Steve Cramton and Elan Price took the men’s and women’s national titles respectively for Slopestyle on March 29, 2000. The riders were both participating in the open class of the USASA Nationals at Waterville Valley.
The other events held throughout the day included boardercross, GS, Dual Slalom and halfpipe, but all were in age groups less exciting than the open class, so I’m focusing solely on them.
Perhaps the East coast has been spoiled by sunny contest days and superpipes lately, but this contest was unbelievably anticlimactic. If the giant crevasses in the snow at Waterville are any indication, the East coast season is moments from being over, and this is definitely the final contest, but after building up to it all month, it is disappointing to say the least.
Actually, it might be the worst contest I’ve ever been to, although the majority of kids there, mostly from the Midwest, might disagree.
In protest of the contest, I went and jibbed barrels with Matty Ryan, who was actually the biggest name there, even if he wasn’t in the contest. This didn’t last long however, as the only thing worse than watching the competition was riding. The ice pellets falling from the sky didn’t exactly improve the experience, and they were much less painful if you were standing still. So I ended up watching the contest anyway.
The Slopestyle course ran right next to the halfpipe, and you could see it from the lodge, but it wasn’t a good idea to watch from inside, as you might miss a backflip or two. It seems that was what this contest was all about. My personal favorite run (I’m not sure whose it was) included a shifty, two backflips and a rodeo flip. However, the winners’ runs were slightly more technical.
Steve Cramton usually rides at Loon, NH, only ten minutes down the road, so its no surprise he was able to put together a good run in this NH park. He spun a 720 and even did a double grab, not to mention he rode cleanly between jumps (this was pretty unique). Kyle Clancy proved that he is more than just a pipe rat, coming in second. His most notable air was a cork 540, and his overall runs were right inline with Cramton’s. His final score was only one point lower. In third place was Phil White, who I believe trains in So Cal, a good indication of why he’s good at Slopestyle.
The female contest was thankfully much shorter than the guys, which seemed to drag on forever, because there were only five girls. All of them did pretty similar runs, straight airs and backside 360′s, so the winner came down to who landed on their feet the most times. In the end it was Elan Price of Colorado. Closely on her tail was Amber Stackhouse, who chose to do her backside 360 over the largest kicker right in front of the judging stand.
The most impressive girl rider wasn’t even in the open class. Her name was Hana Beaman and she was actually riding in the Junior 16-17 class. I don’t think there is anyone there that would deny her runs were sick, stylish, and substantially bigger than any of the other girls in her class. This might be why she won in her division by three points. In third place was Nicole Anderson.