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Jib This! at Central

The Christmas glow melted into warm Saturday sunshine that nuzzled the back and turned Snoqualmie into a happy post-Holiday playground. I headed up to Central the day after Christmas to watch the first contest of the season: the 7th Annual Jib This!

After a dusting earlier in the week, the mountain had enough coverage to get some serious slashing in near the trees and allow for bombing hotlaps without the fear of ripping off an arm in the event of a high-speeder. The scene–though surprisingly uncrowded–was joyous. The park’s music mingled with lift conversation and Krush Kulesza’s voice laughing through the megaphone at the base of the main quad.

Central’s park crew has been blasting snow for weeks now. The result are these four big beautiful booters. I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of dolphin flippers and twirly birds I saw spring from these jumps so early in the season. Makes me feel old. Makes me feel like a puss. Anyway I am stoked for the rippers and motivated to get a (damn) park pass and get some too.

I get pretty stoked on the design of terrain parks. Like skateparks and dirt jump lines, I appreciate the artistry that goes into them: the chosen size, angle, stunt, jump, distance and appropriate landing; each obstacle, dip and hip in perfect cadence with one another pumping out sweet flow from the rider. Park designs have become so sophisticated that it almost takes the renegade feeling out of the sport. That is, until you watch what goes down in them.

With the bluebirds and sun smiling down on the kick-off contest of the year,  Jib This! went off like fireworks bursting with tall-tees. At least 100 were gathered to watch and ride, and at the height of the jam-style contest more than 20 different kids were dropping in to show off their goods. As always, the contest was broken up into chicks and dudes, 16 and under, 17-19 and 20+. The younger kids definitely owned their elders, and what they’re not matching in trick skills yet, they will conquer above and beyond by the time they catch their predecessors in age and gnarability. The future is on the threshold of explosion.

friendly ripper jesse gouveia

Local shred celeb Austin Hironaka, who rides for Ride Snowboards, Airblaster Outerwear and Pow Gloves, jammed with his fellow riders. A lot of shit was eaten. A lot of dancing was done slideline  by spectators not wanting to be plowed into with medal edges.  And a lot of full tricks were thrown and landed–by the chicks. And the dudes… But it was rad to see the local gals pulling some lovely stuff out from under the boys.

In the end, in the 17+ gals: Megan Middleton took first, Raelynd Tarnove scored second and Kumara Kelley nabbed third (not new names to the game). The boys? Yeah,  they won stuff, too. Overall the energy level was high, the high-fives were slammin’ and the smiles were aglow.
(Editor’s note: these are just my observations in between runs; this is obviously not “full” or journalistic coverage of the event. 1/5/10)

The infamous Krush Kulesza (center with the folder) and his crew judged the riders. Krush has a deep history with riding snow in these hills. He’s the youth marketing manager for Snoqualmie as well as the owner and founder of Snowboy Productions, the kats who build snowparks where no snow will grow (they’ve got a long resume of downtown–and on-mountain–contests that they’ve designed and blown snow for). Credit him with just about every rad event that happens at this summit and others.

Last winter I asked Krush to give us his Shred-Symphony for a little sidebar in Sports Northwest. Below are his answers. Though not so much what I would have gone with, don’t be afraid to turn them up to 11! Cheers.

A.F.I.–The Art of Drowning (200)
The Bronx– The Bronx II (2006)
Iron Maiden–Piece of Mind (1983)
Sweetwater–Superfriends (1995)
System of a Down–Toxicity (2001)

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