Words by Mike Grasso
July 21st 2014 was a beautiful day for boarding on Mt. Hood, the perfect rain date for the the third annual Merrill Mini-Pipe Invitational at High Cascade Snowboard Camp. The event which was sponsored by Billabong, Skullcandy and Salomon was postponed from the 20th fell well into the category of awesome, which the previous MMPI's set the standard for. A congregation of some of the most innovative minds snowboarding has to offer and a deceivingly limitless and often overlooked feature like the mini-pipe make for some of the most creative snowboarding we've seen in a while. Narrated by Pat Bridges and Bode Merrill himself, it’s a real entertaining thing to see.
The fun started with Shane Flood's cork drop-in, and his run was followed by Darrell Mathes who busted out a massive alley-oop backside rodeo. The highlights of the pro series also included Harrison Gordon's crippler 720 among the many other gnarly cripplers like Blake Pauls crippler to backside 540 slash under the lip. Tim Eddy showed everyone how to frontside and backside carve a pipe top to bottom, going for fastest run of the day and showing true style. While on the style note, honorable mentions go out to Scotty Arnold for his huge backside rodeo, Austen Sweetin airing double overhead, Nils Mindnich and his massive backside crail, and Forrest Bailey's clean frontside 900.
Austen Sweetin ended up taking home the gold medal prize of 4,000 dollars. Red Gerard easily the youngest but possibly the most stylish competitor, took second and got two grand, and taking home 1,000 dollars for third place was Chad Otterstrom who had a killer second and first run. A hilarious assortment of alternative awards were created with artwork from Big Mike Gonsalves and featuring Crab Grab. They included:
The Sauce Boss Award, which went to Nate Farrell
The Crab Grab Cup went to Ozzy Henning
The Shake Weight Trophy went to Dustin Craven
And finally, The Worst Crash In The World On July 21st, 2014 During The 2014 Merrill Mini Pipe invitational Award went to last years first place winner Scott Blum, for either ripping his foot out of his binding front nine-ing like a boss, or forgetting to strap in. Either way it was epic.
The Top Ten rider list was released at the award ceremony and here's the full list of results:
1. Austen Sweetin $4,000
2. Red Gerard $2,000
3. Chad Otterstrom $1,000
4. Scotty Arnold
5. Alex Sherman
6. Chris Beresford
7. Nils Mindnich
8. Colin Langlois
9. Garret Warnet
10. Blake Paul
If you're at Mt. Hood for any of the awesome competitions like the MMPI or Rat Race you'd best check them out because this is where some innovation in snowboarding and style comes from. And they're super fun events with jam sessions afterward that let pretty much anyone participate.