The Shred Show presented by Monster Energy may be a flash in the pan if Whistler's bid to host a Global X Games event in 2013 is successful, but what a flash. From a surprise appearance by snowboard legend Terje Haakonsen to 16-year-old Darcy Sharpe's double over the hip jump, The Shred Show kept snowboard fans well entertained.
While the competitions wrapped up on Tuesday with the Mogul Duel, the social events run through the end of the festival. Visit www.wssf.com for more details.
Sharpe shakes it up on Big Hip
Darcy Sharpe is buying a car. In his words, "a baller car." You can do that kind of thing when you win $15,000 prize money.
Sharpe, just 16, took the win at the opening event of the Shred Show presented by Monster Energy — the TTR-sanctioned Big Hip contest, which took place under the lights at the base of Whistler Mountain on Saturday night, April 14.
Antoine Truchon was second to win $6,000 while Whistler's own Jon Versteeg earned $4,000 for third place.
Sharpe is a Whistler local of sorts. His family lives in Comox and Mt. Washington is his home turf, but for years he has also trained with the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club. This is his second season working with head coach Joe McAdoo, and it's been a big one — fifth in a World Cup slopestyle in Quebec, second at nationals and second in the FIS Snowboard Junior World Championships. It's fair to say that Sharpe has established himself as one of the top up-and-coming riders in the world.
Sharpe was one of the top riders in the qualifier, moving on to the finals where the best two of three runs would count. His top airs were a frontside 1080 and a backside 720, laid out enough that the announcer gave him credit for making them double-corked — though coach McAdoo said he wasn't quite inverted enough for that. His final score was a 180 out of a possible 200. Truchon might have taken the top spot with a double corked 1260, but had trouble with the landing and finished second with a 174.75. Jon Versteeg went big and finished third with a 172.
Rounding out the top 10 were Logan Habrich, David Fortin (getting the most air of the evening), Justin Morgan, Robby Balharry, Yale Cousino, Logan Short and Derek Livingstone.
Showcase Showdown winner Jesse Millen didn't qualify in the top 10 for the finals, but came in as a last-minute entry and made sure the crowd wouldn't forget him by attempting a couple of double corked 1080s and coming up just short on the landing.
While $15,000 is the biggest payday of his career, Sharpe said it was his second-best day this year — behind riding with his friends at Mt. Washington. "But this is a pretty good feeling," he said.
"(The set up) was pretty hard, but when the pressure is on I seem to ride better, thanks to my coach," he said.
There was a question whether Sharpe would even compete, after tweaking his knee riding the previous week. He made the decision to go ahead after consulting a physiotherapist that morning. This wasn't a contest to take lightly: the hip jump itself was a monster, with a ramp that was about two storeys high and narrow at the end, and a huge gap with three landing options. If you hit the ramp fast enough to land on the downhill transition you were probably 12 metres off the ground at one point and flew about 20 metres — and some competitors landed far enough down they likely went a lot farther than that.
McAdoo said that set-up actually benefitted Sharpe. "(The takeoff) is really tight, and we spent quite a bit of time on airbag jumps this year, which paid off because he learned how to trick off narrow jumps," he said.
Kiwi tops Boarderstyle
Competitors in the second annual Shred Show Boarderstyle got a bit of surprise on Sunday morning when one of the biggest names in snowboarding showed up at the start. Norway's Terje Haakonsen, who spends most of his time filming these days and only enters the odd contest for fun, was in town anyway for the festival. He heard about the Boarderstyle format — a combination of snowboardcross and slopestyle — and decided to check it out.
He thought the course was "pretty mellow and pretty cool, too" and even threw a twisting backflip off the last feature, which wasn't really built for that kind of thing. But he liked the fact that the event organizers were taking chances and trying something new.
"It was more like boardercross used to be," he said. "They used to be built like obstacle courses back in the '90s, and now they're really wide and kind of boring."
Haakonsen drew international attention in 1998 after boycotting the halfpipe event at the Olympics — an event he was favoured to win, to protest the involvement of the International Skiing Federation (FIS) and what he saw as a watering down of his sport.
He still feels as strongly today, and has been encouraged by the diversity of events in the pro world and by the fact that the International Snowboard Federation held a world championship this year.
"Riders know what they need to do, and that's to take control of our own sport, whether it's FIS, IFS or TTR... we have to remember that it's still a young sport, it can be anything we want it to be."
Haakonsen didn't disappoint, and was the only competitor to make his mandatory spin on the last jump an inverted one with a backflip off a ramp that wasn't really built for that kind of trick. "I could have done a five (540) spin, but I figured why not do the flip — there was enough room for it."
While Haakonsen cruised through the qualifiers and every heat of the finals, it was New Zealand's Will Jackways who came away with the trophy and $6,000 first prize.
The final four included Travis Williams, who won the first Boarderstyle last year, as well as Martin Jaureguialzo and Haakonsen.
The course included a few mandatory boxes up top and competitors had to spin over the final feature to win. While winning your heat mattered there was also a judging component to decide the winner.
"Today was awesome," said Jackways. "I really enjoyed the format, how it was all about having fun, and riding with the other snowboarders was really enjoyable. Being able to meet Terje and ride with him in the final is something I never expected, and it was so great — not beating him, just racing with him was an honour. It was nice he came out."
Jackways said it was strange to be thinking about spinning off a trick when you were so close to the other competitors, so he tried not to think about it at all.
"I really don't know how to describe it. It was all really fast and intense, so I tried not to think about what I was doing; I just did it and it worked out."
Truchon takes slopestyle gold
Antoine Truchon, 22, is quite simply one of the top up-and-coming snowboarders in Canada right now in a field that includes top pros Sebastien Toutan and Mark McMorris. Coming into The Shred Show he was ranked 18th in the world in the TTR World Tour, one of six Canadians in the top 25.
He placed second in opening Hip Jump event after landing his double corked tricks less than cleanly, and came into Monday's slopestyle contest — also a five-star TTR World Tour event — with something to prove.
His run did that. He started with a frontside double cork 1080, did a frontside onto the box and switch backside 180 off, a boardslide 270 onto the cannon rail and a backside 540 off, then wrapped up with a switch backside 1080.
With fog, wind and some new snow to contend with, Truchon established himself early as the rider to beat. His best run was scored a 94.25 out of 100, 8.5 higher than Ian Thorley of the U.S. Logan Haubrich, who finished just out of the money in Saturday's Big Hip contest in fourth place, took third.
Truchon took $15,000, bringing his total to $21,000 for the weekend. Thorley took $6,000 and Haubrich $4,000.
Rounding out the top 10 were Ryan Stassel, Yale Cousino, Darcy Sharpe, Justin Morgan, Robby Balharry, Logan Short and David Kinskofer.
Hale outlasts in Mogul Duel
With winter conditions in effect and icy bumps, riders put their best foot forward in the now annual Mogul Duel on Davies' Dervish on Sunday. There was a hot dog eating contest, roller blades and the usual shenanigans, but the real attraction was watching snowboarders navigate their way down a World Cup-calibre mogul slope, including a pair of jumps.
It was an elimination format through the day, and in the end just two riders were left standing — Zak Hale from the U.S. and Myrosha Daley. Daley got hung up on some bumps after the first air, and Hale cruised to an easy victory.