Video: Justin Gunson
Photos: Peter Morning
I’ve never felt the feeling of eminent death. Granted there have been times when I’ve been scared, and maybe the thought of death passed threw my mind, but I never really thought that I was actually going to die. Flying into Mammoth this past Thursday I honestly thought I was going to die. As we plummeted down from 15,000 feet to the runway through terrible turbulence, all I could think about was what I would do differently if I made it down to earth alive. And when I did make it to earth (That’s right, I didn’t die. So suck it haters.) I realized that I was going to have as much fun as humanly possible. And thankfully it was easy to achieve that goal because the WCI at Mammoth Mountain was one hell of a good time.
The WCI has been a Mammoth spring institution for the past 11 years. While it has gone through many transformations and changes, one thing still remains the same —it’s one of the best spring weekends in snowboarding. And this year was no different.
This year instead of having a two day contest, the WCI was compressed into a big one-night event. People made their way to the base of the Canyon Lodge right as the sun was starting to set for the Eddie Wallride contest. The Eddie Wallride is the Olympics of wallride contests. Riders who were killing it were Justin Fronius with his huge backflips to fakie, Mason Aguirre with his sick backside 540’s, and Seth Hill who was riding with some pretty reckless style. The top three dude’s of the day though were Chris Grenier, Sam Taxwood, and Jaeger Bailey. Chris ended up in third place, he did some crazy moves such as a switch backside rodeo, and a one-footed crippler. In second place was Sam Taxwood who did one of the sickest andrechts that I’ve personally ever seen. And in first place was Jaeger Bailey. Jaeger did more-or-less every wallride trick imaginable. He killed it, and it was cool to see him get the win. Scott Blum also got the best trick award with an insane frontside handplant, which he only had to try like three times. It was sick.
After the sun set, and the Eddie Wallride ended, it was time for the big-air event. The WCI big-air event was way different than any other big-air contest because in this contest they had skiers and snowboarders paired up together. They also had to hit the jump at the same time. As lame as skiing is, it was really cool to see the dudes hit the jump at the same time, and it seemed like the dudes were actually feeding off each other. Sage Kotsenburg did a sick 1260 and won the best trick award and 2500 bucks. Other standouts were Chas Guldemond’s switch backside 180’s, and just watching Lonnie Kauk hit a jump. In the end though, it was Ole Christian Hagan in 2nd, and Chas Guldemond in 1st. Chas killed it and fully deserved the win. That dude really knows how to jump.
I’m really glad that I didn’t die in a plane crash on Thursday, because I would’ve had to have missed the WCI. And that would have totally sucked because this event was seriously awesome.