Of Summer Halfpipes And Other Things

Ah, the summer-camp halfpipe. It is a thing of beauty–in the past having been hand-shaped by real digger dirts who stayed in Government Camp for three solid months and grew lean, tan, and bitter by the end of their hard-working summer, developing such a tight bond from shared physical labor that they became a daunting force of leering, sarcastic commentary, and to drop in in front of them was to be tossed to such wolves of peanut-gallery criticism that some left the hill crying. Things have changed, of course. The diggers still work hard, but with the Pipe Dragons and salt-distribution machines, they’re more like “rakers” now, and oh yeah, they seem nice.

Obviously the halfpipes have become more consistent now that they have a machine cutting them. But the truth is, the pipes at Mt. Hood do retain some semblance of that old-time, summer-camp feel–you encounter something different on every hit. Because of sugary glacier snow and extremely varying temperatures, a wall could be over-vert at the top, layed-back half way down, and kinked to all hell at the bottom. It’s like a puzzle, and it keeps you on your toes.

What I’m trying to get at here is that the Windell’s halfpipe, while finely shaped and gorgeous in its own right, threw some unsuspecting pro snowboarders for a loop during Burton’s Abominable Snow Jam halfpipe event this weekend. With my own two eyes I saw the likes of Travis Rice, X-Games winner Steve Fisher, and even Ross Powers (who is control incarnate) roll up the windows and do the kickin’ chicken during a contest run. All was in good fun though, and as people got used to the thing, some serious shredding went down.

However, you know who ripped this pipe from the get go? Terje Haakonsen. That’s right, the Sprocking Cat used his rear rutter arm and extreme shock absorbing legs to adapt and destroy. Alley-oop sevens, awesome styled-out straight airs, energy, charisma–he had it all. He might not have made the podium, but damn he ripped it.

For a full breakdown of the action and tricks that ensued on this day, check out abominablesnowjam.com, ’cause I’ve said what I wanted to say about things, and that’s all yer gettin’. So there. Here’s the results.

Halfpipe Results


1. Hannah Teter

2. Gretchen Bleiler

3. Mercedes Nichol

Best Trick: Junko Asazuma


1. Danny Kass

2. Andy Finch

3. JJ Thomas

Best Trick: Takaharu Nakai