Every year I look forward to the Vans Triple Crown at Sierra-at-Tahoe for two reasons. The first is the obvious; the contest is a blast. All of world’s top riders show up for this well-run event that’s overflowing with prize money. The second is because it is held in one of most “hella-good” places to rage, South Lake Tahoe!

I drove down from Oregon by myself and arrived Friday afternoon. I missed the boardercross event, but was told the heats were won in the starts and about how physical the racing was. My buddy Scott Sisamis and I hyped it up at the Willie Nelson concert that evening. (Kevin Jones, Jimi Halpoff, Nate “Dog” Yant, The Green Cowboy, and others also attended.) After the concert, The Green Cowboy and I kept the party going, but then were somehow separated. I was forced to gamble into the wee hours alone.

Luckily for me, the big-air event was Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t felt sober enough to drive the previous night and awoke in my car a little after 11:00 a.m. Not wanting to miss the action, I hightailed it to the hill. The jump wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst, either–I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize for my lack of writing skills. Did you read that last sentence? Could I be less vague? I go to these contests to party, so let me cut the crap; Kurt Wastell landed a switch backside rodeo 720 and Tara Dakides did a huge melon backflip to win the men’s and women’s divisions respectively. Wastell took home 10,000 dollars and Dakides took home 7,5000 dollars Allen Traves got attention by trying some crazy flipping huck and almost pulled it. Scotty Whitlake and Doren Laybourn are a couple of kids to look out for in the near future.

On the way back to the casinos, Scott Sisamis, Bryce Knights, Kurt Wastell, Brian Knox, Heath Pinter, and I stopped to do a little snowmachine racing. After a few modifications when the track’s owners weren’t looking, we had a blast. Meanwhile back at the hotel, J.D. got Kevin Jones and the Beastmaster kicked out and charged 500 dollars extra for the night.

Even though another long night of drinking and gambling took its toll, I made it to the hill in time to see all of the halfpipe event. Vans gets the big high five for treating the athletes and media so well. Badly needed food was dished out between heats, and the Ambassador of Fun, Steve Van Doren, made sure everyone was happy. I think what I like best about these Triple Crown contests is they treat all of the competitors really well.

The pipe wasn’t that good, but it wasn’t that bad either–Are you still reading this? Don’t make me paraphrase myself; so Daniel Franck was ripping, every run he took was filled with reckless abandon and style. But in the end, the Cinderella story won out. Lael Gregory won with a super solid last run. The pipe really sucked.

We (the same group as before) stopped at the snowmachine place to race again. The owner knew about our “modifications,” but simply asked us to keep an eye out for his other customers. I’m not too clear on who was our overall “snocross” winner, I’d say it was between Brian and Kurt. Scotty Sisamis won Rookie of the Year.

Snowboarding, gambling, and partying. I can hardly wait ’til next year. –Dave “I’m a sinner” Sypniewski

 

Halfpipe Results

Men

1. Lael Gregory USA

2. Max Plotzeneder GER

3. Daniel Franck SWE

 

Women

1. Minna Hesso FIN

2. Catherine Nieves CAN

3. Steine Brun Kjeldaas NOR

Boardercross Results

Men

1. Mark Schultz USA

2. Philipe Conte FRA

3. Jason Brown USA

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Women

1. Margarrite Cossettini AUS

2. Bibian Mentel NED

3. Alessia Follador ITA

Big Air

Men

1. Kurt Wastell USA

2. Scott Whitlake USA

3. Doren Laybourn USA

Women

1. Tara Dakides USA

2. Mika Fish USA

3. Jessica Dalpiaz USA