Friday, August 21, 2009

A Day With the Pros





Things going well down under. Yesterday I enjoyed a late (9:30) wake up, worked out in an empty gym, skated downtown, ate lunch with Liz and Ellery, swam in Lake Wanaka, then hit the hot tubs with Ben Boyd and the ISTC. Video of the entire day coming soon. Today I caught a ride up to the hill with Olympic Medalist JJ Thomas. We got there early and his crew was slow motivating so I hiked to the top of the Mt where I took photos and got my meditation on. From there it was hot laps in the slope course by myself, getting some tricks and style back. Relearned switch back 5s and landed some good combos (for an old schooler like myself).
Throughout the day I connected with old friends who I used to coach and are now top riders. As the photos show, I ran into Ellery, Hannah and Elijah Teter, Scotty Lago and Shayne Pospisil. We all go way back and its amazing to run into them on the other side of the world where we are all snowboarding for a living. All in all a very rewarding, positive day. Loving my job, my place in life and those who support me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Makayla and Eric NZ Slope

video

Here is the video! I hope. Sorry it took so long, don't have a great excuse, sometimes computers win.

Makayla and Eric NZ Slope

Having trouble linking the video to the blog, but I retitled it on you Tube. Its called Makayla and Eric at NZ Open. My account is Ashymillion9.
Things down here continue to be epic. Blue skys today, and I rode Halfpipe a bit! Then skated, missing Hunty, James and Hudson. Now chillin, ready to do it again tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Journey Continues

Went out for a great coaches diner on our last night at Speight's Alehouse. We invited US Rookie Coach Bud Keene and went out to shoot pool afterwords. After hearing me say over and over how bummed I was to be leaving, Bud invited me to stay with him through the World Cup to help him out a bit. What an honor! Mallon helped me negotiate the terms, allowed me to get back to SMS a bit late for the 10 season, and changed my flight for me. So, another 10 days in New Zealand!!!!! It should be an amazing experience to help Bud at the World Cup, and it will certainly help me develop as a snowboard coach. Plus I should get to see more shredding from Lizzy Beerman.

We got our bags out on the front lawn this morning to await our hired trailer, only to have a taxi cab show up instead. How they expected to get 13 board bags and 13 duffels into a taxi is beyond me and it blew Mike's mind to say the least. Luckily we had a good window of time and they sent out a trailer that made it here in. That was the only hang-up of the trip and it was managed. I dropped the crew off at the airport and returned to the empty condo. Sort of sad, but pretty nice to be in a three bedroom condo by myself after 2 busy weeks.
Wish me luck, I assure you I will enjoy myself. A BIG thanks goes out to Mike Mallon and Bud Keene for helping me develop my skills and allowing me an amazing get-away.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Video is now on YouTube on Ashymillion9 account


The video I spoke of is now up on Youtube. Search NZ Slope. My account on Youtube is Ashymillion9 so you can use that as a search tool too. Or, search Eric Beauchemin!
Plus, on our last day (which was sunny and sick) Hunter landed back 9s and Michalchuks, Serena Shaw (pictured) stomped a switch back 3 over jump one, Joe Mensch landed front 10s in pipe, Chip Linton landed spins in the jump line,Connor Hudson had the best switch back 5 on the hill and James Haffner blew my mind with a 70ft back9.

