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Chloe Kim at the US OPEN in Vail, CO

2017 Burton US Open

Mar 052017

Congratulations are in order for Monster Energy athlete Chloe Kim as she took the victory in the Superpipe at the 35th annual Burton US Open of Snowboarding. Considered one of the most prestigious events in snowboarding, Kim left little doubt as to her dominance in the sport defending her title from last season and sending off competition season in style.

With spring in the air, the radiant Colorado sunshine greeted the final Superpipe competition of the season with the best Mother Nature could offer affording riders perfect conditions to charge their hardest. Held on the slopes of Vail Mountain in Eagle County, Colorado, a field of international riders gathered for one final go for glory -- the US Open. As the longest running contest in the sport, it truly is "a snowboarder's contest" and a win here certainly holds a different weight

For Kim, it is a special place. It was here the world began to take note of her explosive style when in 2014 at the age of thirteen she came out of nowhere to take third dropping tricks like a switch method, something never before seen in women's competition. Since then her rise to the top of women's halfpipe riding has been nothing short of mesmerizing. For this event, with a continued show of superiority she finished the season as we have come to expect -- on top.


By the time Kim, now 16 steadied herself to drop for her final run she had the contest won. Yet as we have seen before, her victory laps are different. Forgoing stair airs and slashes, Kim spun a massive frontside 1080 tail grab, a cab 720 melon and a frontside 900. Sending off her run with a proper McTwist at the bottom of the pipe, the only thing bigger than Kim's smile was her score. Topping her secure first place 86.8, she nailed an 87.1, proving the common understanding that her toughest competition is simply herself.


"I always feel like I can push myself a little bit more," said Kim regarding her unorthodox victory lap.


She continued, "I'm just happy to be riding like myself again after a few weeks of being off. I took some time at home recently and got to hang out with my puppy before I came out here so that definitely helped," before bursting into laughter.


After her performance, while obvious, there are a couple things worth noting in regards to Kim's snowboarding. First, she goes bigger than anyone else; it's well documented. Two, she has more tricks than anyone else; do the math. And third, her riding style is easily the most fluid of any women's halfpipe rider; ask around. Additionally, when you take in to consideration that for this contest she did three different runs, with three different succession of tricks, a spontaneity rarely seen in halfpipe competitions, to say she is an uncommon rider is an understatement at best. It's attributes such as these that have earned Kim accomplishments like the first female to score a perfect 100 in competition, as well as the only athlete in X Games history to have won three gold medals before the age of 16. That said, with the 2018 Winter Olympics next year in Pyeongchang, South Korea, it stands to reason that the only one who can beat Chloe Kim is Chloe Kim.

Monster Energy would also like to congratulate athletes Jamie Anderson and Sven Thorgren for their respective second and third place finishes at the Slopestyle event at the historic Burton US Open Snowboarding in Vail, Colorado. Heading into the home stretch of competition season, both riders continued their stellar year with insane runs solidifying them as two of the most respected names in professional snowboarding.


Long considered the most prestigious event in snowboarding, the US Open enjoyed its 35th year of competition amidst absolutely perfect conditions on Friday. With 45-degree temperatures, not a cloud in the sky and zero wind, riders from around the world lined up to hit one of the most inventive slopestyle courses seen in recent years. Alternating rails and jumps made for an interesting take on traditional three-rail, three-jump layout, which has generally been the norm.


And for the most decorated snowboarder in slopestyle history, Anderson, it proved to be a big day as she put her years of experience to work picking apart the features with clinical precision.


At just 26-years-old it sounds strange to call Anderson a veteran, but considering her career began over a decade ago she is far and away the most experienced rider in the field with more wins than any female rider in the discipline, including three straight at the Open. The regular footer from South Lake Tahoe took home second with a display of style and progression. She did this, by the way, with a fractured elbow sustained just a couple of weeks ago.


When Anderson dropped into her third and final run it was clear from the start that she meant business leaning into a clean backside lipslide 270 out, stomping it en route to the first jump. Riding regular, next she floated a backside 540 Indy before spinning one of her signature cab 720's. The highlight of her run however, came next as she buttered a boardslide to 450 out on the unique cannon rail, flying a good 40 feet off the end of the box before crushing the landing. Capping off her run with a frontside 720 mute on the 70-foot final jump, she narrowly missed the victory scoring an 81.5 for second.


"I could have gone a little bigger on the jumps," said Anderson, "But look around, isn't this amazing? I'm definitely satisfied!"


Following suit, as the guys strapped in Thorgren showed why he is widely considered one of the most unique and stylish riders in competitive riding. Starting his run with a gap to frontside hard way 270 to switch on the down flat down rail, and then coming in Cab 270 to 270 off on the rainbow to a frontside double 1080 with a mute to tail grab followed up with a backside 1440 stalefish. Highlighted by a double backside rodeo off the cannon rail, which he won best trick of the contest with, the Norwegian also chucked an incredible cab 1260 to top off his third-place run.


Forgoing the triple cork craze that has swept up men's slopestyle, Thorgren instead has opted to push the progression of his snowboarding in a different direction focusing on flat spins, shifty variations and different grabs. While Thorgren’s trick selection may lack the total rotations of his counterparts, it's widely acknowledged by fellow riders that what he does is technically more difficult. When judges start to consider this, Thorgren's second and third place finishes will turn to victories.


“It feels amazing to be third place, said Thorgren. It was such a high level that even sixth place was a crazy run with 16’s in it. I have been struggling with slopestyle comps for a while so it was good to be back on a podium for a slopestyle contest and feels great. I think the SLS (Snowboarding Live Scoring System) judging helped me a lot with my rail tricks. And…it was a great contest with the best weather I have ever seen. I am hyped for X Games Norway next week.”


With Anderson and Thorgren, as well as Big Air superstar Max Parrot, set to compete in the final competition of the year at X Games Norway next weekend, it's not over yet. In a season that has seen records broken and the progression of the sport transcend the logical, it's going to be interesting to see what Monster Energy athletes have in store to close out this epic season.