Words and photos | Rob Lemay @_lemay

Thank you snowboarding, more specifically thank you Jake Burton Carpenter. This past weekend Vail, Colorado hosted the 38th annual Burton US OPEN Snowboarding Championships. All of which would not have been possible without Jake's perseverance to give the world the gift of snowboarding. It was a week of competition, concerts, and giving thanks to Jake.

8:00 am Friday morning.

Jake Burton Carpenter passed away on November 20, 2019, and the snowboard community is still in mourning. Wherever you looked, you could see bright orange neon stickers that read "RIDE ON JAKE". Every day we heard stories honouring the man and it was impossible not to get caught up in the emotions. The event became a celebration of Jake's life and brought a close community even closer.

Dave Downing and Dean Blotto Gray behind him.

Early Friday morning a group 100+ strong rallied to Ride for Jake. Everyone met and uploaded to one of Jake's favourite runs on the mountain. Halfway up everyone was handed a small bottle of Underberg, a bitter liquor that Jake famously enjoyed before starting most of his days riding down a slope. You could overhear people saying how much he would have loved everyone drinking Underberg in his honour.

Terje with few well-chosen words.
Terje with a smile through it all.

Terje Haakonsen gave a sort of eulogy and there wasn't a dry eye in the group. There were lots of hugs, and stories shared, but it wasn't long until boards were strapped and everyone ripped through the new and aptly named Jake's Stash, known as the Riva Glade.

Tears and smiles make for full hearts.
Alex Andrews and Dave Downing.
Mark McMorris, Danny Davis, Shaun White. BURTON for life.

The show must go on and did it ever. Although competitions are often plagued with intermittent weather, it couldn't have been any nicer. Following the run for Jake on Friday, the women's slopestyle finals began and saw the very best in female progression. Anna Gasser stomped her very first Double Crippler in competition, and Jamie Anderson taking yet again another top finish at the US OPEN lead the charge for female snowboarding.


Hailey Langland Switch BS 180.
Jamie Anderson BS 540.
Miyabi Onitsuka BS 720.
Hailey Langland 50 BS 180.
Hailey Langland Switch FS 720.
Team Langland.
Anna Gasser pays to play, catching her breath after a heavy slam.
Jamie Anderson Switch Frontside 900 Double Cork.
Happy Miyabi takes 3rd.
2nd place feels good for Anna Gasser.
Humble and happy Jamie Anderson with top honors.
Team Red.
Red Gerad Switch BS 1440 Triple Cork.
Darcy Sharpe loves this shit.
Judd Henkes Switch BS 1620
Darcy tribute Method for Jake
Dusty Henricksen with the BS 1800 Quad Cork heard 'round the world.
Yuki Kadono Switch BS 1620.
The hype is most defnietely real for Yuki.

The men's slopestyle finals was a heated ordeal. Red set his highest score on his very first run, and the rest of the pack had to play catch up. The big drama of the day came right at the end when young 17-year-old Dusty Henricksen put down his very first, and the US OPEN's first BS 1800 Quad Cork on his last run. He was mobbed by friends and fellow competitors at the bottom. His total run score etched out Red Gerad who finished in 3rd but was not enough to beat Yuki Kadono's score. You have to really look at the two runs to see that Yuki had done a BS 1260 on the first side hit compared to Dusty's 900, and other than that the degree of difficulty throughout both runs was very close. Internet comments are still rampant in favor of Dusty's Quad for the top spot, but the judges got it right. Have a look for yourself.


Men's Slopestyle podium champagne celebration.
1st Yuki Kadono
2nd Dusty Henricksen
3rd Red Gerard
Red's got jokes.

A staple in the US OPEN, the HALFPIPE has definitely grown over the years, but this year's pipe saw its biggest changes yet. The modified top section shook things up, and who doesn't like a little variety? Instead of only a perfectly manicured pipe with 22-foot walls, they added a top smaller section with matching tombstone extensions and side hits that fed into the traditional monster of a halfpipe. Spectators were treated to each competitor's own unique take on the new section. With noticeably declining numbers of halfpipes at resorts worldwide, this might be just what is needed. Maybe not every pipe can get a mini pipe introduction, but to cultivate more pipe riders it seems logical that we need to see smaller pipes at resorts, so riders can step up to the 22-foot monsters.

Maddie Mastro FS Alleyoop.
Ruki Tomita 180 on and off the tombstone.
Haruna Matsumoto's emotional after the run that put her in 2nd.
Xuetong Cai, Air to Fakie.


Women's 2020 Burton US OPEN Halfpipe podium.
1st Xuetong Cai
2nd Haruna Matsumoto
3rd Ruki Tomita
The one and only Donna Carpenter.
Danny Davis getting vertical.
Danny Davis Switch Air to Regular.
Yuto Totsuka tweaked out Mctwist.
Pat Burgener Planted.
Scotty James FS Invert firmly planted.
Jan Sherrer full stoke meter.
Yuto Totsuka Cab 1260 Double on his way to top spot.
Shaun White. Yup, the one snowboarder even your aunt knows about.
Scotty James FS Invert with style and composure.
Scotty James Switch Frontside 1080 Double with his signature red boxing gloves.
Scotty James, humble and thankful.
One of snowboarding's favourite styles, Danny Davis tribute Method for Jake.
Jake Pates Nose Method.

The Halfpipe Finals capped off an amazing week in snowboarding. Both the women and men pushed the progression to unimaginable heights. Stealing the show during the men's final was a record-setting pipe poach run from hundred of competitors and riders, where everyone rode the halfpipe at the same time in honour of Jake. It was a beautiful thing to witness and miraculously no one fell or collided. Everyone hung out at the bottom of the pipe and raised their boards in a symbiotic toast to the man that brought us all together.

Biggest poach run in snowboarding history for Jake Burton Carpenter.
Lots of love for Jake.
1st Yuto Totsuka
2nd Jan Sherrer
3rd Scotty James


Cheers to Jake.


Try and find someone who wasn't smiling ear to ear all day.
Thank you, Jake, for pioneering snowboarding and all the happiness you put in this world.

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