Words by Ian Kirkpatrick
Photos by Julie Weinburger
On the last day of the reopened Gravity Games from Copper, the jam format made for an awesome show. Sunday came around warm and eventually blazingly sunny with a ton of hurting units. Right from the start, Simon Dumont came out firing on a course that most people were struggling with the first few runs. Some guys were launching the lofty hits halfway down the landing or knuckling. The best part is, Simon was a rockstar the night before. His first lap through the park, he came up with a 91-point run starting out with back to back fives, closing the airs with a switch nine and throwing some clean 270 on-270 offs on the last two jibs.
The jibs were the easiest thing to see- well, about the only thing the spectators could really see. There wasn't a big screen with a feed set up and Uncle E would rather talk about... lead underpants? Peter Olenick started out early on the three-platter setup with a 450 on-270 off. Three box-like jibs (seriously, has nobody ever heard of a platter?) were set up placed slightly apart: a narrow platter low to the ground, a wider one about four feet off the snow and about eight feet up was a super wide jib, like something you'd learn on. As the two-hour jam session wore down, this set turned into a circus. Corey Vanular started spinning on the highest platter and T.J. tried to transfer across all three.
While Simon improved his score by a couple points each run, eventually tacking a cab ten to the end of his run, Schiller was actually struggling. Through most of his jumps this afternoon, T.J. was going too big to really reel in the landings and a lot of his attempts at some tech jib tricks came out sloppy. Simon had been on top for about an hour and a half and it looked like he would take it when Schiller dropped for his last run in the final minutes. Instead, T.J. came out as an entirely different skier. His air line was nuts with cab right seven, cab left seven, switch 10 (with a stupidly tweaked out mute, pulling the skis out till they were almost parallel) and finished with a cab nine. After cleaning the rail line, Schiller snagged a 96- according to the E-Man, the highest slopestyle score in a major skiing event.
"Dude, the jam saved my ass!... It was pretty much a four run final," Schiller said. "I think the Gravity Games are pretty much the only major jam contest and I'm down for it, I just don't think it really works with a field this big."
Speaking of major slopestyle comps, where was Gagnier? Charles, who didn't party at all last night unlike the #1-2 skiers, actually struggled most of the day but finally stepped it up near the end. He spun two fives, both ways, a cab seven to cab ten then killed it like he always does on the rails, cleaning the last two with 270 on-270 offs.
Sammy Carlson had coolest run of the day though. Early in the session, Sammy launched a 180 way down the second to last hit, flowing into a cab 10. He then switched up the middle platter and killed a 270 on-270 off the final, flat urban ledge box. Carlson isn't a total unknown but it's a sick showing for where he is in his young career.
"I thought it was really fun," Sammy said. "I wish I would have done a little better with my score but I'm happy with 5,000 bucks."
1. TJ Schiller
2. Simon Dumont
3. Charles Gagnier
4. Sammy Carlson
5. Tanner Rainville
6. Peter Olenick
7. Tim Russell
8. Andreas Hatveit
9. Steele Spence
10. Tom Dolezel
Hey look, it's Derek Spong!