The 31st annual Burton U.S. Open stormed through Vail, Colorado, last week after moving from the small mountain town of Stratton, Vermont, where it was held for the past three decades.
Many riders praised the move and said the contest's new courses, the numerous amenities in Vail Village, and the resort's size and snowfall made this U.S. Open the best to date. Check out our Instagram gallery of some of the highlights from the event below.
"Hands down, this is the best pipe of the year," Shaun White said after winning the superpipe contest on Saturday. White liked Vail's pipe so much that he trained in it a few weeks before the event, something he never did when the event was held in Vermont. In the photo above, White takes time to cheese it up with Jake Burton Carpenter, the founder of Burton Snowboards.
Check out an exclusive interview with Jake Burton about the Open's move to Vail at SnowboarderMag.com.
A big difference between Stratton and Vail is the weather. In Vermont, icy runs, minimal snow coverage, and a sloppy pipe were the norm. This year in Vail, a few days of heavy snowfall were followed by bluebird days. Pictured above, renowned photographer Dean "Blotto" Grey poses chest-deep in fresh powder.
Burton team rider Hannah Teter hails from Belmont, Vermont, and grew up participating in the Open as both a spectator and a competitor. Following her second place finish in superpipe finals in Vail, we asked Hannah what the worst part of the Open in Vail was. "There isn't anything negative about having the U.S. Open here in Vail. Everything has been super positive, and everyone has been so psyched to have it here, and honestly it's been the best U.S. Open ever--from the pipe to the weather. Everything. So good!" We can't argue with that.
The Burton U.S. Open is known for its amazing parties and concerts, and the evening events in Vail were simply off the charts. This year, rap artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed on Friday, and Brooklyn-based artist Santigold took the stage on Saturday.
On Friday more than a foot of fresh snow fell and created unsafe conditions for the women's slopestyle contest. Instead of holding the contest, Burton officials had a meeting with the riders and let the lady competitors decide whether or not they wanted to compete. A consensus was reached to use results from the semifinals, giving the ladies the chance to shred fresh powder in place of competing in the unsavory conditions. Pictured above, Burton Girls contributor Tawnya Schultz takes time away from the contest to lay down this wheelie in fresh powder.
Moving the U.S. Open to Vail made it much more accessible for riders and fans to attend. Vail has its own airport, and it's only two hours away from the Denver International Airport. Stratton, on the other hand, doesn't have an airport, and is only accessible by driving on winding country roads. Burton public relations guru Lauren Offenberg is pictured above at the Vail airport following the event. Easy in and easy out.
#OyVail Until next year.
Kelly Clark became the winningest halfpipe rider in snowboarding history by taking the halfpipe finals at the Burton U.S. Open in Vail, Colorado, on Saturday. This win marked Clark's 61st and her sixth U.S. Open title.
"Honestly, this was a big win for me today. I grew up with this event, even as a spectator long before I was a competitor. Always being around and watching this event, I always aspired to be a professional snowboarder and win the Burton U.S. Open. And now being the winningest snowboard champ is simply beyond me," said a stunned Clark after the event.
Rounding out the women's podium was Vermont native Hannah Teter and 16-year-old Arielle Gold from Steamboat, Colorado.
In the men's contest, Shaun White beat out 11 other riders, earning his fifth U.S. Open halfpipe title. Fourteen-year-old Japanese rider Ayumu Hirano placed second, and American Louie Vito took third.
"It was incredible to get my fifth U.S. Open halfpipe title in Vail, and hands down, this is the best pipe of the year," said White following the event. "I'm pretty happy to end my season with a win at the U.S. Open."
Head here for a full recap and gallery of the event from Snowboardermag.com.
The final day of the X Games concluded Sunday in Aspen, Colorado, with some of the most anticipated events: the men's and women's ski slopestyle finals, snowmobile best trick, and the snowboard superpipe finals. Here's a look at some behind-the-scenes moments from the last day of action.
Ayumu Hirano stole show at the superpipe finals with his impressive amplitude and technical tricks. This Japanese rider is only 14 years old and the youngest competitor to ever medal at the X Games. What do you think was going through the pipe prodigy's mind as he prepared to drop in for his first run?
Check out Snowboarder magazine's full recap of superpipe finals here.
