Shaped by the Super Dragon 2000, basically a pro model Pipe Dragon, this thing is a monster: fifteen-foot transitions, fourteen and a half feet deep-so almost vert. I don’t know how to describe the sight of the pipe. As you pull up to the resort you just can’t believe it. It looks like it was cut by a glacier over thousands of years. What’s more impressive is how they ever found the snow it took tobuild it. On the ground around the pipe there’s barely any coverage, like a few inches. So you go from having no snow to this pipe that is fifteen feet tall with big, wide catwalks.
It took most of the riders some time to get used to the size of thetransitions during practice yesterday and again today in the snow and bad visibility. We’d be hanging out at the pipe, there were probably eighty people sessioning it, and most of the time it was just ho-hum, average riders coming down. But every few minutes, or as long as it takes good riders to hike back up the pipe and buckle in, everbody would stop talking (for most of us the Triple Crown is the first time this year that we’ve seen all our friends that we only see at contests), you just knew when someone good was dropping in. Of the riders who could take advantage of the extra large walls, a few stood out, way out. It was always the guy in the red jacket (Ross Powers), and the guy in the yellow helmet (Kier Dillon), and there was the guy on the Ride (John Shurke).
While lots of guys were bustin’ (some girls were too, but in general they didn’t seem to be able to take advantage of the transitions) there was this one that just killed it. As other riders worked a single section of wall, trying to nail a trick for the photogs, Gian Simmen was just out riding. And Gian Simmen can ride. He was going as big as anyone and nailing more technical tricks without even trying; smiling the whole time as if it were child’s play. Youcould just tell he was having fun. He rode the whole length of the pipe each time and hiked up again until the sun started to set behind the trees. If you ever have the chance to ride with Gian, or just to watch him ride, take it (the finals are on Sunday). I was so stoked on him. He seemed like he was born in big trannys: so smooth. Maybe he rides a longer board, too. Not sure. I’ll ask him tomorrow.
B.J. Leines was throwing out some big airs also. B.J. actuallyentered the boardercross, but then didn’t show up to the start. Otherriders better known for their freestyle prowess that stepped up to theboardercross were Jeremy Jones and J.P. Walker. They finished theboardercross qualifier pretty much tied for dead last (okay, they were 89and 90 out of 100), but at least didn’t puss. Rossignol’s Jeremy Jones also came down for the BX from Jackson. He ended up in twenty first, which, with the international field, wasn’t easy.
Tomorrow, big air and more pipe practice … if I can wake up in themorning. Pros talk about the pipe that I’m making such a big deal about.
You don’t believe me, hear it straight from them. Oh, a note toBreckenridge: your pipe is dope, but what’s up with ten bucks for parking in a dirt lot. I know Vail charges the same, but you’re not Vail. Plus their parking is covered and heated. Okay, see you tomorrow.