Flaming Fireballs At The 2006 Honda Session Rail Jam

Friday the thirteenth, a full moon hanging over the Gore Range, and maybe wolves howling somewhere wild and far off-or maybe not. This was the setting for the 2006 Honda Session Rail Jam in Vail, Colorado, where it was cold, cold, cold-but the riders really didn’t seem to care. The setup was a bit different from years past, with a giant, real-snow quarterpipe lurking behind the usual handful of different rail and jib-line options. This allowed for more, um, for lack of a better term, “air time,” during competition runs-and that made everything more fun to watch. However, like in year’s past, money was awarded every fifteen minutes when a giant ball of fire erupted into the dark mountain night-I’m sure they could see it from space.

Over the course of the evening, we saw amazing things like Olympic halfpipe hopeful Danny Davis winging crazy backside alleyoop rodeos on the QP (one of them sending him up and over the deck), strange and wonderful quarked backside 720s out of Andreas Wiig, giant McTwists and air-to-fakies from JJ Thomas, handplants from both Travis Rice and Rob Bak on the box extension, and even a big backside 900 out of Shaun White (Colorado comer-up Josh Sherman was just about getting these, too). As far as rail tricks go, three riders can be credited with 450-ons on the down-table: TJ Schneider, TJ’s little Calgary buddy and rookie sensation Dustin Craven, and of course, Shaun White-pretty insane. Also, no one could deny the sickness of Pat Milbery’s 360 on into boardslide, 360 slide through the kink, 50-50 out on the flat down flat-least of all the judges, who awarded him the Malay Factor Best Trick Award for it.

Getting down to the real-deal results, though, it was three-time winner Shaun White who played around for a bit before shrugging his shoulders and saying to himself, “I guess I’ll win it,” and then really just going nuts. Backside nine on the quarterpipe into 450 on, 270 out on the picnic table-just one among many runs full of next-level shit. After several attempts, Travis Rice finally got the grabbed backside invert he was looking for on that extension and clocked in serious cash for that fifteen-minute segment. And in third was Pat Milbery with obvious handrail domination and a Best Trick Award to boot.

The women’s rail jam hour went down in the dusky half-light of five in the evening, when Laura Hadar flew around and just basically killed the course with multiple lines and all-around sick style. It was probably tricks like her half-Cab into 50-50 to back-Smith on the flat down that got her 6,000 dollars and first place, but it was the fact that she got up after casing the bench on the QP deck with her body that had everyone truly impressed-she’s relentless. Molly Aguirre came second with smooth backside fives on the quarterpipe and a series of tricky rail stunts. And Marie France-Roy’s rail prowess, including steezy tricks like frontside boardslide to fakie, got her into third place. Local lady Rachel Nelson definitely had the mostest gigantest airs on the quarterpipe, and you also really gotta give it to Leanne Pelosi for her backside 270 attempts that she never quite dialed but were sick, nonetheless.

Check back for results from tonight’s Bud Light Men’s Slopestyle results. ]

Men’s Results

1. Shaun White
2. Travis Rice
3. Pat Milbery
4. TJ Schneider
5. Kevin Pierce
6. Chad Otterstrom

Women’s Results
1. Laura Hadar
2. Molly Aguirre
3. Marie France-Roy