Sal Masekela hosted the X Games for thirteen years, and this was the first year that he wasn't in front of the camera. As a fan of snowboarding, and an avid snowboarder himself, Masekela made his way to Aspen to check out the contest on his own terms. He's pictured here, at the bottom of the pipe, incognito, so as not to be called out by ESPN on camera. He disguise worked for a bit, but near the end of the pipe finals, Sal was swarmed by fans seeking autographs. He may not have the mic anymore, but he's still the man.
Shaun White is known for tossing up his hands at the end of his runs--even if he falls. He gets a lot flack for this from endemic media, but after White stomped his second run in the pipe and took the top score of the night, the media kept quiet.
At the press conference after Sunday's pipe finals, Ayumu Hirano said in Japanese that he was honored to be sitting next to Shaun White, and that he was happy he earned silver. He also said, through his translator, that he looks forward to learning English, so he can actually talk to White during contests.
Shaun White received a lot a press when he cut his luscious locks. After qualifying second in pipe on Friday night, and only placing fifth in slopestyle on Saturday, rumors ran wild on Twitter that, a la Samson, he may have lost all his snowboarding power. But on Sunday night White showed that he's still the best pipe rider in the game.
Photo: @susiefloros Congrats to this guy too! @shaunwhite #rocknroll Nice new do! @budkeene144 completing the band. #xgames2013 #6Peat
Eddie Wall is a pro snowboarder who has been coming to the X Games for 10 years. While he doesn't compete anymore, he's still winning the party game in a big way. Eddie hung out at the Red Bull party at the Jerome Hotel Sunday night, and took a bunch of "selfie" photos with stars including Sal Masekela, pro skater Paul Rodriguez, and Red Bull riders Louie Vito and Mark McMorris.
Pro snowboarder Jamie Anderson is known for loving the Rasta-inspired lifestyle. On Sunday night in Aspen, Jamie was right at home at the Marley House, where Ky-Mani Marley, Bob Marley's son, played to a packed house. Jamie told us it was one of the most fun nights of her life, and she felt blessed see a Marley in person.
What did Shaun White do to celebrate his six-peat in superpipe? He got nice and cleaned up, and had a big dinner with his closest friends and family at the Target Chalet. Then he made use of the house's bowling alley, and got down on the dance floor as DJ Q-Tip spun beats at the intimate party. Pretty much rocked it like the rock star he is.
The last night of the X Games is notorious for turning into a cadre of raging parties, with the Target Chalet party being the most exclusive. While cameras aren't allowed inside the house, Burton photographer Adam Moran pulled out his iPhone just in time to snap this shot of an unnamed reveler about to take the plunge. Jesse White, Shaun's older brother, was apparently oblivious to the antics around him. We probably shouldn't disclose what happened after this, but let's just say it was epic. And with that, another X Games is in the books.
Photo: @adammoran @stevesawesome knows how to party.
Check out all of GrindTV's X Games coverage here.
Shaun White made Winter X snowboarding history with his six-peat in the superpipe Sunday night, but in the end it was a 14-year-old from Japan who stole the show, as the crowd was left wondering if they just saw the next Shaun White.
Amazingly, Ayumu Hirano, making his Winter X Games debut, pulled off a 92.33 in his second run for the silver medal, becoming the youngest to medal at Winter X and undoubtedly making a statement that he's going to be someone to reckon with come 2014 in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Hirano entered Aspen as the youngest snowboarder to ever compete in the superpipe at Winter X. Below is a look at his very impressive silver-medal run that left X Games commentator Kevin Pearce in awe. Note the amplitude of his final move:
Not surprisingly, White became the first snowboarder to win six consecutive gold medals in superpipe, putting down an effortless second run that included him soaring to a record-setting 24 feet, 1 inch on a backside air and a scoring a 98 after a 95 on his first run.
So, what was the first on-air question to White after the competition? It was about Hirano (seen in the photos above and right).
"I'm proud of him," White told ESPN. "I asked his age at the top actually. I was surprised to see him doing so well. Gosh, my first time at X Games I could barely drop in my knees were shaking and everything. It's awesome for him and I'm sure he's going to be around for a while."
Meet the Canadian kid who has Shaun White's number on the slopestyle course
So the event's oldest competitor--White, age 26--took gold (his eighth in superpipe at Winter X and his 12th straight victory overall in a superpipe competition), and the event's youngest competitor--Hirano--took silver.
Here's a look at White's 98-point run:
White joined snowmobiler Tucker Hibbert as the only competitors to ever six-peat at Winter X. Hibbert completed his six-peat earlier Sunday. Afterward, White talked about winning six straight.
