For USASA competitors in the Southern California Series, this past weekend at Bear Mountain is not something they?ll soon forget. While the blazing sun slowly taught everyone who forgot sunscreen a lesson and tried to soften up the snow into more than extreme hard pack and sketchy ice patches, the participants in the USASA Southern California Series and Trans-Am events got the hook up with tons of product and a special double-kinked rail built just for the event.

Our celebrity judges watched the 14 different levels of USASA competitors brave the Slopestyle course and gave 1-4 competitors from each division a special invite to the Trans-Am rail jam later that afternoon. With about 40 minutes to show the judges what kind of tricks they had going, the invited riders charged on four different types of rails ? a roller coaster, a gateway box, an S rail, and the double-kinked rail built by the Bear Mountain park staff.

Once the riders got a few practice runs in, Red Bull’s own DJ Kid Dragon and MC-for-the-day Damion Roberson from Boost Mobile got the crowd pumped up with some good beats and commentary. The level of riding was amazing. Spectators were treated to a bag of tricks that included everything from frontside lipslides to one-footed boardslides, occasionally being sprayed by those riders who made it to the end of the rails. Standout tricks came at the judges from all directions as So Cal?s finest amateurs showed off their best stuff. As we saw with the first Trans-Am event at Mt. Bachelor, the caliber of riding is nothing for established professionals to take lightly. The Bear locals are coming up strong and fast?the youngest Trans-Am rider was only 11 years old!

The infamous S-rail proved to be the most challenging for the competitors, so pre-paid Boost Mobile phones were offered up to any rider who could stick the entire thing. One lucky Trans-Am rider did it, while a local USASA competitor from Bear also hiked up to try his luck, and nailed the rail effortlessly. Once the contest ended and results were being tallied, USASA participants competed in a product dash that forced them to run full speed up an icy incline or be stampeded by dozens of other loot-mongers eager for the free goodies.

When all was said and done, our four judges were pretty much stoked on the same five riders. It came down to hard numbers and extra points for those with the best style and attitude to decide who would take home a boatload of prizes. The top three riders received trophies handmade by TransWorld founder Larry Balma. First place got hooked up with a Ride snowboard and bindings and first through fourth place received Smith goggles, Quiksilver clothes, DaKine backpacks, tons of TWS loot and a Boost Mobile phone. Judges included TW senior editor Jen Sherowski, Boost Mobile?s Dave Sypniewski, and pro riders Mike Burton and Roger Yu.

Congratulations to all the winners and USASA competitors:

    1. Eugene Meng
    2. Tsuyoshi “Mullet Man” Kumiyama
    3. Jillian Yanaw
    4. Evan Mills
    5. Cory Donoho

A humongous thank-you goes out to Big Bear mountain and park staff, Ride Snowboards, Dave and Damion from Boost Mobile, DaKine, Smith Optics, Quiksilver, and the USASA Southern California Series staff, particularly John Siple. The contributions of everyone involved help to support grassroots snowboarding that makes the USASA what it is to so many people.

The next two Trans-Am events are February 8, 2003 at Breckenridge and March 24-30 at the USASA Nationals in Sunday River, Maine.

Look for more information on how you can get hooked up at USASA.org.