Mark McMorris leads star-studded slopestyle semifinal at Burton U.S. Open
Defending champ topped Norway's Marcus Kleveland with 2nd-run score of 83.85
Canada's Mark McMorris is well on his way to repeating as slopestyle champion at the 36th Burton U.S. Open. in Vail, Colo.
In Wednesday's semifinal, Regina's McMorris vaulted to the top of the standings with an impressive second-run score of 83.85.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/markmcmorris?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MarkMcMorris</a> sends it into first on Run 2. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BurtonUSOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BurtonUSOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/nz9wPOR9Q0">pic.twitter.com/nz9wPOR9Q0</a>—@burtonsnowboard
Norway's Marcus Kleveland trailed close behind after putting down a score of 82.30 in his opening run.
The field in the slopestyle event also included Canadian heavyweights Max Parrot, Tyler Nicholson, Darcy Sharpe, and Sébastien Toutant.
Nicholson of North Bay, Ont., earned a score of 78.00 in his second run to reach the final in ninth.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/tylerMnicholson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tylermnicholson</a> improves on his first run, climbing into 9th. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BurtonUSOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BurtonUSOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/MkLRzr3FQ6">pic.twitter.com/MkLRzr3FQ6</a>—@burtonsnowboard
The remaining Canadians failed to advance after finishing outside of the top 10. Toutant was 12th, Parrot 16th and Darcy Sharpe 24th.
Parrot of Bromont Que., and McMorris captured slopestyle silver and bronze, respectively, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February to begin Canada's medal haul at the Winter Games.
The gold medallist in Pyeongchang, 17-year-old American Red Gerard, finished 20th on Wednesday.
Anderson tops women's semi
Brooke Voigt was the only Canadian competitor on the startlist for the women's semifinal and finished 12th out of 14.
Five-time U.S. Open champion Jamie Anderson — who hauled in slopestyle gold and big air silver at the Olympics — scored 83.75 on her first run to lead the group of six riders advancing to the final.
Your new leader <a href="https://twitter.com/JamieAsnow?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jamieasnow</a> with a clean first run. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BurtonUSOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BurtonUSOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/S8OTPKFdF4">pic.twitter.com/S8OTPKFdF4</a>—@burtonsnowboard
Olympic women's big air gold medallist Anna Gasser of Austria qualified second at 80.95, followed by Anderson's American teammate Julia Marino with 75.85.
Thirteen-year-old Kokomo Murase, Slovakia's Klaudia Medlova, and Silje Norendal of Norway round out the field for Friday's showdown.
Anderson left Pyeongchang with two medals — slopestyle gold and a silver in big air.
The halfpipe semifinals are scheduled for Thursday and will feature Olympic gold medallists Shaun White and Chloe Kim of the U.S.