It was a story-book ending as Mike Michalchuk edged out a field of legendary snowboarders and a couple of future legends to take the North America’s first-ever indoor quarterpipe contest. He pocketed $32,000 and the keys to a brand new Mitsubishi Montero at the Dreamcast Presents ACG Indoor snowboarding competition held September 9, 2000 at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California last night.
Besides the dramatic outcome of the snowboarding competition, the event had all the elements of pure entertainment for the estimated crowd of 7,000: fireworks, laser light show, the DJ Mixmaster Mike spinning tunes, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, big-screen TVs blowing up the live action, the Laker Girls dancing on the top of the showcase quarterpipe hit, and great acts from the headliner Eminem and the opening Kottonmouth Kings.
For Michalchuk, it signaled that his road to recovery is almost complete after a serious and potentially career-ending injury kept him off snow for the last year. “I’ve only been on snow for about 25 days this summer, so this is great,” he said after the win. “I started riding at Whistler and didn’t do so well, but then went down to Hood and started feeling better. I got better boots and the last couple of days just really went for it and even tried some doubles.” Although he pulled a clean double huck in the practice session, he sketched one in the finals but still blew away the crowd with the attempt. His winning jump was a single Michalchuk.
Second place and $14,500 went to Terje Haakonsen who blew minds with one-footed McTwists and huge air-to-fakies, while third place (and $9,500) was wrapped up by Canadian Trevor Andrew, who stuck a big McTwist while wearing his signature orange jump suit and headphones. The three bested a field of eight competitors in a two-run final that included the likes of Chad Otterstrom, the upcoming Swiss Romain Demarchi, high-flying Keir Dillon, big air specialist Jim Rippey, and quarterpipe legend Ingemar Backman. These eight had survived the earlier jam format that started with twenty riders, and ended with the total decay of the quarterpipe, which was repaired to even better conditions for the finals.
Despite sounding like a dichotic mix, the combination of snowboarding contest and rap concert seemed to stoke the young crowd. “It was so cool, I got to see my favorite snowboarder and my favorite singer,” says Tina Jackson. For Jackson, 21, it was a short drive from the LA suburb of Fullerton to see the event. She, along with her three friends had been looking forward to show for some time.
“We all love to snowboard,” says Jackson. “I just saw Ross Powers up at summer camp at Hood. He’s so hot. Too bad he didn’t do better. And did you see Eminem on MTV the other night? He was awesome. But he was so much better tonight.” Her friends all agreed that the show was something they wouldn’t have missed. Of course, where else but in the fantasyland of Los Angeles would you see a show like this?