Words: Slope/Rail Jam - Jeff King, Big Air - Doug BishopPhotos: Jeff King, ckoVideo: Slow Ride FilmsSlopestyle is still the under-card during the Triple Challenge, but a new title sponsor in Telus and a french invasion could make it a legitimate under-card. Saturdays big air finals under the lights and in front of the crowd gets most of the attention but hopefully the traditional friday slopestyle can identify the best skier of the weekend, even if it's just to fellow athletes looking on... and to snowboard judges.Nevin Metzger on the DFD. The course set up was mellow enough to allow most everyone to hit all the features. Considering the wide variety of competitors, male and female pro and amateur, snowboard or two skinny snowboards. seemed to fit the course design motto. Competitors spun 450's off the wide flat rail and switched up on the down flat down box with a keen eye for keeping enough speed to get onto the butter pad step down jump. Set up tricks were all that feature allowed aside from the odd backflip by one crazed am division skier. You didnt want to loose speed for the nice lofty table and your first chance to score some air points before making the choice of which cheese wedge to hit for your final air.the bottom air was either large on the right or safe on the left. many competitors still chose safe and well executed over less deck, crazy many of the days best tricks were thrown down off this nicely shaped table.Max Hill mid switch 7 off the lofty side of the upper table. thats a nice high mute. Justin Meilleur, backwards backside spinny thing... the announcers taught me new tricks. Charles Grant is a Triple Challenge veteran and Blue Mountain local.Alex James has his own signature style on these cork 5'sThe slopestyle finalists included: Alex James, Max Hill, Charles Grant, Justin Meilleur, Matt Brindisi, Tom Goodal, David Bealeau, Dave Weale. The finals went down in a 2 run best score format. The level of riding was high given the level of experience and talent that made up the top 8 qualifiers but overall reserved as tricks were kept under a thousand degrees of rotation.rodeosand opposite mutes.... how civilized. but no one would stop you if you wanted to chuck something large for the judges.off the bottom kicker and over the village. Justin Meilleur, disguised as british in his red coat fell just short of victory.In the end, smooth skiing Dave Weale scored a sweet victory on home soil.Mens Pro Ski1. Dave Weale2. Justin Meilleur 3. Charles GrantMens Am Ski1. Mack Jones2. Tom Hubrecht3. Cameron MackayWomens Open Ski1. Gillian McIver2. Jessica Warll3. Reba McIverLater that evening, the pre drunken masses assembled for that thing after slopestyle but before the after party known as the rail jam. An invited list of skiers took on the typically large original creations that Blue Mountain is known for building. This years rail choices featured an ultra-wide slanted s-rail and a seriously chunky down flat down rail with definite attention payed to gapping possibilities. Making their first appearances of the day were Triple Challenge veterans Tom Dolozel and Andy Stewart, both previous rail jam winners. Tom and Andy were obviously feeling fresh from not competing in slopestyle and spent most of the night airing big 270's and 450's over the kinks, using every bit of strength just to hang on through the large impacts.the kink rail was cleaned numerous times with the traditional approach......and the other approach by Andy Stewartwhy light the rail from both sides? you've heard of global warming right?Nevin Metzger was in full view of the stadium lighting on the s-rail.Dave Weale trational slide.and the other approach. Don't forget to wax!Tom Dolozel soaring high in a 630 attempt late in the session.Rob Sheridan is the brains behind these rails. I'll tell ya' that guy could build anything! In true signature style he manages to put togehter with his elite ninja welders yet another massive creation. Tom DThe french invasion did not let up into the night. The two hour jam session did not produce a clear win for team Ontario or équipe Quebec. The french left their marks all the way down the kink rail with some smooth slides and 270's out, while Ontario left its mark in the form of a bomb hole at times. Make love not war after-all, how french. Newschoolers.com apologizes for not being able to come up with the official rail jam results, but really though isn't everyone a winner just for trying.Big AirBlue is kind enough to bring me in to build up the big air jump with their operations boys, and this year was no different. Dan Vigus, Adam Watson and I were tasked to build a jump that was at least 32' wide, and we managed to get it to 37' exactly. the jump was 58' on the left and 57' on the right lip to knuckle. It had a ton of kick, and put on a great show for the crowd. Some of the snowboarders were shaking in their boots, terrified of the massive booter, so Max Hill one of the skiers had to show them it was ok to have a little kick on a jump. Yep I sure am proud of this jump. She's a wide one!This shot gives you a better feel for how wide it is. I mean the JOI jump is damn good, but this thing isn't bad. The best part about the