Monday, January 4, 2010

Not All Fun and Games

Its funny. After all the amazing things I have seen young snowboarders achieve, and with all the comp features growing in size and consequence, they can still find fault and be irked by small changes in jumps or halfpipes. What looked like one of the best pipes I have ever seen proved to be a challenge to all involved in today's practice. Even Louie Vito struggled to put his run together. The left wall seemed a bit open and under-vert, leading to some decking out early in practice. While this was not the norm, word spread quickly and perceptions went downhill. The wall in question also had a decent ditch running along the base of the tranny that had to be absorbed before and after left wall airs. When you factor in the size of the pipe, it all added up to a frustrating if not intimidating experience for most.
This did not keep our riders from attacking from all angles for the entire 4hr practice. I encouraged them all to take their time and get comfy with the pipe before throwing down, and that seemed to work well. By the end of the day tricks were landed and amplitude was achieved (especially by Spencer Shaw, pictured). James, Joe and Spencer all landed 9s, and Serena, Shelby and Jenn got some 5s.
While it was hard to see our crew struggling, it was made easier by listening to the top riders gripe about the situation. I did not get much of that from our crew, who seem to realize how fortunate they are to be riding such a pipe in sunny Cali with todays best Pros. Its nice to work with kids at this level, without all the stress and pressure that comes with being a real Pro. Its much easier to progress and enjoy the process for these guys.
Quals for the first HP event start tomorrow, along with slope practice for Hunter, Indy and Serena. The next 6 days will be a blur as 3 major events are orchestrated.

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