Words by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Matt Stauble & Jeff Schmuck
Salomon Jib Academy Finals kicked off yesterday at Mammoth Mountain, California, and already the sunshine and smiles are a plenty.
The 12 winners of Salomon Jib Academy stops in the US, Canada, France, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Finland began their fun-filled week by descending into The Biggest Little City In The World, Reno, Nevada, from their respective worldwide haunts. From there, they were whisked away in a convoy of vans bound for the sunniest place to ski in North America (and perhaps the world), Mammoth Mountain, California.
Upon arrival at the comfortable confines of the Mammoth Mountain Inn, they were greeted by Salomon team members Bobby Brown, Alexi Godbout, James 'Woodsy' Woods, Vincent Gagnier, Thomas 'Toto' Krief, AJ Kemppainen, Matt Walker, Jamieson Irvine, Simon Ericson, Chris Rubens, and the Godfather of Freeskiing, Mike Douglas. After scarfing down a delicious dinner following a long day of travel, the wide-eyed Jib Academy Finalists hit the sheets early in eager anticipation for their first day on the hill, which many have already said is the biggest ski hill they've ever laid eyes on, let alone skis.
The next morning dawned bright and sunny as expected, and after allowing some time for the wind and icy to conditions to subside in the morning, the Jib Academy Finalists and Salomon team went all out, laying waste to the pristinely shaped and enjoyably slushy double jump line at the bottom of the Unbound Terrain Park, along with the platoon of rails up top.
Although no one got too off the richter on Day 1, highlights included inhumane grabs from Alexi Godbout, truck drivers galore from Vincent Gagnier, James 'Woodsy' Woods showing the rails who's BO$$, Robert Cutler Brown The Fourth (aka Bobby Brown) being really, really good at skiing, and Thomas 'Toto' Krief having to ski in casual wear and jeans after the airlines lost his bag...and looking damn good while doing it.
Alexi Godbout defying physics.
Vincent Gagnier...truck drivers all day.
No day of spring park skiing is complete without some good ol' fashioned backflips. James 'Woodsy' Woods.
Robert Cutler Brown The Fourth
Thomas 'Toto' Krief keeping it business casual...
But the biggest highlight by a country mile was watching the Jib Academy Finalists (Alphe Bourdeau, Lucas Brown, Tom Damiani, Simon Gingras, Emma Hogland, Frederick Iliano, Lauri Kivari, Max Moffatt, Johan Niemi, Christian Nummedal, Aleksi Patja and Dylan Sondrup) letting themselves loose on the park like caged animals released into the wild, all while bonding and forming what will likely be lifelong friendships.
Salomon Jib Academy Finals continues today with more shreddage in the Unbound Terrain Park followed by a private sunset shoot which is sure to go off, so stay tuned for more updates, and start making plans to attend a Salomon Jib Academy stop next winter.