Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Head First Down the Hill

US Open Slope Semi's

Last week our neighbor Walter treated us to some boiled sap from his sugaring cauldron. Warm sweet tea water. Sugaring season came right in early in the week and is wrapping up for the year. Meanwhile another great if only 28 year old southern Vt spring tradition also wrapped up on sunday. There was the Jr Jam for Josh and Makayla. It looked like a ton of fun and they were boosting bigger than I've seen either of them go all year. And there was Eric and Hunter in slope practice and semi finals. While the half pipe is still called the main event at The Open, slopestyle is day in, day out what more riders do every day. It's not so much of a spectator event. The course is just too big for that without the jumbotron. To the delight if coaches and competitors alike this year the top of the slopestyle venue featured- along with the lap top for score updates, a flat screen monitor to view entire runs going down from the start tent. Coaches, friends, teammates huddled around and made room for others in front of the screen. It was rabid yet not greedy love of snowboarding-"excuse me, there you go I just needed to see that run...". Hoot's, holla's, sincere polite claps and serious head nods. It is a striking character of the US Open. No where else do I see the same mix of competitive effort and mutual respect. It as if everyone there is made to feel better by ANYONE riding well not just if they ride well or their friend rides well. That stoke was there from others when Hunter took the rodeo so deep and when Eric landed the cab nine so quietly. That mutual stoke was there for Chas Guildemond who was on another planet right from practice. Jeremy Thompson was doing sevens and nines with a style that combines power and balance to swing. For Me the riding was as always a beautiful thing but I am struck the most this year by watching two young snowboarders step up to the challenge of staying settled while getting more and more fired up. They never reached too far. they landed their runs. they learned a new trick on practice days and landed again. To watch two of the better snowboarders you know get better by the day is to watch young men be willing to step up. Tons of respect for that. Anytime anywhere. Respect too to everybody who bibbed up and put in their bids this year. This group of riders has aquitted themselves as respectably as any group ever at the US Open. You did it at Home here, You did it having fun and you did it because you have worked hard and earned it. Thanks. That wraps up the Open. Three more days of east coast training and we break for colorado. Enjoy it, keep it up and stay in touch.

Monday, March 23, 2009



The 2009 US OPEN JR. JAM has a new third place winner! For the second time this year, ''Makayla Tierney'' has found her way on top of the podium of a mayjor contest. The 25 girl half pipe final heat was no joke, judges were looking at the best run out of three runs. Makayla must have woke up some of those judges with her big front side tail grabs and clean 360's and 540's . Makayla is also the second SMS girl at the US OPEN to enjoy the third place spot.She will share that win with none other than '' Ellery Hollingsworth '' who was third in woman's half pipe. Great job ladies !

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Other Side of the Fence

Today Jo rode in the US Open Semi's. Getting through five days of practice sessions and qualifying rounds is an evolutionary process of challenges and the potential to succumb to pressure. There are a lot of riders. Mostly quite good. Practice is crowded. Few spots are handed out each round and the practices get less crowded. You don't feel any pressure but you hit that bump and now you only have one run left. You work through that. The deck and bottom get a little more crowded each day. You think you have the routine on your side. You get out there Saturday morning and your bib is like a boxers or jockey's silk. There are very few riders and there are TV cameras. It's a different place almost altogether. The bottom of the hill is busier. There are even more folks on the decks, up and down but they are on the outside of the flimsy fence. On saturday the fence means something. Tonight at the Simpson's barn Jo said "I came down out of my second run and there are PEOPLE". Jo Mensch earned himself a view from the other side of the fence.
Lizzie and Ellery are getting pretty used to that view. US Open Podium spot for graduation present to self. Excellent choice Ellery.
Tomorrow Hunter and Eric get a view from the other side of the fence but its a little different up there on slope. The crowd is thin and the grey ice between the rolling landings and takeoffs feels somewhat like treading water in a stormy ocean with an annoying narrator. Bodies spin past and dissappear. This course sent a bunch of people home before the heats even started yesterday. Then the tight cut of fifteen sent some more off. When the storm settled there was Eric in sixth and Hunter in ninth. Well within the cut of fifteen the mature focus of these guys is pushing and pulling them forward through the Open slope week as if on a wave. Emily Pankukk waited out most of the icy practice session in the morning and ran two laps before her afternoon heat. The strategy paid off and she stood up both of her runs to finish twelfth. Congrats to everyone on their riding. Thanks to everyone else for being involved.

