piiroinen
5th - Jamie Nicholls
1st - Spencer O'Brien
2nd - Jamie Anderson
3rd - Brooke Voigt