"I don't think I've ever been more focused and more in tune with what I'm doing physically as well as mentally," White told ESPN. "Six years, that's pretty heavy. It's going to be more uncomfortable next year when I'm going for the seventh. I like it; it's a pretty humbling title to hold. I'm proud."
Markus Malin of Finland earned the bronze with a 91.33. It was the first medal of his X Games career.
But clearly, the story was about the first medal won by Hirano, and what the future might hold.
Photos of Ayumu Hirano courtesy of ESPN
More on GrindTV
Watch Torstein Horgmo's historic Winter X Games snowboard big air
Why Mark McMorris is considered the Olympic favorite heading into Russia
Meet David Wise, the skier who dominates in the Superpipe
The second day of the X Games wrapped in a little place called Aspen, Colorado, with the men's ski slopestyle elimination, snowboard street final, women's ski superpipe final, snowboard big air final, and men's ski superpipe final all taking place at Buttermilk Mountain. Here are the top behind-the-scenes moments from day two.
Pro snowboarder and Olympic silver medalist Danny Kass and Trevor Andrew, a former pro snowboarder turned Brooklyn-based musician, posed for a pic at the base of Buttermilk Mountain. They look like a couple of normal snowboarders, lending credence to the belief that you never know who you'll catch on a lift at the X Games.Photo: @clubweird @dannykass @troubleandrew buttermilk laps at #xgames2013! #leathertrenchcoat
What does Shaun White do on a down day at X Games? Apparently, he dresses up in his finest suit and bowtie and kicks it at the exclusive Target Chalet. The Chalet is a huge mansion Target rents to host athletes and industry elite every year at X. Entry is extremely limited, security is top notch, and cameras aren't even allowed inside--so this snap is ultra-rare and a true behind-the-scenes glimpse into the star's life at X.
You can win, you can lose, or in the case of pro snowboarder Louis Paradis, you can dominate. The French Canadian rail ripper won his first X Games gold yesterday for his X Game Real Snow video, and earned his second gold medal by dominating the snowboard street contest on Friday. Paradis edged out pro snowboarders Dylan Alito and Dylan Thompson for the win with his ultra stylish, technical rail transfer tricks. Right after his big win, this picture was snapped of Paradis, who said he was in paradise with his duel gold medals.
For a full gallery from X Games Snowboard Street, jump to Snowboardermag.com
It's rare for athletes to have many down moments during X, as their schedules are packed with training, competing, and multiple sponsor obligations. In this photo from Red Bull Team manager Ryan Runke, the energy drink's top skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers hung out and signed posters for a sprawling crowd of fans all lined up at the massive Red Bull tent near the base of Buttermilk Mountain. Some fans were so excited they opted to have their body parts signed in lieu of posters.
Need a new tattoo? Perhaps a fresh cut? The Sailor Jerry house in Aspen has you covered. Pro snowboarder Mason Aguirre got new ink on his arm Friday, while Vans team manager Larry Nunez got nice and cleaned up. Aguirre later tweeted, "Thanks to my dudes @thegoodlife@sailorjerry for giving me my first ever free tattoo--you guys rule!!" Just another day behind the extreme scenes of X Games.
For more coverage from X Games big air, head to Snowboarder mag for the full recapPromising young Norwegian snowboarder Stale Sandbech failed to make slope finals at X, but he competed in the big air finals Friday night. This picture, posted by the Norwegian snowboard team, shows the 19-year-old ripper waxing his own board as he prepares for the contest. Most riders have technicians that wax their boards for them, but Stale likes to do it himself. Clearly his waxing worked, as he places third, behind Mark McMorris and Torstein Horgmo, in the high-intensity big air event.
Head to Newschoolers for the full recap from Ski Pipe Finals.
Men's ski superpipe finals was the big show Friday night, and David Wise took the win by stomping back-to-back double cork 1260s. His run was amazing and definitely deserved first, but third-place finisher Simon Dumont of Bethel, Maine, was the big story of the night. The 25-year-old competed while still recovering from two wrist surgeries and recent ACL surgery, and he couldn't even use his poles. Despite his condition, Dumont stomped a smooth run that landed him a bronze medal.
Following the event, Dumont took to his Twitter account and thanked his fans: "Very tired and sore. Congrats to everyone skiing in finals tonight. Very excited to be back on the podium at X. Thanks for the support! Night."