Vail, Colorado. (February 27, 2020) — Day two of the 38th annual Burton U·S·Open Snowboarding Championships went off in ideal conditions with NZ's Rakai Tait among the top 10 qualifiers in the halfpipe semi-finals. Today’s event featured a completely reimagined Burton U·S·Open halfpipe venue, combining a 13-foot enhanced minipipe creatively transitioning into a 22-foot superpipe providing competitors a fresh canvas.
The men’s field showcased the best halfpipe riders in the world pushing themselves in a course that equally rewarded creativity and technical snowboarding. Rakai earned his best score in his first run of two, his combo of Mctwist off the tombstone feature, ally oop 540 in the mini pipe, frontside ally oop in to the superpipe, air to fakie Japan grab, cab double 1080 into front double 1080, scoring 80.50 which had him sitting in second place at the end of the first round.
Australia's Scotty James earned the day’s top score of 89.66 on his first run. James combined a frontside handplant on the tombstone, into a switch backside 540 nose grab transfer out of the minipipe, a frontside air-to-fakie into the superpipe, switch backside 900 mute grab, switch frontside 1080 double cork, frontside grab, and frontside 1260 double cork stalefish.
James said, “The upper course is really enabling us as snowboarders to channel our abilities more so than just spinning and flipping more times. For me, I just wanted to flow. I wanted to do a handplant and exit the minipipe and make it as effortless as possible—there’s more to the technical side of these courses than just going out and doing some terrifying tricks.” He also remarked on the significance of returning to the Burton U·S·Open as the defending champion this year, “It’s a really special week, last year Jake gave me my first U·S·Open title, and I was absolutely honored I got to experience that. This year for me personally I would love to come out and ride for snowboarding, for Jake and the Carpenter family and everyone at Burton. We wouldn’t be doing this without them and their vision, so it’s very special.”
The Burton U·S·Open halfpipe finals are scheduled for Sunday 1 March at 7:00am NZT. The slopestyle finals will be held Saturday 7am NZT featuring first place qualifier and defending champion Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (NZL).
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