2002 TransWorld Snowboarding
Team ChallengeBy Chris Coyle
Team Challenge. Just the words bring to mind barbaric combat between groups of men, where axes fly and women scream. Horses gallop through blood-soaked fields carrying victors to the next battle, the losers to a shallow grave. But this is snowboarding, so there were more shakas flying than axes, and no one died when they lost. As a matter of fact, the teams actually liked each other-hell, they voted for one another to decide who was the sickest shred and so forth. That isn’t very savage.
Since everyone looks the same in snowboard clothes, all the teams were instructed to wear something unique. If I had a team they’d have worn full body armor and jousted opponents on the way to jumps. But that’s just me. Some went the “too cool” route-you know who you are-while others almost went a little overboard. The guys from Galleon showed up looking like the members of a Scandinavian black-metal band with long black coats and white face paint. The art-soldier CAPiTA crew stormed the hill in hand-painted jackets that looked like pieces from the Derel°cte collection.
Fact is, the only savage things about the contest were the burning rays of the So Cal sun. The first day was practice, allowing riders to acquaint themselves with the park Gunny and the Snow Summit crew created. By noon it was so damn hot, the snow was grabbier than your weird uncle. “This place is like a huge snowboard Disneyland,” said competitor Robbie Sell. I hoped the challenge would be broken-glass landings or something, but it was just a perfect park.
The following day was hotter than Turkish prison camp. Don’t ask how I know that. The scheduled triple-jump event was canceled due to slow snow. Rider consensus was on the side of safety-coming up short was a very definite danger. But it’s not like spitting cobras were waiting to squirt venom into their retinas if they didn’t make it-come on!The Option team, however, with red hockey jerseys flying, hit ’em. As a matter of fact, Kevin Sansalone threw himself over the jump-to-jump gap of death. It would have been cooler if there were razor-sharp punji sticks in the gap, but hey-you can’t have everything. When the shreds handed in their votes, it was Vic Lowrance’s twirling and gyrating over the three jumps that got the most oohs and aahs. He impressed his peers so much that no one dared vote for anyone else.
Most teams spent the day jibbin’ the hell out of the five-foot-tall American flag rail. Another disappointment-there wasn’t even a hungry alligator pit under the rail, just snow. Zach Leach was delirious-he must think he’s a skateboarder, doing these frontside and backside Smith-grind things. If there were an alligator pit, Ryan Lougee would have cleared the whole thing when he spun a frontside 360 over the rail to flat.
As the sun began to set, the snow became faster-finally giving everyone ample speed for the two giant hips at the top of the park-and the carnage began. The first to stare danger in the eye and laugh was Josh Dirksen. Thinking beyond the limitations of his bindings, Josh successfully attempted airwalks (that’s right) over the hip numerous times. CAPiTA’s Blue Montgomery cranked out huge methods and crails while teamrider Seth Huot used the other hip as a straight jump and lofted backside sevens. The snow speeded up noticeably, yet riders continued to drop from the same spot. This jump was a good 50 feet long and throwing riders high into the air. As snow speed improved, some folks began to overshoot and squat-landing with only a few feet of tranny left. Most would walk away unharmed, but Gabe Taylor was not so lucky.
After taking one of the harder slams of the day, Gabe started feeling all warm inside. Not like the feeling you get from petting a fuzzy puppy-more like the feeling you get when you’re bleeding inside. Unaware that he was in serious danger, Gabe tried to shake it off andrive home. He soon realized something wasn’t right, and he checked into the hospital where doctors soon discovered he had a ruptured spleen. Thank the sweet lord above they pulled that sucker out of him before it was too late. Next year we should use catapults instead of jumps so riders won’t have to worry about getting the correct speed.
Day two of the Team Challenge included a night event. And considering that this jib-jam was going down after-hours, I was hoping that something would be set on fire-like a rail or a car, something to light up the slope so everyone could see. No such luck-Snow Summit lit up the Rail Garden just for us. While D.J. Episode played old-school cuts, teams enjoyed can after can of liquid courage. Janna Meyen even put a couple of cans in her goggle strap for extra courage. “Beers are the new headphones,” she claimed.
As the pile of empty cans and the energy from the crowd grew, so did people’s balls. A whole lot of nose-pressing went down early in the night-but the ante was upped, and a barrage of tricks were thrown down later. It all came to a screeching, spinning, metallic halt when T.J. Schneider unloaded the switch backside 540 to 50-50 to frontside 360 off. I bet he couldn’t do that with flaming arrows being shot at him.
Speaking of shooting things-once the on-hill festivities were done, a big chunk of the crowd headed down to Murray’s, a bar in the village. I don’t think Murray knew what he was in for when he woke up that morning. Freely serving a crowd of riled-up snowboarders is like sticking your hand in a running lawnmower, chances are, you’re going to come up with something missing-especially when the interior of the bar is lined with bras and dollar bills. After pillaging the lingerie and a good chunk of cash, the mob was asked to leave the bar. Then shit got a little out of control.
On the way back to the hotel, someone had the great idea to shoot the lights out of the Northwoods Inn’s limousine with a Japanese pellet gun and break off the mirrors. Upon entering the hotel, their ideas didn’t get any better. Suspicious hotel staff searched the halls for the culprits-but they didn’t turn up. In the room occupied by “one of Whitey’s filmers,” every light fixture and piece of furniture was destroyed. Rumor has it that the cameras were running the whole time. For those involved, things the following morning were not that rad. But for John Jackson it was even worse. After being woken up by California’s finest, a shirtless John was cuffed, stuffed, and brought to a holding cell, where he waited for his team manager to bail him out.
Considering the previous night’s activities, it’s surprising anyone showed up at the pipe jam the following morning. But sure enough, as the sun disappeared behind clouds and snow began to fall, a ton of people shredded the newly cut pipe. I hoped that the pipe would have had no decks, and that where the lip ended, there would be a moat filled with the molten lava. But once again it was perfect so people could enjoy themselves. At first I was kind of bummed, but then the T-bar next to the pipe caught my eye. If there’s one thing all my years as a lift-operator showed me, it’s that there’s nothing funnier than watching someone get a T-bar straight in the ass. As it turned out, I was the one to get cornholed. Distracted while watching Charlie Morace do a twelve-foot air-to-fakie into a 1080, a large chunk of metal wedged its way into my crack. Irony is so ironic.
Always on his own kick, Jason Brown did a giant backside air to a 25-foot frontside grind on his next wall. I don’t know what it was, but it looked sick. But if there were a chance he could have fallen into hot magma, it would’ve been sicker.
As the Team Challenge wrapped up and teams cast their votes, I started to think about how much fun everyone had. Even though there wasn’t a single instance of a warrior in a Viking helmet riding through on an armor-clad horse swinging a mace, nor was there a single battle cry, it was a hard-fought event. But at this year’s Team Challenge, the old clichà‡ held true-snowboarding is all about having fun with your friends, and that’s exactly what went down. Even when it came down to tallying the scores and giving out the awards, everyone seemed happy. Maybe next year we’ll make the teams wear spiked leather codpieces to get everyone in the mood for battle.nor was there a single battle cry, it was a hard-fought event. But at this year’s Team Challenge, the old clichà‡ held true-snowboarding is all about having fun with your friends, and that’s exactly what went down. Even when it came down to tallying the scores and giving out the awards, everyone seemed happy. Maybe next year we’ll make the teams wear spiked leather codpieces to get everyone in the mood for battle.