You know you’re in New Hampshire when the phrase, “Please don’t spray paint the lovely Red Bull girls,” has to be repeated several times by bullhorn to a crowd of snowboard contestants. A sizeable and sizeably belligerant crowd kept it real in the Granite state on March 19 for the fifth World Quaterpipe Championships at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. And no, the Red Bull girls didn’t make it without a little graffiti.
Judging this premier snowboarding event was Andrew Mutty, Olympic medalists Ross Powers and Danny Kass, and heading up the judging committee was none other than The Dingo–the Grenade crew’s sixteen-year old Australian contigent. The action got started promptly at noon, and by the time I dragged myself up there at one, people were already full of liquid courage and flying over the goal posts onto the backside of the rollout deck. Competitors charged down “the guantlet,” a mini-kicker under a Red Bull arch leading into the quarterpipe. By the end of the day, a flaming pit of refuse had materialized under the jump to help add to the chaos.
Qualifiers for the final involved riders dropping in two at a time and hurling themselves at the quarterpipe, which was an impressive ice sculpture shaped by Tom Gilles and Nick Francke. Those who couldn’t make it above the lip were tapped on the shoulder and asked to bow out before the twenty person finals jam began around 2:30. The Guch, Bryan Iguchi, was there in a white one piece suit throwing handplants and lip tricks, Greg Wilson hauled off huge air-to-fakie truck drivers, but it was former World Quarters winner Shane Flood who took it with big switch McTwists, regular McTwists, and Michalchuks. Also ruling it with sweet style and smooth backside fives was Kevin “Hexi Mexi” Casillo–earning prestigious bronze medal spot, and coming in second with insane inverted action was local Ted Raw. Shane won two Yamaha mini dirt bikes, and Kevin and Ted both went away with one bike.
At one point Danny Kass chucked Ross Powers’ snowboard on the firepit. Ross dove in to save it, and just as he bent down to yank the board from the pit, Colin Langlois hit the gauntlet jump. Luckily, Ross bent down just as Langlois ollied and narrowly escaped decapitation. It was perfect.
If you ever find yourself in Plymouth, New Hampshire by the way, don’t stay at the Best Inn. The hotel staff kicked out everyone involved in the contest–some forty paying customers–at around seven on the evening of the contest. The controversy started the previous evening when cops were called to the hotel several times to monitor mayhem in the hallways, and things came to a head when staff spotted someone taking a leek in the hotel parking lot. But instead of booting the perpetrators and leaving everyone else alone, they evicted all snowboarders and called around to other hotels in town warning them not to rent to us. At least we made it out alive, and the jerks at the Best Inn don’t know how lucky they are that this is the last year the contest will be held in New Hampshire.