Words: Anders Isaacson
Photos: Tucker Norred
Video: Garrett Jurach
On Sunday, March 31, Woodward Tahoe welcomed Armada to the family as the newest sponsor of its internationally recognized Freeski Summer Camp. To celebrate the new addition Woodward Tahoe in cooperation with Boreal Mountain Resort played host to the Armada SOS: Style On Snow, the first dedicated ski event in Woodward Tahoe's brief 10 month history.
The idea was refreshingly simple: a mini slopestyle contest that emphasized form over technicality and style over difficulty. No future spins. No doubles. Definitely no triples. The course included two medium/large jumps followed by several jib features. That being said, these weren't your everyday jib features. Two shiny new Armada features highlighted the jib setup, which included a sawed off propane tank bonk standing on end (think R2D2 from Star Wars), followed by a downward angled propane tank, both sporting fresh black and white Armada paint jobs. A simple down tube rounded out the course and provided a more manageable option for the young guns that came out in force.
The skiers were divided into 4 divisions: Sponsored/Open, Amateur 12 and Under, Amateur 13 and Over, and Women. "We really wanted to distinguish between sponsored athletes and amateur athletes because the sponsored guys already get tons of gear," explained Mike Laroche, an Armada rep and intricate member of the event planning team. "The goal was to get the gear into the hands of the kids that will actually use it and be stoked on it, while giving straight cash to the sponsored riders." The first place finisher in the Sponsored division also received an invite to the High Fives Trains event, which will be held at Alpine Meadows on Saturday, April 30, 2013.
The jam style format allowed riders to hit the course as many times as they could during each of the 40 minute qualifying heats. With the venue conveniently located at the top of Boreal's CORE Terrain Park directly under the Accelerator Chair, competitors were able to take advantage of Boreal's extremely fast lift lap time and still manage 3-4 drops per person per heat.
The action started with the heavy hitters, the Sponsored Division, and despite the "variable" weather (to put it nicely) they did not disappoint. There were cork spins, rodeos, zero airs, nose butters and more, but most importantly, it all looked good. There wasn't a single person in the contest with the goal to out-huck the next guy.
The next group to drop was the Amateur 13 and Over division, who picked up right where the sponsored guys left off. Adding to the excitement, several members of the Armada team, including Torin Yater-Wallace and Mike Hornbeck, not only made an appearance, but also randomly dropped throughout the competition and posed for a few pics with the competitors. It definitely kept the spectators on their toes not knowing if it was 11-year-old phenom Cody Laplant or international superstar Mike Hornbeck that was about to drop.
The final group to drop included both the 12 and Under and Women's Divisions. I don't know what happened to skiing in the last few years, but when I was 12 I definitely wasn't throwing cork 9's or flat spins, and I definitely wasn't nose buttering rodeo 5's off any knuckles. These groms absolutely killed it. Due to the numbers, these divisions went straight to finals and had one 40-minute heat to prove themselves.
The finals consisted of a super heat, with the top 5-6 competitors from both the 13 and Over division and the Sponsored Division battling it out for spots on the podium and hundreds of dollars in cash and gear. Armada came through HUGE with four pairs of skis, including a few sets of next year's equipment as well as enough outerwear to start a new ski shop.
Despite variable weather throughout most of the day, Mother Nature really decided to bring the pain for the finals. As a result of the torrent of snow and the reduced visibility the riders were barely able to clear the jumps after the first 15 minutes. Nevertheless, there wasn't a single ounce of quit in any of the riders and despite multiple requests from the judges to call it, the riders just continued to drop. Nobody wanted to be the guy to bow out early.
The day wound down in the Boreal lodge with an award ceremony and hangout session with the Armada team. All in all the day was a huge success for Woodward Tahoe, Boreal Mountain Resort, Armada and everyone that came out for the event. A BIG thank you to everyone that made it out. Judging by the smiles on everyone's faces at the end of the day I would not be surprised to see the SOS back on the event calendar for years to come.
Congrats to Raleigh White, Peter Raich, Taariq Saffouri and Rebecca Roberts for taking home 1st place in the first dedicated ski event in Woodward Tahoe history! Here are your results:
Open / Sponsored
1st Raleigh White
2nd Austin Simonpietre
Amateur 13 under
1st Peter Raich
2nd Mikey Lampie
3rd Elliot Irving
Amateur 13 over
1st Taariq Saffouri
2nd Hunter Simpson
3rd Ian Burson
1st Rebecca Roberts
2nd Sammie Lampie
3rd Meredith Reed