After The Gold RushStriking it filthy rich at the 2001 World Snowboarding Championship.By Jennifer Sherowski

The road to Whistler is one of infinite bounty, taking you from the cold, crab-filled waters of the Pacific Ocean up into the wilds of Canada. In late April, pros from around the world left behind everything of value to follow this road for the 2001 World Snowboarding Championship, held April 18¿22. Legends told of immaculately groomed superpipes, entire runs filled with tombstone kickers, and rails kinked in every way imaginable. Riders came in search of fortune and a chance to stake claims. Their pickaxes were freshly sharpened, and for good reason¿the Blackcomb gold vein had swelled to the size of 250,000 dollars.

SlopestyleCompetitors prepared themselves for hardship the morning of the slopestyle contest, as stolen glances through window shades revealed little hope for crystal-clear skies. But you don’t come all the way to the Great White Northwest without expecting a little cloud cover, and most riders weren’t about to let it ruin their chances for glory.The slopestyle course consisted of a kinked rail at the top, five or six jumps and hips, and a flatbar at the bottom leading into a 25-foot quarterpipe¿a gold mine of man-made obstacles. Landings remained hard under the cloud cover, but as the day unfolded, encouragement came by way of Sims’ Owner John Textor and a little bit o’ sunshine. Textor was reportedly so inspired by the sun’s golden rays shining down on the quarterpipe, he decided to throw an extra five-grand into the day’s winnings for the best hit. People were amazed by the gesture: “As long as you’re handing out money, asshole,” said Sims Vice President Of Marketing Travis Wood of his boss’s loose-walleted generosity, “why don’t you hand me some?”

Jussi Oksanen was in first place going into the finals after navigating the course with amazing style and control. France’s Nicolas Droz kept himself in the running with clean frontside 900s off the first kicker. And Great White Northerners Roberta Rodger and Annie Boulanger were boosting backside airs off the bottom quarterpipe.

Temperatures rose during the afternoon’s finals, and spectators got out their calculators to watch X-Games jib-master Kevin Jones pull algebraic equations on the rails: a frontside 450 to boardslide, and a backside 450 to frontside boardslide, both 270ed out. It was Todd Richards, however, who put the winning run together, with a switch 900 at the top, a backside lipslide to fakie on the lower flatbar, and the fatal blow¿a big McTwist off the bottom quarterpipe.

Tara Dakides was the only woman to venture a boardslide on the kinked rail at the top, and she followed it up with a rodeo flip off the first kicker … razor sharp. Kim Bohnsack had a good line, too, busting clean backside 360s and 50-50 grinds. Roberta’s aforementioned quarterpipe airs? They weren’t enough to get her into the finals. They were enough, however, to score her Textor’s 5,000-dollar motherload for the best quarterpipe hit. Not luck, people. Talent.

Jib Jam

As the sun dropped on the slopestyle course, riders kept themselves warm by huddling around the red-hot riding at the Jib Jam, where a handful of invited men and women (well, woman¿well, Tara Dakides) jammed on a specially constructed course of jibs. The course included such death-defying obstacles as a rollercoaster rail that curved down in a swooping “S” and a rail built over a pool of murky brown water.

Chris Engelsman and Kevin Jones duked it out for first, as they were the only riders to conquer the curved rail. But Kevin’s frontside 450 to boardslides and smooth nosepresses on the mailbox scored him the win. Bobby Meeks came in third with gleeful backside 180 to nosepress-360 outs on the funbox that drew cheers from the crowd.

Each member of the top three went home with a shiny new Kawasaki dirt bike¿good luck getting those across the border. d JP Walker? He displayed his usual ninja-like prowess on the course but went home with a pair of wet (and presumably mucky) boots after numerous playful romps in the brown water under the final rail.

SuperpipeThe next morning, the encampment struggled to break its slumber for the superpipe competition. Many riders had underestimated the potency of Whistler’s hidden poison¿liquor, and thus had their frontiersmen’s spirits broken. But there was gold in them thar hills; you could smell it in the crisp, clean air.In the women’s finals, eighteen-year-old Kelly Clark was busy pushing the forefront of women’s snowboarding (it’s not easy) with ten-foot airs and huge backside McTwists. France’s Dorianne Vidal was hucking powerful frontside 720s, five feet out. Tricia Byrnes edged out Canadian Lori Glazier for third place with big airs and smooth switch 540s.