Friday, March 20, 2009

US Open Slope Qualifiers

Eric Beauchemin, Hunter Wood and Emily Pannkuk competed in the US Open Slopestyle Qualifiers today. It was a clear day, but the course was solid and since the backs of the jumps had been cut out, they looked much bigger. The kids all had some apprehension but they overcame their fears and landed all of their competition runs. Dave and I were excited for that reason alone. Hunter Wood landed the run that had been eluding him for days, a smooth back rodeo 5, cab 5, front 7, back 7 and qualified 9th (they take 10). Eric went cab 7, switch back 5, front 7, back rodeo and qualifed 4th. Amazing work out of both these guys. Emily had clean runs without much practice. Very nice method air off jump one. She ended up in the top 12.
I know Dave is going to blow this blog out of the water, and he has photos. So thats my quick update. Joe Mensch will be competing in halfpipe tomorrow and should put on a show.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Phoebe Novello

At it again Phoebe Novello with a backside air in her first US Open. Fifteen year old Phoebe strolled her way into the top twenty in the Womens Pipe today, immediately clapped some skis onto her snowboard boots and made a couple runs to celebrate.

Hunter Wood

Getting ready to make the cut with the only straight air of his run. The trick strictly defined: nice method.

Eric Beauchemin

Eric Beauchemin overexposed and not a care in the world. Just another sixty five/seventy foot back rodeo in the sun.

US OPEN day one, The Toughest Cut in Snowboarding.

One hundred, twenty-one Men. Two sessions. Two heats per session. Two runs per rider and best score counts. Top five scores from each heat and the next ten best scores from any heat advance. Numerous world class riders from around the planet fail to make this cut every year. Young guns step up and get noticed.
SMS Riders Jin Wook, Joe Mensch and Hunter Wood all made the cut. SMS Alumni Chris Waker, Jeremy Thompson, Nate Farrell, Mike Goldshmidt and Tyler Emond all made that cut too. The amplitude, smoothe style and technical difficulty of the SMS Snowboarding Shredapalooza was respected by the worlds' most travelled Judging Crew. Other alums Nick Russel and Mike Farnum were up there throwing big fun runs while Louis Vito (prequalified) and Jack Mitrani (preq'd but injured) are practicing and making the scene respectively.
Alex Bayer, Randall Stacy, Connor Hudson, Mike Perle and Austin Schweyher (super tech to back nine finish!) put up respectable bids among the worlds finest this year as well and know that their USOPEN careers are just getting started.
Joe Mensch is still alive and practicing while sitting in the bubble spot. The semi final number is still yet to be called full until the invited, prequalified show up, check in or not.

Day Two.
Pipe Training with Rick. Mount Snow Training with Scotty for non entered athletes, alpine training with Mallon and Slope Prequal's. Again the Heavy Cut. This time Big Jumps following a double jib line. Tough times with the start list lottery. We were only able to get three riders entered. They made the best of their chance. Chris Tierney landed his first ever US OPEN
slope run and then landed too far right on his second run front five and couldn't make the second jump happen. Super respectable middle of the wolf pack. Hunter struggled with his cab five in first run but laid down two sevens in the second half of the run to stay confident. Second run put him in just out of the automatic "in" but well in under the next random top scores from any heat. Beauchemin once again landed a bomb run from top jibs to bottom banger. Qualified into the next round in the top five.
Day Three.
Today was the womens Pipe qualifier round and slope training. SMS Women all landed strong first runs in the pipe which is always a positive start. Lizzy Beerman qualified through to join preq'd team mate Ellery Hollingsworth. Shelby was on fire in practice. Throwing her recently patented "most progressive run of the day"- dropping into switch back three, back five, front five...come on. So cool. She had to work extra hard putting it down on first try and still ended up top Ten. She tried to up the amplitude ante as well as smoothe out the run but the trench of the week caught the most progressive run of the day and run number two did not break her into the top five.
Jen Cohen had smoothe style, Sadie and Emily put up senior year sized amplitude. Makayla and Phoebe both stood up US Open runs and the day was successful all over the place.
Tomorrow is slopestyle qualifiers (rnd. two) and more pipe practice. SMS athletes will be training competeing and watching on all venues. Have fun and be safe.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Grand Prix xbox jr jam

