V16N05 – 2001/2002 Vans Triple Crown Series

2001/02 Vans Triple Crown SeriesBreckenridge, Colorado
By Jennifer Sherowski

Originally assigned to go down the first weekend in December, the inaugural Triple Crown at Breckenridge was delayed until the twenthieth of the month. This was out of fear that there wouldn’t be enough ice-shavings scraped together to build pro-caliber jumps and jibs. What did this mean for the riders on the starting list? Competition time cutting into their winter-holiday relaxation. But because I’m from Colorado, the delay meant getting a free plane ticket home for Christmas on official “work” business.

The first day of my vacation broke just as the Breck crew put the finishing touches on the Peak 8 park. As the thermometer rose above the twenty-degree mark, competitors crept out into winter sunshine for some slopestyle action. Jessica Dalpiaz, the women’s leader after the qualifiers, stomped a good line including a backside 540 and a 50-50 on the rainbow rail. It was a shock (even to her) that she ended up in fourth place. Winner Kim Bohnsack did rip it, though, mastering the technical tricks with a frontside 180 to switch boardslide on the flatbar.

The men’s slopestyle was a Colorado homecoming of sorts-three out of the top-four finishers were people who’ve called the state home at one time or another. Local entrepreneur Chad Otterstrom slayed the course all day in practice, but had trouble in his contest run and landed in spot-number four. J.J. Thomas, a born-and-bred Coloradan, picked up the tech end of things with a Cab three off the first kicker to inverted five. Travis Rice, not from Colorado but rather Wyoming, managed to harness his explosive shred energy on large corked spins. And Todd Richards, who’s still a landowner in Breckenridge, ended up on top of the pile by slaying the course with his usual focus. The winter solstice-the shortest, darkest day of the year and a date no person should leave the comforts of their home … unless it’s for a Vans Triple Crown Big Air. The kicker seemed to be in good condition for a while, and riders like Abe Teter, Richards, Charlie Morace, and Otterstrom were stepping up with fakie 720s, Cab nines, and multiple variations of the rodeo. Unfortunately, a combination of the increasing cold and new snow converted the kicker’s run-in to something like Velcro-causing unsuspecting jumpers to land anywhere but on their feet (the ass was a popular one).

As the shivering crowd watched on through swirling winds and plummeting temperatures, it was no surprise that event coordinators opted to ditch the best-of-three-runs format for the finals. Instead they gave riders one last run, taking the best score out of that and their jumps in the semifinals. Despite the difficulties of the afternoon, the level of snowboarding was still pretty impressive. No less than five Cab nines were thrown by the likes of Todd Richards, Jason Borgstede, Preston Strout, and Rahm Klampert. Ben Hinkley took the show by getting all upside down and sticking his good ol’ lawn dart.

The superpipe competition graced the last day of the event. Gretchen Bleiler had flown in during the snowstorm late the night of the big air and only had time for a few practice runs in the morning. Tricia Byrnes and Bleiler were tied going into the last run and had a mutual pact to pull out their secret weapons. Gretchen’s was a backflip to fakie, and Tricia’s was the McTwist. Things got a little hectic, though-Gretchen sucked up the backflip and did a regular air to fakie; and Tricia went for the McTwist but couldn’t quite stick it. It was Bleiler’s smooth backside five that earned her the cold-turkey win.

The men’s pipe event was neck and neck, too. Erik Leines had the lead for a while, and Shaun White was out front for a bit, too. But it was Tommy Czeschin who grabbed onto the gold. After a first run of all straight spins (back-to-back 720s and a 900), he anted up by inverting his spins and throwing a big McTwist in the mix. And with the checks signed, the trophies dispersed, and the banners torn down-it was officially winter-holiday time. Riders scattered to the four winds, a few clutching 10,000-dollar Christmas bonuses. Not bad for a day’s work.

