Sure the Transworld TransAm at Breck was a contest. Riders signed wavers, wore bibs, they were judged, and prizes were handed out. At the same time, the term contest is a bit misleading. In the amateur arena, the term “contest” often means stressed-out event organizers, conservative riding, large entry fees, small prizes, riders being told what to do and when to drop, and judges who have no business telling someone their turds smell, let alone how well they rode their snowboard. By that definition, to say the Transworld Trans Am was a contest is like calling a Big Mac a steak: kinda true, but misleading.
Cost to compete: Free. As long as you registered on time, your parents signed a waiver, and you agreed to have fun and wear a helmet, you were in there.
The setup: Amazing. Breckenridge has been a snowboard mecca since the late 80s and will continue to be for years to come. Home base to riders like Chad Otterstrom and Todd Richards, Breckenridge offers perfect parks and pipes under sunny Colorado skies. The TransAm setup was no exception. Linking up with Zac Horwitz, the Smith Limo chauffer, and a guy named Brad (one of Breck’s park builders) the night before the event, Liam Barrett and I designed and built a super fun action-area beneath Breck’s superpipe. Consisting of three “freestyle apparatuses” riders could choose to either drop into a Heine mailbox perfectly propped up on a spine or the 31-foot funbox-style rail mounted atop the all-new pearl white Smith Optics limo that looks like it was “pimped out” by Xzibit himself. From there riders were greeted by a bonking treat straight out of 1992: the High Cascade Snowboard Camp trashcan set up on top of a pyramid with three take off options (left, middle, right) and a perfect landing. The format: Jam style. Riders dropped whenever they felt like it and practiced taking turns and sharing. It created a fun progressive atmosphere where everyone fed of each other like courteous cannibals.
The Judging:Based on overall impression, riders rode to impress Transworld’s panel of pro-snowboarder judges. Colorado’s own Matt Peterson, Jeff Meyer, Ryan Thompson, and Pat Millbury sat clustered in a huddle, feverishly scribbling notes about the action. On an interesting note, pro-judge Pat Millbury was a competitor in the Trans-Am Series last season. Quickly coming up through the ranks, Pat shed his amateur title and was fresh off a podium finish at the Grand Prix rail Jam in downtown Breck the night before. Simply put, these judges were the real deal and knew what to look for.
The Prizes: Thanks to the help of DaKine, Ride, Smith, Zumiez, TransWorld, and High Cascade Snowboard Camp, the awards were all-time. Riders took home Zumiez gift cards, Ride snowboards, Smith goggles and sunglasses, DaKine backpacks, gloves and mittens, and High Cascade hoodies, hats and shirts. Not bad for a free event. To top it all off, Transworld threw down the plastic and bought pizza and soda for all of the competitors, their friends, family, and lurkers.
The Action: The event got under way around 1:30 pm to the sounds of DJ Majay cutting up the ones and twos on a 20-gig iPod mini click wheel turntable. Riders hiked the Smith Limo, mailbox, and trashcan in the fenced-in park in front of a weekend holiday Colorado crowd (aka most of Texas). With 50 competitors, a perfect setup, and a killer soundtrack, the highlights were many. Here are a few of my favorites:Watching a 3,000-dollar limo paint job take a beating from boards, helmets and faces, Ian Thorely’s flawless bs 270 onto the Smith limo, Jared Hendricks’ trashcan antics in white pants so tight they made the Grand Prix GS guys jealous, Ross Baker fs 270s on the limo and one-footers on the trashcan, a kid named Something Machado’s innovative approach to snowboarding, Brennan Swanson doing backflips off the limo rail and then getting the worst black eye I’ve ever seen, Zach Leach showing up and sessioning the HCSC Trashcan with everybody. The DDingo making a guest appearance, gapping over the entire Smith limo with a frontside three and a frock of Australian hair blowin’ in the wind, Tim Humphrey’s frontside 720 trashcan bonk, and seven year-old Andrew Sohikian frontside board-sliding the mailbox with the skill and poise of a nine-year old.
All in all it was a great event where up-and-comers thrashed around on a limo, a trashcan and a mailbox, ate pizza and won killer prizes from Zumiez, Dakine, Ride, Smith Transworld and High Cascade Snowboard Camp. Be sure to come and check out the next stop of the 2005 Transworld TransAm at Big Bear on January 9.
Boys1.) Ian Thorely2.) Ross Baker3.) Brennan Swanson
Girls1.) Bryn Valiaka2.) Nicole Mason
Best Trick: Smith LimoBrennan Swanson (50-50 Back Flip off – 1st in the Smith Limo’s history)
Best Trick: HCSC TrashcanTim Humphrey: FS 720 Can Bonk
Mailbox Grom Awards1.) Andrew Sohikian2.) Aaron Muss