Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Southern VT Series Wraps and Rolls right into USOPEN 2012

Kiersten E. has gotten pretty comfy in blue and gold.
 We are in the midst of the season's busiest two weeks here in Vermont and SMS Snowboarders are showing up strong at every venue so far in the Double Whammy of week one. This past weekend began with The USASA, Southern Vermont Series final weekend at the Carinthia Parks at Mount Snow. They rode Slope on Saturday and HP on Sunday. The Saturday am slope heat rode in some tougher weather and light but the afternoon was perfect. Last week's snowstorm "coupled" with the 30-40 ft jump line that followed the down-up box-rail and down tube or flat box to down box option provided an optimal opportunity to showcase the skills of the series' regulars. Slope results include age group winners Kiersten Edwards, Julia Marino, Xander Raith and Dan Landy. I definitely enjoyed seeing Tyroa Tait's Method and Julia Marino's stomped back flip. And it was nice to see Maverick Shaw back throwing a cab five to 360 combo in the fog. However, my Performer of the Day has to be Dan Landy. Dan has more total career SVSS starts than anyone competing this season and his slick rails over switch back five and front seven were The Legit Claim to the top of the podium. Congrats Panda. Strong Work. And Thanks.
Does this make me look PHAT! Julia Marino.

The Danimal Has Arrived

JP, Slobbing it up. (Slob Air).
Sunday's Halfpipe event was in sweet sunshine all day. The pipe was less vert,  and more "laid back" than it has been all winter. Again a recipe for sickness.  Kiersten and Xander took double golds, Noelle Edwards and Karen Kobayashi added two more. Marian followed up in second behind Karen and Julia was the runner up to Noelle while both JP Mcardle and Chip Linton took bronzes from the pipe day final. Rakai landed his first front sevens! I know I'm missing results but I didn't have time to stick around for awards sunday.

As soon as the riding was done I was into my car catching up to JP and Xander over at THE USOPEN of Snowboarding over at Stratton Mountain's Sun Bowl Supertrail. They checked in, bibbed up and I caught up for practice. We immediately hooked up with Ian and the Elite Team. They had been there all morning and their feedback on the large jumps was ideal. For the young "Ams" having competed for two days already to come up and get adjusted to the world class slope course was a full challenge. Ezra and Phoebe were getting pretty playful already and Biba and Quincy getting the hang. JP and Xander handled the task with the respectful mix of caution and commitment. Biggest jumps of the year and these guys were easy to work with. All business. This first day of US open slope training happens every year and has often been the scariest day of coaching each year. Not so with this crew.
Two shots in ten seconds with Rakai...

...That's a Double Whammy
 Unfortunately Phoebe was feeling too comfortable after the monster jumps of Mammoth last week and sent a spin off balance onto the long deck of jump two. Pheobe's been riding hard all year but didn't get the chance for US Open glory after that jump and has to rest the knee for a bit. Bye evening time JP had decided he had had enough of the course as well. He had overshot pretty deeply late in the practice and knowing he has missed time due to injury already this year he made a wise call to save himself for the season's last Rev Tour next week and the USASA Nationals fast approaching. So splitting time with Mav in pipe practice the next day while Xander warmed up to compete in slope prequal's the business continued. Maverick landed safely his first try at cripp seven in the giant walls and then continued to make it more aggressive and stomped it through the day. Xander was just getting some pipe acclimatization while focusing hard on the large slope course. In the 75 minute practice he made two straight air runs keeping the rails safe and then did a beautiful front three to back three and was ready to get upside dizzy on the next run. I had stayed in communication with the starter and "knew" we had two or three runs left...well until as is often the case the practice was closed up by an injury and the perfect practice progression was dead ended. The jumps are big and lifty. The airs are twenty feet over the deck when headed to the sweet spot. Xander had not gone upside down yet but was ready so he stuck with the plan and I backed him 100%. So first run was a sweet lipslide to a nearly perfect front five underflip but he caught some knuckle and while keeping his feet could not line up well enough for more than a straight air on jump two. He slid the rainbow and flipped off the cannon but he would need clean radical lines to acheive his goals. Undaunted he sent it again and was again very solid through the spin and flip but not practiced enough at landing this on to the steep landing from so high up he reverted around after fining his feet and had to take his USOPEN slope experience to the bank for saving. Strong effort. Well worth the day. Ezra in the meantime had found his groove and enjoyed the course all day by virtue of qualifying for round two. I didnt get to see his always dazzling "railnastics" but his front-five to cab-nine and then second run of front-five to cab-ten was good enough to make the cut by three or four spots. The afternoon heat saw recent SMS graduates and recent student, Randall Stacey, Hunter Wood and Chris Tierney roll through the prequal's for the second straight year. I believe its three times for Hunter but anyway they joined Ezra and the prequalified already slayer Eric Beauchemin in the next round.
The next morning was blowing hard and ten degrees when I loaded the chair at 7:45. By 8 the wind had settled at the pipe and the sun was shining. I like a spring day on cornsnow as much as most but when its thirty five and sunny the snow quality stays fast and firm and its my favorite condition. Lucky for Maverick and Xander they like it too and the pipe was top notch. Practice went well with both athletes getting all of their intended tricks in. Maverick landed his first run of slob to method to front cripp seven to cab three to front five to a final backside air. Clean and relieving for any competitor. Xander first run of Method to crippler to Mctwist...ran into trouble when the cripp was just too slowly flipped. He landed it but it was not ideal for the McSetup. Second Run Mav took out one straight air and added a backside five to the last hit and stomped it all. With his own internal pressure building in his first USopen after the Jr Jam Xander held it down with the method to crippler,  mctwist,  front five tail, backside air to font three. He was headed for an alley oop rodeo but wisely called it off running out of wall at the end. Both Young men shredded. I was and am stoked as a rider, honored as a coach to be able to roll up with such cool and hardworking athletes representing SMS. I did blow it with the lack of HP Shots but was filming the runs and will snap one out of Maverick's crip seven or one of his other clean as ever moves when I get the footage loaded...Congrats to Ezra Racine on a great season. I'm guessing Ian will have a nice series of stories to tell or a video of the action soon here.
 Biba Turnbull did the best stale fish of the entire USOPEN out there on the slope course. She will be back again next year and probably in the next blog...could go on all night but Im two days behind already.

EZ five.
EZ Front Board

Rider X. Xander Raith.

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