East Coast Invitational Rail Jam

If you are going to have an “invitational rail jam on the same weekend as an Olympic qualifier and a major women’s event, you better do it like Wachusett and Salomon Snowboards did the East Coast Invitational Rail Jam on Dec. 17.

What I mean by that is choose your invitees. It’s close to Christmas, so definitely invite all the east coast kids who now live in Mammoth and will likely come home for Christmas anyway. That’s what they did and the result was a strong showing for the second annual event. Names like Shane Flood, Colin Langlois and Lane Knaack were there, in addition to current east coast super stars like Yale Cousino, Niko Choiffi, Luke Mathison and a whole bunch of French Canadians. Scotty Arnold and Joel Muzzy were MC’ing and most of the snowboard hoochies in Boston were there to watch.

Friday night was the qualifiers (yes, you had to qualify for the invitational event if you weren’t given the “you flew in from California cool guy invitation) but the big show went down Saturday. The top 40 riders were put into two twenty man heats, which were whittled down to a 13 man final. The event was “rider judged which means that the other riders had to sacrifice some epic runs at the WA to watch their fellow shreds throw themselves down the course.

Speaking of the course, it featured two sets of obstacles. At the top was a c box, flat bar, down rail, flat down box with sub ledge and a down box. After you survived that, the next set included a box, double kink rail, a down rail and a “roller coaster rail.

The latter obstacle was most preferred by the women, who I failed to mention two paragraphs ago. Somehow, this event managed to attract some 20 women who knew how to ride snowboards down rails (mostly) which is amazing in and of itself, especially considering there was Roxy Chicken Jam going on at the same time. During the women’s final the dudes sat nervously by, while excited announcements came from the booth every time someone “almost landed! Shane Flood looked especially nervous. “I hope the one I like doesn’t die, he said.

I jest though, because the winner, Magalie Dubois shredded especially hard for her $3,000, with tricks like a 50-50 to front board down the double kink. Local hero Colleen Quigley took second with her consistent performance on all the obstacles.

As for the men, the carnage factor was low and the level of riding was high, with a stacked final including last year’s winner Laurent Nicholas Panquin (who is now known by his rockstar name LNP), Scott Stevens, Yale Cousino, Max Legendre, Alex Ferland, Bryan Fox, Jason Leggee, Yan Dauphinais, Niko Cioffi, Josh Sherman, Tyler Lynch and Lane Knaack.

Trick highlights included Scott Steven’s 270 on 270 out tail presses, Bryan Fox’s cab 270 front boards and Niko Cioffi’s gap to tail press 270 out on the double kink. However, it was Yale Cousino who rode strong the whole final and finished things out with a banger -- a 270 gap to the double kink to secure $8,000 and his place as the resident east coast rail king (and earn an invite to the Vail Session.) Lane Knaack went home to his parent’s in southern VT $2,000 richer after showing he knows a thing or two about being totally smooth and stylish, and most of the time transferring mid rail.

It was another good year for the East Coast invitational, but I think Bryan Fox really said it best. “Man, this is sick, bro, this is so sick. Man, its sick.