Photos: Chris Wellhausen
Watch the full video recap here
Each year, droves of snowboarders make the annual trip to Bear Mountain to watch the first big rail event of the season. It’s essentially the kickoff to winter, and the 13th annual Hot Dawgz & Hand Rails contest at Bear did not disappoint. Onlookers were greeted with one of the more technical and difficult courses we’ve seen, featuring four scaffolding bomb-drop entry points, which meant lots of creativity, but also lots of hiking under the hot California sun.
The format was based upon two hour-long heats with no eliminations. This meant each rider was allowed to participate for the entire duration of the event, looking to impress the all-star judging panel consisting of Scott Stevens, Dave Downing, Joe Sexton, and more. As riders began to figure out the course, the dual, eight foot high ‘freedom rails’ quickly began initiating a few heavy slams early on, with the inevitable bomb holes in the landings quickly buffed out by the park crew. After an hour of battling a plethora of features, the first heat was over and it was really anyone’s game.
After some course maintenance, a few hot dogs, and maybe even a couple cold beverages, the entire field hiked up to the drop-ins of their choice, and the second heat began. Backflip and gap to rail variations over the cannon gap stoked out the crowd, but we were left unsure if these types of maneuvers would score points with the judges.
Once the dust was settled, the huge crowd hustled over to the main stage in order to secure the best possible spots for viewing the awards ceremony, plus performances by Wale and Eagles of Death Metal.
1st Madison Blackley
1st Sam Taxwood
2nd Jaeger Bailey
3rd Brandon Davis
Jordan Morse – cab 270 on, 270 out on the kink rail