Ramblings: The DavePhotos: Brian ColesThe clock tells me I’m three hours deep into Sunday morning. Since Thursday at noon, I’ve amassed a grand total of five hours of sleep, putting me in the ideal state of mind to write to you about Lord of the Park 2006. Organized by a humble yet happy hobbit, Brian Coles, you thought I was going to cave to the pressure and make a grip of inane Tolkien references didn’t you. Yeah fucking right. I make hobbit movie references like you hunt packs of rabid wolverines in the nude. This year Lord Of The Park was scheduled to make a triumphant return from a hiatus due to last season’s apocalyptic lack of snowfall in the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, if it’s not God or Chuck Norris laying down some merciless wrath, it’s the government. Hemlock Valley Resort, the traditional home of Lord Of The Park, didn’t open at all this year. There were some legal troubles, some ownership issues, some stuff I don’t want to explain, and nothing you really care about anyways. Suffice to say; Lord Of The Park had no home. Is there anything sadder than an orphan? How about a penniless orphan. The event’s title sponsor decided to make it laundry day and pull out at essentially the last minute. There were murmurs that a lack of retail support at the event’s new venue, Manning Park Resort, was one of the issues. Despite my delight in blaming corporations for everything that’s wrong with the world, once in awhile they actually make what appears to be a valid claim. Before today I had not skied Manning since I was knee high to a duck, but it didn’t take too long to realize that it’s in the middle of fucking nowhere, today subbing as the center of everywhere. Despite it’s remote location, and the ever present threat that with one wrong turn you’ll end up in Afghanistan, the entire crew at Manning deserves thanks and recognition for all the time and effort they put into making this event a success. Braving various challenges, 36 competitors and their entourages arrived from far and wide to have their dreams crushed by an illustrious panel of experienced judges. Now most contests inherently proceed by the same general guidelines. There are runs, tricks are thrown, some people get cut, the lucky few remain, and then someone leaves with the filthy lucre. I’m not going to bore you with the details. You’ve heard it all before. Just know this: The event was amazing, the vibe was rad, everyone enjoyed themselves, and the athletes were no bouquet of delicate flowers. Matt Francisty came out from Vancouver Island and shoveled for twelve hours the day before he competed. Women’s winner Maude “Tornado” Raymond likely tore her ACL in a freak collision right before finals began. She then proceeded to stomp her winning run, including a savage 5, first try. Men’s AM winner Mike Mertion broke his leg in early December, but was back like it never happened, and tossing balls out impressive switch 7’s. In the end Men’s Pro category came down to an epic battle between Charley Ager and Josh Stack, but after extensive debate and analysis amongst the judges, a fully deserving Ager narrowly edged out an also arguably deserving Stack for top spot. Heartfelt thanks to all the sponsors who made this possible, and everyone who made the effort to attend the event, we hope to see you all next year for LOTP3. Matt “Being full time sexy is hard work” Margetts, probably not as calm as he looks.You gotta diversify yo bonds: The Hand Shaped Tre Hit Money BooterAm category champion Mike Mertion mid switch 7. I have no idea who these guys are, consider them a testament to all the unknown soldiers slaying it left, right, and center all day.Jay Michelfelder eat your heart out.What happens when you take a picture and nobody cares?