Guest Post from NZ Open Best Trick winner Liz Beerman


Hey, this is Lizzy Beerman. Here is the low down from my perspective of the Burton New Zealand Open.
Arriving at the top of the half pipe yesterday morning for an hour of Semi-Finals practice, the weather was looking like it was shaping up to be a perfect day. During that practice it seemed as though we were in the middle of a very competitive season with men and women throwing down new and different tricks bigger than I have ever seen. After my somewhat stressful two contest runs I barley squeaked into finals sitting in eighth, with Jiayu Liu qualifying first, Kelly Clark second, and Lin Haug in third . Soon after the women finished the men dove into the most progressive mind blowing Semi-Final this sport has ever seen. SMS's own alum Loui Vito was the first to land a double corked front-side 1080, qualifying first into Finals, followed by Luke Mitrani in second, and Shaun White in third.
By far one of the coolest things I experienced during finals was looking around and seeing the whole SMS crew cheering me and other SMS alums on, sending good vibes and just enjoying the contest. During my third and final run after not landing my first two, I ended up falling again and getting a little banged up on a back-side 540 but not before landing a front-side 900 that earned me the Female Best Trick and 6th place. For the other women in finals, Kelly Clark took first, Jiayu Liu in second, and Zhifeng Sun in third. For the men Shaun White stole first place in his second run with back to back double corked 1080s, Luke Mitrani took second with an impressive double corked micheal chuck on his first hit, and Kazuhiro Kokubo ended up in third. Overall the day was almost as fun to watch as it was to experience, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that the tricks that were thrown down yesterday took the level of this sport that we know and love to a new level.


Yeah Lizzy! This is Ian again, and Liz nailed the vibe of yesterday's comp. Historic to say the least, and I've been in this sport for over 20 years. While we all enjoyed sitting at the top of the pipe checking out history, you know we had to get our shred on too! When we arrived I took a crew of jump-hungry shred heads over to the slope course which had opened to the public. We grabbed Tikos to take some photos and he got some amazing, professional-quality shots. He has the eye and could easily make a living shooting photos. Check out this banger of James Haffner off the 60 footer (take some time to appreciate the graphics on his new ride). Oh yeah, James was out for a day or two but as you can see he is back with that JH style.

One of my camp highlights occurred during this session. As I rushed over to the slope park with my heavy-hitters, young Serena Shaw fell into line behind us and let me know she was coming with us. These jumps are pretty big and we had work to do, but I was immediately taken by her confidence and determination to ride with the big dogs. Serena fit right in. She had no intentions of just following the crew around, she wanted to learn tricks. Backside 360s were on her mind and she picked jump two to learn them on. Few girls her age (or boys for that matter) choose to learn new tricks on 25 foot tables, but Serena does! After 3 slammed attempts she landed a smooth, grabbed backside 360. Here is the proof. She knows how to make an impression on this slope-oriented coach. Big things ahead for this shredette.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Slope Semi Finals


Cloud cover broke halfway up the mountain today, giving us one of the trips best vistas. I had prayed for good weather for the day's big slope event and, while I doubt the praying had much to do with it, good weather graced the day. No excuses to not throw down. Eric, Makayla and Pheobe were the day's competitors and we headed to the course with high energy.
Sunny weather does not make big jumps any smaller and its a good thing the crew was already familiar with the course. Practice run one went well, but for some reason Phoebe and I spaced on the speed for jump three on the next run. Under the watching eye of Mike Mallon I came up a good 6 feet short and bounced halfway down the landing backside 180 style. Embarrassing to say the least but no damage done. Pheobe made it a bit farther, but the bounce treated her worse. After a quick parts check she was ripping down the hill, chirping like always. Determined not to make the same mistake twice she took out the speed checks next run and overshot two-thirds of the landing, compressing her poor frame. This after nailing her back 3 on jump one. No more laughing and we had to pull her from the comp. While this was a major disappointment to her she handled it with maturity and as I blog she is cooking pasta in the kitchen with a smile on her face. This left the shredding up to Eric and Makayla who stepped up to it for their sidelined teammate.
The girls had one make up run to make it to the semi-finals. At times it seems like Mak and Phoebe are part of the same person which made me concerned for Mak's mindset. I got her into the gate and moved up to a side slope to film the run. Oh my Lord did she kill it! Got it on film too and will try to post it for you. Nothing but style and finesse for Mak. She nailed every rail, grabbed each air, made the landings perfect and ended with a backside 5050 down the down-flat-down box. So sick. She ended up in 9th in a 6 cut, riding against older, more experienced riders. Great job.
This gave me an hour before Eric had to ride. I caught up with Shelby and Jeremy Thompson for a scenic hike to the peak of the resort where we enjoyed amazing views and a few pow turns.
When I got back to the slope course Eric was waiting, ready for action. My writing cannot do justice to the performance he put on today. His practice runs were almost flawless, the only hitch being a small hand drag on his first attempted 1080 in 6 months (off the 60 plus foot 3rd jump). The next practice run was stomped, as was his first comp run. So, Eric's idea of a comp run at this point in his life is: cab 270, 450 out on the flat down, 5050 frontside 180 off the up rail, switch back rodeo 5, backside rodeo 720, to FRONT 1080. The cut was 16 and most everyone who made the cut had their names on the boards they rode (Kass, Torgstien, Chas). Eric ended up in 22nd which he was quite happy with. It was easily the sickest slope contest in history and Eric was right there, up in it. Stay tuned for footage of that madness too.
Under the radar and out of the contest chaos were the Secret Spot Crew. Tierney, Hudson and Hunter spent their day sessioning a top secret spot they had found. From what we hear it was a blast, they have not released the footage yet.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

