X Games Day 4: Line and Dakides take Gold in Best Trick

There were rumors that the big air would be canceled due to high winds. This made me very happy, because after three days of X Games corporate crap and getting pushed around by Volunteers with no real duties, I was about ready to leave Mt. Snow. When I woke up to sizable trees swaying and quaking in the breeze, I figured I was home free, but I went up make sure that it was cancelled anyway.

To my disappointment, the big air had been moved, not canceled, one trail over to the slopestyle course. It had also mysteriously been renamed the “best trick” contest. I racked my brain, but I can’t figure out what the difference between big air and best trick is, other than that the jump on which the contest was held, was ridiculously small. I supposed it couldn’t justifiably be called a big air.

Either way, I had to trek up the mountain once again to be told that I couldn’t take pictures from anywhere that would allow me to get good photos. Despite my disinterest, I did make it up to the event site, and what I found was a rather pleasant surprise. Amazingly enough, the wind wasn’t blowing that hard, and only in occasional gusts, the sun was actually warm, and I was allowed to stand close enough to the jump to identify the riders while in the air. This, and the discovery I made of the Athlete’s yurt, made the X Games final day, the most enjoyable.

I’d had an argument earlier in the week over which was the best televised snowboard event. My friend claimed that Boardercross was the most entertaining to the masses, but I stuck by big air. Watching today’s contest, I was reassured I was correct. Despite the small dimensions of the jump, the gap only about 25 feet, almost all the riders were able to throw down their best tricks. It also helped that the field was comprised of snowboarding’s finest athletes.

Each rider had two tries at the jump, and the best score was counted. Most riders chose to throw down a safety run first, so the first round of the women’s competition consisted of a lot of backside three’s and backflips. Curiously missing, were a plethora of methods, in fact, I didn’t see any. The next rounds the ladies mixed it up a bit. With the exception of Janet “Backflip” Matthew’s, who only knows one trick, everyone tried something different. Tara Dakides had already secured a podium spot with her signature backflip first run, but decided to up the ante, and land a backside 720 for her second.

Although most of the other girls were riding well, no one could touch Tara. Leah Wagner, nearly five points behind Dakides earned her medal with a stylish frontflip, and Jessica Dalpiaz’s backside 540 was enough for third. Coming in somewhere near the bottom, Jaime Macleod announced she’s retiring from Big Air, as she can no longer seem to land backside three’s during competition.

The field of men included big air specialists from around the globe, but shut out some of the obvious favorites. Although Chad Otterstrom was at the event, the organizers would not let him participate due to lack of big air results, go figure. The trick of the day was the 900. Backside rodeos were also a popular option, but conspicuously missing was the ever-popular Lawn Dart. Ben Hinkley was not rewarded for his name and funny colored hair, his double frontflip only earning him 19th place. Jason Borgstede pulled off a perfect 900, to put him in to first place on his second run. This bumped out the current leader Kevin Jones, who also threw a 900. The only real difference between the Jones’s and Borgs’ airs was the grabs. It looked like Borgstede was going to take it, until Peter Line stepped up, and threw the trick, switch. Perhaps the highlight of the entire weekend, Peter’s cab nine was incredibly smooth and stylish, and as soon as he put his feet down the crowd erupted into cheers, and everyone knew he had done it.

On one final note, there was a lot of concern at the X Games that the cell phone service in Vermont was not the greatest. The fact thatt they couldn’t use their phones upset many of the athletes and team managers, and all blamed their troubles on Vermont. As a native, I must defend my home turf by explaining that an area who’d never seen a crowd of this magnitude couldn’t possibly be set up handle the billion phone calls made a day during this weekend, hell, half the areas residents don’t even have phone service in their homes. So before you hate the state, hate technology, and realize that your phone did work, there just wasn’t any air space for you to use. Get over it.

1. Peter Line
2. Jason Borgstede
3. Kevin Jones
4. Jason Brown
5. Travis Parker
6. Andrew Crawford
7. Bjorn Leines
8. Kevin Sansalone
9. Roger Hjelmstastuen
10.Myles Hallen
11. Joni Makinen
12. Joni Malmi
13. Aaron Bishop
14. Nic Drago
15. Jussi Oksanen
16. Blaise Rosenthal
17. Jimmy Halopoff
18. Josh Dirksen
19. Ben Hinkley
20. Marc-Andre Tarte
21. Chris Englesman
22. J.P. Walker

1. Tara Dakides
2. Leah Wagner
3. Jessica Dalpiaz
4. Mica Fish
5. Kim Bohnsack
6. Janet Matthews
7. Leslee Olson
8. Barrett Christy
9. Tara Zwink
10. Tina Dixon
11. Sara Osterberg
12. Jaime Macleod
13. Ali Berntsen