words and photos: Mike Yoshida
Nike Snowboarding's Snake and Hammers went down today, as the third stop of the comp, at Mt. Hood Meadows. The guys over at Nike came up with the brilliant idea of fusing together two awesome ideas: a banked slalom, but with a twist, they had added some freestyle obstacles littered throughout the course. Riders are judged on their time, but they are also judged on the freestyle obstacles as well. The higher scoring freestyle moves deducts seconds from your original time.
We had some unseasonably warm weather up at Hood today. The temps were in the mid 60s and there was not a cloud in sight. I'd have to say that Nike put together one of the most interesting and original courses I had ever seen. Right off the bat, there is a mandatory eight foot drop that launches you out and into the first banked turn. After a series of snaking turns, there was a jib island consisting of a flat bar to gap, a corrugated plastic pole jam to gap, and the classic down bar on the side. After the jibs, there was one twenty-five foot table and then a rainbow box. The course ended with a stepdown into instantaneous banked turns until the finish.
Eighty-plus competitors showed up to take a stab at the course today. I saw tons of people from Portland, and also some friends who had traveled from Washington to check it out. Right out of the gates, the competition was fierce. Standouts were Ben Lynch, mostly for his newly bleached blonde tips, Jeremy Page, who was also the winner at the Mountain High stop, and Bend local Max Warbington who was throwing some insane moves on the mid-run rails and jump. In the end it was the youngster Jeremy Nylund who took out the competition and solidified his number one spot.
Nike Snake and Hammers was a blast, and I can't wait to get down to Mammoth next weekend to see what ideas are brewing for the next course.