The 17th and final qualifying event of Volcom Stone's 2011 North American Peanut Butter & Rail Jam tour went down under sun-soaked blue skies on Saturday, April 9th!
What can be written about the Rocky Mountains that hasn't already been covered by a more talented writer than I? If we're guilty of living a life of rampant pampering and excess consumerism, then the Rocky Mountains are guilty of bringing things back into perspective. This monumental mountain range readily radiates reality and possesses an excess of all things natural! There's just so much of, of well, so much.
It's easy to find inspiration when you're riding with a backdrop like this
Jason and his terrain park masterminds are behind the magic at Keystone and never cease to exceed expectations in their hunt for the perfect PBRJ event site! As we rode up to the features Saturday morning it was evident a great deal of hard work had been invested in the build. "Zone 1" consisted of a lengthy 35 foot double-barrel down-rail, "zone 2" was a gapped up-down box and "zone 3" was a formidable 20 foot down-rail to 8 foot flat-rail. Yes indeed!
When Phil Hansen's not winning Volcom's "Wild in the Parks" skate tour he's getting down on the PBRJ snow tour
The 15 & Under division got the party started shortly after 11am with what turned out to be one of the most competitive heats of the day! Numerous tricks of the impressive variety were buttoned up in short order and left many of us staring off blindly into space as we digested. Phil Hanson turned things up when he threw down a controlled, yet stylish, 50-50 nollie frontflip to the down-box in zone 2! This got everyone's attention and served to inspire the rest of the field to step up their game! For their efforts, Benny Milam earned 1st, Braden Landon 2nd and Quinton Jones 3rd!
Sending a melon to pasture on the down-box in zone 2
Up next, the 16 & Over division got their time to shine and most definitely did not waste the opportunity! Wes Walsh, the 2009 PBRJ tour's overall champion in the 16+ age category graced us with his presence and didn't look to have lost a step! Standing in his way, Dustin Eldridge, Kyle Kelley and 50 other rippers were making noise and keeping everyone guessing as to how the final numbers would add up. All questions were soon answered with Wes Walsh maintaining his PBRJ dominance in 1st, Kyle Kelley locked down 2nd and Josh Boeser ended up in 3rd!
Check out this huge half-stone the Keystone terrain park cut for us. Switch 50-50 in the background.
Adequately following up the aforementioned anarchy would be no easy task. Thankfully, the riders comprising Keystone's Girl's Open division have never been ones to shy away from a challenge. Just a few shy of 30 riders, the ladies of the Rockies had strong numbers and even stronger skills. Reaching deep into their respective bags of tricks, Melissa Riitano, Krysta Pelchar and Victoria Enderle pulled out all the stops in search of victory and an invitation to next weekend's $25,000 PBRJ Championships at Mammoth! Fresh off her PBRJ New Zealand victory, Christy Prior was on the scene and threatening to learn the Keystone riders a similar lesson! At the end of the day, Christy proved herself on North American soil by claiming victory whilst Melissa Riitano and Krysta Pelchar also turned in impressive performances for 2nd and 3rd respectively!
Frontside noseslide, zone 3
The Men's Open division was charged with somehow stepping things up further and impressive our jaded judges. The riding to this point had been exemplary and a person with expectations based in reality had to question the idea that the riding could improve any further. The answer; absolutely yes. There was a plethora of Colorado's most notorious ams chomping at the bit for one last shot at a birth in the Volcom's 2011 PBRJ Championships! The heavy tricks came fast and furious and it became clear that only a battle to the bitter end would be necessary to decide the winners. After the blood, sweat and snow cleared, the mighty Cullen Bernklau looked down from 1st, Billy Rodriguez placed a ridiculously close 2nd and Jack Kyle rounded out the top three in famous fashion.
Some of the heaviest tricks of the day went down on the gapped boxes in zone 2
As always, a huge thanks is rightfully be extended to Keystone Resort for all the long hours of stone support. Heather Nordquist, Jessica Butcher as well as Jason and his terrain park crew are all terribly good at what they do (note the sweet rhyme). Thanks to Ricky Rodriguez, Rob Bach and Alex Gobel for judging. Those guys did an insane job; especially considering such a high level of riding was on display. Last but not least, thanks for all of our PBRJ tour sponsors below for greasing the PBRJ winners with gear all season long!