Results

Men’s Slopestyle

1. Todd Richards 2. Travis Rice 3. J.J. Thomas 4. Chad Otterstrom 5. Kurt Wastell

Women’s Slopestyle

1. Kim Bohnsack2. Katrina Voutilainen3. Sara Osterberg4. Jessica Dalpiaz5. Juanita Platz

Big Air

1. Ben Hinkley 2. Rahm Klampert 3. Sam Dayton 4. Travis Williams 5. Matt Peterson

Men’s Superpipe

1. Tommy Czeschin 2. Shaun White 3. Christopher Nelson 4. Mike Michalchuk 5. Andy Finch

Women’s Superpipe

1. Gretchen Bleiler 2. Tricia Byrnes 3. Autumn Rose 4. Alisa Mokler 5. Michele Taggart

Snow Summit, California
By Joel Muzzey

So it’s not the Olympics but another picture-perfect day at Snow Summit for the second stop on the Vans Triple Crown. The sun was wailing and so were the boys out on this mid-season Sunday-vying for 30,000 in cash for the superpipe event finals. Postponed from Saturday’s schedule due to wind and weather, the pipe finals ran a day late, just before the big-air event finals. The crowd was thin, but the riders rode like hell in the nicely shaped U-pipe tube.

Everyone’s a judge. I would have put both Eric Jackson and Lane Knaack in the top ten. Keir Dillon pounded the halfpipe with his standard barrage of Indy McTwists and sevens for sixth place. Keir kept riding after the contest, throwing up some ‘Quisty (as in Burnquist) moves for photographers Kevin Zacher and Jeff Curtes to capture on film. Abe Teter rode hard and solid throughout, he came away with fifth. Terje Haakonsen got a well-deserved fourth place. He was riding all damn day and taking a beating. The tricks don’t really matter-he slammed and split his board apart, and then dropped right back in unfazed, only to pay in pain for fourth place.

Travis Rice is the guy who kept the Haakon factor from the podium spot. His runs were vulgar displays of power and determination-it was like he was pinch-hitting for Ross Powers or had snorted his Wheaties that morning. He ripped and was scored fairly-at least in this event-for the bronze. Second-placed Andy Finch is another pit bull in the halfpipe. He’s all amp and somehow managed to reel in that weird 1080 Haakon flip. And finally, the little bastard did it again-get used to it. Shaun “Bonaducci” White bested all other scored runs and took home the big money. He’s smooth, he’s good, and he doesn’t fall often. Look out.

Women’s pipe finals were fiery-a hard-fought battle for sure. When it came down to counting the scores, Anne Molin Konsgaard was haunted by over-amp spills, while Autumn Rose held her ground for third. Gretchen Bleiler and veteran Cara-Beth Burnside went for the gusto, and Bleiler came out on top.

Travis Rice getting stroked in the slopestyle is my most vivid memory. White and Clancy rode strong and earned podium spots two and three. Todd Richards won with consistency and a varied approach to the course-he hit all the obstacles clean and smooth. A big weekend for the little redhead, for sure. Burly Tara Dakides garnered a sweeping win in slopestyle. Katrina Voutilainen was right behind her, though, followed by Pauline Richon. The ladies left no jump untouched and no rail un-jibbed.

Results

Men’s Superpipe

1. Shaun White2. Andy Finch 3. Travis Rice 4. Terje Haakonsen 5. Abe Teter

Women’s Superpipe

1. Gretchen Bleiler 2. Cara-Beth Burnside 3. Autumn Rose 4. Michele Taggart 5. Anne Molin Kongsgaard

Men’s Slopestyle

1. Todd Richards 2. Shaun White 3. Kyle Clancy 4. Colin Langlois 5. Rahm Klampert

Women’s Slopestyle

1. Tara Dakides 2. Katrina Voutilainen 3. Pauline Richon 4. Hana Beaman 5. Macy Price

Big Air

1. Josh Feliciano 2. Nate Sheehan 3. Andreas Wiig 4. Jason Borgstede 5. Trevor Brown

Sierra-at-Tahoe
By Chris Coyle

There is nothing in this world I love more than free food. Well, except for my mom. So when TransWorld asked me to go to the final stop of the Vans Triple Crown at Sierra-at-Tahoe, I said, “Hell, yeah.” This was partly to watch some serious shred-doggin’ action-but mostly because Vans is known to put out one of the finest displays of snacks and goodies this side of an Italian wedding.

The sun was out for the opening of the competition, which made everybody happy, especially me-this would be the first day that the snack tent was up and running. Armed with a handful of Cheetos, I was off to watch the slopestyle. Once up there, it hit me, I wasn’t half as hungry as the kids in the starting gate. Maybe I’m just getting older, but it seems like the kids keep getting younger and younger. Some of the riders at this contest had to still be nursing. Leader of the young and hungry-Shaun White-was on his way to France but was also in the running for a new Ford truck from the Vans series, so he threw a couple mellow sevens to stay in contention before hopping his plane.

