Saturday, February 2, 2008

This Season in Snowboarding - Fashion, Tricks and Who's Hot

Did you catch the X Games snowboard comps on ESPN last week? Some pretty fantastic riding.
Top 3 in Men's Halfpipe were: 1.Shaun White, 2. Ryo Aono, a 17-year old amateur from Japan, and 3. Kevin Pearce, of Vermont who rides for Burton.

And we're still drooling over and dreaming of owning that Kevin Pearce NoPattern X Burton jacket with the psychedelic colors that was surely the fashion winner of the X Games. Or is this called the Burton Launch jacket? Everyone's asking about it on the 'net.

Speaking of fashion, we're also drooling over the Andy Warhol women's jacket by Burton with the different color faces and the "15 minutes of fame" motif. Also the red and black giant checked jacket seen on Kevin Pearce tonight in the Honda preliminaries and yellow and black version of same seen on handsome Burton Rep Brandon Halberstadt, one of the event coordinators of the Main Event Series in New England. Shaun White is bringing out a ladies line of snowboard fashions that should be fun and smart.

Fashion-wise, we have enjoyed wearing our most colorful Grenade Fiend Jacket with the Misfits pattern, Puffy Howitzer version for almost 2 seasons now, and we're thinking that the ideal solution to keep it fresh will be to find someone my size wearing an equally awesome jacket, who wants to switch for a season or 2. Is that person you? Size men's small will do it. Here's Danny Kass rockin' that pattern in its debut at the 2006 Grand Prix at Mountain Creek, NJ. But back to the competitions -

Men's X Game Slopestyle Top 3 were
1. Andreas Wiig
2. Kevin Pearce and 3.Shaun White, so 2 out of the top 3 winners in the 2 big men's contests overlapped. How's that for versatility of riding?

Women's Superpipe was taken by Gretchen Bleiler, who went HUGE and was jubilant to win in front of her hometown crowd. She gave a nice shout out to the rest of the girl pros on camera. Bleiler, currently appears on the cover of ESPN The Magazine and is the first female action sports athlete to do so. The remaining finishers in Women's Superpipe were: 2. Torah Bright, 3. Kelly Clark , 4. Hannah Teeter 5. Soko Yamaoka 6. Lizzy Beerman

The pro competition season is in full swing now. Next weekend are the Honda Sessions from Vail, and tonight I caught a preliminary round of it on Rush HD tv that I get throught my Optimim Online cable. That channel is devoted to 24 hour coverage of the kind of adrenaline sports that I would rather watch than do.

Chas Guldemond of Laconia, NH and Andreas Wiig of Oslo, Norway were battling it out at the top in the slopestyle. I've seen 1260s spun in both the X Games and Honda Sessions in the last week, so since it first broke out last season in comp, it looks like the 1260 is the new 1080. But frankly that last half turn has been done awfully close to the ground on a few that I saw. Hey it's gravity.

The slopestyle course I saw tonight for the Honda Sessions ends in a sick curved box/ rail that can be ridden on top or as a wall ride. The bottom of the course can be ridden 3 times !!! - down, up, down, on one run if the rider has enough speed; down to the curve, ricocheting back up to the wallride, and back down again. We're in for some good viewing next weekend fer shure!

Shout Out and Much Luck to these competitors in the Honda Sessions who have been featured in Tim Humphreys (see this blog 11.25.07), Yale Cousino, Charles Reid, Brandon Reis, Lucas Magoon, Chad Otterstrom, Keegan Valaika, Louie Vito, Mason Aguirre, and Scotty Lago (rhymes with Eggo.) Dustin Craven's on the list too. He was the winner of the Shakedown at Mount Saint Saveur in 2007. We are going to try to make it up to Montreal for the Shakedown this April 4 and 5. We hear it's a crazy mad time!

Women riders we know and have covered are: Jamie Anderson (she's been on fire for the last year competition wise.) Kimmy Fasani, Molly Aguirre, and Marie-France Roy, the only female member of the Rome Snowboard Team, who killed it in their flick "By Any Means." She's 23, from Whistler.

Check out the very nice neat profiles of the riders that Honda has posted. Women's profiles. Men's profiles. Lucas Magoon looks adorable in his snapshot.

Below are the results of the Burton European Open that ended in Laax, Switzerland on Jan. 18, 2008 so you can see who to watch for in the Honda Sessions next week.