Makayla Tierney wins '' XBOX Jr jam '' at the US Snowboarding Grand Prix at Killington
Makayla's smooth style and great bag of tricks won her a first place win at the X box 360 jr jam at Killington. She won a X box 360 aswell the latest games that X box makes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Killington Grand Prix

Worked the Grand Prix Slopestyle today with Eric B, Randall, Joe, Kevin and Hunter. The weather and riding were phenomenal.
They all landed runs, Joe's had a 900, 360, 720, pretty challenging. Randall had one of the top 5 rail scores for the day. Kevin came back from a rough first run to ride out his second run and Hunter scored well with a monster back 7 over the big jump. Eric B is riding like a rookie pro and he made finals along with SMS pros Jeremy Thompson and Liz Beerman. Should be a great show tomorrow!
From what I heard, Makayla Tierney and Meghan Tierney went one and two in the X Box junior rail jam. Makayla is having quite a spring!
On the way home energy was so high we stopped by a log Kevin spotted and took a few shots. The photo of today is up top, RANDALL STACY log gap.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

For Ilia Stacy

It has been nice to have some positive feedback on the blog. Mike Mattice just sent an amazing message musing on the differences between SMS kids and Middle Eastern youth. We got it good and should take nothing for granted, even an injured rider has it better than many kids.
I also received a request from Ilia Stacy (who also enjoys the blog) for more Randall Stacy news. Like there is not enough on websites and TV shows! Just kidding, never enough Randall coverage.
Before that news, some Rev Tour Slopestyle info. It was the best Rev slope event I have been to. Blue skies and a shredtastic park. The conditions were conducive to throw-down runs, and that is exactly what I was treated to. Eric B was on a mission. He learned switch back rodoes the first day of practice and had it dialed for his runs (see photo below). He followed this with a back rodeo 7 (another relatively new trick for him). He took third and stood on the podium with two excellent riders.

RANDALL STACY put a smooth run together, adding new tricks also. He just missed finals and left smiling. Chris Tierney was just out of finals also. This kid has come miles since the Copper Rev Slope. I honestly was worried for him at that event, but his run at Sugarloaf was sick and his mindset was pro. Sooooo much style, ask anybody.
In their first Rev Tour, India and Makayla both made finals and ended up in 4th and 5th. That pretty much sealed the MVP position for MAKAYLA TIERNEY. The girl made finals in pipe and slope (our only dual-finals athlete) and she got there by killing the course with style. Style counts people, it really does! The Tierney family is solid. Chris Sr. was with us at the event, riding and chilling at the start.

Sorry I just do highlights, its just a time thing. Hudson, Kevin, Hunter, Phoebe and Lena all landed runs, which is what we are looking for. Emily Evanko was the trip casualty, fracturing her knee on the knuckle of jump two. Scotty and I were with her and she is tough. She kept composure under painful duress.
So, now onto RANDALL STACY. This is for you Ilia. Randall and I are tight, we have travelled the world together and shared a near-death experience (he was much nearer to said death). And this is in the two years I have known him! The first day I met him and coached him he broke his collarbone on our second run, like 9:30am. What a bummer, but we got some hospital time in and got to know each other. The kid is really nice and fun to talk to. He has a positive attitude that permeates any group. I have not had much riding time with him this year which may explain his lapse of blog coverage (or its the R rated base graphics on his board in all photos). But he is competing in the Grand Prix Slopestyle this weekend at Killington and I got to train with him today. After Ilia's nice note, I was pointing my camera at Randall all day. Which was a good move because I got some great shots. He was on point at his old mountain, shredding The Stash. The opening photo is Randall ripping through the waved wall ride. The photo below shows the kid's control and style. This is how he straight-airs the biggest jump in the park, full 180 shift of the board, then it comes back. Super high in the air, it looked so cool.

HUNTER WOOD could use some love on the blog too. He was with the slope crew (Eric, Kevin, Randall, and Joe) today and check his approach to the biggest jump. Wild Man Back 7. This one was overshot and he took a good roll, but trust me he's got it.

