Photos: Huggy
Words: Pat Bridges

When Todd Richards announced over the PA, "Technically, Bear Mountain has 3 trails open today," he was trying to make a joke, however, he was right on the money. To call Bear Mountain's 2009 Hot Dawgz and Handrails event a "pre-season" jib contest is unjust in every sense of the word. Year after year, what Bear pulls off at Hot Dawgz and Handrails would be impressive at most resorts mid-season, yet in the context of late summer/early fall, it is borderline unbelievable.

To call Bear Mountain's 2009 Hot Dawgz and Handrails event a "pre-season" jib contest is unjust in every sense of the word.

On Saturday, September 19th, 2009, 50 pro riders and over 5,000 spectators descended on Big Bear to celebrate So Cal snowboarding at its finest albeit, out of season. The Bear park crew brought in 110 tons of ice to create the most ambitious HD&HR setup yet. Unlike similar events which incorporate a single feature, Bear built two separate lanes, each with multiple jib options, giving the riders the opportunity to dial their lines and link up tricks, making it more akin to a conventional slopestyle event than a simple rail jam. The rider's right lane began with a 5-foot bomb drop option which led into a 20' long granite-top ledge. From there, riders were forced to choose between a wide right loop featuring a 30' long c-rail or a straight-away takeoff to a 20' tall banked wallride. The two lines fed directly into a wooden pyramid feature. Twenty yards to rider's left, was the other lane. The first jib, dubbed "The Hellbow," was a down-flat right-down right kinked rail, meaning, between the kink of the rail and the curve of the rail, it was one of the more tricky features to get tricky on. "The Helbow" fed into "The Ski Rack," a 30' long triple-banked elevated box. In essence, it was a pyramid with an up box adorning the top.

The field consisted of a cross-section of jibbing's new guard. So Cal skittles buckled in alongside contenders from as far away as Utah, Oregon, Vermont, Calgary and Quebéc. The new 418 made its presence known in the ol' 909 as Louif Paradis and Ben Bilocq lapped the lanes with beaucoup progression. Cheesedicks Jake Kyczyk and Jed Anderson traded tricks with Green Mountain boys Yale Cousino and Forest Bailey. Utah's Jonah Owen, Chris Brewster, Cameron Pierce, and Ted Borland were on a mission as Bear Mountain local boys Zak Hale, Scotty Vine, Ryan Tarbell and Chris Bradshaw tore apart their home turf. Other notable mentions included Brandon Cocard, Johnny Lazzareschi, Dylan Alito, Jake Olson-Elm, Ian Sims, Kyle Loppiccolo, Melissa Evans, Gabi Viteri, Gabby Maiden, Marie Hucal, Anthony and Lenny Mazzotti, Justin Mulford, and Chad Tarbell.

The man who produced Parkumentary, the new Big Bear documentary, joined Big Bear team riders Joe Sexton, JP Walker, Seth Huot, Keegan Valaika, and Simon Chamberlain for the unenviable task of passing judgement and tallying the scores. For the breakdown of tricks that were settled, check the videos and photos, as words simply wouldn't do it justice. After nearly four hours of riding, the top five riders were called out. Fifth place went to Ryan Tarbell. Jake Kuczyk found himself in fourth. Local boy Zak Hale took home $2,500 for third. Though many felt that Jed Anderson deserved one spot higher on the podium, he still received a respectable second place and $4,000. "Hellbow" insanity and upside-down antics earned Scotty Vine his second HD&HR title in three years, as well as $7,500. A big thanks to Clayton and the entire Big Bear staff for putting on and maintaining the best HD&HR set up of all-time and giving us one more reason to wait for winter, but for also makes us look forward to next fall, and another Hot Dawgz and Handrails.