Words and Photos by Jason Botens

Rossignol Snowboards hosted a unique shop contest at Southern California’s Bear Mountain last Friday. Dubbed the Shop Employee Experiment, the event partnered up local shop employees with Rossignol’s pro team riders to form four-person teams.

All of Rossignol’s big-name riders were there including Todd Richards, Travis Rice, Jonas Emery, Hanna Beaman, Eero Niemela, Benji Ritchie, Cory Cronk, Silas Stannard, Heinz Loehle, and Reno B’lile. The pros were stoked to be there. Jonas Emery thought it was a great opportunity to ride with the kids who sell the products in the stores. Other riders thought it was great for the brand and a good kick off for the season to come.

The shops that participated in the contest included Pharmacy, Banned, Jer’s Board Shop, 118, Leroy’s, Real Deal, Active, Goldsmith’s, Chicks Sporting Goods, and Jack’s Garage.

And the shop kids were pumped as well. “Best contest of the year,” said Austin Sherbert, an Active rider. All the riders were super stoked about the two-hour jam session. This was a unique opportunity for them to ride with a pro in competition.

118 Boardshop took third with riders Ted Monney, Justin Reyes, Jared Reyes, and pro Todd Richards. For placing third, each got a board of their choice from Rossignol.

There was a tie for second between Jer’s Board Shop (with riders Mike McMillan, Eric Wright, Caser Eugenio, and pro Eero Niemela) and Leroy’s with riders Victor Beilotil, Dasiel Trigo, Scott Vine, and pro Jonas Emery. Each won a full Rossignol setup including board, boots, and bindings of their choice.

The first place team was Real Deal, with riders Yoshi Kumiyama, Mike Burton, Chris Bradshaw and pro Cory Cronk. The team won an all-expenses paid trip to the Rossignol summer snowboard camp in France. Everybody was super stoked and the turnout was awesome.

Rossignol’s So Cal rep Tommy Short said this event was about having fun and building the brand locally. He wanted people to recognize Rossignol’s image. All the riders had positive things to say about the team.

Chris Johnston from Active ride shop said, “The Rossignol team has good natural style. It’s good to see a team that’s into hitting jumps instead of just focusing on rails.” This seemed to be what most of the kids were talking about.

Short also wanted the teamriders to be more tangible to the shop kids. Sure, you see the pros in the magazine, but being able to ride with them on your team is a whole different feeling. He says this is going to be an annual event and wants to use a grassroots approach to marketing Rossignol in So Cal. He adds that this type of marketing is lacking in the industry.