I can’t lie to you, the view from the judging stand at this season’s Roxy Chicken Jam in Park City, Utah was, um, cold, but despite toes of ice and fingers frozen into permanent claws, things were pretty damn exciting. Eight women from five different countries (all of them goofy footed-weird!) schralped an hour-long finals jam, and when all was said and done, we’d seen things with our own eyes I wouldn’t have rightly thought possible this early in the season. I’m talking about backside rodeos out of Tara Dakides, big-time frontside sevens from Natasza Zurek, back to back 540s courtesy of Priscilla Levac, switch backside threes from Jenny Jones-stuff that makes you say things like, “Shit!” and “Hot damn!” as you’re sitting there on a cold metal chair witnessing the whole thing.
The action actually started out yesterday under bright blue winter skies for the prequalifying round-a field of 31 women was cut down to five advancing to today’s main event. The big news related to this is that a Colorado newcomer, Christina Curry, slaughtered yesterday’s competition with riding that even had her in the lead for a while today-linking spin combos at the top that culminated in a giant corked backside 540 off the big kicker at the bottom and slick 50-50s on the wallride. This chick rips, and although she landed in fifth at the end of the day, she definitely gave every one of those big-time pro girls a run for their money. You’ll see more out of her, and soon, I reckon.
Now, everyone awoke to a bit of a snowy situation today, which really meant one thing for the course-it was slow. Unfortunately, this meant knuckling the big booter for a lot of the girls, and for Hana Beaman, it meant not having enough speed to cork spin transfer the channel gap like she was doing during yesterday’s practice-completely sick. However, a handful of top girls held their own through the slowness and flat light, managing to catch plenty of tranny where there was tranny to catch. In fact, Natasza Zurek won her fourth Chicken Jam in a row today by linking smooth 540s, 720s, backside 180s, and the like-no decking or casing throughout. She is the master of consistency, but she still mixes her runs up, which makes her such a serious slopestyle contender. She doesn’t have just one banger like a lot of girls; she’s got a whole bag of ‘em.
In conclusion, I am not going to list out every trick done by every woman here today because, well, I don’t want to. I’m tired, wind burnt, and my back hurts. But I will say this: The Netherlands’ Cheryl Maas is fricking good-sweet, solid, skatey style. She won the best trick award with her stomped backside sevens off the big kicker, but she did go for a few 900s and came pretty close. She’ll probably work out the kinks on that one in the next couple weeks I’d imagine. Jenny Jones from the UK is a powerful park-riding presence, too-she tweaks big grabbed frontside spins, including 360s and 540s, and knows how to manage her speed and kick ass. And Priscilla Levac, she is the master of smoothness. She stepped up her run in the last half hour of the finals with a frontside to Cab five combo that, along with her slick rail moves, got her on the podium. Nice one. All in all, it was cool to see some bigger jumps and next level tricks at this year’s event, and to see some nasty rookies on the rise. The shape of women’s riding changes every year, and this is only the beginning.
1. Natasza Zurek
2. Priscilla Levac
3. Cheryl Maas
4. Jenny Jones
5. Christina Curry
6. Tara Dakides
7. Silvia Mittermueller
Cheryl Maas, backside 720 on the big kicker.
CHECK THE SLIDESHOW!!