Scotty James & Ruki Tomita Qualify First in 2020 Burton U·S·Open Halfpipe Semi-Finals

Day two of the 38th annual Burton U·S·Open Snowboarding Championships went off in ideal conditions with defending champion Scotty James (AUS) and first-time Burton U·S·Open competitor Ruki Tomita (JPN) taking the top spots in halfpipe semi-finals. Today’s event featured a completely reimagined Burton U·S·Open halfpipe venue, combining a 13-foot enhanced minipipe creatively transitioning into a 22-foot superpipe providing competitors a fresh canvas. The field was narrowed down to six women and 10 men advancing into Saturday’s halfpipe finals and a chance to compete for the Burton U·S·Open halfpipe title and a share of the $373,000 overall prize purse.

20W-USO-BurtonDotCom-PatBurgener-NewsItem-Recaps-04.jpgPat Burgener floating into the second place qualifying spot heading into Saturday's finals.

The men’s field showcased the best halfpipe riders in the world pushing themselves in a course that equally rewarded creativity and technical snowboarding. Scotty James rose to the challenge earning the day’s top score of 89.66 on his first run. James combined a frontside handplant on the tombstone, into a switch backside 540 nose grab transfer out of the minipipe, a frontside air-to-fakie into the superpipe, switch backside 900 mute grab, Cab 1080 double cork, frontside grab, and frontside 1260 double cork stalefish.

James said, “The upper course is really enabling us as snowboarders to channel our abilities more so than just spinning and flipping more times. For me, I just wanted to flow. I wanted to do a handplant and exit the minipipe and make it as effortless as possible—there’s more to the technical side of these courses than just going out and doing some terrifying tricks.” He also remarked on the significance of returning to the Burton U·S·Open as the defending champion this year, “It’s a really special week, last year Jake gave me my first U·S·Open title, and I was absolutely honored I got to experience that. This year for me personally I would love to come out and ride for snowboarding, for Jake and the Carpenter family and everyone at Burton. We wouldn’t be doing this without them and their vision, so it’s very special.”

Pat Burgener (SUI) took second place with a score of 87.33 putting together a creative series of tricks in his run including a Millerflip, a nollie frontflip and a Cab 1080 double cork frontside grab. Yuto Totsuka (JPN) earned third place with a score of 84.50 in a perfectly flowing run. 

20W-USO-BurtonDotCom-MaddieMastro-NewsItem-Recaps-02.jpgMaddie Mastro with flawless style as she looks to defend her title in Saturday's finals.

The women’s competition featured an exciting and diverse range of 13 women from veteran competitors to rookie Burton U·S·Open challengers. It was Ruki Tomita competing in her first Burton U·S·Open who put down two high-scoring runs to earn first place with the top score of 88.50. In the minipipe, she linked up a backside tail tap on the tombstone, to an alley oop, dropping into the superpipe with a frontside 900 melon grab, backside 540, frontside 720 frontside grab, and ending with a Cab 720.

Tomita said, “I was really surprised to get first today!” She was focused on landing her runs and enjoying the whole Burton U·S·Open experience. She said, “I’m very honored to be here, last year I was watching the U·S·Open at home on TV.”

Defending Burton U·S·Open halfpipe champion Maddie Mastro (USA) followed close behind with an 87.66 combining a stalefish Haakon Flip into a Crippler on her last two hits. Haruna Matsumoto (JPN) took third place earning a score of 75.00.

Tomorrow, Friday, February 28th, kicks off with a celebration of Burton founder, Jake Burton Carpenter following his recent passing. Everyone is invited to meet at 8:00am MST at Gondola One for a group ride down Riva Glade, one of Jake’s favorite stashes. A full day of competition follows starting at 11:00am MST with the women’s and men’s slopestyle finals at Vail’s Golden Peak featuring first place qualifiers Dusty Henricksen (USA) and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (NZL). The Burton U·S·Open halfpipe competition picks up again with the finals on Saturday, February 29th at 11:00am MST.

Tonight, check out the Burton Concert Series featuring Theophilus London and Thundercat performing for free on the Solaris Concert Stage starting at 6:30pm MST.

20W-USO-BurtonDotCom-ScottyJames-NewsItem-Recaps-05.jpgDefending champ Scotty James made easy work of the modified pipe to clinch the top qualifying spot.

Men’s Halfpipe Semi-Finals Results
1. Scotty James (AUS), 89.66
2. Pat Burgener (SUI), 87.33
3. Yuto Totsuka (JPN), 84.50
4. Jake Pates (USA), 83.66
5. Jan Scherrer (SUI), 81.83
6. Rakai Tait (NZL), 80.50
7. Joey Okesson (USA), 78.16
8. Shuichiro Shigeno (JPN), 75.66
9. Chase Blackwell (USA), 75.16
10. Danny Davis (USA), 74.33

20W-USO-BurtonDotCom-RukiTomita-NewsItem-Recaps-01.jpgRuki Tomita taking the top spot in her first ever Burton U·S·Open appearance.

Women’s Halfpipe Semi-Finals Results
1. Ruki Tomita (JPN), 88.50
2. Maddie Mastro (USA), 87.66
3. Haruna Matsumoto (JPN), 75.00
4. Xuetong Cai (CHN), 70.83
5. Shaotong Wu (CHN), 68.83
6. Mitsuki Ono (JPN), 67.66

For competition highlight videos and more from the world’s greatest snowboard event, check out Burton’s YouTube channel.

Be sure to download the Burton U·S·Open app for the latest on the competition, concert and entertainment schedule, live broadcasts, special events, and all that’s going on now through February 29th at the world’s greatest snowboard event. The app is available now through Google Play and the App Store. Also follow #BurtonUSOpen and catch the competition including the halfpipe and slopestyle semi-finals and finals airing live and on demand on Red Bull TV and BurtonUSOpen.com.