Yuto Totsuka and Xuetong Cai taking golds at the U.S. Open in their respective fields were pretty special moments—Yuto finally topping Scotty James and Xuetong Cai being the first non-American woman to win it in over a decade—but that is not exactly what we are talking about. We are talking, or rather writing, about the massive poach with 100+ riders dropping in during Danny Davis’ second run in honor of Jake Burton.
An emotional video played and instead of taking his second scored run, Danny lead a poach that went on for a few minutes including Danny Kass, Terje Haakonsen, Christian Haller, Red Gerard, Mark McMorris, Shaun White, Nicola Thost, Ben Ferguson, Brock Crouch, Kelly Clark, the rest of the finals’ competitors, and plenty more legends and soon-to-be legends.
It was an unbelievable sight. The snake of riders hitting the frontside and backside walls turned into just a mass of people airing an carving through the pipe. Nobody fell, and everyone celebrated in the bottom with a moment for Jake… lifting boards in the air and cheering for the remainder of the contest. Our very own SNOWBOARDER Editor Stan was in the pipe for the poach, this is what he had to say:
“I have never poached at the U.S. Open. It is pretty rare that someone as bad as me could even get in the pipe. But for this one, I got in the mix, followed by my trusty filmer Erik Hemans. As there is video evidence, there is no denying that I never even came close to the lip. Albeit not a poach by its original definition… the U.S. Open halfpipe is no stranger to the waxed bases of unregistered competitors. This year, in celebration of Jake Burton, the pipe received what I can only assume was the highest number of riders at one concentrated time the contest has ever seen. Probably the most riders in that amount of time that any pipe has ever seen. It was an honor to share that experience with so many people that I have been inspired by or looked up to in snowboarding. (Editor’s Note: ON THAT DAY STAN WAS TECHNICALLY LOOKING UP TO EVERYONE FROM THE FLAT BOTTOM). From current contest riders to groms, to legends like Danny Kass, the influence of Jake was seen for several straight minutes of airtime and slashes.”
Women’s Pipe Final:
Xuetong Cai said this was the most meaningful win in her career. The one she has always wanted. She has been competing since 2004, so that speaks to not only the day, but the importance of the U.S. Open title in general in snowboarding. She deserved it. With a clean run capped off with one of the best air-to-fakies in snowboarding, she held off a pack chock-full of talent.
Haruna Matsumoto battled through injury to put down an impressive second place run complete with a 1080, followed up by Ruki Tomita who walked away with bronze in her first every U.S. Open finals appearance. Maddie Mastro missed the podium after not being able to put down a run, going for the double crippler and just coming up short. It is the first U.S. Open to be won by an international rider in over a decade, and the first time for a rider from China. Even though it is two years out, it will probably be pretty big news heading into the Olympics.
Men’s Pipe Final:
YUTO BEAT SCOTTY JAMES! He has been knocking at the door for the past season, and finally walked in to the winner’s circle at the last major contest of the year. It had to be hard to shine on a day that included such a heavy poach honoring a man deemed “the most influential snowboarder of all time,” but Yuto channeled the energy of the crowd and did just that.
Scotty James tried to beat him on his third and final run, putting down his cleanest run of the day, but it wasn’t enough. Normally that would put James in third, but Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer had something different in mind. With possibly the trick of the finals, he put down a frontside alley-oop 900 that was heralded by the crowd, his fellow competitors, and the announcers booth combined. Sal Masakela had to stand up out of excitement for a few different moments during this U.S. Open… and we are pretty sure he shot right up for this one.
Scotty and Yuto both pointed out Jan’s alley-oop during the post-contest press conference, and we hope to see it again real soon. But with no halfpipe at X Games Norway, Scotty James will have to wait a few months to see if he can reclaim the podium.
It was an incredible U.S. Open pipe final. Hell, it was an incredible U.S. Open. Jake Burton was most definitely missed throughout the week, but capping it off with such a powerful tribute to the man that made it all possible was the perfect ending to another memorable contest.
This one will stick with us for awhile… and will definitely be hard to top. But if this Open was any type of a mark of the legacy he has left behind, his legend will only grow larger with every year and turn to come. So from the bottom of our hearts, and from the bottom of the pipe, thanks for everything Jake. We will see you again next year.
This article originally appeared on Snowboarder.com and was republished with permission.
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