It’snowheaven – Nicholls comes Fifth – By Jess Softley

Jamie Nicholls’ fifth place in the Burton US Open last week should not be underestimated by any means.

He came behind current snowboarding greats, TTR dominator Peetu Piironien, US Grand Prix Slopestyle winner, Chas Guldemond, X Games Big Air triumphant, Torstein Horgmo and Slopestyle king, Mark McMorris.

The young West Yorkshire native had his first ever snowboarding lesson when he was seven and was competing in the adult men’s competitions before he was a teenager.

Nicholls quickly realised his potential in this field and it wasn’t long before he was flying through the air, pulling off somersaults. Jamie reminisced saying: “those are some of the best memories I have to be honest” “In fact, I remember that feeling when I did my first grab, it was an Indy.”

At just the ripe age of nine, Jamie came third in the senior men’s AIM (Artificial Snowboard Slopestyle Championships) Series in Hillend in 2003, shocking the snowboarding world with his insane talent at such a young age.

After finding out he had qualified to the Burton US Open, Jamie knew the heat would be on and would be coming up against some of snowboarding’s giants.

As the US Open headed to its newest resting place, course organisers knew they would be against Vail’s extreme weather conditions and had anticipated and prepared for a heavy downfall of snow.

And rightly so, as the day of the final was greeted with big fluffy flakes and a layer of fresh snow, which is not good news when it comes to Slopestyle competitions.

Most competitors expected a slow and challenging course as a result of this downfall, but instead were met by, arguably, the best Slopestyle course the Burton US Open has seen.

Despite the heavy competition, Jamie didn’t seem fazed and wiped out some of his biggest competitors with his first run scoring him a well-deserved 71.23.

Things only seemed to get better and better for the Brit as he achieved his highest score yet from his second run, consisting of a cab 270 on, 270 off on the first rail, frontside 720, backside 1260 and a cab 1080 on the jumps, earning him 78.16.

Jamie will be more than overjoyed by his 5th place final and never expected to get place higher than the likes of Peetu Piiroinen, Yuki Kadono and Sage Kotsenburg.

With such a storming season, Jamie summed up: “snowboarding is the best sport in the world and everyone should give it a go. Never give up!”

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