Bob Erickson slides up to Mammoth Mountain’s Stump Alley Express Chair, sits back and is launched up the lift. It’s 3:15 PM on Wednesday and his day of competition is over. The 50-something Big Bear Lake, California local is not exactly stoked about his showing in the Slopestyle. “I got eighth,” he says, shrugging. “For the last four years I was the National Champion and now all these guys are coming up.”
He’s not that worried because he’s shooting for an overall title and he still has all the Alpine and the Boardercross events to go. “I’ll do much better in the Alpine events,” he laughs. “And especially Boardercross. I like to mix things ups.”
Erickson is not alone. As the USASA National Championships continues to roll at Mammoth Mountain March 20-24, 2001, more then 950 competitiors are putting it on the line against riders from around the nation and the world. Saying this contest is huge is a complete understatement. The event features five different venues: Slopestyle, BoarderCross, Halfpipe, Dual Slalom, and Dual GS; and 21 different age brackets including “adaptive” a special group for amputee snowboarders. Riders ranging in age from 5 to over 60 are competing on the same terrain. This truly is the largest snowboard contest in the world.
The contrast between this contest and most snowboard contests is shocking. There are few spectators. It’s not because no one cares about the competition. It’s because everyone who is here is competing. Entire families (Dad, mom, and the kids) are on snow, in bibs, competing, and having a great time. Anyone who thinks that the United States has handed over the future of freestyle snowboarding to the Europeans would get serious reality check at Mammoth this week.
Since it’s nearly impossible to catch all the action from the five venues, or keep track of the age group action here are some of the standouts.
On Wednesday the girls (13 and under) and the old folks (over 30 men and women) were on the slopestyle course while the Junior Men and Youth men were battling just a few yards over on the Boardercross course. The 13 and under boys were riding in the halfpipe and the Junior and Youth women were on the Dual GS.
In the slopestyle event the day’s highest score went to 12-year-old Stacie Anderson from Tahoe, California. Her score of 30.6 was higher than any of the other riders competing on the course. Her run mixed spins, straight air, rails, and a totally stomped backflip on the bottom table. Anderson took first spot for the Breaker Girls just ahead of Annie Finnegan of Duluth, Minnesota.
In the Grommet Boys slopestyle Kitt Livingston of La Jolla, CA busted out a run that included a boardslide, fakie ollie onto the funbox 180 out, a 540 and a couple huge straight airs to win the event. “I told him that you’re going to have to put everything into this run if you want to win,” Kitt’s mom said after the awards. “The way the judging goes you really have to dominate if you want win.” Kitt’s dad Mark Livingston finished sixth in slopestyle in the Kahuna men.
In the halfpipe Adam Dyroff of Hanover New Hampshire edges Sam Luebke of Trukee, California in the Menehune Boy’s division. In the Breaker Boys (12-13 Mason Aguirre of Duluth, Minnesota edged Mammoth local Eric Jackson in a tie-breaker. Both scored 24.20 for a high score, however Aguirre had a higher second run score and took it.
On the BoarderCross course Thomas Parsons of Bethel, Maine smoked the competition in the Junior Men winning every heat including the finals by a large margin. In second was Crested Butte’s Matt Berglund. In the Youth division Tyler Edmond of Dorset, Vermont edged Michael Antalek of Steamboat Springs.
Thursday competition includes Junior and Youth men on the Dual Slalom, Junior and Youth women in the Halfpipe, and girls and the old folks on Boardercross.