1 / Mattila, Risto / Billabong, Flow, Giro, Kostum / FIN / (870.95)
2 / Finch, Andy / Palmer, Ripcurl / USA / (801.61)
3 / Pearce, Kevin / Burton Adio, Oakley, Volcom / USA / (800.98)
4 / Guldemond, Chas / DC Electric / USA / (743.60)
5 / Horgmo, Torstein / DC Oakley / NOR / (743.04)
6 / Aguirre, Mason / Burton Globe, Nixon, Smith / USA / (670.31)
7 / Podladtchikov, Iouri / Red Bull, Santa Cruz, Spy, Volcom / SUI / (667.10)
8 / Bang, Mikkel / Burton Analog, DVS, Red / NOR / (606.10)
9 / Humphreys, Tim / Flow Bolle, Sessions / USA / (602.87)
10 / Piiroinen, Peetu / Burton Anon, Battery / FIN (580.80)

1 / Anderson, Jamie / Billabong, Electric, Salomon / USA (769.08)
2 / Clark, Kelly / Burton Giro, Rvca / USA / (669.66)
3 / Bright, Torah / Roxy Boost Mobile, Milo / AUS (668.00)
4 / Jones, Jenny / Billabong Nixon, Oakley, Salomon / GBR / (644.33)
5 / Beerman, Elizabeth / DC Gnu / USA / (610.22)
6 / Candrian, Sina / Burton Anon, Red / SUI / (608.72)
7 / Haller, Ursina / Eleven, K2, Smith, Vans / SUI / (498.74)
8 / Fliri, Claudia / Billabong Voelkl Deeluxe, Pow / AUT / (490.88)
9 / Maas, Cheryl / Celtek, Electric, Nitro, Nixon, Volcom / NED / (433.11)
10 / Oestgaard Buaas, Kjersti / DC Roxy Oakley, Rossignol / NOR / (389.96)

Here's the official word from Vail about the Honda Sessions:


VAIL, Colorado—Three of the top snowboarders in the world will set their sights 100 miles to the east of last week's X Games as Andreas Wiig, Torstein Horgmo and Jamie Anderson prepare to drop in for the 2008, Honda Session, presented by GameStop, February 8-9 at Vail’s Golden Peak.

The Norwegian pair will come packing gold as Wiig, the defending Bud Light Slopestyle champ, claimed top honors in the X-Games Slopestyle event, while Horgmo out dueled American Kevin Pearce for the Big Air crown.

In addition to Wiig and Horgmo, the 2008 Honda Session, presented by GameStop field will also include Mason Aguirre, who just missed the SuperPipe medals with a fourth place finish, as well as top Slopestyle finishers Heikki Sorsa and Chas Guldemond.

Lake Tahoe’s Anderson, runner-up in Steel & Sky Rails last winter, will also have a golden glow when she returns to Vail, having captured top honors in Slopestyle. Other top female finishers from Winter X on hand will include Jenny Jones, Marie-France Roy and Lizzy Beerman, along with perennial favorite Molly Aguirre.

“When we made the decision to change the dates of the Honda Session to February it was to capitalize on the fact that more top U.S. and international riders were going to already be in Colorado,” explained Greg Johnson, director of competition. “With that extra month of hitting big jumps, these guys are going to be stoked to come to Vail and ride the best slopestyle course in the world.”

The 2008 Honda Session will kick off Friday evening, February 8, with Men’s and Ladies’ Steel & Sky Rails. Scheduled for a 6 p.m. start for ladies and a 7:15 p.m. men’s start, the Steel & Sky Rails course, created by Planet Snow Design, will once again provide the riders with a “skateboard park on snow”, allowing them to showcase their talents on a variety of rails and features.

Last year’s rails king Lucas Magoon will return to defend his title, while Anderson will be looking to ascend to the top step of the ladies podium. With prize money payouts every 15 minutes, the action is bound to be fast and furious in both one-hour sessions.

The big air artists will take flight on Saturday evening, February 9, beginning at 6:15 p.m. as a stellar field attempts to wrestle the Bud Light Slopestyle title away from Wiig. Characterized by four of the largest jumps in the sport, the Bud Light Slopestyle course will also incorporate the Steel & Sky rails venue, combining for a jaw-dropping evening of incredible tricks and huge air.

A year ago, both Guldemond and David Benedek landed 1260’s (three and a half rotations in the air) en route to silver and bronze medals respectively. The tricks marked the first time that a 1260 had been successfully performed in a North American slopestyle contest.

The action will come full circle on Sunday, February 10, as amateur riders get their chance to ride the Steel & Sky Rails at the Sunday Session public competition. Slated to get underway at 11 a.m., the Sunday Session competition is for advanced riders and requires a $20 entry fee, with all proceeds benefiting the Snowsports Outreach Society. Prizes include two Vail Resorts 2008-09 season passes and Salomon snowboards.

Beginner and intermediate riders can also take advantage of free clinics from Vail snowboard instructors, with a smaller rails setup in order for participants to get the feel for sliding.

As always, the Honda Base Camp will serve as the nerve center for all Honda Session pre and post competition activities, complete with a GameStop lounge, featuring a variety of gaming consoles, along with live music, a satellite television lounge, board waxing and food and beverages. The Honda Base Camp will open at noon on both Friday and Saturday, with a 10 a.m. opening set for Sunday.

The 2008 Honda Session, presented by GameStop is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation. For further information on the Honda Session, visit For additional information on the Vail Valley Foundation, visit