By George Crosland

This contest was pretty chill. It felt more like a gathering of friends than a fierce competition. Honda Element sponsored the whole thing and had little village set up at the base were you could get a free wax, grab a brew with your friends or check out the latest in small SUV?s. Even with the relaxed atmosphere, some serious action went down. The weather was warm, and some legit riders showed up to get down to business.

Early Saturday morning we were startled awake when the whole cheap motel that we were staying in started shaking violently and creaking loudly. A 5.4 quake was centered in Big Bear and started off the weekend right. Several hours after the quake, Big Air was underway up on the mountain. It was a real sausage fest, as no women entered big air, even though some women could surely break top 5. The jump looked a little small, nothing the typical TWS staff member could not clear (Dresser would probably overshoot the lading). It was maybe a forty-foot gap. The contest riders killed the jump though. The finals had six riders that got three hits each with the two best scoring hits taking the win.

Rahm Klampert stomped a Melon Grab Cab 9, the highest scoring jump of the day. Too bad a revert on jump two and a bail on jump three kept Rahm to 3rd place overall. Lonnie Kauk flew to 2nd with a no-grab 9 and a F-side 9. Nik Batko piloted a 7 (inverted?) and a Melon grab Switch Under Flip 7 to victory. What were Nik’s comments on the jump? “Fun jump, kinda small but improved since yesterday?.

Luckily, Sunday was a little cooler, because temps like they had on Saturday would have made for a very slow pipe that would have been killed by the abuse. The consensus among the riders that I asked was that the pipe was good. Wyatt Caldwell said he liked the good weather and smooth pipe. The Mt staff had to constantly ice it to keep it ride able.

The women have been stepping it up, and today was no exception. Tori Carrigan Koski did some big airs, back to back 3,s and a 5 to earn 3rd place. Molly Aguirre was doing maybe the biggest 1st wall airs of all the women. Throw in a 540 and a 720 and you get a 2nd place score. Molly is little ripper and new to the pro circuit, look out! Autumn Rose did back to back 5’s a 7 and some straight airs. Ms Rose won it all and added more points to her FIS standings.

There were some Hammers pounding in the men?s event. Since we are not an encyclopedia we can not discuss all the action but trust me, there was plenty. Nik Batko won Big Air and rode damn well in pipe, well enough for 4th. Chris Nelson went big, did back to back 7’s and a 9. Chris did not do the biggest airs or the most spins but was consistent enough overall for 3rd. Siblings often push each other so maybe Mason Aguirre was inspired by his sisters 2nd place, because he also got 2nd. Mason did huge cripplers on the first wall. He also did a sick Haakon Flip and other stuff I can?t do. Wyatt Caldwell, what can be said? He has seen a few podiums, including a first place at this event last year. How did he get there today? Well, good amplitude and a sick combo of a cork 7 to Haakon Flip to Truckdriver did not hurt. Some other stand-outs were Joe Eddy doing a 1260 and Luke Wynen’s huge 540’s.

We could go on and on with the highlights but it really comes down to this: go and check a pro contest some time, it will inspire you to do more and go higher which will cause you to either get better or get hurt. Since women love to take care of boys with injuries, you win either way. See you on the hill, just look for the dude with the worst head gear ever.

Big Air Results
1. Nik Batko
2. Lonnie Kauk
3. Rahm Klampert
4. Joe Eddy
5. Cory Cronk
6. Myles Hallen
7. Borden Panesa
8. Chris Castaneda
9. Keenan Rice
10. Eric Jackson
11. Dominic Harington
12. Grant Glenn
13. Brent Meyer
14. Dave Brumm
15. Clayton Shoemaker

Women’s Pipe Results
1. Autumn Rose
2. Molly Aguirre
3. Tori Carrigan Koski
4. Paige Warner
5. Jan Manfredi
6. Jonnel Janewicz
7. Mirjam Jaeger
8. Brittany Gilman
9. Elise Dabby
10. Jessica Zalusky

Men’s Pipe Results
1. Wyatt Caldwell
2. Mason Aguirre
3. Chris Nelson
4. Nik Batko
5. Ron Chiodi
6. Joe Eddy
7. Stephen Myers
8. Luke Wynen
9. Grant Glenn
10. Dan Wakeham
11. Dave Brumm
12. Eric Jackson
13. Latimer Watson
14. Pete Scheira
15. Lonnie Kauk