One thing that can happen when you split up the men’s and women’s events in a given contest is that, um, no one shows up to watch the girls ride. I’m not saying it’s right, but sometimes people just assume that they won’t get a good show or be impressed and entertained by witnessing women snowboard. This, however, did not happen at The Session in Vail this past weekend. That’s right–any question about whether or not the females could pull off their own media and live event was answered with a big loud “YES.” Because they rip. Especially Janna Meyen.
The Session’s Pat Melondoski-made slopestyle course was nothing short of intimidating. At least five huge, poppy jumps spread in quick succession down the steepness of Vail’s Golden Peak, along with a major kinked rail feature at the top and the rail jam course at the bottom. Needless to say, there was some fear in the air going into the event: “Everyone was kind of feeding off each other,” said second-place winner Jaime MacLeod. But the afternoon sunshine softened things up a bit, and the girls started hitting the jumps–then things definitely heated up.
Back from a year or two on injured reserve, Tara Dakides made a strong presence by winding up backside 360s and her signature backflip spinners. Alexis Waite corked out some nasty backside spins on the second jump. But if there was one thing all three podium winners did, it was spin 5-4-0. Yup, third-placer Jessica Dalpiaz (who?s on Nitro now and riding super good lately) had backside five and a smooth boardslide to fakie on the flat-down rail at the bottom. Jaime MacLeod killed it, earning second place by gapping to down on the kinked rail at the top and Cab fiving the lower jump.
But holy crap, Janna Meyen is riding on a whole other level these days. She ripped that course with the kind of confidence and easy skill that caused an observing Todd Richards to say directly after her very first run, “I’m going down to congratulate Janna on winning now.” In fact, Janna only took two runs throughout the entire jam format slopestyle event: her first and winning run she 180ed onto the box up top and 360ed out; then backside fived, Cab 360ed, and backside 360ed on her way down the kicker line; and frontside boardslid the flat-down rail at the bottom. In other words, she did everything. Her second run at the end of the jam was just a joke run, a victory lap for the crowd.
Now, Janna’s dominance of the women’s slopestyle was easily carried over into the rail jam session held that evening under the lights. She did slick switch boardslides on the flat-down rail and an insane combo of Cab to boardslide into 50-50 on the down. Tech and smooth. She wasn?t the only one tearing up the plexiglass and metal, though. Torah Bright did a backside air to body jar on the plexi glass QP and also almost 50-50ed her way up (not down) the kinked rail. Alexis Waite had solid boardslides to fakie and a styled out backside 50-50 into Smith grind for second place behind Janna. And Aspen local Laura Hadar (keep an eye out for her in the future) came third with some tech rail dominance.
All in all, The Session was a ripping event. Vail hired the right people to build the features, invited a stacked lineup of riders, and compensated them well with cash. Yeah, it was better than last year, and way better than a lot of other pro events out there now. And I’m not just saying that ’cause the organizers paid me off big time. Just kidding. About the payoff. I wish, though. I could use the extra $$. Hint hint.
1. Janna Meyen
2. Jaime MacLeod
3. Jessica Dalpiaz
Rail Jam Results
1. Janna Meyen
2. Alexis Waite