NZ Open day 3, Halfpipe Pre Quals & Quals

While driving up to the mountain this morning, we hoped for good weather, but it didn't look too promising. With clouds and fog hanging low it looked like another rough day. But as you can see in this first photo that tikos took, too our surprise we popped out of the clouds and had the pipe as clean as can be with the sunrise glistening in the background! And the day only got better for our pipe riders. As the day got started with the NZ open Pre-Quals for the men, our boys stomped runs. In heat one, Michael Perle took 27th and was going HUGE, as you can see in this photo Tikos snapped. Joesph Mensch took 16th, missing the cut for the Qualification rounds by 2 spots. In heat two of the men, Hunter Wood took 26th, Chris Tierney came in 14th with smooth and styled airs (as you can see in this photo tikos got), and Spencer Shaw narrowly missed the cut off, taking 13th place. After the men rolled out the pipe, the women were up and destroyed it!!! For the Qualifications rounds our girls stomped stomped and stomped some more. With our guest coach LIzzy Beerman already pre Qualified for semi-finals, she helped girls get ready for their runs; photoshoots with tikos was one way. Serena Shaw came in 19th place, Shelby Simpson in 20th, Phoebe Novello in 27th, and Makayla Tierney in 32nd. Overall, with the sun finally shining, and our pipe crew killing it, the day couldn't of been better. Tomorrow we kick off with Slopestyle Semi-Finals for men, Slopestyle Qualifications for women, and Semi-Finals for Women in PIpe. Check in Tomorrow to see what went down!!

NZ Open Days 1 and 2


Did not have a chance to blog yesterday, spent the entire day on the hill, 8 to 4. It was slopestyle pre-quals and quals, which got changed to just qualifiers because of crazy weather. This meant that instead of cutting 70 riders into 25 and cuttting that 25 to 10, they just made a 10 cut on the initial 70. Needless to say thats a tough cut to make. Wind, fog and snow traded places accosting us throughout the day and the in-runs to the jumps became quite bumpy.
Got to make long stories short here as there is never enough time in the day for an in-depth blog. While Hunter, Tierney, Joe and Spencer all put in great efforts, it was Eric B who made the cut (7th) with tech rail tricks and a cab 5, front 7, back rodeo line.
Next up were the girls, Phoebe and Makayla. By this time the weather took a turn for the worse (if that is possible) and the comp was postponed after one run. Both girls struggled with their first runs which is no surprise when you can't see 30 feet down the hill and you are faced with 20 to 55 foot jumps. Second run for girls will be tomorrow which is nice because our duo gets another day of NZ Open competition, which they are loving.
Today was pipe qualifiers and slope practice for Eric. I had the Eric show and can assure you he is ready for tomorrow. Looks like he will be attempting a line with switch back rodeo 5, back rodeo 7 and front 9 or 10. The switch rodeo is pictured below.

