Words by Adam Kisiel
As the temperatures start to rise, and the snow that brought so much joy throughout the season goes stale and melts to mud, I can't help to take a slide town memory mountain and recall the highlights of each park. The TransWorld SNOWboarding TransAm was a six-stop tour that had everything from pirates, monsters, distant park farmlands, fierce friendships, alien abductions, to magical park features.
The crew that set the tone for the tour and set a standard by which all others would be judged was Luke Mathison and the Waterville Valley Park Crew. These guys made such an awesome set up that you really had to try not to have a good time. The High Cascade Marshmallow set up was a definite spectacle and mini hubba set up was a feature that was mimicked throughout the tour by other parks. It was weeks before the tour started that we decided that we would give out an award to the Best Park and Park Crew. Mathison and crew were setting the stage to take high honors.
One park crew and park manager that doesn't like to ever be second best is Ian Oliver and the Big Boulder Park Crew. They realized that such a high standard was set from the first stop and worked towards coming one up on the previous showing. The Ride Snowboards Slimewall at Big Boulder Park was really something special. It was made of ice with the Ride Snowboards logo imprinted in the ice and dyed green. The whole top line was a set of three jibs that had a sizeable gap underneath. It was truly a thrilling stop.
Onward to the no coast, Minnesota farmlands, where a gem is located between silos and farmhouses. Tanner Bakke and the Powder Ridge Park Crew are a small group that have hearts and drive to shape parks bigger than the state itself. This crew had the park built well ahead of time and featured such a smooth set up that highlighted a box gap feature over the Zumiez Orange Couch that spewed creativity all over. The crew proved you didn't need a gigantic group to achieve greatness, just five in a family that worked together to set their name and crew in TransAm history.
The Rocky Mountains State was not joking around either. Keystone let the dogs off the chain knowing they had a set up that couldn't be contained. The Oakley Shark Pit had a diving board rail that had a little give and spring to it. Riders could actually load up on the end and get catapulted to the landing. The middle Keystone feature was a cube that had transition on each side, a box and drainage pipe up to the top, and a huge drainage pipe across the top. There were so many options for sessioning that feature alone.
Northstar had everything and put their own spin to each feature. The Zumiez Couch was abducted and replaced with a huge timber, a log feature was a favorite amongst riders. The Ride Snowboards Slimewall was made purely of snow and could be hit from every angle and when it came to finals, this feature was a standout for so many crazy contest ender tricks. They also took the Oakley Sharks and had them coming out of the end of a drainage pipe jib with water pouring out of the end. A ton of thought and originality went into the construction of this park.
Bear Mountain has been a TransAm powerhouse when it comes to looking at the park design layout and pulling out all the stops. Clayton Shoemaker and the Bear Park Crew put together what many will call the true meaning of a TransAm Park. Sure the Dakine Box to Down Rail feature was different then just the regular down rail that had been used by the other mountains, but the lower line was unheard of until constructed. The whole lower line was linked by transitions on either side and all the features were side by side. It gave the riders the option to hit multiple features in one line and get creative from side to side on the park not just downhill. Just trying to describe it doesn't do the park set up justice. It was very skate oriented and was different than they have done in the past TransAm tours as well as different than any other park. Check out the site, which will be up all year to get the low down on this park and all the others at www.transam.transworld.net.
It was such a tough task to pick just one park and crew to win the TransWorld Snowboarding TransAm Premier Park Award, but with creativity and a set up like no other, Bear clearly wins the top honor. They will receive the coveted TransAm Premier Park Trophy and bragging rights until next season when the TransAm Park showdown begins again. Until then visit the site for all of the past coverage and get ready for a tour unlike any other.