Words: Ethan Stone
Every spring for the last four years, skiers have journeyed from far and wide to Mt. Hood, Oregon, for the West Coast Session. It is a time of late-season snow flurries and sunny park days as 35 skiers, videographers and photographers from diverse backgrounds converge for a four-day shoot, the products of which are on display here.
At the West Coast Session we try to carry on the spirit of now-defunct park shoots like Freeze magazine's Parkasaurus and the Powder magazine Superparks, where hungry up-and-comers got a chance to prove their skills alongside seasoned professionals. In addition to the "Superpark" concept, we also integrate a public jam session, where anyone and everyone can come and ride the same park features with the invited riders. And perhaps best of all, we are committed to releasing all of the photos and videos from our shoot right here online for everyone's enjoyment.
Thanks to the generosity of our event sponsor Amplid and our incredible hosts, Timberline and Windells Camp, WCS has grown into a ski session with a flavor all its own, and the fourth installment was bigger and better than ever. This was our West Coast Session - enjoy!
Max Peters. photo: Rocky Maloney
This year's shoot crew included WCS regulars like Max and Tosh Peters, McRae Williams, Witt Foster, Tyler Barnes, John Kutcher, Alex Martini and Steve Stepp. There was also a welcome return for guys like JP Solberg, Garrett Russell and Adam Battersby, who had missed the last few Sessions. But as usual, the show got stolen by some incredible skiers we hadn't seen at WCS before: Joss Christensen, Will Berman, Nick Goepper, Erik Hughes, Nick Miles, Lyman Currier, Dylan Ferguson, Charlie Lasser, Tim Gage, Erik Olson and others. Even reputable pro skier Kyler Cooley made an appearance!
Tyler Barnes. photo: Stone
The immaculately-maintained terrain parks at Timberline are the perfect match for our event. Perhaps the best thing about Timberline parks (besides that they're open nine months of the year) is that they always flow so smoothly from top to bottom. It's really hard to drop in to the first jump and not just keep rolling all the way through.
Adam Battersby. photo: Maloney
John Kutcher. photo: Maloney
Nick Miles. photo: Maloney
Garrett Russell. photo: Stone
Sean Jordan 270 on, pretzel 450 off. sequence: Maloney
Steve Stepp, switch 5 high safety. photo: Maloney
Tim Gage. photo: Maloney
Charlie Lasser. photo: Maloney
Lasser. photo: Maloney
Lasser 540 over the barrel. sequence: Maloney
Collin Collins. photo: Maloney
Ben Moxham. photo: Stone
Jeff Kiesel. photo: Maloney
JP Solberg. photo: Maloney
Brady Perron. photo: Maloney
Hennie VJ, filmer and editor for the daily WCS4 edits.
You can thank our dedicated West Coast Session cameramen for all of this free content. Through their lenses and imaginations, all the action at the Session is preserved in captivating photos and videos. This year's media crew included Rocky Maloney from Park City, Vermont-to-Mt. Hood transplant Drew Smalley, and videographers extraordinaire Hennie Van Jaarsveld and Paul Braunstein. We even lured online-edit guru Duncan Lake of Junction 133 Productions away from Snowboard Superpark in Mammoth to come film WCS for a second year.
In addition to all the features in Timberline's medium and large park runs, we also sessioned a gnarly box gap and a huge booter built by Timberline's Logan Stewart.
Will Berman slays the box gap. sequence: Maloney
Brian Spere. photo: Stone
Joey Vandermeer. photo: Stone
Our international representation included Amplid rider Pako Benguerel and friends, who traveled all the way from Spain to check out WCS and the Orage Masters in Whistler. At the ripe old age of 30 Pako was the most seasoned rider on the invite list, but his clean bio 9s and 10s over the big jump were solid proof that age is just a number.
Pako Benguerel, viva la bio 900! photo: Stone
Ty Barnes, lofty switch 5. photo: Ben Krause
Barnes cork 3. photo: Maloney
Some of the students from Windells Academy came out to join the session, and quickly demonstrated that Tim Windell's vision of guiding world-class talent at a full-time ski academy at Windells Camp has become a reality. Keep an eye on these kids, and start making plans to send your own to Windells.
Nick Goepper. photo: Maloney
Lyman Currier double cork. sequence: Maloney
Tim Gage cork 7. sequence: Maloney
Dylan Ferguson somewhere between back full 180 and D-spin 900 shifty. sequence: Maloney
Before the curtains closed on the West Coast Session for another year, we logged an amazing sunset shoot on the big jump that sealed the deal for anyone wondering if this WCS wasn't, in fact, the best one yet.
Loading up for the sunset shoot. photo: Drew Smalley
A snowcat tow line is a very convenient way of pulling riders to the top of a jump, while making even the steeziest crew look like a first grade class crossing the street together. photo: Malczyk
McRae Williams cork 720 nose. sequence: Maloney
Joss Christensen. photo: Malczyk
Charlie Lasser switch 5 dub nose. photo: Maloney
Nick Miles flat 360. photo: Smalley
Token snowboarder Matt Guest. photo: Stone
Joss Christensen switch 9. photo: Smalley
Steve Stepp switch 9. photo: Smalley
Tyler Barnes, rightside cork 7. photo: Smalley
Kyler Cooley. photo: Smalley
Park City photographer extraordinaire Rocky Maloney, WCS organizer Brandon Pastucka, and Sean Harkins from Windells Camp. photo: Malczyk
Hennie VJ getting the shot. photo: Malczyk
Nick Goepper's cork 5 blunt complements Josh Malczyk's masterful theft of Drew Smalley's flash. photo: Malczyk
Nick Miles 720 blunt. photo: Smalley
John Kutcher. photo: Smalley
Since there's no competition or prize money involved in the West Coast Session, each year we honor a few of our invited skiers with awards in different categories. The awardees this year were chosen on Saturday night at the Roadhouse at Windells, town-hall style, with the whole crew in attendance.
