words: Richie Carroll
photos: Aedan O'Donnell
While most of you read this, I'm asleep on the other side of the world in Australia. A continent made up of 70% desert, famous for it's boobs-out beaches, beers, Kangaroos, crocodile hunters and…snow.
As your Northern Hemisphere season comes to an end, our Aussie winter is in full swing and this week Thredbo Resort, with thanks to Burton Snowboards, hosted a new kind of rail contest, Jye's Jam. It's not every day that a ski resort lets you take over for a night and run a really raw urban rail comp, so we had a good feeling about this one.
First up, you probably want to know who Jye is and why he got a jam named after him. Jye “Pie Man” Kearney has been involved in the snowboarding scene for the past twelve years. He's won and defended many titles at famous Southern Hemisphere rail events, like Stylewars and Cattleman's; he's filmed international video parts with Method and Burton; and he's certainly no stranger when it comes to sliding some steel. Jye recently teamed up with Thredbo Resort as an ambassador and finally scored the chance to run an event on the Friday Flat staircase–something that he and every other Australian snowboarder has walked up and dreamed of one day getting the chance to hit.
Ten of the best riders in the Southern Hemisphere were handpicked by Jye himself to compete in a two-hour jam session. The concept was for all riders to leave their competitive hunger at home and instead push and hype each other to go bigger and better. Ain't nothing better than moral support from the homies.
Once the lifts stop running for the day and the resort went to sleep, we fired up the floodlights, pumped up the jam and got things underway for the first official Jye's Jam, a breath of fresh air from all the punter-pleasing events most resorts put on these days. All riders spent the first fifteen minutes sussing out the rail, speed, and landing to make sure they weren't heading to the hospital after their first hit. Then out of nowhere, Jye Kearnery threw a huge gap frontside 270…it was officially on!
Harry Green quickly followed up Jye's hit with an effortless gap to back 270. From the crowd's reaction of the first two hits, I knew we were about to witness one of the gnarliest and exciting rail sessions to go down! The night was filled with thrills, spills and a few near kills with young gun Luke Stavely stepping up to the gnarly gap from the middle take off to the far left kink. Bryce Bugera, the import from Canada, was hands down the most stylish and entertaining rider of the night, winning himself Best Trick with a switch boardslide to the flat of the kink, 270 out.
I couldn't imagine anything worse than being a judge for this event with every rider showing versatility in trick choice and no sign of fear. The judges had to really focus on who was killing it, both on the kink as well as the gap option to find the overall winner. Harry Green from Mansfield, Victoria was consistently taking things to a new level with a large array of tricks. Harry dominated the gap option early in the comp, spinning most 270's and bringing them back the opposite way which allowed him plenty of time to lock in a few solid tricks through the kink. Harry not only won all the hearts of all the girls in the crowd, but he also took out the event as Best Overall Rider, walking home with a nice bag of cash.
All in all the night went down as one to remember. The energy from the riders and the crowd, along with alcohol created an atmosphere that really highlighted how thriving the core snowboarding scene here in Australia is in full effect. Can't wait for next year!