Shaun White dominates to win U.S. Open halfpipe

Shaun White
Burton U.S. Open
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Shaun White put an exclamation point on a tumultuous season, winning the Burton U.S. Open halfpipe with a first-run score of 95.62 in the finals in Vail, Colo., on Saturday.

White’s run included back-to-back double cork 1080s and a backside double cork 1260. He raised an index finger after reaching the end of his run (video here) and then repeated the score in his second run with back-to-back double cork 1260s.

“I had a crazy season of contests I wanted to do, didn’t go to and other things, other stuff, but it just feels great to be here riding,” White said.

White notched his second win in as many halfpipe contests this season.

The two-time Olympic champion won the Dew Tour Mountain Championships on Dec. 12 in his second competition overall since he finished fourth at the Sochi Olympics. The Dew Tour field included the Sochi gold and silver medalists.

White then expected to compete at the Winter X Games in Aspen in January, but he controversially was not invited after he criticized the X Games in October.

He also missed a January competition in Switzerland, flying home after the death of a friend. He was also committed to X Games Oslo in February but opted not to go after the X Games Aspen controversy.

Then on Friday, White finished 31st out of 31 riders in Vail in his first slopestyle contest since he pulled out on the eve of the discipline’s Olympic debut in Sochi.

On Saturday, White beat a field that included 2014 and 2015 X Games champion Danny Davis and Olympic bronze medalist Taku Hiraoka.

“Rumors were saying I was retiring, but honestly I feel like I’m just getting started,” White said. “Feeling like my old self.”

White said before the U.S. Open he expected to compete in a contest in China later this month.

Earlier Saturday, 15-year-old Chloe Kim won the women’s halfpipe with three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark getting third.

Kim also won both X Games contests and the Youth Olympics this year.

VIDEO: White just misses 2002 Olympic team at age 15