words: Mark Clavin
photos: Mark Clavin and Alex Budnik
Letters were written to Seven Springs Resort in the early part of this season to make sure that Oakley’s Minipipe Challenge that debuted last year was set to happen again and the boys from Oakley delivered last Saturday to the hills of Appalachia. A rare bluebird day in Pennsylvania treated the riders of the Second Annual Oakley Minipipe Challenge to 59° weather and some fun features to write home about.
The event started with Boston's rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” and Noah Vincent was bestowed the honor of riding the flag down the pipe. After one too many American beers the night before, he had trouble getting onto the deck, but made up for it with a firm plant that could only be compared to lighting the Olympic Torch. Riders of all ages, gender, and race then immediately descended onto the pipe in a frenzy that would have made our forefathers proud.
The all out jam format of Oakley’s MidAtlantic minipipe contest has no rules and the judges rode for most of the time alongside the competitors, so most of the awards were made up on the spot and confirmed by general consensus. I can honestly say that it is the best event I have been to all year and a pretty nice lesson in democracy.
Although things did not get too political this close to the Pennsylvania primary, everyone thought the banked section at the bottom of the pipe, dubbed "Bermie Sanders," was pretty cool and treated all parties fairly. Speed was a bit of an issue as the sun beamed down, but riders adjusted and used it as a chance to learn new tricks. Mike Zandron, who went on to be voted Minipipe Champion, landed his first crippler ever second try and found enough speed to go bigger than anyone else.
Some of the other highlights included Adam Homberg's mental front one on switch back three off of the up rail entry into the pipe; Dan Morrison's gap to back blunt 270 re-entry on the same rail; Jason Anderson going back-to-back on massive airs that would have given Meek Mill nightmares; and Sierra Wob walking away with the Lady Killer award after potting some picture perfect handplants. I apologize for not getting an actual photo, but take my word for it, she can rip.
Luckily enough for the rest of you that could not attend, Josh Zerkel and Wythe Woods believe in equality for all. They will be holding another minipipe challenge this season at Mammoth on March 19th. I can only hope there will be a Trump Stump to bonk. Thanks to Zerkel, Wythe, the Seven Springs Park Crew, Oakley, Crab Grab, Shred Soles, Monument Snowboards, and everyone that made the second annual installment of the Oakley Minipipe Challenge happen! Can't wait for the next one!
Awards handed out for the Seven Springs stop as follows:
Champion — Mike Zandron
Lady Killer — Sierra Wob
Tiny Dancer — Collum and Mikye
Botanist (handplanter) — Kevin Kobasa
Method Master — Doug Radefeld
Fast Feet (jibber) —Adam Homberg