You know when the seasons change and you wake up one morning and something’s different, but you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what-there’s just something in the air. This weekend, The Roxy Chicken Jam presented by Boost Mobile went down with the largest purse in the history of women’s snowboarding and that something in the air was women riders consistently spinning frontside and backside 5’s and the change was a new level of riding.
Friday’s qualifiers included a field of 25 hopefuls, which was hacked down to only five to advance to Saturday’s finals. Mammoth loc’s Kimmy Fasani and Jacqui Berg, Tania Detomas, Whistlers’ Pilar Peterson, and Italian Nitro head-turner Izzabella Lalive made the cut. Under clear skies on Park City’s perfect Pick ‘n’ Shovel Park, the field of 28 ladies duked it out to be one of eight girls in the Saturday afternoon super finals.
European Roxy rider Tina Birbaum started the Chicken Jam last year. Tina’s goal is to have a contest that is about progression and variety, not about doing the same stock tricks every run. The two-hour jam format definitely allowed for progression opportunities. Only the rider’s best two runs were counted. The Roxy girls stepped up to show that they weren’t just pretty faces. Torah Bright took the opportunity to try out her stock run switch, following a switch straight air, with a switch 3, to a cab 5 over the grande tabletop to a stylish nosepress over the pyramid rail. In the finals, Erin Comstock persevered into a seventh run, finally sticking an elusive 5 on the big kicker. TWS Rookie Of The Year nominee Sylvia Mittermüller blasted a Frontside seven off the big table, stomping it way down the landing. On the same table, Cheryl Maas went for a backside 900 to a goggle-launching slam. Laura Hadar followed a big 5 with a super skate-styled out smith down the urban rail feature–tight black denim and all.
At the end of the day, Salomon’s Torah Bright took third place showing one of the deepest bags of tricks on the course and more creativity in linking ’em together. Ride’s Priscilla Levac took second keeping it clean with switch boardslides over the pyramid, huge frontside 5’s and smooth 180 boardslides. But it was Burton’s Natasza Zurek, the reigning Chicken Jam winner, who stole the show with large 360 nosegrabs to huge backside and frontside fives, to technical combinations on the pyramid rail. After receiving her 12,000-dollar check, the usually soft-spoken rider hollered to the crowd, “I AM SO HAPPY THAT I WON!”
Fourth place finisher Silvia Mittermüller took home a thousand bucks for best trick, a frontside seven. Leanne Pelosi also cleaned up in the rail jam winning the prize with a 270 on, 270 off down the urban stairs.
The after party at Harry O’s on Main street in Park City went off with MFM on the turntables and Scotty Arnold freestylin’ to a dancefloor filled with, for once, a pretty even ratio of boys to girls.
The next Chicken Jam will be April 8-10 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Roxy Chicken Jam Results:
1. Natasza Zurek (Canada)
2. Pricilla Levac (Canada)
3. Torah Bright (Australia)
4. Silvia Mittermuller (Germany)
5. Leanne Pelosi (Canada)
6. Alexis Waite (USA)
7. Jessica Dalpiaz (USA)
8. Jacqui Berg (USA)