The Vail TransWorld SNOWboarding Trans-Am presented by Campbell’s Soup at Hand, held February 7, felt like something special. More than 135 competitors signed up for the SOS series USASA slopestyle (an SOS record!), it was competitor Nate Kern’s 21st Birthday, and Mother Nature gave us a break from the frigid temperatures just for the day.
The contest for the handmade Trans-Am trophies was a highest Ollie competition, and initially wasn’t met with great enthusiasm. But by the end of the day everyone wanted to jump the break-a-way Ollie bar to see if they could make it without getting disqualified from touching or knocking down the bar. Other features included the Smith limo rail and an easier down bar. Kids impressed the judges with technical tricks, but I was most impressed by the two competitors who chose to run the Ollie contest in nothing but a bib – and after the sun went down, it was colder than ice cube in a freezer in the Arctic.
Judges this time around included Pro riders Josh Malay, Matt Peterson, Zumiez and TWS representatives who slaved all day picking kids from the slopestyle, which wasn’t an easy task considering the talent pool out there in Colorado and only 35 Trans-Am spots.
The Trans-Am started later than usual because of the number of competitors, but everyone stuck around to watch the action, demo Ride boards, listen to DJ C-note spin tunes, and to attend the Vendetta’s pizza party later that night. Tons of product was given out from Ride, Quicksilver, Smith, Zumiez, DaKine, High Cascade Snowboard Camp, Campbell’s Soup at Hand, Red Bull and TWS. Geez, that’s a lot of stuff.
We asked how up-and-coming ripper and TA judge Josh Malay saw the event and about the overall state of amateur riding today. Here’s what he had to say:
How did the Vail Trans-Am set-up look?
It was cool to have the car (Smith limo) with the rail on the top. I heard kids saying things like, “whoa there it is, I have to hit that thing!” The Vail down bar is a great one to have for everyone – good tricks usually go down on that metal thing.
Kids were pumped – lots of smiles and laughs. They all went for it and lots of kids wanted those passes (Trans-Am invites). Tons of people stayed to watch even after the long wait for the contest to end: that says a lot about the level of stoke, plus I’ve never seen an Ollie contest and I don’t think a lot of the riders had either.
Did you compete in the USASA at all? How was that experience?
I did do the USASA comps when I was younger. I did well in them so it was fun to ride and see new resorts in my area, make friends, and win awards. And I think it’s a good thing to help boost your confidence and experience when it comes to comps. Plus if you do good, you can get noticed by sponsors
and other opportunities might come out of it.
How’s the level of riding from these kids?
The level of shredding is so much better than you could expect – the groms grow up on the same stuff we all have been waiting for. To get better, they’re just like, “oh, a 50-foot flat bar, sweet,” – and they’re like ten! I didn’t even get to ride a real park rail ’til I was like sixteen and I’m only 23 now. Damn, the kids are so good.
What did you think of the whole deal?
My thoughts are that it’s really cool to involve all of the kids in an event sponsored by a mag that they all look up to and are influenced by, from the youngest to the oldest riders. It’s important for the interaction to happen and for everyone to see that it’s all about fun and that they can be themselves and shred.
A huge thank you to Vail, SOS, our sponsors and the reps who came to support the event, the judges, announcer Jeff Meyer, Misty Forde, DJ C-note, Vendetta’s, Chad Schmidt for photos and the Zumiez employees who worked so hard! Oh, and thanks to all the Colorado kids for just being you. You guys rule.
- Nate Kerrn
- Vance Billings
- Ryan Watson
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