The cool San Bernardino National Forest air crept across my face as I got out of my 2002 Kia Sephia. I somehow found myself at Bear Mtn. It’s September. There’s snowboarding. What’s going on?
I start to walk towards the main entrance. Snippets keep entering my brain. Snowboarding, Bear Mtn, September 24th, what the hell am I doing here? Who are all of these people? Where did they all come from?
I make it past security and quickly realize exactly what’s happening. I am at the 2011 Hot Dawgs and Hand Rails contest at Bear Mtn. Hot Dawgs and Hand Rails is the premier summer snowboard event, and this year was no exception. Being that this was my first year at this event, it was pretty crazy to see the all the different types of people that come out of the woodwork to watch snowboarding in September.
Clayton Shoemaker and his staff used 130 tons of ice to create one of the craziest rail jam courses I’ve ever seen. The course lay out went a little something like this: At the top of the course you had an option to hit either a wall ride rail that was on your right side, or one that was on your left side. Following that you had the main feature. Starting from riders left there was the giant wall ride with a creeper rail.
If you weren’t feeling that you could slide the box, which had a drop big enough to crush even the strongest of Patella tendons. If you didn’t want to nose-press any box, and you were more interested in lip-sliding some rail, then there were a bunch to choose from. There was a straight down bar, a close-out down bar, and a kinked rail. Just a side note, the kinked rail was gnarly. I think the flat of the kink might have been about three feet long, so if you were to slide through it you had to be on your game.
The event was supposed to start at two o’clock. But when does an event ever start on time? The answer to that is never, and this contest was no exception. It’s all good though, because once practice started the action never stopped. Some highlights from practice included Spencer Schuburt and Alex Andrews riding rails like it was mid January with some of the cleanest style I’ve seen, as well as people starting to figure out the giant Red Bull wall ride.
Practice lasted for an hour, and then it was on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more tricks happen in one place in my entire life. Highlights include, but were not limited to:
Last year’s champ Nick Visconti trying to defend his title.
Durrell Williams doing hard way spins onto the rails all day. He even grabbed one while he was gapping the kink.
Spencer Shubert doing a backside 360 Five-0 through the kink rail.
Cody Boan doing a wall ride to back-flip out.
Brandon Hobush doing fast, textbook switch back-lips all day.
Jonah Owen riding like a bat out hell.
Jake OE riding with no highbacks and his boots untied.
Dylan Alito doing a proper front blunt pretzel out.
Ryan Paul doing a switch frontflip to 5050. It was nuts.
Judging something of this magnitude takes a special skill and know-how. Fortunately, that’s exactly what the judge staff of JP Walker, Seth Hout, Joe Sexton, and Lauri Heiskari have. These guys know snowboarding, and they knew just what it was going to take to win the ten thousand dollar first place prize.
Just because everyone was riding super well it does not mean that everyone could win. There could only be 4 humans to walk away with cash. In the end it was Melissa Evans for the ladies.
My personal opinion is that Desiree Melancon should have taken it. But she got worked so bad on the cross bar of a rail that she had to leave the contest early. She was killing it though.
For the guys, Jesse Paul took 3ed and a crisp G for his work, Brandon Hobush 2nd a cool 3 G’s, and and taking the 10 G’s was Ryan Paul.
As I walked back to my car it really hit me. That was truly an amazing event. It really is crazy to see what Clayton Shoemaker and his Bear Mtn. crew can do at the end of summer. I really can’t wait to see what these guys come up with during the winter.
Thanks to Clayton , Rio Tanbara, and everyone at Bear Mtn for putting on such an awesome event. We can’t wait for next year.
If you weren’t at the event then check out these photos and pretend that you were there, and make sure that you get there next year.
And don’t forget to check out our full video recap of the event right here.