Words: T. Bird
Captions: Pat Bridges
Though day two of The Launch 2012 presented by Red Bull started off rather slow, it picked up as soon as the wind died down in the afternoon. The clouds cleared out and the 50 or so attendees under the age of 18 went to town on the setup built by the Bear Mountain park staff.
Things kicked off on the redirect into the quarterpipe, with Merrick Joyce, Eric Leon, Zach Normandin, Jaeger Bailey, and, most notably, Stefan Krumm bashing the quarter at full speed and riding out unscathed into the in-run. Krumm's one-foot redirects most definitely stole the show by the end of the session.
After the redirect, the action moved down about 100 yards to the channel gap. Opting to ride along the deck and gap over the channel in a more unorthodox way, Sam Taxwood, Jaeger Bailey, Blake Paul, Red Gerard, Max Warbington, Stefan Krumm, Ben Ferguson, and a handful of others displayed tricks far beyond their years for about an hour with front 180s, straight airs, back threes, and even a one-foot backie, courtesy of young Jaeger, who is emerging as one of the most impressive riders in attendance.
Later in the afternoon, the Bear park staff called in the cat to give the stepover jump one final groom and put a few rakes to the takeoff to smooth out any bumps, and a hand-selected crew of former and current Launch standouts took to the skies. After a few straight airs were sent to the bottom of the landing, things got heavy, and I bore witness to one of the most insane park jump sessions I have ever witnessed firsthand. Cameron FitzPatrick launched some massive Cab fives. Sam Taxwood completely tore the kicker apart with Cab nines, back fives, and front sevens. I promise you that Sam will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. The kid is sick. Nils Mindnich sent a corked front three to the bottom of the tranny without a single flap of the arms, and I would be willing to say that is was one of the most impressive things I've seen all year. Caden Michnal's front seven tails were immaculate, while Ben Ferguson's riding was well-rounded and incredibly stylish. In my opinion, the trick of the afternoon went to Hans Mindnich, when he landed a back five seatbelt. Check the photo and tell me that it's not one of the coolest still you've looked at in a web post as of recent. Two-time Winter X Games gold medalist Mark McMorris arrived today and warmed up with some gigantic back fives with his brother Craig lapping right behind him.
All in all, it was a crazy day at The Launch, which is usually the case when you take 50 of the best riders in the world under the age of 18 and present them with one of the best parks in the world and some of the best photographers and filmers in snowboarding. We don't know what's in store for tomorrow, but I can guarantee it's going to be incredible. Stay tuned to snowboardermag.com for all the action from Bear Mountain.