big air is the daytime qualifiers. Since it is a snowboarding heavy contest, there really aren't any skiers eliminated in qualifyers so its basically just a chance to session a huge jump with all your buddies and just enjoy a beautiful day. I had a blast riding with all the Snow Snakes - Max Hill, Alex James, Andrew McIver, Dan Kellar and Dave Bishop who sadly was not able to compete due to a messed up knee. We missed ya Dave! It was also great to see all the usual faces such as Andy Stewart, Dave Weale, T-Dizzle, Martin the frenchie, and a couple of boys down from my new hometown Avila showing us poor ontario boys how they do it up in Quebec. I like to pretend I'm a frenchie now, but yelling tabernac all the time doesn't really qualify me properly. The daytime is super loose and mellow. There's a starter up at the top of the inrun, and we have something like 3 or 4 hours to hit the jump. You just come into the top, wait for your turn and drop in. Max was holding it down with massive Zeros and Cab sev shifty, blunt and tip. Alex was busting sick cork 5's, but worked himself on a cork 9 attempt at the end of the day. McIver had his signature smooth style in lofty 5/sw 5/7 cab 7 all day long, and Dan Kellar was spinning left and right cork 3 like a champ. I know that Andy, Tom and the frenchies were spinning all kinds of madness off the jump, and Dave Weale had a great mixture of the two. Nobody ever makes it all the way to the end of the qualifying session, as its just so much time, but we all had a blast showing off to the crowd and practising for the nightime finals. Me Sitting at the top of the inrun in suit #2 of the trip. Check out the EC Headwear hat over the helmet... best use for them ever. I was loving the Giro G10 with the whole bluetooth phone/ipod setup... fucking wild I could actually call my girlfriend just before I dropped in and be like "watch this". Everyone looked at me weird though, because you couldn't tell that my helmet had a builtin mic so it looked like I was talking to myself. Justin Meilleur with some Smooth style... Hugo Peltier laying it down. Vive le Quebec Libre!Sweet mute grabs. Justin Meilleur ripping it up.Alex James with the wackiest cork 5 of all time. Gets right inverted, which makes it look sweet. Justin Meilleur getting higher on this mute...Max Hill and his signature shifty zero.Here you get a much better feeling for how big the jump really is. After the daytime, we all run home and get food. Alex and I decided to drop out of the night contest, as Alex was pretty beat up from his cork 9 to overshooting overrotating death, and I was just plain burnt out from 70.5 hours of work over 5 nights, plus trying to keep up with NS work. Maybe its really just sand in the vagina, but hey at least I had a pretty good excuse.The night finals are where the money goes down. The impressive crowd and overall production of the show was definitely top notch, and the athletes were in the zone to impress. I posted up somewhere beside the jump where I could see landings and get the whole picture, though I may have had 1 strongbow too many, as my recollection of the entire event is just a touch fuzzy. The was a myriad of different tricks thrown throught the evening. Half of the athletes were shooting for smooth style, and the other half technical fast spinning. I'm sure you all know which I prefer, but in the end it was the fast spinning that got the judges attention. Highlights of the evening for me were Max Hill's almost overshot cab shifty sev and his MASSIVE zero shifty that put a lid on the contest as last trick. Tom Dolozel was the only one to put down a successful cab 10, while Hugo Peltier laid down tricks from 5 up to 9 all with plenty of Quebec Style and great grabs. I really forget the guy in third, but he had the technical aspect on lockdown spinning all kinds of craziness. Andrew McIver had some of the smoothest style of the evening, and was going massive. Dave Weale killed it with plenty of beautiful Switch 7 japans, and Martin B held it down with the cab 5's all night long. Andy Stewart chucked technicality all over the place and everyone overall provided great entertainment for the crowd. Props to Dan Kellar too for manning up to that 5 that we were all chirping him to do all night long! Max Hill - 2 hands one ski. Andrew McIver laying down some deadly style.Max Hill giving shifty lessons.Hardly anyone agreed with the judges decisions in the end, as it was a battle of style versus technicality. However I guess in a contest its always technical prowess that wins out! Props to all the athletes for throwing down and providing a great big air show to watch. Of course afterwards there is the legendary Triple Challenge afterparty, Sponsored by Coors Light. The band playing was called DJ Champion, and you should check them out they're pretty cool. It was 4 gutiarists, 1 bassist and a guy playing two computers. The party raged late on into the evening, with all involved enjoying their fair share of coors light. There were even kind ladies walking around handing free ones out... how nice! Props to everyone at Blue Mountain that made this event happen, and we'll all look forwards to seeing you next year!Peace!