Style Wins – Amusement Park 2014 At Mammoth Is A Wrap
Photos: Chris Wellhausen
Video: Justin Gunson
Words: Kelsey Smith
Eleven competitive riders from six different countries, ages spanning from 14 to 30, each with a different league of play, different style, and a different bag of tricks; legends of the sport all the way down to the up-and-comers. Amusement Park 14 showcases the state of women's snowboarding in the most ideal format - a photo shoot at the end of the season. No pressure. Just the spring sun, the best babes in snowboarding, and a perfect jump to push style and progression.
Kimmy Fasani created Amusement Park with one goal in mind: to inspire women's snowboarding, "If I could do one thing, I would give back to women's snowboarding because of how much it's given me. By creating this event, and making what it is now, that is my gift back to snowboarding."
7:00pm – Mammoth Mountain, California. It's a mellow 35 degrees, the sky is a bright blue. The wind is aggressive, but nothing new for the veterans. The young girls, well…they've never had to hit a 55-foot jump with gull force wind. The sun is about to dip below the Sierra’s Minarets. There's 45 minutes left of good light before the session stops and the crew calls it a day. Kimmy stands at the top of the jump, "Girls...the wind is going to psych you out on the approach, but once you're up, it's not that noticeable. Promise." This seemed to ease minds.
7:15pm - 30 minutes left. The almost full moon has started its gradual creep above the mountaintop, and just like that, the session is on.
Miss Spencer O'Brien is the first to drop. The Canadian who needs little introduction, stomps a switchback 720. It's the first time she's landed that trick. Her style is one of the most solid in women's snowboarding, and it seems to be a contagious trait for the girls waiting to drop behind her.
Anna Gasser, the Austrian who caught attention last season when she released footage of a solid cab double 900, marries style and technicality in her riding--something quite impressive given she’s only been riding for four years. She stomps a cab 9oo. Mellow.
Kjersti Buaas dropped in next. With strong and consistent style, she throws the biggest front 360 stale of the night--rivaling Greg Bretz's front 360 who was sessioning the jump with the ladies.
Jessika Jenson, 22 years old, throws a back 720, impeccably solid, and seemingly unaffected by the wind. That was a first too.
Then drops in Danika Duffy, a local Mammoth girl, takes off with a broken toe strap. She hits the jump and throws a beautiful inverted front 360. That was cool.
Possum Torr drops next. The kiwi knows how to go big and keep her style. She throws a poppy back 540. She doesn't miss a beat and holds it to the end.
Stefi Luxton follows suit. Backside 360 mute and tail grab. Done and done.
Silvia Mittermüller was out all season with an Achilles injury and this was the first session she had done in a year. She drops in and throws a stylie back 180.
“Kelly Clark dropping,” ques in from the radio. The four time Olympian throws a tweeked out method and almost stops mid-air to hold the grab.
8:30pm. The moon has now taken over the night sky, and Kimmy is the last to drop. She ends it with the most solid back 3 indy of the week. Amusement Park 14 is a wrap.
The style this week was on fire. You can have your opinion of style versus technicality - which is more important, which comes first. But in an era where contests try to dictate the structure of snowboarding, an oxymoron in a way, it's refreshing to have a session that pushes progression for the right reasons--a session with a perfect crew, a perfect jump, and a perfect way to close up the season.