words: Mary Walsh
captions: T. Bird
photos: Mike Yoshida and Nathan Vetter
If snowboarding culture had its own version of the Seven Wonders of the World, Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails would be one of the spectacles on the list. For ten years, Hot Dawgz has been the definitive start to the season and maintains a grandiose presence due to the high-level set up, the collection of riders and industry folk that descend upon Bear Mountain, the enormous crowd that attends to spectate, and the collective anticipation of winter. It’s also a final farewell to the type of riding that can be done in a t-shirt. From here on out, temperatures are dropping.
2013 marked the 10th Anniversary of the prestigious competition and Clayton Shoemaker and his hard-working park crew outdid themselves with a build that topped the 2012 course and continued to elevate the idea of what a rail jam can be. Two sets of scaffolding dropped competitors into rider’s right or left lanes that both began with pole jam gaps and mirrored each other all the way to the bottom. In the middle was a storage container tunnel that dumped riders out onto a round down tube, a technical addition to the course with a solid drop that was not devoid of consequence. On either side of the tunnel were closeouts positioned next to down rails, making for an array of transfer options, and overall, there was ample opportunity for variation depending on the side being ridden. The setup buoyed creativity for the competitors and allowed for a plethora of viewing options for spectators.
In addition to a winter-quality park build in the midst of fall (it was over seventy degrees and sunny during the contest), Hot Dawgz always boasts a coterie of both veterans and up and comers. This year’s group continued the trend and featured forty-plus riders who are helping to shape the state of modern jibbing: Burton Knowbuddys Tommy Gesme and Brady Lem; video part veterans Dylan Thompson, Cam Pierce, and Lucas Magoon; new school rail mavens Dylan Alito, Johnny Lazzareschi, and Brandon Hobush; Bear locals Erik Leon, Scott Vine, Zak Hale, and Jordan Small, among many others. Representing the ladies, Melissa Evans, Desiree Melancon, Corinne Pasela, Nirvana Ortanez and Isabella Boriello made it clear they that they were at Bear to do nothing less than throw down. Two sixty-minute sessions allowed plenty of time for competitors to familiarize themselves with the course and try out the plentiful options. The action was fast as riders dropped rapidly right, left, and center, and as the Southern California sun began to set, cooling off the summery day, a panel of esteemed judges comprised of Dave Downing, JP Walker, Joe Sexton, Chris Bradshaw, and Scott Stevens selected five riders to take the top spots.
Melissa Evans utilized a variety of features, tallying tricks on the down rail, pole jam, tunnel and wallride. Melissa is a rider who shows constant drive when competing and she earned a well-deserved and record fourth win at Hot Dawgz 2013. On the men’s side, this year’s podium was taken by three riders that have been steadily on the come-up over the past season. Jordan Small, who has been impressing in a consistent slew of web edits lately, took third. Dillon Ojo, who has been turning heads since his part in last winter’s Pig Eye edits and the Mount Hood session recaps last summer, earned second. And as for the winner of the ten grand, Tommy Gesme was pinning it through the Red Bull tunnel and landed one of the favorite tricks of the day, a switch back 270 to fakie on the down tube. For his efforts and staccato style, he took home the dough and first place. It is likely he is already at the AV Nightclub celebrating his win.
If you missed Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails, you can watch the replay of the webcast here, where in addition to tricks from some of the best jibbers in snowboarding, you can also enjoy the rapist wit of Chris Grenier and SNOWBOARDER Magazine Editor Tom Monterosso. For ten years, Bear Mountain has shown that there’s no better way to kick off the winter season that Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails and after another solid showing in the San Bernadino Mountains, we have to agree.
First – Tommy Gesme
Second – Dillon Ojo
Third – Jordan Small
Jaeger Bailey – 50-50 hardway 270 transfer