U.S. Open kind to Canadians, Norwegians 

They call the U.S. Open the Wimbledon of Snowboarding, for some reason, an A-list event that routinely draws the best riders in the world.

They came in droves to Stratton Mountain in Vermont to compete in the halfpipe, boardercross and quarterpipe events, all for glory, the exposure, and a shot at some America greenbacks – about $230,000 worth.

The Boardercross got off to a shaky start on March 18, with 15 men dropping out due to a controversy over course conditions – the course needed grooming after a snowfall and there were too many technical sections. Most of the competitors stayed in however, and quite a few finished their day with a sled ride down the mountain.

The Canadians weren’t phased in the slightest, taking the top three spots.

Calgary’s Scott Gaffney finished the day in first place, followed by Robert Fagan and Mathieu Morency of Charlesbourg, Quebec.

In the women’s bracket, a 15 year local named Lindsay Jacobellis took the top spot, followed by Whistler’s Star of Peace Quinn, and Amy Johnson of the U.S.

In the men’s halfpipe on March 17, Danny Kass and Abe Teter of the U.S. finished first and second, followed by Daniel Franck of Norway.

The women’s contest went to Vancouver’s Natasza Zurek who lay down a combination backside McTwist to crippler in the finals. Shannon Dunn and Gretchen Bleiler of the U.S. finished second and third.

Quebec rider Annie Boulanger took the top spot in the women’s quarterpipe contest that evening with a four-metre mute frontside 540. Dorian Vidal of France finished second, and Swiss rider Pauline Richon was third.

Norway’s Terje Haakonsen won the men’s contest with a backside 900. Olympic champion Gian Simmen of Switzerland placed second, and James Beach of Whistler was third.

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