Tuck Kneeeeeeeeeeeee! Photo: Jesse Anderson
If you happened to be a pro snowboarder or skier at Park City Mountain Resort on March 6, then it was your unlucky day as the best unknowns from around the valley were standing by to take you down in the second annual SLUG Games Beat the Pro, presented by Scion and Yudu. When I arrived at PCMR three hours before any normal person even thinks about waking up on a Saturday morning, I laid eyes on the glorious Pick n’Shovel terrain park where this prestigious event was being held. It consisted of an upper jib section with a bonk, handrail and a flatbox. It then led to four progressively larger jumps separated by two gi- gantic pole-jam-style boxes, and ended with some kinked handrails, a wall ride and a log stall. Pro riders, such as skier Tim Russell, and snowboarders Alice Gong, Nate Sheehan and Aaron Biittner all showed up to grace
us with their presence and to set the standard for which amateur riders were to be judged in the “crucible” round of the competition. Up for grabs for all competitors were some Signal snow- boards, a pair of Surface skis and poles, a one-year S4 Optics sponsorship, a Revolution Snowboards “Build a Board” certificate, YUDU personal screen printing machine, a handful of prize packs and the gold belt and silver and bronze medallions.
This year there were divisions for Men’s and Women’s Snow and Men’s Ski. The 17-and-under pro divisions were combined with the open divisions. They were all run at the same time in a jam format for the first round of the competition, which was judged as a regular slope-style comp. The judges then chose the top riders from each division to go on to the “Beat the Pro” round, where said pro did a line through the last three features, the last jump, the handrails and the wall ride, and each competitor attempted to match that same line. It was basically like a game of S-K-A-T-E at a skate park except on snow and they actually gave us permission to camp out with our friends in front of a feature people were trying to hit. The judging for this round was pretty straightforward. If a competitor didn’t complete a certain trick, they got a mark against them. The person with the fewest marks when time ran out got first place, the person with the second fewest marks got second place, and so on. The first round was set to start at 11 am, so naturally, at 11:15 everything was ready to go.
I was amazed at some of the tricks these skiers and riders were stomping even after riding PCMR for 12 years and seeing the kind of local talent that frequents this resort. Being up at the starting gate and looking down at the rest of the course, I was able to see how every rider was itching to prove that they belonged among the pros. For forty-five minutes, skiers and snowboarders took over the park with a mixture of big spins, buttery jibbing and good vibes. Snow- boarder Gabe McGovern dropped in first and stomped a backside 360 in the qualifiers. After that it was Beau Day who came to work with a floating back-side rodeo, one of the many thrown that day. Ryan Flaska, one of the riders who dominated the course for the first round, dropped in switch and landed bolts on a frontside 720 spinning off his toes. From the skiers’ side of things, Nicholas Consiglio went out on a limb for a 900-rodeo and a 270 on and off of the kinked handrail. Trevor Akimoto switched things up with a ront flip, and Aden Shaw, the outright youngest competi- tor of the day, wowed the crowd with an array of stylish tricks. The contest took its first bad turn of the day when Alice Gong, the pro assigned to the women’s division, took a blow to the head and ended up having to sit out of the final round. No girl pro meant there would be no final round for the girl riders, so the judges took the scores from round 1, and the girls placed on the podium accordingly. Third place for the women’s went to Hailee Mattingley, and her sister Taelor Mattingley took second, both win- ning their bronze and silver medallions and prize packs. Defending champion Wiki Jones came home with the gold belt, prize pack, YUDU screen printing machine and a Signal snowboard.
The qualifying round came to a halt after forty-five minutes, and the judges got together to decide which riders were going to make it into the final round. After deliberating with one another as hopeful riders took a few last practice runs, the judges passed their decision onto the MC and names from each division were announced over the loud- speakers for all to hear. Both joes and pros met up at the knuckle of the third jump as the final round was set to begin. First to drop was pro skier Tim Russell. He started things off with a 540-rodeo, then went into the left handrail with a 50-50 to 270 out, and finished with a hand-plant over the wall ride. After two runs, the podium for the skiers went as follows: Micah Bybee won third place and was awarded the bedazzled bronze medallion and a prize pack full of delightful product. Trevor Akimoto came home with the silver medallion and prize pack, and Nicholas Consiglio topped the skiers’ division and won himself the gold belt, a prize pack, and a pair of Surface skis and poles.
Snowboarder pros Nate Sheehan and Aaron Biittner were up next. Biittner, being the trooper that he is, decided to ride with an injury and kept it simple with a back-side 180, a 50-50 down the middle handrail, and a front board on the lip of the wall ride. After Biittner dropped, Sheehan raised the stakes with a 540-rodeo, cab-50, and a blunt stall. After two rounds of competition, the scores were tallied up and the winners were announced. In third place was Jordan Tramp and second place went to Ryan Flaska. Ryan, I forgive you for throwing your medallion away right in front of me after the award cer- emony was over. And finally, after some seriously technical spins and difficult jibbing, David Sylvain earned the gold belt, prize pack, a YUDU, Signal snowboard and S4 Optics sponsorship.
SLUG would like to throw out a big “thank you” to the PCMR Park Crew, our awesome crew of judges and all of our amazing sponsors. We couldn’t have done it without you: Scion and Yudu, Celtek, Discrete, Sports Den, Fun Hat, Salty Peaks, XSI Insurance, SnoDice, Revolution, Blindside, North Face Masters, Surface, DFP, Uprok, Annex Skate, Quiksilver, Signal Snowboards, FRESH, S4 Optics, Milo Sport, The Jibyard, One Love Ski & Snowboard Club and RAJA.