Video: Justin Gunson
Photos: Chris Wellhausen
Maple leafs, poutine, long johns, and rail jams—Canada rules them all. At the first-ever X Games Real Snow Rail Jam event, the contingent from the Great White North stole the show, sweeping the podium here at Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado. The live component to the Real Snow video competition, the rail jam exhibition gave a chance for some of the heaviest street filmers in the game to show off their skills and enjoy the crowds of Winter X.
But this wasn’t the first X Games rodeo for everyone at Real Snow. Jeremy Jones and JP Walker had both been at the show several times before, as slopestyle contestants in years past. Coming back to the Games, explained Jeremy, was “Pretty cool. A lot has changed, but it’s great to be back. [It's a] little bit different these days!” The only notable rider missing from this year’s event was Real Snow video winner, Dan Brisse. As HCSC Owner and X Games announcer Preston Strout would explain, “Dan tried to jump over the entire downtown of Salt Lake” and was too injured to compete. Not to miss out on the night, Brisse spent the evening cheering on his friends from the top of the set-up.
In warm-ups and practice during the week, most of the guys were pretty cautious about the beastie rails and ledges put in place for the event. And it makes sense—most of the riders involved are right in the middle of their hectic film schedules, and getting broke off during an exhibition wasn’t too high on their list of things to do. To make it worse, many hadn’t entered a straight-forward rail jam in years, making the endeavor that much more daunting. But when the sun went down and the lights turned on, the hammers began to pour just the same. Jeremy Jones sacrificed his body over and again on the gnarly DFD donkey, claiming later than “Seth and I are always battling for who can take the worse slams.” The last drop of the night even saw him loft a huge back 270 to the down (and one of the craziest bails of the night), firing up the large crowd gathered for the jam. JP tossed back 50s to front 3s over and again, Seth kept the presses lifted on the ledge, and obvious crowd-favorite, Joe Sexton (“Joey Sexton, I love YOU!!!”) kept the cheers raining down throughout. But in the end, Canada would rule the night. Simon Chamberlain gapped to FB on the DFD, Louif Paradis sent endless reg and Cab hardways to blunts and other tech tricks on the ledge, and Quebec’s Nic Sauve, who many had at the top of their list for the video contest as well, would claim the first-ever X Games Real Snow rail jam Gold Medal. Nic was focused and sending ‘er from the very first practice, finishing the night with the no doubt ender: a massive Cab 270 to regs on the gap to down rail by the scaffolding. Nic walks away with 5K, X Games Gold, and a looming $500 bar tab for the other 7 guys in the comp.
With Superpipe, Slopestyle, Best Method, Real Snow, and Big Air Finals all on the schedule, this year’s X Games at Aspen/Snowmass promises to tear the roof off. Stay up on all the epic Winter X Games 15 coverage at Facebook.com/TWSnow, Twitter.com/TWSnow, and right here at TWSnow.com.