Words and Photos: George Crosland
Forest Bailey won a gold medal and loads of cash…no wait that was somewhere else. Forest went to the Rhythm and Bruise contest held up at White Pass in Washington during the last weekend in April to win absolutely no money. And Forest was not the only ripper that showed up either. About 30 pros, and a lot of the non-pros were crushing it all weekend. Makes sense, since the Northwest always breeds some really solid snowboarders. There are the contests that people have to enter to win the money, and then there's the contests people go to by choice-- simply to ride, have good times, and catch up with friends. The R and B was definitely an event of the later variety.
The Rhythm and Bruise was put on by Matt Cummins and Zak Basher. According to Matt, "It's kind of like BMX, downhill mountain biking, and motocross all made out of snow. It's about jumping, features, turns and keeping your speed. There's 12 or 13 features and you have to link them all up." The course had step downs, step ups, doubles, tables, hips, and berms. It was fun set up with a relatively low danger factor. Judging was based on trick difficulty, style, and height…basically,if you looked rad while you went down the hill you did well. Even though they were able to use cats for a lot of work Matt, Zak and a crew of about 8 did a lot of hand work to get things ready.
It was not a race but riding solid and smooth was definitely a factor to keep speed and hit all the features. The course was hard enough to keep the good riders happy but it had ways that the kids could go around the features and still stay on course. The set up allowed, 6-7 year old’s to ride and share the same course with guys like Forest Bailey, Austen Sweetin, Blake Paul, and Temple Cummins.
According to Matt, "The idea of doing this type of event came from Temple (Cummins) taking a couple of trips to Tahoe and hanging out with Roan Rogers, Nate Cole, Noah Salasnek, Andy Hetzel and those guys building these tracks in the woods. Temple and I always talked about putting on an event using the same idea." After years of trying to put an event like this together it finally came to fruition last year for the first time. Last year was so successful that word got out and twice as many participants showed up this year. This year the weather cooperated with lots of sunshine, not only for the riding but for everyone camping in the parking lot or in the woods over the weekend.
Saturday was a practice day and it was clear that everyone was digging the set up. The contest started rolling at about 11 am on Sunday. The pros were able to throw tricks off pretty much every jump, rail through the berms and crush the last kicker. The last kicker was primarily about throwing big rad straight airs but some spins, corks, and other variations went down as well. There were categories for everyone from 12 and under amateurs to pros, women and a 40 and over cruiser class. No matter what a rider did though or how old they were, pretty much everyone had a grin on their face all weekend and rode until the lifts shut down Sunday afternoon.
Thanks go out the sponsors; Northwest Snowboards, One Ball Jay, Lib Tech, GNU, Bent Metal, Coal, Union, Home, AFD icegear, Arbor Snowboards, Smokin, Airblaster, Skullcandy, Smith, Vestal and POW and White Pass for hosting it all