Words and Photos: Kyle Beckmann
Of all names that should be synonymous with the sport of snowboarding it shouldn't be the household name that every person on the planet currently knows, it should be Terry Kidwell. To say that Kidwell is a legend of our industry would be an injustice to him. He is one of the most influential people who made snowboarding what it is today. It would be only fitting that a former world champion like Kidwell, along with the likes of Shaun Farmer, Chris Roach and industry agent Bob Klien, would be first to get behind an event that had never seen US soil. This contest bridges the gap between USASA and Professional Events like TTR. The World Rookie Tour is currently in its 9th year of operation, spawning names currently atop many professional podiums like Pettu Pironnen, Gjermund Braaten and Roope Tonterri.
The 18 and under Kidwell Classic/ West Coast Rookie Fest went down this Sunday at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, California. Early morning was quite fun since the resort got an unexpected amount of fresh snow. While the terrain park crew groomed out the 4 tier line containing jumps ranging from 30 feet to a 60 feet, including a huge step-up, along with two tiers of rail features, the groms (and I) made copious amounts of fresh pow laps under the urgence of "style master" Chris Roach. When the setup was finally dialed, a quick riders meeting led a charge for these rookies to throw everything down on the table.
The contest was broken up into 3 divisions: Girls, Groms(early 15 and under), and Rookies (late 15 – 18). Entry fees were collected to fly the 3 winners to the "Protest World Rookie Finals" in Ischgl, Austria on April 11-15, along with prizes from Sessions, Skullcandy, GoPro, Kidwell Clothing, and Redbull. With these prizes and opportunities in mind, everyone went for broke.
Standouts were off axis spins by Aspen Weaver, and the back rodeo 5 stomped multiple times by 13-year-old girl, Taelor "Taematt" Mattingly. One of the older rookies stoked everyone out with his switch heelside back 360. Preston Hallen and his dad improvised on one of his runs, hyping the crowd to another level. His dad strapped into his board and made a pole jam for his son with his board, giving Preston an opportunity to creatively use the space in front of him. All podium finishers also received one of the coolest trophies in snowboarding- a miniature of the first pro model ever, Terry Kidwell's.
1.) Taelor Mattingly
2.) Hailee Mattingly
3.) Kaili Shafer
1.) Graham Haley
2.) Mattew Grant
3.) Colin Cummins
1.) Aspen Weaver
2.) Max Raymer
3.) Grey McCalla