The men’s finals were all about finding the right tools for the job. A favorite appliance of many was the sleek and shiny 900. And if you were Canadian Guy Deschenes, you used a frontside 1080 to Cab 900 combo. Todd Richards pulled his Wet Cat nine out of the box, and this year’s U.S. Open winner Danny Kass earned himself second place with good ol’ fashioned hard work and some Kass-eroles. It was fellow East Coaster Ross Powers who won it, though, with big switch McTwists and, yes, some finely honed 900s.

Some gleaned unspeakable fortunes from the mountains of Western Canada that weekend, but many came away empty-handed. Nevertheless, they were undeniably better for their hardships. Lessons of bravery were learned, and hearts were made harder and truer. The pilgrimage to Whistler will undoubtedly be made again next year¿bodies will be broken, livers lost. But a few more lucky souls will get the chance to taste the unfathomable wealth possible at the World Snowboarding Championship.

Keir Pays His Dues (Sidebar)

Sims had another 10,000 dollars lying around for the person who pulled the best trick in the halfpipe, and it was Keir Dillon’s shirtless McTwists (nothing but his Sony headphones and goggles on top) that won the ten large. But make no mistake¿he paid his dues in flesh for the prize.

While other riders worried about putting a run together in the Superfinals jam, Keir was dropping in halfway down the pipe and boosting huge McTwists for the cameras. Then came the best-trick session, when he peeled off his T-shirt and showed no fear straight-lining the deck at top speed. Unfortunately, the landing gear didn’t deploy properly when he boosted off the opposing wall, and he crashed and burned in the flatbottom. Skin met snow in an explosion of uncomfortable abrasions.

The rest of Keir’s McTwists, however, went off with seamless perfection, and they were ridiculous. He was twenty feet out and half naked. “I couldn’t find a f¿king line, so I had to do something,” said Dillon later about stripping for the crowd. Apparently, establishing his teen-sex-idol status was not a motivating factor, but it worked anyway. Results (Sidebar)

Men’s Slopestyle
1. Todd Richards
2. Kevin Jones
3. Jussi Oksanen

Women’s Slopestyle
1. Tara Dakides
2. Kim Bohnsack
3. Annie Boulanger

Jib Jam
1. Kevin Jones
2. Chris Engelsman
3. Bobby Meeks

Men’s Superpipe
1. Ross Powers
2. Danny Kass
3. Todd Richards

Women’s Superpipe
1. Dorianne Vidal
2. Kelly Clark
3. Tricia Byrnes

Men’s Big Air
1. Jussi Oksanen
2. Roger Hjelmstadstuen
3. Kevin Jones

Women’s Big Air
1. Dresden Howell
2. Marni Yamada
3. Kim Bohnsack

Big Money, Big Air (Sidebar)By Cody DresserSnowboard contests are nearly as fun as running into old girlfriends. “Ex to the next”¿in other words, I’m really not fond of contests. The World Snowboarding Championship, however, was different. With Mix Master Mike, MC Supernatural, Choclair, Beat Junkies, Dilated Peoples, and Swollen Members performing, I was sold already. Don’t get me wrong, I’d have liked some punk rock, but hip-hop, go-go dancers, and flamethrowers at night is all right. Fifteen-thousand spectators filled Whistler Village as the stage was set for an evening of music, madness, and mayhem.It looked cold outside, but it was balmy onboard the pimped-out Sims bus. Living with Brian Thien in years past has its perks, for I’d secured a captain’s chair¿an ideal vantage point for the event. Was this Corinthian leather I was sinking into? I couldn’t be sure. It was buttery soft … too soft¿I felt like a pervert.

