2011 USASA Nationals Halfpipe & Monster Mash

Sinclair & Gold Claim Gold as Farrow Conquers Legends In The Monster Mash Pipe Jam

By Mike Lewis

After a season spent competing in pipe, slopestyle, boardercross, GS, and slalom; over 1,600 amateur shreds earned the opportunity to storm Copper Mountain, Colorado April 2-7 for the largest USASA Nationals in the event's 20-plus year history.

The event also marked the first time since freeskiing joined the ranks that snowboarding and skiing were held separately, allowing for a deeper field on both sides. "We are looking at record-breaking attendance this year due to the separation of snowboarding and skiing. This is truly a huge step forward for our organization" says Jason Toutolmin, Executive Director of USASA. Skiing kicks off this weekend with shredders' sloppy seconds.

There are literally hundreds of different competitions taking place throughout the week in the five disciplines and five groups, which are further broken out by age, sex, and adaptive categories, but the big show got underway at the Copper Super pipe on Tuesday, April 5 for the Open division men's and women's pipe competitions. This contest is the proving grounds for future pipe superstars and Olympians, and the 2011 batch of competitors did not disappoint.

The day's qualifiers began with a field of 38 dudes and 31 ladies, a crew that was whittled down after the first two-runs to 12 guys and 8 ladies. As ex-pro Jason Borgstede provided hilarious commentary and DJ Parris the 80's metal tracks, the finals kicked off under bluebird skies as the immaculate pipe held up to the withering temperatures.

Both the ladies and the fellas delivered with huge amplitude and technical prowess, and when all was said and done, 17 year-old Steamboat Springs' local Taylor Gold took top honors. "It was a really fun pipe," said Gold, who was off to The Launch in Park City. Rounding out the top spots for the guys were Silverthorne's Brett Esser, and Mounty Holly, Vermont local Benjamin Farrow.

On the ladies side, Frisco, Colorado's Rebecca Sinclair took the day with her huge airs and technical spins, with Arielle Gold taking the silver back to Steamboat along with her brother's gold, and Jenna Dramise landed third for the Truckee crew.

After the awards, it was back to the pipe for the Monster Mash sunset session, a jam contest that saw the top finishers of the day joined by legends such as Danny Kass, Ross Powers, Chad Otterstrom, and Brennan Swanson amongst others. As The Dingo announced, judges Todd Franzen, Adam Merriman, and Jay "Ninja" Isaacs tallied the scores for a $5,000, winner-take-all, prize to be donated back to USASA.

"For the second time, Monster brings all the pros back home to the USASA Nationals in Copper Mountain,"  Danny Kass told USASA. "The nationals is where all the top competitive snowboarders started and learned the tools they would need to reach their highest achievements. I started my first nationals at age 12 and continued in it until I was 18. It is exciting for me to ride and see the next generation of shredders on a long road to the X Games and hopefully the Olympics."

The next hour saw some Guinness Book breaking pipe chains, amazing doubles, and the run of Benjamin Farrow's life, capped off with back-to-back nines and a 12, to earn him the title of the second Monster Mash.

Stay tuned tomorrow as we move over to the slopestyle course.