Photos: Ben Birk
Video: Justin Gunson
Words: Adam Kisiel
Last year Mike Schipani and the Park Crew at Northstar California had to dig out their already built TransAm Mini Park from under four feet of snow that had accumulated the night prior to event day. The TransWorld SNOWboarding TransAm presented by Skullcandy went off this year with the opposite snow circumstances. This year, Schipani had to turn on the guns at night and bring his own storm to fill the TransAm Park with snow. He did so in such a way to rival all the other park builders on tour and create an awesome set up under the hot Lake Tahoe sun. The riders this year turned up the heat switch even more and broke it off on high. Their riding made our judges scratch their heads wondering who would walk away a winner with such heavy tricks being thrown down by everyone involved.
The High Cascade Snowboard Camp mini pipe was at the top of the park and gave riders the chance to pump through the transition and jib the coping of the pipe, which itself, was littered with flat rails and lift tubes. Tommy Gesme didn’t hold back as he dropped into the pipe proving to the other riders and the judging staff that he was the best all around rider with jib, jump, and pipe tricks. Brady Lem followed suit hitting the Muscle Milk flat rail on the deck of the pipe every way you could possibly fathom. At the bottom of the pipe was a side hit that shot riders up and over the end of the pipe deck to hit the Anon Optics down box. AJ Lawson aired up and over the Anon box to take home the last available spot on the guys’ podium, third place.
The Ride Snowboards smoking barrel set up had two barrels set up in the middle of a corrugated pipe A-frame. The third barrel was set up next to the A-frame throwing smoke into the air. Mariah Dugan reserved the non-smoking section for her trickery to prove that she deserved first place for the gals. Just below the Ride Snowboards barrel setup was the Zumiez living room feature. The Zumiez orange couch was decorated for the TransAm’s tenth birthday and sitting right across from a big screen TV. Pint Sized Ripper, Dante Schipani, took the cue to ride through the living room right out the front window frame onto a down box. It was truly picture perfect and he didn’t even tear down the drapes. Just below the living room setup was the Skullcandy sound tube with so many different on and off options. The Skullcandy feature could literally be hit from every side. Sisi Lauretti let the beats boom and rode across the sound tube with so much energy that the judges couldn’t help but give her third place. At the bottom of the park the Coal Headwear snow beanies shadowed over the rest of the features. The riders held their speed into the beanies to throw rodeos and back flips non-stop throughout the day.
The after party was catered by the classiest restaurant at Northstar California feeding the riders a silver-platter-spread of lasagna and salad. TransAm winners were given custom Coal TransAm beanies, custom Giro Helmets, Drop Gloves, Ride snowboards and outerwear, custom TransAm Skullcandy Aviator headphones, High Cascade Snowboard Camp backpacks, and Anon goggles. The Zumiez best trick winner, Mizl Ybarra, smashed the big screen TV and took home one thousand dollars in Zumiez dollars. Chris Mullins was voted by the rest of the riding field as the best rider and given the Muscle Milk Rider’s Choice Award worth two hundred dollars. Top honors walked away with the gold TransAm Trophies by Transworld Snowboarding and also earned a spot into the TransAm Finals at Bear on March 10th.
1st Tommy Gesme
2nd Brady Lem
3rd AJ Lawson
1st Mariah Dugan
2nd Rachel Wheeler
3rd Sisi Lauretti
Pint Size Ripper Award: Dante Schipani
Worst Crash Award: Chip Snyder
Zumiez Best Trick Award: Mizl Ybarra
Muscle Milk Rider’s Choice Award: Chris Mullins