TransAm Northstar

A TranAm finalist spins to win over the wedges. Photo: Russell Kaczmar

Words by Adam Kisiel

Dear President Obama, while you and your esteemed staff are at The Capitol trying to solve the health care crisis, the war on terrorism, and a flailing economy, just to name a few, the kids at Northstar-at-Tahoe are creating the future of snowboarding and forgetting the continued worries of adulthood and what they will inherit from their parents. The pictures and video are proof that no matter how many obstacles stack up against them, without a doubt they will still smile and stay true to what they know, snowboarding. Chris Castaneda and the Park Crew at Northstar deserve medals for the mini park set up for the Transworld Snowboarding TransAm Tour. In an age where most are losing their jobs and struggling to make ends meet, Castaneda and Crew are gripping their trade tight and taking pride in everything that they do. There is clearly no lack of leadership in this resort that continues to set the park standard for others to emulate.

Speaking of leaders, how about the 115 future leaders that lined up at the top of the mini park anxious to make a name for themselves, have fun, and forget about everything that is going on around them and just be a kid again. Some competitors, not even from this country, still taking part in an event that is one of the few that takes the pressure off of snowboarding, a sport that is born of pure fun. Mr. President, also take note of the many sponsors that dedicate resources to keep this event a mainstay to the snowboarding youth. I am sure you know of Oakley, a company that has even outfitted our troops with goggles among other things. At this stop Oakley set up their Oakley Signature Rail for the kids to throw down on. You may not know some of the tricks that were thrown, but feel free to Google frontside boardslides, two seventy on and off, or switch back lip. Zumiez is another popular brand you may or may not be aware of that is pushing the limits for the kids. Zumiez set up a rail across the top of their big orange couch that would look a little out of place in your oval office. I am sure the First Lady, Michelle Obama, your lovely wife, would not be impressed if someone fifty fifty’d the coffee table and front flipped off, but she should be proud of the young woman by the name of Jamie Madrid, that is putting her name above the rest and setting up to make a name for woman snowboarders everywhere.

Video by Justin Gunson

How about the High Cascade Snowboard Camp smoking volcano feature that had riders like Sam Elliot spinning, hand planting, and bonking over the barrel stuck in the top of the smoking crater? High Cascade Snowboard Camp, a brand that no matter what, has stayed true to their roots of one hundred percent snowboarding and has been a brand staple of fun. President Obama, do you know what it is like to be a teenager and have to worry about getting picked on or getting a wedgie? Look at what Ride Snowboards has done to make the wedgie fun again. They set up a wedge to gap feature as a jump at Northstar. Many riders disregarded the conditioned feeling of being scared of getting a wedgie and made sure they were totally upside down as they back flipped the gap. Even Toby Miller, one of the youngest riders there, wasn’t terrified to send it deep over the gap. All hail DaKine, the company out of the Pacific Northwest that has been on the tour since the start of the Bush Administration and set up a tilted box feature or Giro, a helmet company that is protecting the young developing minds of America as they do what they love, who set up the most perfect hip that had riders like Colt Morgan and Stacie Anderson flying high overhead.

Regardless of what you think you know about the youth, these one hundred fifteen riders showed a ton of heart as they dropped in all at once for the hour long Traffic Jam. Some cheering each other on and when the Ultimate Final started you could solve any energy crisis with the vitality shining bright from the final forty riders. In the end it was Johnny Brady and women’s standout Emily Blewitt that took top honors. This was Blewitt’s third podium, two firsts and a second, on her path to the TransAm Championships in Bear CA. Come what may, Mr. President this wasn’t about win or lose. It was about taking the pressure and seriousness out of the norm of contests, life, and setting the kid’s spirits free. Something I think you would be really proud of. The sponsors were very proud as well throwing a giveaway for everyone and giving out awesome prizes to the winners. Oakley gave out custom TransAm goggles and outfitted riders’ head to toe in outerwear. High Cascade Snowboard Camp gave out backpacks, hoodies and hats all in the name of the Marshmallow. Zumiez pumped kids up with gift cards and flight vouchers to finals, Ride Snowboards gave away brand new snowboards and Dakine outfitted riders with backpacks and board bags. Tune in on March 20th, President Obama, for the live webcast of the TransAm Championships from Sponsor Me and take note of the state of the youth. I think you will be pleased.

Men’s Winners
1st. Johnny Brady
2nd Colt Morgan
3rd Sam Elliot

Women’s Winners
1st Emily Blewitt
2nd Stacie Anderson
3rd Jamie Madrid

Pint Sized Ripper Award
Graham Haley

Standout Trick
Fredrick Parry
(one-footed front board)