Cover photo: Jake Dube

Well, fuck. When it comes down to it, what else is there to say about Steel City Showdown? The level of rail game on show was beyond comprehension as a stacked crew of pros and up and comers threw down at Seven Springs, in what was arguably the heaviest rail jam to date. Qualifying on Friday certainly hinted at what we were about to see but it wasn't until today's semi-finals that the real level of craziness, of both the setup and the athletes, became apparent.

Tom really outdid himself with this event, showing that entertainment can be done in a way that still prioritizes the riders. Adding extra time to the semi-finals jam to give everyone time to throw down, prize money for the top three from each qualifier heat and plenty of hits in the finals, all touches that show the difference when someone who gets it runs events.


The semi-finals were a trip, it's insane to see so many good skiers sessioning for more than an hour straight. Drew Ahlstrom, Jackson Karsteter & Tucker Fitzsimons set the early bar, Jackson with a switch 2 on misty out on the T-Wall bar, Drew with the disaster 4 on the gap to down, and Tucker with the back 3 swap transfer from flat to down. From then on I have so many notes it's kind of hard to turn this into a coherent article. Owen Ready was a standout, sending a crazy 540 swap over the pyramid to down and a gap 4p2 on the gap to down that saw some of the best tricks of the day. Alex Hall, Colby Stevenson, Mac Forehand, and Cody LaPlante all crushed it and cruised through to finals showing that 'comp skiers' (they aren't really but I'm grouping them that way for brevity, sorry guys) really are on another level when it comes to consistency. Up there with them were Cal Carson and Tucker Fitzsimons, with totally contrasting styles but similarly insane levels. Cal's switch on backslide blind 2 and backslide front 2 were insane. Shoutout to Noah Rodarte too for both having the kit of the day, and sending a screaming seaman disaster on the gap to down (and a sick frontslide blind 2 on the T-Wall rai) and Wyatt Dorman for losing a ski, skating back up the hill, and stomping a front swap p6 immediately afterward. Perhaps the standout of the semifinals, though, was Drew Ahlstrom. His lip 2 backslide on the dfd and massive 810 gap on were the highlights, earning him a ticket to finals.


Women's Finals:

Finals for the ladies ran at the same time as the men's semis and it was essentially a battle between three ladies; Marion Balsamo, Alex Juncaj, and Drew Hooker. Marion was the most consistent on the day, stomping 270s off pretty much all the features on the course, including a dope front 2 tailgrab. Alex Juncaj had probably the most technically difficult tricks of the day, her front swap on the huge dfd was trick of the bunch for me, although Drew Hooker went close with a switch on cont 4 and a back 4 on the drop rail. In the end, it was Marion who took the W for her multitude of stomps and it's rad to see her getting more recognition this season because she has some serious rail skills.


Women's Results:

1) Marion Balsamo

2) Drew Hooker

3) Alexa Juncaj


Full replay of Men's Semis/Womens' Final:


Men's Finals:

Men's finals saw the return of the Street League-inspired format from 2020. Each rider got 8 hits, scored from 0-100, with the best 3 scores counting towards the final total. And unsurprisingly it went OFF under the lights. Alex Hall took an early lead with a 94 for a switch 2 on to the flat, transfer to the dfd and pretz 4. Mac Forehand was the only one to bump him from that top spot, courtesy of heavy tricks on several features with an insane back 3 swap over the pyramid to down pretz 4 giving him the lead. Colby Stevenson took a heavy hit to the ribs trying a backslide back 3swap on the flat to dfd and somehow kept skiing. Owen Ready is a star of the future, with a heavy showing, highlighted by a 5 swap to forwards. It came down to the final run with A Hall and Mac in it for the win and Owen, Jackson Karsteter, and Tucker Fitzsimons gunning for third. Alex couldn't bump Mac, leaving him on top of the podium but last run of the day saw Tucker bump Owen off the podium with a final hit back 3 swap transfer (gap to dfd) continuing 270. The whole show was insane from all ten finalists, here are the (questionably accurate) trick notes and the replay:

Jackson Karsteter - switch right 2 misty 4 japan out (t-rail), right 270 continuing 990 (wallride), 2p8(down flat), switch 2 back 8 (t-rail)

Mac Forehand - Switch l2 back 6 wallride, gap lip 4 disaster, Switch 2 pretz 6 (t-rail), back 3swap pretz 450 (up to down), sw 9 pretz 6

Alex Hall - Switch 270 transfer (flat to dfd) pretz 4, gap 4 p2 (gap to down), wallie 270 front swap pretz 2 (pyramid to down), 450 back swap cont 2 (gap to down)

Tucker Fitzsimons - Back 3swap transfer (flat to dfd), 2p4 (wallride), switch 2 continuing 2 (gap to down), back 3swap cont 2 (flat to dfd)

Colby Stevenson - Left 2 on front swap pretzel 270 (up-pyramid-down), switch 2 backslide back 450 (T-Rail), 2p4 (wallride)

Drew Ahlstrom - Lip 2 disaster backslide (dfd), 450 frontslide continuing 2 (T-Rail), 450 to forwards (gap to down)

Owen Ready - Right 4 pretz 2 (gap to down), front 5 swap to forward (up to down), switch 450 disaster (dfd)

Cal Carson - Wallie 450 mute, wallie 270 on to switch (pyramid to down), backswap to switch (flat to dfd), flatground frontflip

Aidan Rambo - Lip 450 to switch, back 3swap (up to down), switch 270 (gap to down)

Cody LaPlante - 'Nollie' lip 2 to switch, 270 backslide cont 4 (t-rail)


Men's Results:

1) Mac Forehand

2) Alex Hall

3) Tucker Fitzsimons


Full replay of Men's finals: