words: Tyler Davis
photos: Adam Metterville
I learned how to snowboard at Gunstock in the thirdgrade. It's at this mountain that I threw away my skis and fell in love with snowboarding, and even though I spent most of my youth at Waterville Valley and Loon, Gunstock will always be my home mountain. Earlier this winter, the opportunity came about to host my own contest there, and hence the first ever Tyler Davis Hip Jam was born. It's a little weird writing about a contest named after you, and I still don't think I deserve the honor. My goals for the event were simple. First, I wanted to put on a contest where the riders would be responsible for pushing one another and progression would happen not because of the prize money or points at stake, but for the genuine love of snowboarding. And second, I wanted to put on an event where anyone from the youngest grom to the most weathered legend could show up, ride, and get back to the reasons why we all started snowboarding in the first place.
Rob Hallowell and the Gunstock Parks staff busted their tails all week to create the perfect hip. One of the best things about Gunstock is that they have night riding, so as soon as the sun set the riders began to drop in on the 22-foot beast. The hour and a half jam session gave everyone enough time to get comfortable, but as soon as the first rider dropped, it was on. The under 16 category only had three riders, but River Richer, Sam Gildea, and Reid Smith put on some of the most impressive riding of the night. All three threw down numerous overhead methods, crails, and proper frontside airs throughout the night, and it was awesome seeing the next generation throw big tricks with good style.
The pro division was filled with some of the East Coast's heaviest hitters. Zach Normandin, Parker Szumowski, Travis Neuenhaus, Eamon Aldridge, and Bar Dadon put on quite the show. Zach and Parker traded massive airs all night long, each pushing the other higher and higher with every air. Travis Neuenhaus absolutely killed it. He matched stylish airs with backside threes and fives, and every time he dropped in all heads were intently turned toward him.
The legend category was filled with many people who have shaped my snowboarding in one way or another. From former coaches, reps, and childhood friends, watching these guys ride always puts a smile on my face. Aaron Diamond, Seth Learned, Tim McLaughlin, and Luke Mathison were sending airs way over the flags all night long. Ryan Kitt was taking the hip to the absolute maximum, traveling the entire length on the feature and somehow finding the last bit of transition. I owe a lot to this group of guys, and they definitely showed the young guns that good snowboarders never die.
I have to give a huge thank you to all the sponsors, Oakley, Ass Industries, Volcom, SNOWBOARDER Mag, Crab Grab, Stance, Echelon Snowboards, and Gunstock Mountain. Without you this event wouldn't even exist. Thank you to Rob Hallowell, Erik Doherty, and the entire Gunstock Park crew for your hard work all week. And finally, a big thanks to all the riders who showed up and killed it, you guys all represent what it means to be a true snowboarder.
16 and Under Pro Legend
1. Reid Smith 1. Travis Neuenhaus 1. Seth Learned
2. River Richer 2. Parker Szumowski 2. Ryan Kitt
3. Sam Gildea 3. Zach Normandin 3. Tim McLaughlin
Watch the Tyler Davis Hip Jam video.