Photos: Bob Plumb

The premise of the jump portion in a Vans Hi-Standard contest is this: don’t spin over a 720 and style rules. While this leaves room for spinning a 720 on the y-axis and doing a double backflip, most contestants are happy to put their stamp on a 180 or a 540. And doing a double backflip over a 30-foot jump wouldn’t be all that fun to do, watch, or clean up after. Let’s leave that sort of trickery to the Aspen Xtreme.

So how does one win a contest based on style? That was up to judges Zac Marben and Sam Taxwood, who were handing out orange paper money to riders they thought were ripping, did a proper method, bashed into the tree and hit a strung up pair of Vans, or somehow made a frontside 180 look as cool on a snowboard as it does on a skateboard. At the end of the contest the riders went up and redeemed their orange Vans bucks for legitimate US Government recognized tender. A lot of people were walking away with $150 for landing a couple cool tricks in a free contest—thank you Vans for supporting snowboarding.

After the jump session, people ate free hot dogs and candy. After I had 4 hot dogs, I went to the bathroom. After I went to the bathroom, I grabbed another beer. At this time the rail jam was just kicking off. Now the rail jam section of a Vans Hi-Standard is pretty close to your standard rail jam. There’s no limit to what you can do, but Judge Marben and Judge Taxwood would call out tricks they wanted to see and would give out $100 for the first rider to do it, “Somebody switch back lip that drop rail and Marben’s got 100 bucks for you,” Vans TM Kevin Casillo said over the microphone.

Contests like the Vans Hi-Standard are important for snowboarding. They’re free to enter, recognize a broader spectrum of “winners” by handing out cash for rad tricks landed, and put the emphasis on having fun and boarding with style instead of fueling a huck and chuck, spin to win mentality that so many other professional snowboard institutions employ.

At the end of the day, they do hand out oversized checks to the top riders of the day. The big money went to:

Chandler Hunt ($250 for the 15 and under division)

Lynn Neil ($500 for the ladies)

Johnny Brady ($1000 for the dudes)

Vans Hi Standard Brighton Johnny Brady photo Bob Plumb

Johnny Brady. Vans Hi-Standard, Brighton, Utah. Photo: Bob Plumb