Words & photos by Pippin Lee
Sure Ontario may not be able to claim pillow lines, or backcountry cliffs, but this past Saturday at Mount St. Louis Moonstone, it was shown that we hold down one of the finest parks in east.
In a province where the highest ski hill’s vertical tallies to a whopping 229 meters, park rats are a dime a dozen. So when Newschoolers announced along with Salomon and Smith that they would be holding a gathering and event of epic proportions, well word definitely went around and as some fellow snowboarder’s stated on the chair ride up, “this freeskiing shit is blowing up.”
In typical east coast fashion the clouds rolled in to start off the day, and stayed for the party, but people’s spirits were high as the park staff of the prestigious Outback had set up a superb jump-line, one to compete with the best in the east.
The event format was simple, qualify for the head to head competition, and then as long as you throw down harder than your competitor in each round you kept on moving on. In the finals the skier who won a final battle of 2 out of 3 rounds would claim top spot. Judging this unique event was Newschoolers' very own Doug Bishop who came back to his home province just to be at the event, along with the famous NS interns, Jimmy Kerr and Malcolm Arcand.
Speed was for the most part prime, and jumps had been shaped up the night before to give a little extra needed boost. With 58 skiers registered to compete, the stage was set, and skiers were anxious to get going.
A small channel gap jump started the line off, which lead into a 51’footer with two alternative small side take offs, which lead to a large 56’ footer and then to a final 45 foot table top which saw a few major casings on the knuckle. As well there was a rail section just to the left of the jump line, although it saw very little use throughout competition with such a prime jump line ready to hit. There was also a very popular tear-drop rail which saw much trickery on, and off.
In qualifying it seemed a clean run with a 540 would be enough to qualify into the head to head competition. Once through qualifiers though the competition got interesting, and style was separated from hucks. As the group of 32 skiers was narrowed to 16, then 8 and then to 4 it was apparent that to win it, someone would have to step up and pull some new tricks from their bag. The locals were completely at home, dominating with all top 4 spot. The semi-finals saw Sandy Boville go up against Jamieson Irvine, and Ahren Stein take Jay Maitland.
Jay ended falling on what looked to be an attempted switch scremin-seamen, which meant Ahren was onto the finals. The battle between Jamieson and Sandy made judging who would move onto the finals a very difficult decision with Sandy being consistent throughout the competition, throwing switch rodeos, switch 10 and a cork 9 tail.
But Doug Bishop stood on his belief that style was almighty and important which put Jamieson through to the final against Ahren in a best of three runs battle. Ahren having age and experience on his side threw solid 7’s and switch 9’s and rodeo’ing the big 56’ footer in his runs.
I think fellow local skier Kelly Gallacher said it best when he said, “Jamieson Irvine shows that you can be in the 8th grade and still be quite good at skiing” and Jamieson did just that. He threw cork 7’s, switch cork 7’s with tail grabs and his ever so stylish switch cork 9’s, which claimed him first place.
On the Women’s side of things, although there were only 8 women competing, they brought their game. Denise Jaworski (AKA: D JAH) came first throwing steezy 3’s, with Melanie Mitchener (AKA: team go to girl) coming a close second with smooth sailing switch 1’s and clean 3’s.
After the skiing was done, everyone gathered down by the bottom for prizes to be handed out. Salomon and Smith also had tones of extra swag sitting around to throw out to an eager crowd, which include a pair of Suspects.
The day really wasn’t about who got what though, as everybody, whether they were throwing daffies or double spread eagles, was out there enjoying a typical day on the east coast.