Words & photos by Dan Brown
The second stop, and first in the U.S., of the Salomon Jib Academy took place at Whaleback Mountain in New Hampshire under a dismally grey sky and at times, heavy rain fall. Weather aside, the event had its fair share of smiles, cheers and an all out high level of rider stoke that this annual shindig has become known for. In it's fifth year, the Salomon Jib Academy is a slopestyle event for the 16 & under crowd, with five stops in North America this year, that teams up aspiring young athletes with Salomon's pros for a one-day event where participants spend the morning sessioning the features of the participating resorts with pros. Following a hardy lunch provided with registration, which is free of charge, a rider judged finals are held where one lucky boy and girl will wind up with a trip to the Jib Academy finals in Mammoth.
With all the fun to be had, it's no wonder why the jib scene was out in force for Sunday's event, despite the Tall Tee soaking rain. Whaleback, who counts two time mogul skiing Olympian Evan Dybvig among its list of owners, had setup an amazing array of features the previous days before the event (see their Facebook page for photos) but apparently due to the weather, most of the participants stuck to the base area of the Enfield, New Hampshire resort to session a decent sized jump, a plethora of smaller rails and their signature stair set feature, "The Jib Port," all of which provided an ample amount of rail trickery and smooth airs.
Evan Dybvig shares a few of the upcoming events at Whaleback during lunch.
Jennny Naftulin, aka The Salomom.
The first half of the day was, as mentioned, devoted to skiing in groups with Salomon's athletes, who's list included the following...
...and the doctor in training, John Symms, who in this photo examines the mathematical and statistical equivocal nature of a skier's trajectory while performing a vertical 180º rotation. Wait, er, what?
Fellow Newschoolers photographer turned Stept videographer Matt Stauble was also on hand. Check out his photos from the day on Salomon's Facebook page.
Throughout the day, young skiers teamed up with the seasoned vets to soak in as much of the aforementioned pros sagely experience, and in return, the pros on hand got to share in the younger kids’ enthusiasm and knack for afterbangs and heavy heads. It should be mentioned that Zeke Tocci, 12, and Oliver Clay-Storm, 10, really shined at the latter, and would later claim "SaloMom" Jenny Naftulin's Heavy Head award!
A young ripper gets his shred on one of the many features, complete in next year's line of plastic bags.
After a couple hours of shredding, the event broke for lunch, which was again, provided free of charge and consisted of every youth's staple meal of choice: Pizza & Soda. (and the cheese & pepperoni pizza was delightfully paired with a vintage Cholula Hot Sauce). While the riders filled their bellies and dried their outwear on every available coat hook, Jenny Naftulin and Tommy Ellingson took stock of the earlier on making the selection of riders for finals.
Keri Herman, John Symms and Leland Broadhurst.
Keri Herman chats with the ladies over pizza.
With lunch completed, everyone headed back outside for the list of riders making their way to finals to be announced. Gathering under the loan Salomon Tent for a respite from the rain, the 70 or so skiers crowded together to listen once again to Jenny Naftulin explain the premise of the finals (rider judged) and welcome the four women and eight men who would be participating.
Jenny Naftulin announces the finalists.
With the announcement, the finalists began hiking to the trail above the jump as the remaining riders crowded its deck to watch the shenanigans unfold. Announcing the finals was Nick Martini, who shared the mic with former Newschoolers contributor and now Associate Editor of Powder Magazine, Michael Rogge. The finals consisted of two events, a big air taking place adjacent to the Jib Port where the rail jam would occur. In the big air portion, finalists had three hits to make an impression on their crowd of peers. Highlights included a strong performance by Big Boulder, Pennsylvania native Jackie Kling, 16. Kling, who's early season included second place at Killington's Rails to Riches, proved that she not only had a quiver of rail tricks, but could send it alongside the boys, garnering praise from both Rogge and Martini, who commented that her rodeo 5 could seat her among some of today's women's X Games competitors.
Jackie Kling, mid-front flip.
Julia Krass whips her hair...er, goggles back and forth.
After the completion of the big air, competitors moved to the stair set where they had 20 minutes to strut their stuff on Whalebacks' "Jib Port" which consisted of an assortment of down boxes, a u-rail, and a flat-down box. Kling again showed a strong prowess here as well with switch-ups and 270’s on and off. Among the men, Tyler Duncan and Casey Arnold, who had an equally strong performance in the big air, launched into a barrage of spins on and off the stair set.
When the clock was up, all the competitors were allowed back onto the course to compete in an open jam format, with a $300 prize going to the one whom could best the rest of the pack. And after that was all said and done, the entire water logged crowd moved back inside for an autograph signing and votes were tallied for the two who would move on to the finals in Mammoth. After a small amount of time to tabulate and allow everyone a chance to grab a poster and autographs from the pro athletes, the winners were announced.
Nick Martini jots down his John Hancock for a group of Jib Academy attendees.
Michael Clarke, pro videographer and skier, has professional signatures too.
For the Open Rail Jam, taking second place for men & women were Luke Brown and Julia Krass, and in first, and $300 heavier in the wallet, were Jackie Kling for the women, and Casey Arnold for the men.
Luke Brown and Casey Arnold, top competitors in the Open Rail Jam, cheese it up with Nick Martini and Michael Clarke for the crowd and attending media.
Moving on to the over Jib Academy winners, in third, and taking home a pair of Salomon bindings were Jess Breda for the women and Colin Delaney for the men, while in second, and awarded a pair of skis, were Bryce Quiqley for the men and Julia Krass for then women.
3rd place finisher Jess Breda and Keri Herman.
In first, and boarding a plane in May to the Jib Academy Finals in Mammoth, California, were Jackie Kling for the women, Tyler Duncan for the men.
Your Whaleback Jib Academy Champs, Tyler Duncan and Jackie Kling joined by Nick Martini, Michael Clarke & Keri Herman.
1) Tyler Duncan - trip to Mammoth
2) Bryce Quigley - Salomon skis
3) Colin Delaney - Salomon bindings
1) Jackie Kling - trip to Mammoth
2) Julia Krass - Salomon skis
3) Jess Breda - Salomon bindings
1) Casey Arnold - $300
2) Luke Brown
1) Jackie Kling - $300
2) Julia Krass
See you at the next Jib Academy stop!