Day One of the SNOWBOARDER Magazine Summer Games was all play. The contestants who hadn’t seen each other since the last flakes fell from the 2012/13 winter were hamming it up on the hill during the Pole Vault and Triple Jump events, high-fiving in the summer sun, and generally enjoying a quasi-reunion high up on the Palmer Snowfield.
However, Day Two was crunch time, and many of the riders realized that immediately, as chatter of which team was currently in the lead began to ricochet around the start gate of the Balance Beam event. With the High Cascade single barrel drop down bar serving as the setup for the Balance Beam, the rules were simple: Best trick wins. The action heated up during the one-hour jam session with nearly every competitor hitting the feature and earning their team one hundred points, but a few standouts began to emerge.
Under the watchful eye of guest judge Dan Brisse, riders like Brandon Cocard, Spencer Schubert, Corrine Pasela, Jaeger Bailey, and Garrett Warnick showed veterans such as Gigi Rüf, Shane Flood, Chris Grenier, Bode Merrill, Desiree Melancon, Zac Marben, and more of the established elite that the new vanguard of rail riders is set to fly jibbing’s flag in the years to come. With every variation of hardways, taps, bonks, and gap outs on the feature, it was Warnick who took third place, while Cocard snuck his way into second with an at-the-buzzer half Cab gap out 50-50 to back 180. However, Spencer Schubert was the kid to beat from early on in the event, and no one could catch up. Spencer took the win, but the surprise of the Balance Beam event was none other than Ami Voutilainen, who took the win and the much-needed points for his team in the legend category. Harking back to the turn of the millennium, Ami greased a gap out boardslide to fakie that got more cheers than any other trick that went down. Ami’s most definitely still got it, and his win shocked the field who had already conceded the victory to Shane Flood before the event even started. But Flood couldn’t quite land his switch front board and Ami V. got the W.
The High Jump in the minipipe was the most entertaining to watch, not only because it was a session comprised of possibly the most varied and eclectic snowboarders to ever session a minipipe together, but also because the pressure was on. It was the second-to-last event of the final day of Summer Games, and this is where the team element of the Summer Gams came into play in a big way.
With the first place position still up in the air and calculations still not officially tallied, every rider rode their hardest with the hopes of a last-minute win to give them the points needed to head south of the border to Cab San Lucas for some R&R before winter kicks off yet again. Gigi Rüf came out firing on all cylinders and was the frontrunner from the halfway point, but as one of the most celebrated pipe riders of our generation dropped in and gave Gigi a run for his money (Danny Davis), others were stepping up and airing out in a big way, and they included: Johnny Brady, Chris Grenier, Brandon Cocard, Garrett Warnick, Shane Flood, Brandan Gerard, Bode Merrill, Scott Blum, Peter Line, Desiree Melancon, Ben Bilocq, Temple Cummins, Chris Roach, among others.
[Editor’s Note]: See what I’m saying about a varied field?
But in the end, Gigi took the win with Danny Davis in second, and Zac Marben in third, while Peter Line won for the legends. Going into the final event, the 1,000 meter dash, there was no way of knowing who was currently in first, so standing atop the High Cascade lane with their feet strapped in, you could feel the tension because there was a good chance that this event would decide which team would take the win.
At the mid-way point in the 1,000 meter dash, the field fired by me at terminal velocity, and seeing as I was shooting photos at the time, I could only make out the two riders in the lead, and they were both on my team, so you could imagine my excitement, but after disappearing over the deadly left turn cattrack island, all I saw was carnage as Blum and Bode stayed on their feet and turned the corner with Garrett Warnick, Johnny Brady, and Ben Bilocq hot on their heels. My excitement turned to nervousness when I got down and heard the Blum blew out on the final turn and missed the final gate. However, Bode took the win which was relieving to hear, with High Cacade’s Johnny Brady and Ben Bilocq taking second and third. Desiree Melancon won for the women (side note: Desiree ended up being the Summer Games Overall MVP, earning more points individually than any other competitor), and Shane Flood taking it for the legends.
On our way down to the awards at the HCSC skate course, my team was all assembled and we were discussing the very distinct possibility that we most likely didn’t win. We hadn’t been keeping track of the points but we simply figured that either High Cascade’s troupe of John Cavan and Mary Walsh’s squad edged us out. But when the winning team was announced, it was indeed Desiree Melancon, Scott Blum, Bode Merrill, Brandon Cocard, and Peter Line, and we went crazy with excitement…and then went straight to Charlie’s while the campers were all treated to a brand new pair of Flips Audio headphones and photo opportunities with their favorite pros.
The overall score totals were as follows:
1st place: Bode Merrill, Scott Blum, Brandon Cocard, Desiree Melancon, and Peter Line [Team Captain T. Bird]: 4,450 points
2nd place: Danny Davis, Scotty Lago, Chris Grenier, Corrine Pasela, and Shane Flood [Team Captains: John Cavan and Mary Walsh]: 4,175 points
3rd place: Spencer Schubert, Ben Bilocq, Johnny Brady, Leanne Pelosi, and Ami Voutilainen [Team High Cascade Snowboard Camp]: 4,075 points
4th place: Gigi Rüf, Garrett Warnick, Zac Marben, Erin Comstock, and Chris Roach [Team Captain: Pat Bridges]: 3,500 points
5th place: Jaeger Bailey, Brendan Gerard, Forest Bailey, Marie Hucal, and Temple Cummins [Team Captains: Mike Yoshida and Huggy]: 3,000 points