Another day at the Vans Triple Crown at Sierra At Tahoe, another thousand or so shaka’s thrown. Today was busy for competitors: the slope style qualifiers, halfpipe practice, and Snowboard Cross finals were at the same time for most of the day. This meant that athletes who wanted to compete in all the events would have to give up their weaker event and any hopes of winning all three events. This also meant that since I could not be in three places at once, I would have to scrap my least favorable event, too. Sure, Snowboard Cross is great, but I usually try to stay as far away from Euro’s in tight pants, with tight stances as possible. So to all the fans who wanted to read about Jean Von Clod Dong edging out Magnus Creatine Macuch in the finals of Snowboard Cross, my deepest apologies. Instead, here is a run down of what was happening on the Slope Style course and in the halfpipe.
Whoever built the Slope Style overlooked one minor detail when they were constructing the series of jumps¿you need speed to clear jumps. Regardless, a few people pumped every nook and cranny of snow and found enough speed to huck their tricks and actually land on the landing and ride away clean, this is usually where the riders are allotted most of their points from the judges. But once again, another minor detail was overlooked¿the judges could only see two of the three landings from the judging tower. This isn’t a bad thing, especially if the competitor’s had a following of fans. The fans in turn, could shout and yell, “Oh, yeah, so and so just stuck the sickest frontside 1440, without even putting their hands down” and the judges would be torn whether or not to believe the peanut gallery or the sounds of so and so moaning on the blind side of the jump. The judges were fearful of this scenario and promised there would be a landing judge for the finals. Here is what I saw during qualifying before I rode down to the Vans VIP tent and had myself an enchilada times three; despite his win in the Big Air event the day before, Jimmy Halopoff couldn’t land his Boa Flip off the first jump in either of his runs; Jason Borgestede roosted off a couple of backside 900 tail grabs; Travis Parker was also mashing; Marc Tarte linked a couple of good jumps together, and Janna Meyan might have broken her nose after she crashed in the middle of her run. All right, now it’s time for those enchilada’s I mentioned earlier.
After a second, third, and fourth serving of food, the pipe was pretty much destroyed. There were still a few people busting out of it, but no one was even coming close to DCP, who was busting out head-high plus, frontside 900 melon’s. The condition of the pipe was getting worse by the minute and by the time my indigestion finally subsided, the pipe was void of people. This is when Frank Wells hopped in the cat, and did a quick groom down the middle of the pipe, this is also when Jeff Brushie, Frank Wells, Jim Moran, and Joey Mcquire decided to hike up the pipe and began riding it. Ian Ruhter, Michelle Yu, and myself were watching the session from the bottom and after a few minutes decided to hike, too. After making it to the top of the pipe, I sat down for a second to catch my breath and trip out on the fact that I was riding a pipe with Brushie, who was my hero some ten years earlier. Riding with Frank was kinda funny too, since he used to kick Ian and I out of the pipe at Mount Hood Snowboard Camp every summer we went up there. Best of all, though, was watching Moran and Mcquire riding the pipe with such smooth style, that it made me forget all the hula hooping action I had seen earlier.