Specialty Sports Wins Tour De Creek Shop Challenge (photos added)

Deceit, deception, and controversy couldn’t taint this first-class event.

“This is Dirty Jersey. People will do anything for a trip to Whistler,” says Mountain Creek Terrain Park Manager Shawn Orecchio.

The statement seemed a little far-fetched, but actually proved correct. However, the Clive Tour De Creek Shop challenge held at Mountain Creek in Vernon, New Jersey in mid January still proved to be an excellent event. And in the end, a dominating four-person team from nearby shop Specialty Sports won the contest and the trip to Whistler.

The Tour De Creek pits local shop riders against each other in a jam format slopestyle at the resort’s terrain park, with a bonus round in the superpipe—the only East Coast superpipe south of Vermont. And thanks to especially cold weather this year, the resort was able to open its pipe just in time for the contest.

This year’s contest drew sixteen four-person shop teams, and also had a photographer challenge to add just a little more intrigue, plus provide a cool slide show for the contestants waiting for final results.

For Clive rep Rob McLennand, the contest is supposed to get the shop kids pumped back up on snowboarding after the hectic holiday season. “Everyone was out there trying and walked away with a smile,” he says. “The most important thing is that people come out and have a good time.

“We wanted to do something to generate some excitement for the shops. They just came off the Holiday rush. They’re over snowboarding. They don’t want to talk about snowboarding, so you want to do something to get them excited about it again and just go out and have some fun.”

“This place has the best park around and they wanted to make a commitment to bringing the people here more than any other mountain,” he says of why the event was held at Mountain Creek.

“As for the format, it keeps changing and evolving and talking to the shops and asking them what they liked, what didn’t they like, and what do they want to do next year. But the most important this is as long as they keep coming and having fun.”

He felt the turnout was good this year. “Last year there were twenty shops and ringers. This year, there are about sixteen shops. Several shops have two teams. If you’ve got 20 guys in the shop, you could make more than one time.”

For Eva Bonner, who works at Specialty Sports and was on the winning team, the contest was fun. “This is the first time I’ve done the contest. I live right up the road, so I’m here a lot.”

But she says her local knowledge didn’t give her an edge: “All the rails that were up were all new, so we didn’t get to hit the kinked rail, the double kink, or the tall rail. Everything was new. They built it overnight so it was fresh for everybody. The only edge we had was the S rail. We got to hit that. But that was the only one.”

Other participants seemed pleased with the event as well: “It was great,” says Ed Zito from Brave New World, which ended up in third place after the original third-place finishing team was disqualified for not really representing a real shop. For third place, all the team members won trips to Mount Tremblant, Canada.. “Everything was perfect. I was surprised at the pipe, for being the first time being cut, it’s in pretty good shape. I think later in the year, things are going to be in top condition. For New Jersey, especially with the competition coming up, it’s pretty damn good. “

And Jon Strobel, from the second-place Eastern Boarder, adds. “It’s one of the most fun contests on the East Coast, for sure. It’s not super serious. You just ride with your friends.” Of course, they won a trip to Stratton for the U.S. Open, which wasn’t bad either.