Eric is riding insane. I witnessed a clean 60ft long, 35ft high backside rodeo and felt like I was watching a movie. More on him later. Kevin and Joe also stepped up to the intimidating park. It was intense, as was the excitement and stoke of our crew as we ripped through a Professional level park in the sun.
One more Randall photo... (He was first to run this log in icy conditions).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rev Tour Halfpipe

Is anyone reading this blog? I hope so. I am in a rush as I write this, gotta go out to dinner with the team and fams. Just got into the condo to change. SMS represented at the final Rev Tour Halfpipe event. Again I gotta be short so here we go. Five kids made finals with Hunter Wood on the bubble by much less than a point. Shelby and Makayla for girls (Maks first Rev Tour, yeah girl). Joe, Jin and Mike for guys. Jin and Shelb on Podium. Jin 3rd with air, 5, 7,7,5. Joe right behind him in 4th with cab 7, front 9 combo to start his run, purdy nice (followed by 5 and mand straight air). Mike did not get his run and took some hard slams today, but the kid is back and in Rev finals.
Makayla stood up her finals run (killer lein nose first hit) and took 5th. GREAT JOB MAKAYLA! And that leaves Shelby Simpson. I am so happy to see the level Shelb is taking her riding to. I see a hundred pipe comps a year and can count on one hand the number of times I saw a rider drop in to a switch backside first hit (Davis being one of them). Shelb goes switch back 3 (grabbed) to back 5, such a rad leading combo. Second place for Shelby Simpson.
Kevin Mattice came ready to bring the streets to the pipe charging the ice pipe and headbutting it for good measure in his second practice run. Unphased by a swollen face he ended up 23rd, great for a park rat. As you can see in the photo, Joe was concerned and helped ice Kev's mugg.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

B Day for TTK

Today is Thomas Tikos Kadji's 18th birthday. As I write this he is out to dinner with most of the team and the Simpson's (I blog while they celebrate, I gotta check my head!). Tikos has been a great member of the SMS team and from what I can tell he is a beloved son, caring big brother and the best friend Randall Stacy could ever have!
We had a great day on the hill. It snowed about 4 inches last night which made for sticky/lumpy condtions, terrible for pipe and choppy for slope. The kids are riding so well that they were able to train both without complaint. Eric Beauchemin learned switch back rodeos (stomped and grabbed first attempt, second attempt went 720). India is spinning the big jump in the slope course and I saw some new tricks out of Randall. Poor Tikos edged a bit too hard in the soft snow and did the Reverse Superman, Reverse Scorpion on the deck of the second jump, snapping the tail of his board in half. Ouch, Happy Birthday! He was not phased.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Halfpipe Takeover

The team made it up to Maine without incident. Dave Redden lead the caravan over the frost-heavy roads of NH and Maine and we arrived in under 6 hrs. It was nice to see the ski team up here too, SMS has taken over. The weather made for a tough morning at Sugarloaf, 70mph winds up top and glare ice all over the mountain. The slope parks were too icy to open, which lead us to the halfpipe. In moments we had 15 plus kids hiking the pipe and throwing down. Regular-rider's backside wall softened up quick which was conducive to progression. Joe Mencsh lead the charge all day, boosting and liking tricks with style.
Connor Hudson, who had broken his collarbone in December trying back 9s climbed right back on the horse. It was sick to watch him relearn back 5s and 7s in under an hour and then land a back 9. Comeback complete, nice job. Shelb was grabbing her back 5s, which will lead to a big jump in her HP run score. Chris Tierney landed Haokkenflips, Hunter front 9s, and Austin back 7s. Phoebe learned grabbed back 360s and Emily E is close to back 5s. Eric Beauchemin RODE AND HIKED THE HALFPIPE TODAY. Yes I said Eric B RODE PIPE TODAY, and he could have landed front 9s if he had not bottomed out 5 times on sick front 7s. Here is the proof:

Jin Wook was also riding strong with his trademark air to fakies (see photo).

Tomorrow is the first official training day. At this point in the year the crew is riding and competing like they mean it and we all expect great results.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

India Stephenson

Today's post is focused on one of our hardest working riders, India Stephenson. She came in strong this fall, setting a great example in dryland, even demonstrating moves for the team. On snow she has been tough and focused. Each day involves hard slams and new tricks. She quickly made the jump to Pro/Am and has fit right in with a very hungry group. Today we rode Stratton and we sensed that India could take her 360s to the big park jumps. She was obviously sensing the same thing becasue by the end of the day she had spun frontside and backside 360s over a 25 ft table. Check the photo, she is grabbing too.

So here's to India, a tough, hard-working young lady who loves to snowboard and inspires everyone who rides with her. Keep it up girl!