About this time, officials announced that the VIP tent had Chinese food, and in a frenzy to the bottom, I missed Chris Patterson’s third-place run. On the way down, though, I caught Jimi Tomer’s backflip off the tabletop rail-he walked home with second. Josh Feliciano had won a couple contests recently so I knew this kid had an appetite. After watching his backside rodeo seven, it was apparent he was starving. Hopefully the ten Gs went toward some take-out.

Next up were the women. Why is it that girls never eat on dates? “Oh, I’ll just have a glass of water and the kids’ salad,” they usually say. It’d be refreshing to hear, “I’ll have the all-you-can-eat cheese logs and four milkshakes.” You know, now that I think about it, it would probably be tough for Katrina Voutilainen to do 50-50 to frontside boardslides if she couldn’t see her feet. Anyway, I was straightening the corner of a Ruffles bag into my mouth when Jonnel Janewicz disappeared over the final kicker with a frontside 180 and second place. Janna Meyen killed it. I think what sealed first place, though, was that crossrocket in front of the judge’s tent. After eating my own body weight in food, I noticed that the superpipe finals were going. The women were up first. Minna Hesso had a great run and ended up in third.

My friend Sean Tedore really wants to ask Gretchen Bleiler out to dinner. Maybe while they’re eating, they could talk about her doing frontside sevens and how a second-place finish made her women’s overall champion. Good luck, Sean. The first-place winner was none other than Olympian Tricia Byrnes. Trish threw down a flurry of tricks with amplitude for 7,500 dollars. Can you imagine what the hospitatity tent at the Olympics must look like? Mmm … worldly treats.

The men’s finals made me glad that I could just sit in the food tent and not have to compete anymore. What’s the worst that can happen to you in there-burn the roof of your mouth with a hot quesadilla? Big deal. These guys are going ten to twelve feet out every hit. It was ironic that right when I was thinking some tots sounded good, Idaho’s Wyatt Caldwell dropped in and earned third for his spudtastic run. Gian Simmen bit himself off a piece of second place with a frontside nine tailgrab.

Okay, have you ever seen Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory? You know that one scene where they drink the soda that makes them weightless? Well, that’s what Tommy Czeschin must’ve been drinking when he did his first frontside air. Watching him do back-to-back sevens and a 900 within three hits, I realized I wasn’t watching the movie at all but a first-place run. I still wanted an Everlasting Gobstopper, though.

The next day could have been one of the greatest I’ve ever lived. Not only was the big-air jump located directly in front of the food area, but the VIP tent was also serving up prime rib … there is a god! The switch backside sThere is nothing in this world I love more than free food. Well, except for my mom. So when TransWorld asked me to go to the final stop of the Vans Triple Crown at Sierra-at-Tahoe, I said, “Hell, yeah.” This was partly to watch some serious shred-doggin’ action-but mostly because Vans is known to put out one of the finest displays of snacks and goodies this side of an Italian wedding.

The sun was out for the opening of the competition, which made everybody happy, especially me-this would be the first day that the snack tent was up and running. Armed with a handful of Cheetos, I was off to watch the slopestyle. Once up there, it hit me, I wasn’t half as hungry as the kids in the starting gate. Maybe I’m just getting older, but it seems like the kids keep getting younger and younger. Some of the riders at this contest had to still be nursing. Leader of the young and hungry-Shaun White-was on his way to France but was also in the running for a new Ford truck from the Vans series, so he threw a couple mellow sevens to stay in contention before hopping his plane.

About this time, officials announced that the VIP tent had Chinese food, and in a frenzy to the bottom, I missed Chris Patterson’s third-place run. On the way down, though, I caught Jimi Tomer’s backflip off the tabletop rail-he walked home with second. Josh Feliciano had won a couple contests recently so I knew this kid had an appetite. After watching his backside rodeo seven, it was apparent he was starving. Hopefully the ten Gs went toward some take-out.

Next up were the women. Why is it that girls never eat on dates? “Oh, I’ll just have a glass of water and the kids’ salad,” they usually say. It’d be refreshing to hear, “I’ll have the all-you-can-eat cheese logs and four milkshakes.” You know, now that I think about it, it would probably be tough for Katrina Voutilainen to do 50-50 to frontside boardslides if she couldn’t see her feet. Anyway, I was straightening the corner of a Ruffles bag into my mouth when Jonnel Janewicz disappeared over the final kicker with a frontside 180 and second place. Janna Meyen killed it. I think what sealed first place, though, was that crossrocket in front of the judge’s tent. After eating my own body weight in food, I noticed that the superpipe finals were going. The women were up first. Minna Hesso had a great run and ended up in third.