MVPs: Tim McChesney & McRae Williams
Rodeo 12's. Right rodeo 9's. Switch dubs. Grabs on lock. Landings stomped. Steeze immaculate. When the dust cleared, everyone agreed to a tie for MVP between McCheese and McRaw, the most consistent and most on-point skiers at the Session.
McChesney. photo: Maloney
McChesney with a baller switch 5. sequence: Maloney
McRae Williams, switch double cork 1080 mute. sequence: Maloney
McRae, right rodeo 9. sequence: Maloney
Rookie: Dylan Ferguson
Although you may not have heard of him before now, Dylan Ferguson is actually the most high-profile skier to attend this year's Session. Dylan is currently the second-ranked aerialist on the US Ski Team, and was set to compete at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver when unexpected complications from an appendix removal forced him to withdraw just weeks before the opening ceremonies.
Dylan may not have gotten to compete in Vancouver, but he got himself voted Rookie of WCS4 by blowing our minds with aerials-style tricks over the big booter and preposterous butter tricks that you'll have to see the 4bi9 movie to believe. His performance showed that Dylan is truly one of the most versatile skiers alive, with a bright future in the park scene as well as in aerials. That's almost as good as Olympic gold, right?
Shifty over the barrel. photo: Stone
Back full. photo: Maloney
Lay full. sequence: Maloney
Repeat Offenders: Tosh & Max Peters
The "Repeat Offender" award recognizes a skier who has already been to WCS one or more times, and whose repeat performance really stands out. The Peters brothers are two of only a very few riders to have attended every single West Coast Session, and have quietly murdered at every one. Always letting their skiing do the talking, Max & Tosh are in need of a shout-out as this year's Repeat Offenders.
Tosh, forward cork 10 blunt. sequence: Maloney
Max styling out an underflippy 5 tail. photo: Stone
Tosh. photo: Maloney
Max. photo: Maloney
Tosh, switch 5 double mute. photo: Maloney
Best Trick: McRae Williams, switch double cork 1080 blunt grab
Runner-up: Will Berman, back 450 off the up-flat box gap
Park City-based Amplid skier McRae Williams won last year's "Best Trick" category with the only double flip (a switch double cork 1080) on our daunting 100-foot booter. A lot more dubs were thrown down on this year's jump, but McRae's polished switch dub 10, capped off with a blunt grab held for over a full flip, was the unanimous choice for Best Trick honors for another year.
Gypsy Trick: Kyler Cooley, 360 hand drag
Because not all hand drag tricks are "gypsy", some explanation is necessary. The lip on this hefty bonk feature launched most riders well over the top of the barrel, and it took some serious skill to even get skis within tapping distance. Kyler used mysterious gypsy magic to get hands-on with this cork 360, earning himself the award for Gypsy Trick of WCS4. John Kutcher was a close second with his taps on the donkey rail (watch them in the Paul Braunstein edit).
King Meat: Joss Christensen
"King Meat" is another category that requires some explanation. If you zero the whole jump line to the bottom, you might be a meat. If you attempt to flip-up a trap rail, you might be a meat. If you can be counted on to consistently one-up yourself, you might be a meat. While Joss Christensen might not fit all definitions of a meathead, he most definitely embodied the meat characteristic of consistently throwing down harder than anyone else during WCS4, and for that he's the King Meat.
Tweaked 540 mute. photo: Maloney
Switch double cork 1080. sequence: Stone
Rodeo 7 mute at sunset. sequence: Maloney
The Question Mark: Alex Martini
Runners-up: Garrett Russell, Ben Moxham
When the WCS crew met on Saturday night to vote on these awards, the categories included one labeled simply with a question mark, with the added prompt, "put a name." The Question Mark could be anyone: someone whose performance merited recognition, someone whose idiosyncrasies simply couldn't be ignored. But it isn't someone, it is one man - The Question Mark is Alex Martini, who waited until the last minutes of the last shoot, at sunset, to come out with all guns blazing.
captivating sunscreen portrait: Stone
Cork 7 blunt. photo: Stone
Same trick, better shot. photo: Smalley
All Day Syndrome: Sean Jordan
This category honors the guy who could be relied on to be producing bangers every hit, every run, all day long. Who else but Sean Jordan?
Right 9. photo: Stone
Cork 7 blunt. photo: Stone
Tweaked switch 5 mute. sequence: Maloney
That wraps it up for another year. We hope you've enjoyed all of our photos and videos - it's your stoke about seeing our coverage that makes this event worthwhile. From everyone at the West Coast Session, thanks for watching, and see you next year!
And thanks to our amazing sponsors:
Peter Bauer, Brandon Pastucka
Brian Reed, Jenny Johnson, Logan Stewart, Kyle Bradley and the park groomers, Travis Banks and the park crew.
Tim Windell, Sean Harkins, Mike Hanley
Also, a big thanks to Dave Smith, Ryan Beebe and Krysta Pelchar from Hillcrest Ski & Sports for providing free hot dogs off the grill and product giveaways during the public session on Saturday, May 8th.
West Coast Session 4 short by Duncan Lake/Junction 133 Productions
West Coast Session 4 short by Paul Braunstein
The Hood Crew WCS4 edit by Nick Young