I headed up to the Stratton ski area in Vermont to cover the 2009 US Open Snowboarding Championships. The event included Quarterpipe, Halfpipe and Slopestyle competition. The competition was stupendous, the crowd humungus, the tricks were sick and amplitude huge! I saw gnarly hits on rails, big air off the jumps, sick tricks in the halfpipe and amplitude that hit the 25 ft. mark in the quarterpipe. All the riders were stoked and the crowd was treated to the best of the best. Sponsors were there giving away swag and the spectators loved it.

I was staying in Manchester at the Barnstead Inn, where I have stayed before. It is a nice small inn, especially if you like converted barns with begged beams and lots of Vermont charm. My room was located upstairs. It was modestly furnished with antiques and decorated with skis. They have 14 rooms that are spacious, yet cozy – each with private bath, air conditioning, cable television, individual thermostats, courtesy coffee, wireless Internet access and firm comfortable beds… all tucked into a New England hay barn built in the 1830s. The rates run from a modest $85 to $300. If you are skiing at Stratton or Bromley, call the Barnstead Inn for a reservation at (800) 331-1619 and tell them that the Ski Bum News recommended them.

The finals for the quarterpipe were held in the early part of Friday evening. Riders came down the runway and launched themselves into the air under clear skies in front of hundreds of spectators at the Sunbowl base area. For the ladies, Kjersti Oestgaard Buaas (NOR) was the big winner and took home $10,000, Lisa Wiik (NOR) placed 2nd and won $5,000 and Elena Hight (USA) received $2,500 for her 3rd place showing. Kjersti wowed the judges with her big backside airs, air to fakies and numerous grabs. She was able to apply her skill from the halfpipe and apply it in the quarterpipe. Buaas won another $3,000 in prize money for hitting the 16 ft. mark.

Scotty Lago won the men’s competition and took home $10,000. Daniel Ek (NOR) took 2nd with $5,000 in prize money and Sebastien Toutant (CAN) was 3rd. taking home and $2,500. Scotty Lago showed his stuff by stylin and amplitude. Lago nailed tricks like a frontside 720 truckdriver and a corked back 540. He thought the jam format was “awesome”. He has competed in the US Open for 13 years and this is the first time he landed on the podium. Luke Mitrani soared to 25 ft. and also grabbed $3,000 in cash for his quarterpipe amplitude.

After the wild quarterpipe competition, the crowd was treated to a free RJD2 concert and the crowd boogied into the night.

It was a beautiful day for halfpipe riding in Stratton with clear skies and mild temperatures. The men’s and women’s field were filled with some of the best riders in the world. For the men, USA’s Danny Kass claimed his 5th U.S. Open Halfpipe victory in front of a crowd of thousands. Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) was 2nd and Markus Malin (FIN) finished 3rd

All day long, the amplitude was big, with plenty of boned grabs and smooth spins. Danny Kass’s third run was spectacular. He sticking a Frontside 10, Cab 10, Backside 720 and a Switch Alley-oop 540 and bagged his 5th US Open title. Peetu Piiroinen shone in his second run improve on his first run by stompin a Frontside 720, Cab 1080, Alley-oop Backside Rodeo, Frontside Alley-oop, Frontside 540 and a Backside 720. Luke Mitrani (USA) executed a crazy Switch Double Backflip that landed the 3rd place slot.

Piiroinen’s 2nd place finish clinched his 08/09 Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour victory. Needing only an 8th place finish, he aced out Shaun White, who was a no-show due to an injured ankle.

Australian Torah Bright (AUS) won the women’s halfpipe with USA’s Kelly Clark in 2nd and Ellery Hollingsworth (USA) placing 3rd. The women kept the crowd stoked with a finale that went down to the wire. Things were close right up to their final runs. Kelly Clark seemed to have a lock on first place after her first run where she threw a Frontside Air, Backside 540 Mute, Frontside 720 Indy, Cab 720 and Frontside 5340. Torah Bright nailed her third run that included a Cab 720 Indy, Crippler, Backside 360 Indy, Switch Backside 720 and a Backside 540.

This was the first US Open that Torah competed in all year.

Obviously, Stratton forgot to sacrifice a virgin to Thor, so the slopestyle competition saw inconsistent snow conditions and poor visibility as clouds changed to heavy snow flurries as the riders hit rails and sick jumps

USA’s Chas Guldemond came in 1st and won the Gold with Sebastien Toutant, (CAN) in 2nd place and Scotty Lago (USA) in 3rd. Guldemond threw a Frontboard 270 out, 50-50 to Backside 180, Switch Backside Rodeo 900, wild Backside 1260, a Cab 900 and a Backside Rodeo for first place and $20,000. Sebastian Toutant was right on the heels of Chas with an awesome second run ending with a huge Backside double corked 1080. In addition to his 6Star title and TTR World No. 2 position, Chas became the overall winner of the Burton Global Open Series, taking home $100,000. Not a bad payday!!

For the ladies, it was Kjersti Oestgaard-Buaas (NOR) who managed to dominate the field with her 1st place win. Jenny Jones (GBR) was 2nd and Chanelle Sladics (USA) finished 3rd. Kjersti took the Slopestyle Title and $20,000 with her third run by throwing a Nosepress, 50-50 to 180 out, Cab 540 Indy, Backside 360 Indy, Frontside 360 Stalefish and a sick Frontside 720 mute.

Guldemond finished his TTR season as World No. 2 right behind Peetu Piiroinen, who finished in 4th in the Slopestyle. Finnish rider Antti Autti who placed 5th and moved up the No. 3 spot. Kevin Pearce (USA) is now No. 4 and Risto Mattila (FIN) No. 5. Although the men’s TTR season has concluded, the woman’s race will go down to the wire with one final event, the 6Star Roxy Chicken Jam. Kjersti Oestgaard-Buaas, who currently sits in World No. 7, now has a chance n to take that No. 1 spot away from Jamie Anderson. There will be a dramatic fight in Mammoth Lakes, California to determine the winner.