Without a doubt, one of the most spectacular snowboarding events to watch is the Slopestyle. The range of maneuvers is endless, the choice of terrain varies, the jumps are huge, and usually, the winnings are big. The Yahoo! Big Air and Style exhibition contest at Okemo this Saturday had all of these ingredients, and lived up to the hype. I guess what made this contest good and not great was the total lack of anything remotely resembling a crowd.

It’s not fair to simply say that there was no one there, though, without mentioning the weather. Man. That was some ugly weather up there. Grey as doom and 25 degrees with a stiff wind, and, for the last forty-five minutes of the contest, rain and sleet. Just to look around at the faces of the three dozen onlookers sent a chill from your neck to the crack of your ass. The grim reaper himself couldn’t have looked grimmer. This was pain endurance with the payoff of watching what turned out to be a pretty good contest.

The women were the first out of the starting house. Most were bypassing the rail at the top in order to make speed for the first of two big kickers. The snow was really slow, however, and for the most part the women’s event was uneventful. It featured a lot of flapping around a couple of feet above the tabletop.

The most dramatic part of the women’s competition came during the second run, when it became apparent that the snow had gotten even stickier, and that no-one was going to clear the second, bigger, table top. The few spectators in attendance cringed at each lady’s approach, and winced as she invariably hit the flat and vaulted or scorpioned down the run out.

The announcer went so far as to try to actually yell at a couple of girls to stop before they hit the jump (they didn’t), and to declare the women’s second run a “Bloodbath.” No one got hurt, though, but it was a little like watching a bullfight up there for a while: partly graceful, partly terrible.

At the bottom of the run, after the big tabletop, was a school bus mostly buried in snow. Most of the women, after recovering, were able to give at least a perfunctory butter across that. So that was good. Jaime Macleod surprised no one by clearing the jump a second time, and her corked backside three’s were beautiful. She won, because she was the best, followed by Catherine Nieves in second and Dresden Howell in third. Congratulations to all the ladies. They deserve it for going all out in such inclement conditions.

Both of the Men’s runs were pretty radical, except for the rail at the top, which no one could get a handle on. There were a lot of half-assed 50-50′s happening, most not making to the end of the rail. Colin Langlois, a kid out of Stowe, was one of the few who stomped it, and I was psyched for him, even though he ended up in 11th place. Colin was also one of the few guys going for the transfer between the bottom two table tops, with a backside 180, which looked rad. Tom Gilles was ruling this technique with Corkscrew 540 transfers, landing him in fifth place. One time Killington guy Rahm Klampert, now residing in Mammoth, was riding well, and ended up second, just ahead of fellow Killington-Mammoth pilgrim Kyle Clancy. JJ Thomas was the man in first, and no one disputed that his runs were the smoothest, most technical and all together best of the day. Congratulations JJ!

So this just goes to show that even thought there may be piles of shit falling from the sky, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go play outside. And if they ever include one of my lines in one of those “Famous Phrases” books, I hope that’s the sentence that makes it. Arriba!

Men
1. JJ thomas
2. Rahm Klampert
3. Kyle Clancy Florig
4. Brent Meyer
5. Myles Hallen
6. Tom Gilles
7. Jason Borgestede
8. Chris Englesman
9. Nick Franke
10. Zach Leach
11. Colin Langlois
12. Charlie Morace
13. Scotty Arnold
14. Zach Diamond
15. Eric Leines
16. Brian Barb

Women
1. Jamie Maccleod
2. Catherine Nieves
3. Dresden Howell
4. Ali Bernstein
5. Natasza Zurek
6. Rashind Hussein
7. Amber Stackhouse
8. Amy Boch