By Alixandra Gould
Think of Killington’s annual Spring Loaded event as half snowboard contest, half backyard barbeque. Snowboarders from all over the Northeast (and I think one from Sweden) ditched the Easter egg hunts on April 10 and 11 for Killington Mountain’s 11th Annual Spring Loaded Pro/Am event.
On Saturday the halfpipe competition went down. Men’s pros competed in their own round, while the amateur and pro girls all threw down in the same round. The final round was a chance for the top guys on the amateur side to compete head to head with the pros. Conditions in the pipe were typical spring. This year, however the park crew was thankful for the amount of snow it had to work with compared to recent years when warm temperatures left them little snow.
Scores were based on the best of two runs, with an automatic disqualification for any inverted maneuvers (for insurance reasons). The threat of disqualification didn’t matter much to the handful of competitors who attempted McTwists and corked out spins. Towards the bottom of the pipe was a narrow run-in to a C-rail that proved to be the obstacle to beat with a bunch of riders just airing straight over it and out of the pipe.
Between the disqualifications and bibs numbers that were out of view of the judges and the rest of us, it was hard to tell the difference between competitor and poacher. For most of the kids there that day, it was just another sunny day at the mountain with the added bonus of free barbeque.
The Slopestyle contest followed on Easter Sunday. At the first obstacle, riders had a choice of a flat rail to gap or a flat-down rail both leading into either a medium or small kicker. After that, a long run-in gave riders a chance to build up speed into either another jump or a flat-down-flat rail. A couple more jumps, an up-hill flat rail, and a rainbow rail right in front of the judges closed out the course.
The set-up was the same as Saturday with riders split up into age groups. The top three from each round went on to compete in the finals.
On the sidelines, someone found three empty barrels floating around in the park. They built them up into a sort of step down where each barrel was lower then the one before it. This went on right under the lift. Kids would check it out from the lift and ride down to try it. They were lining up on deck to mess around with the plastic barrels. Out came the spray paint and a gathering crowd. Theodore James of Ludlow, VT impressed us all with gaps, stalls, and spins onto and off the barrels. As usual, it was all fun and games at Spring Loaded.
Special thanks to Josh Arneson at Killington.
1. Seth Learned
2. Tim Humphreys
3. Tyler Troy
1. Karla Gembarowski
2. Stephanie Gervais
3. Eliza Greene
1. Scott Stevens
2. Ted Borland
3. Yale Cousino
1. Jenny Venezia
2. Eliza Greene
3. Sarah Lang