Top-class riders from around the world learned what it was like to ride hard pack during the morning’s Sims World Championships slopestyle practice in Whistler, B.C. Scattered snow and the occasional roving fog bank made for hard landings, as riders fought tooth and nail to stick their lines. But the afternoon sun helped soften everything up, including the guys from Sims attending the event. They were so happy to see some sun shining on the quarterpipe at the end of the course, they kicked in an extra $5,000 to the already hefty cash purse.
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 the twenty-five foot quarterpipe. Each rider’s run was judged from several different points throughout the course.
The first round of the contest saw riders holding back a little. The sun was in and out of the clouds, so visibility was patchy, and the landings were very hard. “It’s tough, because a lot of us grind down our edges so they don’t catch on the rails,” said pro-rider Andrew Crawford about struggling to hold an edge on the frozen-slush. But it only took a few runs for everyone to get warmed up and into the swing of things.
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 front-side 900s off the first kicker. Travis Parker was also throwing out the nines, as well as slaying the bottom rail with frontside boardslides. Roberta Rodger and Annie Boulanger were boosting off the bottom quarterpipe in the women’s first round, each going a solid seven or eight feet out. Although clean landings were illusive, the ladies showed no fear when it came to technical tricks off the kickers.
The sun came out and temperatures rose for the afternoon’s super finals. X-Games jib-master Kevin Jones pulled crazy combinations on the rails, but it was Todd Richards who put the winning run together¿and finished it off with a big McTwist out of the bottom quarterpipe. Tara Dakides was the only women to venture a boardslide on the kinked rail at the top, and followed it up with a rodeo off the first kicker … whatever. Kim Bohnsack also had a good line, busting clean backside 360s and fifty-fifty grinds.
The boys from Sims must’ve been swelling with pride after sweeping the ladies field with team-riders Bohnsack and Dakides, and a top five placing in the men with Droz. With two more days of shredding and celebration to go, things just keep getting better and better at the final contest of the season in the funnest town in North America.
1. Todd Richards
2. Kevin Jones
3. Jussi Oksanen
4. Rahm Klampert
5. Nicolas Droz
1. Tara Dakides
2. Kim Bohnsack
3. Annie Boulanger
4. Marni Yamada
5. Jaimie MacLeod