I’m excited for the US Open – it’s always fun to ride at an event that is not only just for snowboarders, but also run by snowboarders
said Burton Team Rider Danny Davis. “The Open is legendary. I look forward to this event every year.
2014 gold medalist Jamie Anderson (USA), along with silver and bronze medalists Stale Sandbech (NOR) and Mark McMorris (CAN) will be there, as well as Chas Guldemond (USA), Torstein Horgmo (NOR), Maxence Parrot (CAN), Danny Davis (USA) and Enni Rukajärvi (FIN). Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington (USA), as well as bronze medalists Taku Hiraoka (JPN) and Kelly Clark (USA) are confirmed.
In addition, 2014 X Games gold medalist Danny Davis (USA) and 13-year-old X Games silver medalist Chloe Kim (USA) will also compete. Finally, Arielle Gold (USA), Hannah Teter (USA), Ryo Aono (JPN), Greg Bretz (USA) and Taylor Gold (USA) are all planning to attend next week’s US Open as well.
In this overwhelming onslaught of big names and talent, here's some insider cheat sheet on whom to watch out for and why:
1 Billy Morgan
Like Jamie Nicholls, Billy cut his teeth on a dryslope in the UK. A relative late comer to snowboarding, Billy’s gymnastic skills meant he quickly established himself as a world-class contest rider. And in 2011 the world stood to attention when he landed the first ever backside triple rodeo on his first try.
2 Mark McMorris
Mark went into the Olympics carrying a broken rib injury which left him doubting if he’d even make the games. But despite the setback, he managed to throw down a run with two triple corks to score a well-earned bronze. With a few weeks' recovery time in the bank we can expect a fully powered-up McMorris fired up to defend his US Open title.
3 Jamie Nicholls
Jamie’s sixth in slopestyle at Sochi 2014 put men’s UK snowboarding firmly on the map. With confidence at an all-time high, Jamie has the rail chops to push for the podium here as well.
4 Jamie Anderson
Combine the confidence accrued from that slopestyle gold, and the experience of a rider who has spent much of her career pushing the boundaries of women's snowboarding, and it’s hard to see past yet another Anderson victory.
5 Sarka Pancochova
This ripper from the Czech Republic will be looking to get back on the horse after a nasty crash at the Olympics left her with a broken helmet. She’s one of smoothest riders out there and has the skills and the style to go head to head with Jamie Anderson.
6 Stale Sandbech
Stale has got the whole package down, from ninja-like rail riding precision to effortless triple corks. He narrowly missed out on the top spot in Olympic slopestyle to Sage Kotsenburg – where better to come out swinging than the Open at Vail?
7 Danny Davis
Danny Davis is one of the most colourful characters in snowboarding and is single handedly bringing back some much-needed style into half pipe. Look out for his switch tricks in the pipe, notably his switch method. Danny isn’t one to follow the herd, and it’s clear he’s charting his own course in half-pipe riding.
8 Kyle Mack
Last year, 16 year-old (!) Kyle was the first person ever to throw down the triple frontside rodeo in competition, without so much as a hand drag on the landing. He’s had the Shaun White comparisons and has the skills to back it up. The future is bright for this kid, and we could be in for a serious showdown with Kyle in the mix at the US open.
9 Ayumu Hirano
At just 15 years old, Ayumu goes bigger than most in the pipe, and does it with style to boot. Last year he claimed X Games silver behind Shaun, and at Sochi 2014 was the youngest-ever Japanese medalist, netting silver. Next stop, gold at the Open? It’s been coming.
10 Chase Josey
Chase Josey comes into the Open riding high on his first place in the Open qualifiers, sticking down an incredible run in near white-out conditions. With a string of podium places over the past couple of seasons, Chase has the chance to really step up and make a splash on the world scene here at the Open.