I can't help but think of the Metallica video for "Wherever I May Roam", as I write this recap. Sure, they really started to suck after "And Justice For All", however that video comes to mind showing them throughout the tour in a near-perfect montage. I imagine what that same montage would like look for the 2011 Transworld TransAm Tour, thinking we rocked harder this year than any other. It is captured in the pictures and video on the TransAm site (www.twsnow.com/transam); proof of the new standard set in mini park building and amateur shredding.
We have kicked off the tour at Waterville Valley, not because they build the craziest biggest park, but because to us it is like starting back home. It is the people there, the stoked kids, Luke Mathison and crew, everyone at Waterville, that make us happy and most comfortable to start there. Luke always has the most dubious task of going first on the tour taking what is on paper, no matter the snow level, and putting it on the hill creatively. His mark sets the parameter by which everyone else builds. The kids that shred there are like no other; after all, it was the home to many ripping riders such as Chas Guldemond and Pat Moore, just to name a few. Mathison left snowboarding on top as well with many accolades including contest podiums and a cover shot with Snowboarder Mag. It's the breeding ground for solid East Coast riding. The video and pictures again are proof.
Big Boulder Park in PA, led under the tutelage of Ian Oliver, always looks to one up Waterville Valley. This year they made somewhat of a standing wave for a landing zone on the Ride Snowboards feature and they also used the Zumiez orange couch as a take off, something that hasn't been done before. After all the theme behind the park build is to make features that kids won't see in the park all year or get to ride ever except during the TransAm.
This season we switched up the Midwest stop to The Otsego Club in Michigan. Sure, Minnesota has been a standby for quite a few years, but they get to experience almost every amateur contest tour, whereas very few make a stop to the mighty mitten. Kids were so stoked there and didn't want to stop riding at the end of the contest and who could blame them with a set up that was molded by the same crew that builds for the Burton Canadian Open among other big time contests, Planet Snow Design. Planet, the same crew that builds High Cascade Snowboard Camp's two parks all summer long, took over The Otsego Club and it is fast becoming the place to ride park and a twenty-two foot pipe.
Park City took the main stage after a couple year hiatus that left them wanting to again be on top of the TransAm park building game. Jeremy Cooper had been watching the media from past stops and reveling in a plan to set their name in stone or snow winning the TransAM Premier Resort Award. The only thing that stood in their way were the past award winners, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Bear Mountain, and the insecurity of having pictures and video posted for both those resorts to see and try to top later in the tour. There was something in the air and no one could put their finger on the pulse of what it was, but Park City was about to pump the life blood into this tour and set a new standard for how TransAm Parks should be built. Proof is in the time and handy work put into the High Cascade Snowboard Camp Snowbus with fenders, a grill, windows, the works, all made with snow. Take a look at the Coal beanie feature also with the finest of detail from the fold of the beanie in the back to the face up from wearing sunglasses. Park City pushed everyone on tour to build a better park. They made past champions uncomfortably motivated including Clayton Shoemaker of Bear.
Before it was even Clayton's turn to build there was yet another stop in Northstar-at-Tahoe that is still currently under an ungodly amount of snow. Mike Schipani and the boys at Northstar started their build early and then mother nature slapped the rake out of their hands covering their build in four feet of snow. A delightfully frustrated crew shredded pow and then started over on the build only to be threatened with another two or three feet just twenty-four hours before the contest. Don't get me wrong, riding deep powder is every boy and girl's snowboarding dream, but when you are trying to build a park it is like building a sand castle too close to the ocean. Nonetheless, Schipani and crew woke up early and put the finishing touches on a Giro Jump that had riders rodeoing for joy and a Zumiez orange couch channel gap quarter pipe. The Anon Down Box was even set up with the run in littered with two different jib options.
I can still remember the conference call I had with Clayton Shoemaker from Bear Mountain. He is a competitor, an artist, a perfectionist, and he was motivated to be back on top. He missed the build the year before, consequently Bear's losing year to Northstar, due to his sister getting hitched on the same weekend. The call went quickly with me jabbing a bit at how Park City set a new standard and Clayton's quick reply of how he saw the video, in fact he watched every stop's video. I hung up the phone with butterflies of what could actually happen, rumors of Shoemaker actually shopping around for a real bus for the High Cascade Snowboard Camp feature were flying through the Portland office like hipsters chasing coffee beans. One thing you can count on at Bear Mountain is sunshine and something ridiculous to ride. If you haven't watched this video or seen the pictures from this stop, minimize your Facebook page and check it out. It made such an impression that I went to my regular seedy taco joint the other day, and the chef who just started snowboarding, asked me if I ever rode Bear and if I saw the huge bear head that you could ride through there. I laughed knowing what Clayton had done was next level; i.e. two real vehicles for the High Cascade Snowboard Camp set up painted yellow, with High Cascade Snowboard Camp letter on the sides, and the Marshmallow driving, the Ride Snowboards gap jump-to-pond skim to down rail. Shoemaker and the Bear Mountain crew are back on top and we are proud to announce them as this year's winner of 2011 TransWorld SNOWboarding TransAM Premier Resort Award.
We started the tour at home in Waterville Valley and ended rocking the hardest we have ever rocked in the many years the Transworld Snowboarding TransAm Tour has been around. This year was all time and we couldn't have done it without all of our sponsors including Vitamin Water, Drop Gloves, Giro Helmets, High Cascade Snowboard Camp, Ride Snowboards, Coal Headwear, Anon Optics, and Zumiez. Most of all, we could not have done it without all the kids and the park builders. Rock and roll ain't noise pollution!
-Words By Adam Kisiel
Once again congrats and shout-outs to the 2011 TransWorld SNOWboarding TransAM overall champions!
Gals: Tasha Sugucka
Guys: Garrett Warnick
Check out some additional footage of 2011 TransAM Guys Champ Garrett Warnick below…
And for everything relating to the TransAM visit this page: TransWorld SNOWboarding TransAM