skier: Cam Riley

Words: Ethan Stone

Photos: Ryan Gertken & Ethan Stone

Once again, Saturday morning crept up all too quickly upon the West Coast Session crew, and before we knew it we were back at the base of Mt. Hood Ski Bowl for the start of the official Newschoolers West Coast member gathering.

Joey gets KANG during a group hit on the drop gap as Wallisch looks on

Over 60 skiers young and old, sisters, brothers, fathers and friends turned out for an epic session in the Ski Bowl park. All day there was nary a feature to be seen without a crowd of Newschoolers lined above it, and the stoke level was high as as the DJ bumped skier favorites and the hot dogs hit the grill.

Amplid's Brian Sites mans the grill

The scene at the Amplid tent

In no time at all mini-competitions were underway as Newschoolers' Chris O'Connell, Jeff Schmuck and myself started handing out 20-dollar bills for anything and everything that impressed us. The switch-up competition on the 10-foot railbow box got things started, and shouts of disbelief resounded as Cedric T-F and Creighton eventually tied for the title with eight switch-ups a piece (that's a switch every 1.25 feet folks).

An NS member tweaks it out during the blunt slide competition

Not even skin-tight jeans could hold Cedric back from winning buttloads of cash throughout the day. Buttloads, get it?

After a pre-grab blunt slide comp to close up shop on the rainbow box (which Cedric won again), we headed for the S-box, possibly the most popular feature in the park. The challenge: 50-50, in a tuck the whole way across. This was much more difficult than it seemed, and even ski wunderkind Tom Wallisch, who had pioneered the trick during our Wednesday Ski Bowl sesh, was unable to repeat the feat.

Richie Paradise was determined to win the 50-50 comp in full speed tuck as cko, Schmuck, Cedric and Japanese filmer Jackie watch on...

...but it was WCS artist Abe Kislevitz who emerged victorious!

It took several hilarious falls, multiple so-close attempts and a doubling of the cash prize before WCS event artist Abe Kislevitz, who flew all the way from L.A. to ride with us, slid cleanly through the first curve, bobbled briefly, then locked his left foot against the side of the coping to ride it out for the cash and the bragging rights.

Other mini-comps included switch 50-50 to 180 out on a flat box (stomped clean by local Steve Ekstrom just minutes before blowing his knee on a massive rodeo 5 on the stepover), a kang challenge won by Tyler Barnes' massive cork 7 kang, and a mirror-image trick comp on the step-down to see which two riders could bag the best trick simultaneously. And of course, how could we leave out the classic Newschoolers member gathering challenge?

Richie lets it all hang out for $40 as Hathaway employs the doggie scoop

Locs bring out the mute 5 during the doubles comp

We also also gave out some gear to a few of our shoot riders who'd been skiing on point throughout the whole event: Park City's McRae Williams, who scored some Electric goggles for a cork 3 true nose that might have been the most stylish trick of the day, and Richie Paradise, who won a Dakine Mission backpack for a zero spin blunt, proudly declared "This is my personal property," and hasn't taken it off once since.

Amplid also had a new pair of Townships on hand to give away to a lucky NS member who had pre-registered for the event. An amazing karmic incident took place as Brian Spere, who had shown up on Monday morning to help build the park and stayed all week long to help out and shred, ended up winning the Townships. Thanks for everything Brian, you're the man.

Richie, still wearing his Dakine pack

What goes around, comes around: Brian gets redemption after skipping school all week to ride with us

Last year's public session had ended abruptly at 3pm, so this year it was a welcome relief as Ski Bowl's night lights came up, and the session continued unhindered until 10pm.

Exhausted but still stoked on skiing, Witt Foster, Ty Barnes, Cam Riley, Brady Perron, Josh Bishop, John Kutcher and I convened for one last lap through the trees. All the jibs had been blocked with bamboo poles by the park crew, but enterprising skiers always find ways around such things, and Brady closed down the park right, gapping the rainbow box with a 360 while bonking the pole at the end of the box.

Crumbled, rolled and smoked: the West Coast Session was kicked.

A final West Coast Session wrap-up article will be online soon, with all the best photos and videos that you've been whining to see, plus special reports on this year's covert backcountry missions.