Words: Ian KirkpatrickPhotos: ckoOnce again, it’s Ian Kirkpatrick , your faithful NS wordsman for CO. True to style, I had a hard time keeping up with these damn jams.As has been reiterated since the YGO was announced, this contest was not supposed to be a showdown of who could throw the best cab 10s. With judges like Austin Ramaley, Iannick B. and event founder Mike Nick, this series should be a showdown of the steeze. Mr. Nick set this out from the rider’s meaning in the morning, “Keep it clean, keep it smooth, keep it stylie.” Regardless, there was some dissent initially between the competitors about using the middle jump line at Copper. 15 to 25 to 30 (-ish) foot jumps definitely aren’t what regulars in the U.S. Open are used to but they allowed for a good retainer on the hucking. Line founder Jason Levinthal (you know that!) had another good point, “This is a big step for skiing in that we got a non-pro, skiing-only competition off the ground. If the rest of the stops go off and the resorts like what they see, maybe next year they’ll let us use the big line. Hats off to Copper for supporting an amateur contest.”Over the past few days, the first two hits proved a little hard in getting enough speed for clearance but the park crew here definitely pulled it off on event day giving the top two hits a little more mustard. A tailwind that stuck around most of the day also helped, especially on the second kicker. Winter Park skier Bobby Haupt was sticking this jump right on the tranny and even further, rocking cab spins with truck driver grabs that Sylvester Stalone would be proud of. For adding the female division only a couple weeks before the comp, the ladies field was stacked! If these girls are only the up-and-coming, it’s a further travesty that there still is no women’s skiing slopestyle in the X-Games. Kristi Johns, who ended up in third today, actually spun (and stuck it) both ways during her runs. Even the girls outside of the final three were stepping up. Current Park City resident and Idaho native (ahem, UGC WHAT?) threw fives off the bottom two hits. As the ladies winner, Whitney Wickes put it, “There are only so many girls who ski in the park but it seems like the best are out here today.” Her brother Andrew and fellow ATA ripper Matt Walker joked that her apparent edge today probably came from her usual riding buddies. “I don’t think she’s even seen another girl in the park much less rode with one until today. We just push her and get her adrenaline up.”Speaking of those Aspen-Snowmass ATA cats, this was their day. JIBIJ rider Matt Walker set down the winning run in the finals, beating out Alex Schlopy and Bobby Haupt, with a cork 3, rightside 5 and cab cork 7, capping off the run with a 270 off the bottom rails which gave all the riders problems today. Quick to give it up to his friends, Matt let me know about Andrew Wickes, arguably edged off the podium in a close race, and his progression through the day.“Earlier in the day, my (Wickes) rightside 5s were shaky but I got ‘em down. The day started to get a lot better.” Then the crew started to give props to their other ATA rider in the finals, Charlie Lasser who had learned cab right 7s just that day,  “But I crashed on a twister-spread-twister last hit.” Pretty soon, this new wave of Aspen talent started to sound like a kindergarten class before recess.Walker said he’s excited to see who he’ll be up against in the final throwdown. “The Quebec (Mont Avila) stop should be crazy. So many little kids out there who are just like, ‘Whoop, 450 on, pretzel off.’” This comp really was a great way to get younger kids out there. Even Bo Wells, brother of Joss and a New Zealand Armada team member made the trek across the Pacific. Bobby Haupt was able to step up his talent after learning truck drivers only a few days ago and that was only one of the progression stories from the pressure cooker of competitions. Right before the podium ceremony, Mike Nick capped off the whole day, “This comp was super hard to judge. You kids are as good as pros three years ago.” Results:Women1. Whitney Wickes2. Olivia  Akerley3. Kristi JohnsMen 1. Matt Walker2. Bobby Haupt3. Alex SchloppyWe'll have video of the entire event in the coming days but in the meantime you can check out the photos below to tide you over.

Scott's Jonny Atencio and Mike Nick welcome the competitors early Saturday morning.
 
Matt Walker celebrates with his new contract


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