Over at the pipe our crew threw down amazing runs and came up just short of qualifying. Chris Tierney was one out and Spencer and Joe were right behind him. Shelby landed her runs and left smiling.
Big day for Eric tomorrow as he carries the hopes of the SMS NZ 09 crew on his shoulders. He has already achieved greatness, but knowing him he has more to bring to the table. Check it out on GOTO11's website. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wild Day of Slope Practice


They say that NZ is one of the few countries that lacks any dangerous wildlife, but check out the way these chickens swarmed our dryland crew! Mike took his squad on a nature/wildlife hike yesterday but kept them safe (even forbidding Serena from attempting to capture a bird).
We awoke to light rain and headed up early for NZ Open registration which went well. With the exception of Connor Hudson, everyone made it into slopestyle (bummer, he will be missed). As we headed out to practice the winds picked up big time and snow and rain began whipping down the hill. Fences were flying and we were soaked in 10 minutes. Practice was postponed and we returned to the lodge to wait out the storm. By 1:00 the sky's cleared up and the wind and precip died down. Girls and guys practice was combined and it was on. The wet snow made for a choppy course which was already a bit intimidating because of a kicky, large third jump. It took a few runs before a few riders attempted this last jump, one of the first 10 being Tikos, who got bucked by the choppy take-off and slammed hard, breaking his board but not his body. Yoga and fitness surely paid off for the young man! Undeterred and determined to avenge their sidelined teammate, Randall, James, Spencer, and Eric ran the course with authority. Eric linked rodeos to cab 5s, James gapped to front board, and Spencer linked a cab 7 to switch back 9!
I had been a bit apprehensive sending young Phoebe and Makayla into the fray but Mike assured me that with a careful approach they were not over their heads. How right he was! Those two enjoyed the practice more than anyone I saw on the course and are going into tomorrow's qualifier with confidence and excitement. Below is a shot of blog-hog Phoebe Novello attacking jump 2 with style. Big day of qualifiers tomorrow, and the forecast calls for snow and wind again. Challenging, but nothing the SMS crew can't handle.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hardest Working Team at Cardrona

I realize the sunrise coverage might be getting old so I will spare you all the photos and details of today's banger. It seems the best sunrises do not translate into the best weather on the hill. Any complaints would be criminal though, this camp is amazing and the kids make the most of any weather. Today was a great example. We expected the park to open for slope practice but no such luck. We got a good look at the park though and were able to plan lines and practice the desired rail tricks on similar featrues in the park that was open. These kids have great style on rail/box features which is something we don't give them enough credit for. Its not all just jumps in slopestyle. The style and technicality that James, Hunter, Tierney, Hudson, Randall, Spencer and Tikos brought to the rail line made me proud today. Speaking of style, check this Japan air from Randall Stacy!

Over at the pipe dull light and solid conditions made for tough training, but Mallon tells me the kids worked hard and made some progress regardless. Shelby is linking her 5s, Joe almost stomped a cab 10, Mike Perle is landing 9s, Liz is mixing up her grabs on front 5s and I saw Serena Shaw execute a nice front 7. Chip Linton (who was the jumper in yesterday's bungee photo) is improving in the pipe, especially his frontside airs.
TIkos brought his camera up and worked his magic with the flat light. Check this shot of Joe Mensch. TTK has the eye, I love this photo!

NZ Open begins tomorrow with registration and slope practice. The crew has done all it can to be ready, which makes for a good night sleep for all. While the resort is crowded with pros and teams, there is no doubt in my mind that our crew are working and shredding the hardest. Were I a grommet at Cardrona I would go home and beg to be sent to SMS. Wish us luck in the following days.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

From dropping in to dropping Off

Let me tell you the SMS snowboard coaches have it pretty good down here in sheep-land New Zealand. Sweet cribs, great riding conditions and features, and fun, hardworking athletes ready to shred. To put the icing on the cake, they even have one of their own athletes doing writing the blog for them! My name is Thomas Tikos-Kadji, I am an alumini of SMS and I was given the chance to tell you about today and even share some photos I took. So check this out, just because we can't drop into the pipe, or jump off a 50 foot kicker, doesn't mean we can't drop off a bridge!! Today the SMS crew took the day off and went bungy jumping off a bridge 30 meters below water so cold, it made skinny dipping in Alaska seem warm. Loading the cars at 9AM we headed over; Randall stacy, Joe mench, Hunter Wood, Chris Tierney, Scotty Johnson, and other riders strapped up, tied up, held their breath and watched as each one screamed like little girls as they plummeted 30 meters down.

