Kelly Clark, Chloe Kim and Arielle Gold go 1, 2, 3 in halfpipe at US Open
U.S. team snowboarders Kelly Clark, Chloe Kim and Arielle Gold closed out their season the same way they started it, showing once again that they are the women to beat in snowboard halfpipe.
The trio, who ride together and train together, finished first, second and third, respectively, during the final day of competition at the 2015 Burton U.S. Open at Vail Mountain. They started the season in the same podium positions at the 2014 Dew Tour Mountain Championships in Breckenridge in December.
It was four-time Olympian Clark’s eighth Burton Open title and a back-to-back win.
“I’m pretty overwhelmed to tell you the truth,” Clark, 31, said in a U.S. Snowboarding Team interview after the competition. “I’ve been coming to this event since I was a kid. I can’t believe I get to stand on top of the podium again for the eighth time.”
After falling on her first run, Clark put down a second run that included her signature 1080 (two full rotations above the pipe), earning a 91.00 from the judges.
Gold had been in first until she was unseated by Clark and Kim.
“It went really well today,” the 18-year-old from Steamboat Springs said of her third-place finish. “I just wish I was able to land the (second and third) runs because I had more to give.”
After scoring 83.87 on her first run, Gold fell on her second and third tries in runs in which she attempted a 1080.
“I’m really happy that I was able to try the 10 and it was close. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get it in the near future.”
Kim, 14, who unseated Clark at January’s X Games Aspen to become the youngest rider to win gold at the event, had another day of firsts Saturday. She successfully landed her first 1080 in competition — twice.
“I was like, wow, I’m still on my feet,” the excited teen said after she finished. “I was surprised.”
She said she’d first learned the trick three weeks ago.
As to the second-place finish, Kim took a page from her mentor Clark’s approach to snowboarding — both call Mammoth Mountain, California, their home resort. “Results don’t even matter to me at this point,” Kim said. “I just put down the best run I’ve ever done in my life. I don’t care.”
For all three women, it’s as much about personal bests and seeing each other do well as it is anything else. The three celebrated with a dog-pile as Clark finished her victory lap as last to drop.
“This was the best women’s finals I’ve been a part of as far as the level of riding,” Clark said. Coming from her, that speaks to the level of progression in women’s snowboarding. Clark has more podium appearances and awards than any other snowboarder, male or female.
Gold, who now lives and trains in Breckenridge, echoed the sentiment.
“I think this is the best contest that women’s snowboarding has ever seen and it’s only on the up-and-up from here. To see three 10s tried in the same event is pretty amazing.”
Clark was the first women to land a 1080 in competition, at the X Games in 2011.
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