Words and photos by Rom Marcucci
Cash, Rules, Everything, Around, Me
Get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y'all
Perhaps Method Man said it best. With the U.S. economy, corporate finance and credit departments in the rubble, several longtime sponsors of Icer Air pulled out just weeks before the event. No cream means no stadium, no Blackstar, and no enormous scaffolding jump. Rumors circulated wildly in the days coming into the event as to how it would all go down. And as Saturday finally dawned, the mood amongst some early risers was dour at best.
This was the landing for a good part of the morning
Upon arrival at the venue, virtually everyone in attendance surveyed the catapult mechanism and asphalt covered landing with skepticism. Several competitors, including Oscar Sherlin and Jacob Wester, had flown halfway around the world to be greeted by this. Practice was delayed for about three hours due to snow difficulties. Tensions ran high amongst the athletes. Attitudes varied from curious to utterly pissed.
Sammy and T-Rains
Jacob and Colby
A last truck of snow finally arrived and super coaches Mike Hanley and Trennon Paynter quickly shoveled out a feasible landing. As the pros looked on in disbelief, local ripper Sean Hartel and an unknown Bear Valley skier guineaed the hip. The catapult worked and practice was on.
Step 1: Stare and wonder how this thing works
Step 2: Colby West grabs on tight and receives instructions
Step 3: get launched violently toward the jump
Take a moment to envision the difficulties here: This was everyone’s first day of the ski season. The runway was bumpy, short, four feet wide, and melting quickly. The landing was often completely bombed out and extremely small. The hip was right sided – a disadvantage for all competitors except rightside spinners Jacob Wester and Tim Russell. On top of all this, the skiers had to step up, straddle a foot tall steel beam, and were yanked from zero to 60mph in about two seconds. That’s twice the acceleration Jon feels in his Lamborghini.
One of the many challenges: the bombholed landing gets a tune up
Tanner Rainville’s tail grabs set the standard
After practice, the majority of competitors agreed to a new format. As time and snow were running thin, skiers and snowboarders ran together, best trick in each division winning five grand. Everyone else split the remainder of the purse, about $2000 each.
Sammy and the City
Colby Albino takes a rodeo 5 deep
Once the athlete meeting was over and things got under way, the trick floodgates opened. Though many competitors had trouble with the landing, everyone overcame the difficulties, risked their bodies and seasons, and put on a fabulous show. Bobby Brown tried doubles, Sammy threw his trademark rodeo 7’s, Tim Russell put down some smooth spins, Colby West floated some stylish 180’s, and Colby Albino took his rodeo 5’s super deep, almost landing in the parking lot. Ultimately, recent Freestyle.ch winner Jacob Wester was unbeatable. His gorgeous right 10 tail, grabbed the whole way through and stomped, was the trick of the day. The upcoming season holds high hopes for the young Swede.
Jacob’s winning trick
Despite all the challenges, all the athletes performed admirably. They signed autographs, mingled with the fans, and entertained the crowd during the long breaks. The boys made the best of a mediocre situation, and proved to be the professionals that they truly are.