A 75,000-dollar purse was on the line, and the world’s best kicker kids were feeling greedy. For the first time, I was caught up in the pre-contest hype, so I tried desperately to sedate myself with cold, slushy, island drinks. Jussi Oksanen started things off quickly with a switch back nine. As Travis Parker mixed things up with a backside 720 Indy, I did a little mixing of my own¿with a blender. I glanced at the icy drink between my warm hands, and for a moment I empathized with these soldiers of fortune. As they battled the cold, hard kicker, I waged my own war, finishing off yet another frosty glass. Marc Frank snapped me back to attention as he floated a smooth, flatspinning Cab nine through the semifinals.The ladies weren’t playing games, either, as almost half the purse was up for grabs. Grabs were the word¿backside 360s, and Dresden Howell had them locked. Tara Dakides did a backflip and shook things up with a rodeo, but she couldn’t reel in the landing. Katrina Voutilainen was in line for a paycheck but cased it hard on a her last jump, a frontside 540 straight up. Kim Bohnsack appeared to have the contest all wrapped up, but she was discontented with cruising to victory. An ambitious backside 540 attempt rung her bell and lost her first place, but it won all our hearts. A model of conservative consistency, Dresden Howell took the win.

The men’s superfinals were too close for company. The drama was just too much¿I fumbled for the ice and a good mixer. Kevin Jones served up a frontside 1080, and Peter Line performed a near-flawless switch 1080 but reverted the landing. Margarita flew from the glass as my hands shook with eager anticipation, the floor a sticky mess¿luckily, no one seemed to notice. Roger Hjelmstadstuen did a 1080 of his own, but with a twist¿he landed damn near the bottom of the tranny and didn’t even bend at the knees. Tension mounted as the only rider left with a chance of beating Roger dropped in. Jussi Oksanen soundly stomped another switch backside nine and won the World Snowboarding Championship Big Air.

The rest of the night was a blur¿both literally and figuratively. As the old saying goes, work hard, play hard¿and play they did. The most talented snowboarders in the world filled Maxx Fish and performed a near-perfect reenactment of the Riders’ Poll Awards.t me wrong, I’d have liked some punk rock, but hip-hop, go-go dancers, and flamethrowers at night is all right. Fifteen-thousand spectators filled Whistler Village as the stage was set for an evening of music, madness, and mayhem.It looked cold outside, but it was balmy onboard the pimped-out Sims bus. Living with Brian Thien in years past has its perks, for I’d secured a captain’s chair¿an ideal vantage point for the event. Was this Corinthian leather I was sinking into? I couldn’t be sure. It was buttery soft … too soft¿I felt like a pervert.

A 75,000-dollar purse was on the line, and the world’s best kicker kids were feeling greedy. For the first time, I was caught up in the pre-contest hype, so I tried desperately to sedate myself with cold, slushy, island drinks. Jussi Oksanen started things off quickly with a switch back nine. As Travis Parker mixed things up with a backside 720 Indy, I did a little mixing of my own¿with a blender. I glanced at the icy drink between my warm hands, and for a moment I empathized with these soldiers of fortune. As they battled the cold, hard kicker, I waged my own war, finishing off yet another frosty glass. Marc Frank snapped me back to attention as he floated a smooth, flatspinning Cab nine through the semifinals.The ladies weren’t playing games, either, as almost half the purse was up for grabs. Grabs were the word¿backside 360s, and Dresden Howell had them locked. Tara Dakides did a backflip and shook things up with a rodeo, but she couldn’t reel in the landing. Katrina Voutilainen was in line for a paycheck but cased it hard on a her last jump, a frontside 540 straight up. Kim Bohnsack appeared to have the contest all wrapped up, but she was discontented with cruising to victory. An ambitious backside 540 attempt rung her bell and lost her first place, but it won all our hearts. A model of conservative consistency, Dresden Howell took the win.

The men’s superfinals were too close for company. The drama was just too much¿I fumbled for the ice and a good mixer. Kevin Jones served up a frontside 1080, and Peter Line performed a near-flawless switch 1080 but reverted the landing. Margarita flew from the glass as my hands shook with eager anticipation, the floor a sticky mess¿luckily, no one seemed to notice. Roger Hjelmstadstuen did a 1080 of his own, but with a twist¿he landed damn near the bottom of the tranny and didn’t even bend at the knees. Tension mounted as the only rider left with a chance of beating Roger dropped in. Jussi Oksanen soundly stomped another switch backside nine and won the World Snowboarding Championship Big Air.

The rest of the night was a blur¿both literally and figuratively. As the old saying goes, work hard, play hard¿and play they did. The most talented snowboarders in the world filled Maxx Fish and performed a near-perfect reenactment of the Riders’ Poll Awards.