“We’ve got nothin’ better to do, sit around, watch TV and have a couple of brews.” Black Flag, TV Party
This is an historic year for the US Open of Snowboarding. For the first time in it’s 21 year history the grand daddy of snowboard gatherings is being broadcast on live TV. No more waiting until November to catch it on ESPN at 1 AM. This also means that it’s the first year that all us West Coasters don’t have to make the cross-country trek to the backwoods of Vermont where bearded, Phish-head locals think even slower than they drive.
The “Philips” US Open of Snowboarding is being aired on the Outdoor Life Network all weekend. If you have digital cable you really should watch it. If not, you’re going to have to trust the reviews we’ll be laying down right here. And that really isn’t the best option. Plus, you’ll miss all the shaky camera work, clunky zooms, and oddly humorous camera switching.
The first segment of LIVE TV, a.k.a. The US Open Preview Show aired last night at 5 PM Pacific Standard Time and opened with the fabulous sounds of the bearded Phish-head rockers Buttpie playing under the sanitized name of “Gino Two Thousand.” The band features former TransWorld Snowboarding magazine photo assistant Jessie “Blonde Beard” Loomis on guitar. “Gino 2K” was playing live in Stratton’s Sun Bowl lodge, on a side of the mountain that Snowboarder Magazine’s Pat Bridges describes as “ill equipped and remote.” By the sounds coming out of our TV speakers ill equipped and remote lodges are nothing new to Buttpie. And by the look on Jessie’s face at the end of their first song, I’d guess they’re not too eager to change that anytime soon.
The hour-long preview show was hosted by former collegiate swimming champ and six time National Lifeguard Champion (and Baywatcher) Craig Hummer (yes, hummer). His broadcast partner is the amazingly fresh and perky yet surpassingly mature looking former pro Tina Dixon. Hummer was in a chair; Dixon was on the couch. Now before we go much further let me just say that I’d happily watch Tina Dixon on a couch for an hour if she did nothing at all. But when she talks, pats the armrest with her superbly manicured hands, and smiles into the camera, boy howdy the time just flies.
Hummer and Dixon had a slew of Burton riders drop by for interviews. First it was the buff looking gold medallist Kelly Clark. The hosts were nice enough to not ask her why she hasn’t been able to win one this season. But then as the Quiksilver Danny Kass ad says, “Four years is a long off-season.” The hosts nicely pointed the questions toward slope style, “You been riding a lot more slope style this year,” they said and Kelly was able to explain that she’s taken some time off from the pipe to focus on having more fun. The girl just wants to have fun.
Next up was Burton’s newest employee Jibbin’ Jeremy Jones who immediately mentioned that while he did get out and make some practice runs, the snow in Vermont is just “too icy.” Another nicely dodged and weaved answer was when he was asked about the US Open’s tremendous history and importance in the sport of snowboarding. “Well, this is my first time to the US Open,” he said without a smirk, but he stopped short telling everyone that he’s here because it’s part of his job. Then again, it’s also the first year that the conservative US Open has had a rail event.
At one point, after coming back from a break, Craig Hummer leaned over to Tina Dixon and said something like “Welcome back that was Gino Two Thousand and you know Tina I could just listen to them all night.” If he really could I think he’d be worthy of a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records.
By far the best guest of the evening was the Wonder Boy Shaun White. As one female member of our TV viewing audience said, “He keeps getting cuter and funnier each time I see him.” Rocking the undisputed “best mop in the business” Shaun White (sans bandito bandana) took to the couch, got comfy with Ms. Dixxon, and settled into talking about his outrageously successful year. He’s won pretty much everything he’s entered (X Games Pipe, Vans Triple Crown Pipes etc.). When the Hummer asked him about getting famous Shaun said, that since the X Games, he can’t even go to the local grocery store without “business guys coming up and saying, ‘hey, are you that snowboard kid?’” Shaun was also given a grip of grief over the fact that he has won so many cars and has yet to take his driver’s test. “I’m in drivers training, but the guy kept reaching over and grabbing the wheel.”
With that “Gino Two Thousand” took us out to a commercial and I switched it back to Tech TV.
Here of the Pacific Standard Time Listings for this weekends coverage. Be sure you watch it all. Then you’ll be able to call us out when we screw up our descriptions.
Fri 14 4:30 PM LIVE Rail Jam
Fri 14 7:00 PM Rail Jam Repeat
Fri 14 10:30 PM Rail Jam Repeat
Sat 15 11:00 AM LIVE Halfpipe
Sat 15 2:00 PM Halfpipe Repeat
Sat 15 9:30 PM Halfpipe Repeat
Sun 16 11:30 AM Slopestyle on tape
Sun 16 3:00 PM Slopestyle on tape
Sun 16 11:00 PM Slopestyle on tape