The Big Air at the Snowboard World Championship Sims Invitation was probably the coolest jump off in North America. Go-go dancers gyrated in sound towers, DJs spun music, and a crowd of nearly 15,000 people crushed to the fence surrounding the landing zone to get as close to the action as possible.
It was the perfect occasion for Peter Line and Tara Dakides to pull off big air world championship wins. Twenty men and nine women charged down the runway and blasted into the night air over Whistler Village. Riders were given two jumps in the qualifiers, with the best jump counting. Then the top four men and women advanced into a head-to-head jump off.
Marc-Andre Tarte pulled out a backside 1080 to win the qualifying round for the men followed by Jason Borgstede, Jonas Emery of Switzerland, and Peter Line. For the women, Pauline Richon of France had the highest qualifying round score with Tara Dakides, Barrett Christy, and Tina Basich behind her.
During the break in the jumping two mostly nude cyber freaks straight out of Nevada’s annual Burning Man festival “entertained the crowd” with flame throwers and an odd dance. The male part of the fire duo was painted silver and on silts with long extentions on his arms and a strange helmet. Dangling between his legs hung a long hose shaped slinky-like genitalia. The female half was painted bronze and appeared to be wearing a jockstrap and not much else. She ran around blowing flames into the air while guy loped around shooting sparks out his hands. It was high concept for sure. The funniest part is when the guy fell, sliding down half the landing on his bare ass. The crowd cheered as he struggled to get back up. Directly follow the fire dance, someone charged the jump wearing a Pink Panther suit. Yee haw.
After the show, the head-to-head finals got underway. Old scores were tossed out and the riders had two chances against each other to advance. The first heat pitted fourth place Peter Line against first place finisher Marc-Andre Tarte. Peter’s first run cab 900 nose grab advanced him into the final. Next, Jonas Emery pulled out a backside 7, but Jason Borgstede’s advanced when he stomped a backside 9 tailgrab.
That put Peter Line and Jason Borgstede in the battle for first and second and Jonas Emery and Marc-Andre Tarte going for third and fourth. Peter Line stuck with his cab 9 nose grab and stomped the first one. Borgstede attempted to better that score by throwing down both the backside 9 tail grab and a switch 7 but had some trouble with both and settled for second place behind Peter.
On the women women’s side there was nothing stopping Tara Dakides. She advanced against Barrett Christy in the first round and met Tina Basich in the finals. Tina came close to landing her backside 7s, however, Tara Dakides torqued her back flip into a backside rodeo on her finals two runs and came amazing close to stomping it. It was close enough for her to grab first place with Tina in second.
1 LINE Peter USA Forum Snowboards 25.8
2 BORGSTEDE Jason USA BURTON 23.2
3 TARTE Marc-Andre CAN K2 Snowboards 21.9
4 EMERY Jonas SWI Rossignol 4.0 12.0
5 FRANCKE Nick USA MIA Snowboards 24.2
6 WALKER J.P. USA Forum Snowboards 23.8
7 RICHARDS Todd USA Morrow Snowboards 23.5
8 JONES Kevin USA THE Familie 23.4
9 OKSANEN Jussi FIN BURTON 23.4
10 BROWN Chris CAN BURTON 23.2
11 SODERQVIST Jacob USA Allian 21.7
12 APIN Alejandro SWI Westbeach 21.4
13 DIRKSEN Josh USA Morrow Snowboards 21.4
14 HARDINGHAM Andrew CAN Option/NFA 21.1
15 FRANK Marc USA SIMS 19.4
16 BASICH Mike USA Elan Snowboards 19.3
17 MENDENHALL Jordan USA SIMS 13.1
18 BROWN Jason CAN BURTON 11.8
19 PARKER Travis USA K2 Snowboards 10.6
20 SANSALONE Kevin CAN Option/NFA 10.6
1 DAKIDES Tara USA SIMS 19.5
2 BASICH Tina USA SIMS 18.4
3 RICHON Pauline FRA Rossignol 13.9
4 CHRISTY Barrett USA LibTech/Gnu 10.7
5 MATTHEWS Janet USA Red Bull 16.3
6 BOHNSACK Kim CAN SIMS 15.1
7 MacLEOD Jaime USA BURTON 11.4
8 WAGNER Leah CAN Invasion 9.1
9 OLSON Leslee USA BURTON 8.4