Not even flat light and freezing winds could put a damper on Saturday’s (affectionately dubbed “carnival day” by locals) festive atmosphere, however. Competitors donned costumes and smiles at the banked slalom starting gate, eagerly anticipating their one-chance shot at glory down the video-game-like racecourse consisting of back to back slingshot berms, pro jumps, and wu-tang quarter-pipe style hip jumps¿all set up to enhance the natural features already existing in the gully run known as “Dicks Ditch.”
Atop the run, two-time women’s champion, Marybeth Zambarano, stripped down to a blue and white speed suit with the words “FEAR THIS” written in permanent marker across her butt. Her classy style was not enough to earn her the crown for the third year in a row, however, as she was edged out by a seventies-red white and blue-clad Jamie Sundberg. Finishing in a time that would have beaten most of the male competitors, Jamie took first place over local legend, Julie Zell, who finished second. Julie, who took the defeat well, was overheard at the finish line reminding her prodigy, Jamie, jokingly that she had broken wood boards with her bare hand in karate class just the night before.
On the men’s side, Jackson Hole snowboard instructor Kevin Blagys, blew minds by running the course in hardboots, and finishing in a time no one else could touch. The fight for second and third place came down to local hero Rob Kingwill and future superstar, seventeen-year-old, pink and orange speedsuit-clad Travis Rice, respectively, who finished a mere .11 of a second off each other. One wonders how these two would have faired if other local pros, Lance Pitman, Willie McMillon, and Rob Duncan had entered the race, but though they were all spotted later in the competitors tent drinking the plentiful complimentary beer provided by contest-sponsor, Full Sail Brewing Company, during the competition they were nowhere to be found. Wussies.
Blue skies blessed the halfpipe competition on Sunday, but since Mother Nature decided to deliver the month’s only 15-inch dump of light, fluffy, bottomless powder the evening before, many powder-starved entrants chose to forgo the contest to freeride. This is Jackson, after all. Those who showed up claim to have ridden the best pipe Jackson’s seen all winter … finally (wooooo hoooo!!) … It still claimed the collarbone of little Chuck Turquie, who’s presence on the mountain will be missed the remainder of the season by many a young lady. The rest of the contest ran injury free, however, with Travis Rice and Jamie Sundberg predictably claiming first places, and Marybeth Zambarano, Ranyon D’Arge and Dan Forsberg (in a tie) taking second.
We’re all very proud of our winners. Especially Jamie Sundberg, who in the tradition of Dicks Ditch Classic winners past, will be generously donating a portion of her winnings to fund the much loved, and long awaited local party, the 3rd Annual Pajama Jammie Jam. Thanks Jamie.