words by Brendan Hart
Have you ever split wood? Aside from challenging a rival to a duel and demanding satisfaction, whistling at an agonizingly stunning femme as she struts by your construction site, or not crying when Bambi's mom dies (impossible?), it might just be the most effective way of channeling your machismo. On Saturday, January 2 Burton hosted Log Splitters at Loon Mountain, a contest built upon that lumberjackish bedrock of I-don't-know-where-I-am-but-won't-ask-for-directions masculinity. In New Hampshire, a place where flannel, hamburger, and nine-fingered men abound, the theme could not have been more proper. The event was part of Burton Qualifiers 7-stop snowboard tour. There was enticing loot on the line, including invites to compete in the finals at Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, where even more enticing loot is to be had.
The celebrated Loon Mountain park crew erected an all-natural, rough-hewn array of wooden features linked together with deftly carved tranny. Every section spilled into the next with violent flow. The course was perfect and burly, inviting and antagonizing. It seemed to convey the message: "You won't." Despite the setup's intimidating nature, the morning was charged with anticipation as more than 60 bold riders laced up their boots and eagerly eyed the artfully arranged timber. There was a whiff of rough-and-tumble abandon in the air. An atmospheric signal that shit was about to go down. Sleds at the ready, ski patrollers were in abundance, but most felt their presence unnecessary, because, well, what could go wrong when there is such a phenomenal amount of wood to knock on?
The contest had two groups: 15 and Under and Open Division. The courageous young bucks flooded the course first, and immediately starting making everyone feel old. Miles Fallon was doing many verbs, including sliding, spinning, flipping, and planting. Undoubtedly, it was the precocious wonders of Jack Kohan and Storm Rowe that garnered the most acclaim, both agilely executing 360s onto the wooden down bar, a feature that kicked many an ass throughout the day. The judges were frantically struggling to determine which out of the two would claim the top spot and just as frantically wondering what nuclear waste spawned these two trick-stomping marvels.
After this valiant exhibition of youth, the Open Divisioners assembled at the top of the course, feeling the acute pressure of needing to one up 15 year olds. Could it be done? Somehow, it was. Vermont homegrowns Luke Haddock and Tim Major were sending it sideways through the menacing wood and catching all sorts of edges and airtime. Jed Sky hurtled a dizzingly off-axis backside 540 across an expansive channel gap that was not obviously a channel gap. One of the most daunting obstacles of the day was a forked tree, through which competitors were avidly cheating death. After attempting a backflip through its branches, I, myself, was tobogganed down to first aid with a humerus so battered that it was not even funny. Despite my catastrophe, other contestants successfully lurched frontflips and backflips through the disarmingly narrow cleft.
As the last shreds of sun burnt into dusk, Jed Sky and Storm Rowe were crowned the top winners of their respective divisions, each lumbering away from Log Splitters with super-sized checks and super sick snurfers from Burton.
Jed Sky – 1st ($350 and invite to finals)
Luke Haddock – 2nd ($250 and invite to finals)
Tim Major – 3rd ($150 and invite to finals)
Kirk Teare – 4th (invite to finals)
Ryan Kittredge – 5th (invite to finals)
William Vear – 6th (invite to finals)
15 and Under:
Storm Rowe – 1st ($150 and invite to finals)
Jack Kohan – 2nd ($100 and invite to finals)
Will Healy – 3rd ($50 and invite to finals)
Miles Fallon – 4th (invite to finals)
Riley Peterson – 5th (invite to finals)
Athena Comeau 6th (invite to finals)