My friend Sean Tedore really wants to ask Gretchen Bleiler out to dinner. Maybe while they’re eating, they could talk about her doing frontside sevens and how a second-place finish made her women’s overall champion. Good luck, Sean. The first-place winner was none other than Olympian Tricia Byrnes. Trish threw down a flurry of tricks with amplitude for 7,500 dollars. Can you imagine what the hospitatity tent at the Olympics must look like? Mmm … worldly treats.

The men’s finals made me glad that I could just sit in the food tent and not have to compete anymore. What’s the worst that can happen to you in there-burn the roof of your mouth with a hot quesadilla? Big deal. These guys are going ten to twelve feet out every hit. It was ironic that right when I was thinking some tots sounded good, Idaho’s Wyatt Caldwell dropped in and earned third for his spudtastic run. Gian Simmen bit himself off a piece of second place with a frontside nine tailgrab.

Okay, have you ever seen Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory? You know that one scene where they drink the soda that makes them weightless? Well, that’s what Tommy Czeschin must’ve been drinking when he did his first frontside air. Watching him do back-to-back sevens and a 900 within three hits, I realized I wasn’t watching the movie at all but a first-place run. I still wanted an Everlasting Gobstopper, though.

The next day could have been one of the greatest I’ve ever lived. Not only was the big-air jump located directly in front of the food area, but the VIP tent was also serving up prime rib … there is a god! The switch backside seven I saw Andrew Hardingham do was so smooth and creamy I almost wanted it on my prime rib instead of the horseradish. Rahm Klampert was the other person (besides White) in the running for the truck-all he had to do was place top three in the big air. Unfortunately for him, that Cab 900 earned fourth. Ben Hinkley and Nate Sheehan earned second and third place, but it was Ryan Paris who made me look up from my plate. “It was the Oreos,” he told me later when I asked him which of the snacks help him spin 1080s. Oreos-the one thing I hadn’t eaten all weekend.

Results

Men’s Slopestyle

1. Josh Feliciano2. Jimi Tomer3. Chris Patterson4. Eric Shaw5. Ryan Paris

Women’s Slopestyle

3 Janna Meyen4 Jonnel Janewicz5 Dresden Howell6 Priscilla Levac7 Katrina Voutilainen

Men’s Superpipe

1. Tommy Czeschin2. Gian Simmen3. Wyatt Caldwell4. Therry Brunner5. Vincenz Lueps

Women’s Superpipe

1. Tricia Brynes2. Gretchen Bleiler3. Minna Hesso4. Michele Taggart5. Autumn Rose

Big Air

1. Ryan Paris2. Ben Hinkley3. Nate Sheehan4. Rahm Klampert5. Andrew Hardingham

de seven I saw Andrew Hardingham do was so smooth and creamy I almost wanted it on my prime rib instead of the horseradish. Rahm Klampert was the other person (besides White) in the running for the truck-all he had to do was place top three in the big air. Unfortunately for him, that Cab 900 earned fourth. Ben Hinkley and Nate Sheehan earned second and third place, but it was Ryan Paris who made me look up from my plate. “It was the Oreos,” he told me later when I asked him which of the snacks help him spin 1080s. Oreos-the one thing I hadn’t eaten all weekend.

Results

Men’s Slopestyle

1. Josh Feliciano2. Jimi Tomer3. Chris Patterson4. Eric Shaw5. Ryan Paris

Women’s Slopestyle

3 Janna Meyen4 Jonnel Janewicz5 Dresden Howell6 Priscilla Levac7 Katrina Voutilainen

Men’s Superpipe

1. Tommy Czeschin2. Gian Simmen3. Wyatt Caldwell4. Therry Brunner5. Vincenz Lueps

Women’s Superpipe

1. Tricia Brynes2. Gretchen Bleiler3. Minna Hesso4. Michele Taggart5. Autumn Rose

Big Air

1. Ryan Paris2. Ben Hinkley3. Nate Sheehan4. Rahm Klampert5. Andrew Hardingham