After everyone's adrenaline rush's came to a rest, hunger kicked in. Scrambling back in the cars, we headed to Queenstown where we chowed down on sushi, burgers, and other delicious foods. With our bellies full, a bunch of the guys and girls craved more action, and decided to head up the gondola and race the luge track. There were winners, losers, and even some battle wounds from Joe Mench and Randall Stacy; good times all around though. Those who didn't go luge racing roamed around town, enjoying the warm sun, the sound of the waves, oh and the shoe stores; With new boots, lizzy walked the walk and shelby talked the talk with her new hat.

After a long day of jumping bridges, shopping, and eating, the sun began to set and we made our way back to the crib. All and all, a day off with the SMS snowboard crew is a day off like no other. Tomorrow its back to slaying the snow and getting ready for the NZ Open. I'll be shooting photos of the team tomorrow so be sure to check us out tomorrow. PEACE Internet!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Vertigo


Sunrises like these can send you to work at any job with a smile and positive attitude! Unfortunately this was the best part of today weather-wise. We got a jump on the day and arrived earlier than normal only to be greeted by dull, cloudy, grey skies. Snow conditions were choppy and visibility was low. The first run through the pipe was dicey and vertigo was the word of the day. We kept at it until noon even with steadily increasing winds. Gotta know when to call it and call it we did. Back to town for a hilarious skate session with James, Randall, Tierney, Hunter and Hudson. There was a great vibe at the skatepark. The locals were cool and there was a sound system and some funny dogs running around. Then we rolled across the street for smoothies and headed back home for dryland. Tomorrow is our day off and we have some good activities planned. All for now!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Big Jump Opens


Another clear scenic morning quickly turned a bit sour for myself and those unfortunate enough to be in my van. Halfway to the hill I realized I was running on empty and had to turn around and go back to town to fuel up. By the time I got back to the resort there was a long slow line of traffic crawling up the 30-plus switchbacks. As bad as I make this sound we still made it up by 9:45. I made an effort to control my funk which paid off big time. The pipe was perfect once again, but the buzz on the hill was regarding the opening of the large kicker (which had been closed the days prior to Eric's dismay). It had been a few months since any of us had hit a jump of this size, but it looked well built with a long landing. Eric and I slid over to the drop zone and watched a few riders blast into space with butterflys in our stomachs. As I was upset with myself for my lapse in the morning I decided I should guinea-pig it for the team. Once it had been cleared the session was on. In two laps Eric was landing 5s and 7s and by days end he stomped the monster back rodeo you see above. Before too long, Tikos, Randall and Spencer were also enjoying the feeling of dropping out of the sky.
Meanwhile at the pipe Liz was linking front 7s to cab 5s, Joe was landing 9s and attempting 10s, Hudson got 7s back and was gunning for 9s, Mike Perle stomped 9s and James was mixing up combos (nice run on sentence huh?).
After lunch cloud cover rolled in over the resort so we took some mini park laps. Phoebe was itching to try another backflip so she did so. While she sat down again its clear she likes the trick and will have it soon (see photo).

We prepared to split around 2, but Liz had her eye on the big jump and talked me into going back over. I had already cooled down and forgot the speed, causing me to overshoot a bit and turn a mellow 3 into a sketchy 5. This did not dissuade Ms Beerman from ending her afternoon with a large, shifted, controlled floater. She will certainly have some more business with the jump tomorrow.
The weekend crowds should be hell tomorrow. An early departure would be smart, better go check the gas gauge!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sunny down unda/KMS arrives



As you can see from this photo of Shelby, the day started cold, clear and with an amazing sunrise. The morning lead into a clear sunny day and we arrived early to a fresh-cut pipe. The next 3 hours were a blur of pipe runs from 14 riders. Lots of getting readjusted to pipe riding for some and linking tricks for others. Shelby jumped right back into it with style and confidence. James was chomping at the bit and by noon was landing 8ft back 5s, and back to back 7s. Hunter Wood also boosted back 5s and took some hard slams like the solid young man he is, laughing them off. Spencer Shaw continues to impress me, today's highlights being front 10s in pipe and a monster backflip 180 at day's end. Speaking of backflips, on our last run I had about 13 of the kids and we enjoyed a mandatory backflip session on a small step up jump. Everyone attempted a flip, some more successful than others. Shelby and Lizzy got about halfway and folded, but their fitness behooved them. Phoebe got the biggest cheer with a full flip that she didn't seem to expect, she landed on her butt like she was sitting in a chair.
The park is shaping up, tomorrow should be epic. There are plenty of features to work with, including the hip that you see Connor Hudson blasting below.


