A few things came to light in Copper Mountain, CO during the Gravity Games Men’s Slopestyle and nighttime rail jam. One: Chad Otterstrom is possessed by the snowboard devil. And two: I am a lazy bastard. Example: Otterstrom (along with a fleet of other hell-bent rad dudes) sessioned the leg-burning slopestyle course for an hour of practice, then slaughtered it for another two during the epicly long finals jam. Me? I woke up late, wandered around Copper Village looking for the press tent, ate a donut, spilled coffee on my new snowboard pants, went up the lift, and side-slipped down to a nice viewing point on the course—complaining the whole time about how the 10,000-foot altitude was killing me. Then, that evening, Chad went over to the specialty rail setup constructed on the mean streets of Frisco and did something like a bagillion runs during the hour practice and 45-minute contest jam. I took a nap, drank a beer, found a parking spot, and got tired from just watching Chad run up the scaffolding steps and then having to push the damn camera button every time he came down.

Anyway, what I’m really trying to say here is that Chad Otterstrom visibly and obviously dominated an entire long day of competition snowboarding, and the fact of it had everybody reeling. On the slopestyle course, he smoothly switch-spun his way through the kicker line and then executed complex combinations on the jibs at the bottom. That evening, he did more runs than anyone on the rail setup—a straight rail and an up-flat-down kinked number with a scaffolding ramp run-in. He Cab 180ed to 180 out, he frontside lipped to 270 out, he front boarded—natural talent dripping off him like a snail-trail the whole time.

Of course, Otterstrom was not the only one riding—or the only one ruling. In the slopestyle course, Andreas Wiig did an insane switch backside 900, but had some trouble with the jib line on the same run so surrendered the podium spot to Wyatt Caldwell, who was smoooooth through the jump line and then tore apart the jibs with 180-to-back-lips and whatnot. X-Games pipe-winner Antti Autti rides with true Finnish precision and a little something extra, too. No problem for him clinching second place behind Otterstrom—a 720, a 900, a, and inverted Cab seven, a Cab nine, a Smith to 270 off, yeah, pretty much.

The nighttime rail jam was different and cool—different because the rails were set flat on the ground instead of on the down ramp like everyone is used to and expected, and cool because after everyone got used to that setup, some sick shit went down. Like at The Session in Vail, event-organizers gave away money every fifteen minutes throughout the jam, and then awarded a best male and female rider at the end of the night. Washington’s Ivan Marchinko was the first to earn some cash for gap-180ing the kinked rail to the down and 270ing out. It was sorta scary to watch, and it took him a while to land the thing—but once he did, well, the bar was officially raised. Other people killing stuff included Idaho-rider Wyatt Caldwell (frontside 270 on into 270 out, plus switch front boards and the like), and a Burton Rookie name Yale Cousino who 270-something-or-othered into the last fifteen-minute money award.

As for the girls, there were three of ’em riding: Laura Hadar, Rachel Nelson, and Leanne Pelosi. Laura started the night off with solid landings on 50-50s for both rails, then 50-50 to 180 outs. But it was Leanne, after eating-shit innumerable times in the name of “stepping it up (she was the first person—guy or girl—to attempt boardslide through that nasty up-kink and got a nice concussion out of the deal) finally started sticking stuff. She boardslid the straight rail to 270 out and even 50-50ed the kinked rail into frontside boardslide on the down. Thing is, she did her best riding after she got the concussion, which kinda makes you wonder if she shouldn’t get concussions more often. Nah, come to think of it, I heard that’s bad for yourr brain.

Men’s Slopestyle Results

1. Chad Otterstrom

2. Antti Autti

3. Wyatt Caldwell

4. Andreas Wiig

5. Risto Mattila

6. Nate Sheehan

7. Kevin Pearce

8. Danny Davis

9. Tyler Emond

10. Miikka Hast

Rail Jam Results

Men’s winner: Chad Otterstrom

Women’s winner: Leanne Pelosi

15 minute award: Ivan Marchinko

30 minute award: Chad Otterstrom

45 minute award: Yale Cousino