Under the freezing cold, and in the lights of Summit County, the US Open Big Air went down tonight. Despite snow being swept across the landscape all day and night, the field of 32 competitors weren’t deterred one bit and jumped without hesitation.
Each of the 32 riders was given two scored runs, with the top eight advancing. While a majority of the tricks were switch 1080s, some kangaroo flips, 900s, and rodeos were thrown down in elimination too. With some well known riders failing stomp a clean jump, the top eight that moved on were: Mike Clarke, Sammy Carlson, Charles Gagnier, Colby West, Jossi Wells, Thomas Doplads, Andreas Hatveit and Russ Henshaw.
The format then moved to a head-to-head, one jump elimination quarter-finals. Sammy and Andreas both fell, advancing Mike Clarke and Russ Henshaw, while Colby beat Charles and Jossi squeaked by Thomas. In the semi-finals — now moved to a best-of-three format —Colby West beat Russ Henshaw with a gigantic switch 1080 and Jossi’s switch 1080 nose grab cleaned out Mike Clarke’s big, smooth switch 1080 tail.
In the one jump consellation round for 3rd place, Mike Clarke showed his signature stomp on his switch 1080 to secure 3rd place over Russ Henshaw. While in the finals, Colby took his switch 1080 deep and scored a point again the young kiwi. In the 2nd jump, Jossi took more speed into the jump, crushing his switch 1080 nose to take the point. But in the 3rd and final jump, Colby took his switch 1080 mute deeper than anyone all night to lock up that 1st place podium spot.
Despite the crowds being a bit smaller than in the past, the jump being a bit less than manicured, and the freezing temp (which is a US Open staple), the riders managed a good competition, 1st and 1nd being decided between good friends. It was a nice departure to see four newcomers to the US Open finals in the top four spots.
US Open Big Air Results
1) Colby West
2) Jossi Wells
3) Mike Clarke
4) Russ Henshaw
T-5) Sammy Carlson