No sooner did we get back than I heard from Tikos who was waiting at the airport with Randall (redundant, I know). Good thing he facebooked me because I thought he was coming in the next day. I ripped over to the airport with Lizzy and we scooped them up. They are tired from days of travel, but excited to shred tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Best Camp Intro Ever"



After a much needed night sleep in our first-class condos I awoke to pouring rain at 6am. Departure was put on hold for a moment, but only a moment. By 8am the skys cleared and we hit the road. The mountains are COVERED in snow and the scenery is amazing, even for NZ. We figured out the tire chain situation and ripped up to resort.
The mission for day one was to get to know the resort and get a feel for riding again. The first lift ride was a bit overwhelming, so much terrain to choose from, all of it covered in fresh pow. As I stood in awe and confusion at the top of the lift I was almost knocked over with a bear hug from behind. It was my good VT hommie Danger Dave who had been out for 3 weeks already and was more than down to show us around. For the next two hours we ripped pow and dropped rocks. It was the perfect way to start, no one even tried to get to the park.



Pheobe, Makayla and Serena are a badass crew of girls, so fun to ride with. Much of this style of riding was new to Phoebe, yet she did not hesitate to drop the rocks with us (and she loved it). Mike and I just looked at each other and laughed. We both had the same thing on our mind but he said it first, "Today is the best start of a camp I can remember". Scotty agrees, and what a great intro to NZ for him! Liz is killing it as guest coach and I loved seeing her stress-free, slashing pow and dropping rocks. Its great to have grads stay involved and I know we are going to see some shredding from her in the next few weeks.
After lunch we headed to the park/pipe. At this point the wind picked up and things got a bit gnarly. We were still able to check things out. James and Spencer were on point, like they had been riding daily up to today. Spencer nailed a backflip off a rock, a front 3 off another, and 4-5 nollie fronts. James is always willing to check the jumps for the crew, and he did so today, even in the wind. Hunter got the shot of the day (up top) blasting a method off a rock into powder.
At the day's end all were safe, sunburned and stoked. We are ready to start pipe and park riding tomorrow, but for one of the first times I can tell that it might be hard to keep the kids in the park all day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Safe Arrival Down Under


I write this entry in front of the fireplace at our condo in Wanaka. Our travels went quite smooth considering the size of the group and our various points of departure. It was great to see the entire crew when I arrived at our LAX gate at 9:30. Everyone is happy and excited. New members Chip Linton and the Shaws were quick to assimilate and seem like great new additions. The flight to NZ was smooth and made pleasant by the polite stewards, good food and a deep movie selection.
We arrived with our tans in shorts and flip-flops to find full-blown winter. Cold temps, snow and rain greeted us at the airport. The mountains flanking our drive to Wanaka were covered in more snow than I have seen in the past 5 years and this impression was reconfirmed by locals who claim great conditions.
Upon arrival we unpacked, grabbed some food and had our first team meeting of the 09-10 season. While it seems like a short time since summer break started, it is great to see the kids again. The concept of James, Shelb and Eric as seniors really blows my mind! The team was attentive and polite at the meeting, true pros to this game. Scotty J seems impressed with NZ without coming off as a tourist, again a true pro on the road.
We head up to Cadrona tomorrow to purchase our passes, get acquainted with the resort, and get our legs back under us. Not much more to say today, but lots more coming in the next two weeks. We are all so fortunate to be where we, enjoying what we love with close friends. Thanks for all the support from parents, family, and SMS staff for making trips like this possible.