Under bright blue skies and in a pipe that was described as “perfect” the large crowd which gathered in Vail, Colorado, over the weekend were treated to one of the best displays of halfpipe riding Mpora has ever witnessed – with several new young stars stamping their mark on the competition.
Despite the fact that three of the biggest names in halfpipe riding – Shaun White, Iouri ‘iPod’ Podladtchikov and Ayumu Hirano – were all absent, the standard was ridiculously high.
And in fact the absence of those three and the failure of big names like Danny Davis and Scotty Lago to qualify for the finals gave new talents a chance to shine.
the failure of big names like Danny Davis and Scotty Lago to qualify for the finals gave new talents a chance to shine.
China’s Yiwei Zhang threatened to become the first Chinese rider to win a US Open after qualifying through first in the semi-finals with one of the most technical pipe runs ever – including some insane back to back double cork combinations.
But in the end he couldn’t hold onto his form, and failed to put down a clean run in the finals. It’s debatable whether even if he had, he’d have been able to beat this onslaught from America’s Taylor Gold however.
The 20 year old, who eventually claimed the top spot ahead of Olympic bronze medallist Taku Hiraoka and the relatively unknown Swiss rider David Habluetzel was one a whole crop of young Americans who stamped their mark firmly on the competition.
Ben Ferguson, who finished in fourth, is only 19 while his younger brother Gabe, who had also qualified through to the final, was just 14 years old!
Young talent also shone in the women’s competition where 13-year-old Chloe Kim – the breakout star of this season – earned yet another podium finish.
While the top two finishers – Spain’s Queralt Castellet and America’s Kelly Clark – and the rest of the women’s field were older and more experienced than Kim, that did nothing to dispel the overall impression that a new generation of halfpipe talents is on the rise.
BURTON US OPEN 2014 HALFPIPE RESULTS:
Women’s Halfpipe Final Results:
1. Kelly Clark (USA), BURTON, 89.33
2. Queralt Castellet (ESP), YONEX, 85.73
3. Chloe Kim (USA), BURTON, 83.95
4. Hannah Teter (USA), BURTON, 75.03
5. Rana Okada (JPN), BURTON, 67.15
6. Sophie Rodriguez (FRA), OAKLEY, 59.80
Men’s Halfpipe Final Results:
1. Taylor Gold (USA), BURTON, 87.63
2. Taku Hiraoka (JPN), BURTON, 86.88
3. David Habluetzel (SUI), BURTON, 83.23
4. Ben Ferguson (USA), BURTON, 77.93
5. Kent Callister (AUS), LIB TECH, 77.58
6. Gabe Ferguson (USA), BURTON, 73.10
7. Jake Pates (USA), BURTON, 73.00
8. Louie Vito (USA), VIVE, 68.28
9. Christian Haller (SUI), BURTON, 67.38
10. Yiwei Zhang (CHN), MINI, 62.03