TransAM Finals at Bear Mountain

Photos by Russel Kaczmar

Words by Adam Kisiel

In weather that made me feel like I should have dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, short shorts, and mandals, I watched one hundred and two rippers make history.  These kids of various ages, sizes, and riding styles had no idea they were making history, but just like any other day they were riding their hearts out.  The incredible stage that was set by Clayton Shoemaker and the Bear Mountain Park Crew was something to behold and was a perfect catalyst for a break out performance in the TransWorld SNOWboarding TransAm.  The TransAm Park at Bear always just appears overnight and is one of the first things anyone sees as they come up the steps in awe Saturday morning at Bear.  It had everything and pushed each rider to step out of their normal riding and open up for creativity on a set up they could have never even imagined riding.

It was already a pivotal moment in the tour as it was the last stop of a train that started down the tracks, on the East coast, in January and only picked up steam as it crossed the nation.  As the riders stood at the top of the park anxiously awaiting the introduction and start of the Traffic Jam, there was a strange feeling in the air.  Some guessed based on the park that this would be something that would be talked about for some time to come.  Others were wondering what these riders would do on such a different park set up. Any speculation was put to rest as all one hundred and two riders tore the park apart feature by feature.  The Traffic Jam, an hour long jam session, gives each rider so much riding time that they can't help but progress their riding to new heights.  The Dakine Paper Shreds had front row seats to the action on the Dakine flat box to down rail set up.  I am actually surprised they were still standing after the amount of heat produced by the likes of Devin Allen who was as consistent as the sunshine and warm weather at Bear.  Ian Sams was also signing his name into the TransAm history book as he hit almost every feature in one trick and was just awesome over the Bear Mountain 4×4 Blazer buried in the ground.  This feature also showcased something that I have never witnessed before. As one rider was stalling on the top of the blazer from the side another rider aired over the vehicle from the top jibbing the rider that was in mid stall.  As both riders rode away unscathed they met at the bottom for a big hug and disbelief on what had actually transpired.  It was something you would see on a most shocking moments TV show, a moment I needed a change of underwear to experience.  The whole bottom of the course was a row of features set up in a skate park style line up with transition of both sides.  This gave riders the option to combine tricks on several features in a row.  Rainbow Woodall and Elin Bjorkum were combining one of the wall rides into the Oakley Shark lift pole set up that was forcing riders to hit the transition on the backside of the park or ollie to another wall ride at the end of the Oakley Shark pole.  It was a matter of timing and fast feet to survive, one man who didn't quite survive the shark wrath was a rider named Donkey who was awarded best fall for a backside spine contortion.  Moving down the bottom row was the Zumiez Couch that had riders stalling and bonking into the transition on the other side.  The High Cascade Snowboard Camp Marshmallow also saw riders flying well overhead with 360's, 540's, and inverts galore.   The next feature down the line was a huge water tank that could be hit from the side or over top.  Alex Hulett quickly pioneered what most could only name as a stall trick for lack of a better name and the inexperience of ever seeing something like it before.

Forty riders were picked to ride in the Ultimate Final, which was set up to isolate riders to certain lines of the park for a ten minute jam in each section.  Melissa Spillman stepped ahead of the pack as a combo master and overall best female rider in each section.  Ryan Tarbell had his eye on each line of the park and was riding like the TransAm scene had been up all season long.  He was gaining speed from one side of the park and using the Ride Slime wall as skate transition to stall up top then drop back in to hit the Bear Water Tank from the side.  That innovative riding put him in the top spot to take home best overall male rider.  Riders who took home top honors received Custom TransAm Goggles from Oakley, Custom TransAm Backpacks from Dakine, My Little Pony and Nerf guns from High Cascade Snowboard Camp and Zumiez gift cards.  First place earned TransWorld SNOWboarding TransAm trophies, Dakine backpacks and board bags, Ride Snowboards, Oakley goggles, and Zumiez gift packs.  In the end it was a Ball Park Franks hot dog roast and a huge product toss that had everyone jumping for the sky.  It was a perfect award for the exclamation point on a history making tour unlike any other.

The Transworld Snowboarding TransAm Tour has evolved and will continue to evolve because of everyone involved.  It is not a surprise that we end the tour at Bear where they consistently set the standard higher and higher and set the tone for what we can do on next year's tour.  History was made this past weekend and your originators were everyone involved especially the riders. Get ready for January 2010 when we write the next chapter of fun.

Male Top Honors

1st: Ryan Tarbell
2nd: Devin Allen
3rd: Ian Sams

Female Top Honors
1st: Melissa Spillman
2nd: Elin Bjorkum
3rd: Rainbow Woodall

Best Trick
Ian Sams- Every feature in one trick plus a swivel.

Best Fall
Donkey- Backside spine contortion on lift tower.