Sims may have a recipe for the perfect contest: invite fifty or so of the world’s best snowboarders, make all the competitions jam format, bring some duffel-bags full of cash, and toss in a raging party every night¿you know, to spice things up. That said, the 2001 Sims World Snowboarding Championship Superpipe contest held Saturday, April 21 in Whistler, B.C., went off with seamless perfection.
Six of the top placing men and three of the women from Friday’s qualifiers joined the roster of prequalified invitees to shred the Whistler superpipe, which was everyone agreed was in amazing condition. Although invitational contests could be thought of as elitist, they do make for an amazing show. The field is tight, everyone’s a professional, and the riding, well, you know the riding’s gonna be good.
People who think women’s snowboarding hasn’t progressed in the past year should’ve seen eighteen-year-old Kelly Clark’s ten-foot airs and huge backside McTwists which gave her the second place spot (our best to Kelly Clark, who got her bell ringed somethin’ fierce and was flown to Vancouver for CATscans). France’s Dorianne Vidal’s powerful frontside-720s five feet out put her in first place. The ladies finals saw some amazing riding all around. Tricia Byrnes edged out Canadian Lori Glazier for third place with big airs and smooth switch 540s, and since the contest only paid out to third, it ended up being the difference of five grand in Miss Byrnes’ pocket.
You really had to have a 900 in your pocket to play at the men’s finals. And if you were Canadian Guy Deschenes, you had a frontside 1080-to-cab-900 combo … over-achiever. Todd Richards had no problem meeting the requirement with his wet-cat nines, and this year’s X-Games and U.S. Open winner Danny Kass went home with yet another big check. But it was fellow East-coaster Ross Powers who barely edged out young Kass for the win with big switch McTwists and, yes, some prerequisite 900s. Although David Carrier Porcheron, who flies the maple leaf with fellow countryman Deschenes, didn’t make the top five, his huge airs and smooth style were something to be reckoned with.
Apparently, Sims had an extra ten-grand lying around, so the company decided to throw it at the person who pulled the best trick¿a prestigious title voted on by all the riders at the end of a best-trick session. It was a close call. Guy threw out some more gigantic fronted 1080s. European Jonas Emery, who barely missed the cut from Friday’s prequalifiers into Saturday’s finals, threw down in the best trick session to make up for it. But it was Keir Dillon’s shirtless McTwists (he was wearing nothing but his Sony headphones and goggles on top) that won the $10,000. “I couldn’t find a line, so I had to do something,” says Dillon about wearing the flesh bib.
Overall, this was an amazing pipe contest. Maybe it’s because it’s spring, and the pressure to compete is off, so riders can relax and have fun. Maybe it’s because the pipe was so good. Or maybe it’s because the checks handed out were so damn big. Either way, Sims has it figured out.
1. Ross Powers
2. Danny Kass
3. Todd Richards
4. Guy Deschenes
1. Dorianne Vidal
2. Kelly Clark
3. Tricia Byrnes
4. Lori Glazier