The fourth stop of the TransWorld TransAm Mini Slopestyle Series presented by High Cascade Snowboard Camp canon-balled it's way into the deep end of the East Coast talent pool this past weekend at Waterville Valley. Crews of riders from Western, MA to Northern, VT made the drive to New Hampshire for some low-pressure snow fun, despite the deep-freeze cycle New England was experiencing. In unfortunately typical East Coast fashion, warm weather gave way to a solid day of rain, followed by single digit numbers, crafting the kind of ice you read about (like in this article for instance).
You know those days where the weather is horrible and the snow is crappy, but you make the most of it and have a good time anyway? Those days where you and your buddies dork around on the tiniest stuff and have more fun than you do on a perfect day? Well that's kind of how this event went. All logic pointed to this being a disaster, but the spirit of goofing off on a snowboard prevailed, as riders hiked with permanent smiles (come to think of it, their faces may have just frozen that way).
Regardless artic temps and winds strong enough to fly a kite to the moon, the hearty group of East Coasters hiked the mini course with relentless fervor. Running in official TransAm Traffic Jam"¢ fashion, the 90+ riders set out on their quest for good times and a spot in the finals, as the winds tore banners from fencing like they were ACL's at a big air contest. The mini-course was the perfect cure for high winds, and consisted of a mini wall ride, a tractor tire atop a snow pyramid, two buried flat bars, a subterranean butter box, a lil' tabletop, two GS gates and a big bent steel pipe referred to as Bob's Knob.
The judging super panel was comprised of an Oakley rep, a Ride rep, an Eastern Boarder shop manager, an Eastern Boarder team manager and East Coast legend Alexei Garick (a former pro model holder, Alexei has been MIA from the snowboard world perusing a law career working as a public defender). The over qualified judging staff narrowed the field to the forty finalists during the 2-hour Traffic Jam handing out t-shirt bibs to the stand out riders.
After a quick lunch break thawing in the lodge, the finals kicked off to some serious s-boarding. G-Unit nightgown wearing Lucas Magoon turned heads with some of the most progressive tricks of the day. Unfortunately he brought his party legs instead of his shred legs and wasn't landing too often. Stowe, VT's Tucker Speer, Riley Nickerson and Keith Bennett rode amazing, and look to be the next generation of rippers out of that area. The Magical Go-Go kids Chris Grenier and Austin Granger from Western, MA were a constant treat to watch with their innovative, effortless skate-style. Noticeably missing from the field was Waterville Academy heavy hitters like Tim Humphries, Ian Thorely and Scott Kuchinski who were off traveling. In their absence, WV young gun Sam Hulbert held it down with all sorts of hot tricks, taking the Ride DH board home for the Rider's Choice B.O.N.E.R. Award"¢. Plymouth State University's Jacque Beriau walked away with a judge's victory for his wide variety of tricks rich in creativity and board control. From indy fast-plants and cart wheel hand plants on the tractor tire, to tech rail tricks, Jacque stood out in a crowd of standouts.
On the women's side it was Celia Johnson who shined the brightest during the Traffic Jam"¢. Coming off a few recent wins, Celia's barrel roll backslides across the box were setting the standard early. In the finals however, the tables turned as the youngest of ladies, Milly Chapman (13) and Taylor Owen (12) dominated the course. In the end Milly's 270 combos on Bob's Knob locked her a first place finish walking away with Custom Oakley Blades and Goggles, Ride outerwear, a TransAm Dakine pack, an XL Eastern Boarder gift card and a High Cascade mega-sport Easter Basket.
In the end the Waterville TransAm was a darn goodtime, and a great reminder of how fun snowboarding can be. So remember: when the weather says "F.U., stay positive and add an "N for instant "F.U.N..
1. Jacque Beriau 22 Falmouth, MA going to
2. Keith Bennett 15 Stowe, VT
3. Elliott Freese 17 Gilmanton, NH
1. Milly Chapman 13 Beverly, MA
2. Taylor Owen 12 New London, NH
3. Celia Johnson 18 Laconia, NH
Riders' Choice B.O.N.E.R. (Best Overall Nutty Extreme Rider)
Sam Hulbert- 16 Peterborough
Men: Jacques Beriau 22 Falmouth, MA Indy Fast Plant on the Tractor Tire
Women: Milly Chapman 13 Beverly, MA 270 on/off Bob's Knob
See you at the TransAm Finals March 30th during USASA Nationals at Northstar.