The best snowboarders in the world are at the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, underway this week at Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont, and heading into finals Friday, March 11, and Saturday, March 12.
Stratton has a ton of snow on its slopes, and the competition venues are in top shape, but all eyes are on the weather - with a forecast of snow changing to rain today, Thursday, March 10, and more rain on Friday, March 11.
The event is the fourth and final stop on the Burton Global Open Series.
This year's Burton Global Open Series included the New Zealand Open, the European Open, and the Canadian Open.
Results from all four events determine the top male and female riders, who each win $50,000 and a new Mini Cooper. Second place winners get $30,000 each; third-place winners get $20,000.
The series also is part of the Ticket to Ride World Snowboard Tour. American Jamie Anderson clinched the women's title with points earned in her first-place finish in Wednesday's slopestyle qualifier, edging out fellow American Kelly Clark, who does not compete in slopestyle events. Anderson is the first woman to win the TTR tour twice.
Finn Peetu Piiroinen leads among men in TTR standings.
The TTR winners each receive an addiitonal $50,000.
The week at Stratton builds through a series of qualifying events, heading into slopestyle finals Friday, March 11, and halfpipe finals Saturday, March 12.
A Junior Jam takes place on Sunday.
"The U.S. Open is a homecoming for athletes, fans, and especially the kids who got their start here who are hoping to be on the podium with their heroes," Stratton's Myra Foster said. "It 's one big celebration of a sport that was born and raised right here at Stratton, right here in Vermont."
Foster said putting on the event is a big commitment on the part of the Stratton team, from making the snow, to building the features, creating venues on both sides of the mountain.
"It requires support across every inch of this resort, but every single person who works on it puts their heart and soul into this event," Foster said.
Check out this video of riders practicing in the halfpipe on Wednesday.