If I had a dime for every person I heard say during the Sessions Men’s Rail Jam held in Vail, Colorado, “Man, Shaun White always wins, I’d be … nowhere near as rich as he is (but I’d definitely have some money in the bank). You see, Shaun White does always win, and for good reason—he’s good! So it really was no surprise to anyone on Friday evening when the prolific shredder walked away with a return title for this year’s rail event by flying around and taking a different line almost every run, 50-50 to gapping the kink on his way up, and then 50-50ing back down the kinked rail to 360 out. He also 270ed onto the kink and tore apart both C-rails. Yeah, he kinda just did it all.
However, White’s impending victory wasn’t necessarily obvious from the get-go. The hour-and-a-half jam session was split up into fifteen minute, prize-money-allotting increments (the format was masterminded by head-judge Greg Johnson). Officials handed in results every quarter hour, clearing the slate for someone new to earn money six different times throughout the jam—and the shred with the most cash at the end of the night won. This meant that everyone kept shredding and pushing it the whole night, and a bunch of different riders got recognition when all was said and done.
The standout for the first half hour was definitely Canadian CAPiTA rider TJ Schneider, who won the first fifteen minute segment with slick frontside nose picks on the plexi-glass quarterpipe into switch lipslides on the far-right down-rail. He has a unique, tech style that is perfect for rail features like this with lots of different options. TJ also dropped into the event cold turkey—he missed practice earlier in the evening because Schneider’s teammate Scott Shaw got his snowboard nicked out of the elevator, and the CAPiTA crew was panicking around trying to find him gear. Anyway, maybe Schneider wasn’t as tired as everyone else, or maybe he just rules—whatever it was, it seemed to work out for him.
Mike Casinova, a local rider out of Breckenridge, was definitely a surprise force to be reckoned with. Event-organizer Liz Weiss said she threw him a bib at the very last minute, and said, “You’re in, only to have him scurry to the top of the course and impress the hell out of the crowd, the judges, the other riders, and himself. Mike even won the Josh Malay Best Trick (an award given in honor of the late shred-hero Josh Malay) for an ultra-tech trick that went something like this: half-Cab to 50-50 into backside 270 to nose slide, 270 out.
Another local, Rob Bak, definitely earned the title of Best Wreck by coming up short trying to 50-50 up the kinked rail, ramming into an ice wall, then backflipping into the fifteen foot channel in the middle of the rail feature. Unfortunately, Best Wreck really isn’t a legit category in the event, so he didn’t get any scrillaz for the maneuver—but, man, he should have. In other carnage, Justin Lamoreux landed on Rahm Klampert’s head earlier that afternoon as Rahm was bent over strapping in on the quaterpipe deck. Klampert went to the hospital, got three stitches in his forehead, and was back in time to win some money later in the evening. What a psycho—and I mean that in a good way, of course.
So anyway, despite the fact that Shaun White does always win, this format ensured that a ton of other riders got some cash and some hyping up—and it also made everyone keep pushing it the entire hour and a half, instead of just giving up and letting the Shaun White fate machine take its course.
1. Shaun White $8,000
2. TJ Schneider $4,500
3. Mitch Reed $4,250
4. Mike Casinova $2,500
5. Kevin Pierce $1,100
6. Colin Langlois $750
7. Rahm Klampert $500