Gerard 1, Marino 2 at Burton U.S. Open Slopestyle
Red Gerard (Silverthorne Colo.) won the 2019 U.S. Burton Open slopestyle finals on Friday at Vail Mountain Resort in Colorado. It was clear this victory really struck a chord with the modest 2018 PyeongChang Olympic gold medalist.
“I don’t know man, I feel insane, this is crazy,” said Gerard. “I never expected that I would even be in the finals at the open. To win at the here with an insane podium is incredible. I’m speechless.”
Julia Marino (Westport, Conn.) finished in second-place to collect her second consecutive Burton U.S. Open podium as she finished in third in 2018.
I was really happy to end up on the podium again this year," said Marino. "The conditions weren’t ideal but I’m super happy and impressed on how all of the girls pushed through it and threw down!"
The women dropped in first and put on a style clinic for the Vail crowd. Marino and Hailey Langland (San Clemente, Calif.) both came out of the gate on a mission putting together complete top to bottom runs with a high level of difficulty. Langland would earn a score of 77.5 with a technical rail line and a polished backside 540 of the transition jump. She would hold onto that score and finish fourth just outside the podium.
Marino landed a cab double underflip on run one and earned a score for 80.3 which would also be her top score of the day. Landing run one proved to be beneficial for Marino as winds increased and the course slowed down causing riders to struggle finding the sweet spot as the day went on.
New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott’s finished in first-place completing an unofficial triple crown in snowboarding as she recently just earned the gold medal at X Games Aspen and the FIS World Championships. Also, Miyabi Onitsuka of Japan closed out the podium in third.
For the men, it was unclear if the event was going to run due to wind and snow, but upon getting the green light, all of the riders did not hesitate. Gerard’s win was also a result of his first run. He came out with noticeably more speed than the rest of the pack putting down a technical combination in the upper rail section, starting off with a noseslide to frontside boardslide to fakie, into a half-Cab 50-50 on backside 360 melon out, into a boardslide 450 Indy underflip out, he sped into the jump section starting off with a switch backside 1260 Indy, into a frontside double cork 1080 Indy on the transition feature and finishing with a huge backside triple cork 1440 mute on the final hit to roaring cheers from the crowd.
“I was pretty scared dropping in,” said Gerard. “Practice was crazy with the fresh snow and I’m just really happy I landed one. To keep my speed, I only changed one rail trick doing a 540 off instead of a 900.”
Gerard, the number one qualifier, would jump into first place and remain there for the rest of the competition. Four-time U.S. Open slopestyle champion Mark McMorris from Canada had a chance to challenge the top spot on his last run, but couldn’t land his back triple cork 1620 on the last jump. As the rest of the field completed their final runs and the reality of a victory lap set in for Gerard, he seemed to show a level of excitement that has yet to be seen from the 18-year-old. The true spirit of the U.S. Open came to light as the entire field of riders tackled Gerard in the finish corral in a celebratory fashion.
Gerard was no the only U.S. Snowboard Team member who had a good day on Friday. Luke Winkelmann (Blowing Rock, N.C.) finished fourth and Lyon Farrell (Haiku, Hawaii) finished in fifth just outside the podium completing an amazing day for the U.S. Snowboard Team. Earlier in the week in an interview with the U.S. Open, Winkelmann said, “I’m just out here trying to lace,” and lace he did landing his second run as the rest of the field looked on in approval of the young rider.
In addition, Farrell had himself a day landing his first run stomping a backside 1260 and a cab 1260. Also, Brock Crouch (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), who broke his back in an avalanche in Whistler, Canada last April, rode his way into the finals and finished 10th. The fact that Crouch is back on snow riding with the best in the world is a victory in itself.
Sweden’s Sven Thorgren finished second and Canada’s Mark McMorris finished in third.
HOW TO WATCH
Subject to change
All times EST
Live webcasts on BurtonUSOpen.com and Red Bull TV
Saturday, March 2
1:00 p.m. - Women’s halfpipe finals - Vail, Colo.
4:00 p.m. - Men’s halfpipe finals - Vail, Colo.