Woman are main event at snowboarding competition
SODA SPRINGS, Calif. — “An event like this didn’t exist 10 years ago.”
That’s what legendary snowboarder Desiree Melancon said about the inaugural Uninvited Invitational.
Melancon was one of three judges watching this one-of-a-kind women’s freestyle snowboarding competition held at Boreal Mountain Resort on Saturday, April 15.
The event was the brainchild of world-class snowboarder Jess Kimura, who started the Uninvited film series highlighting female snowboarders after feeling left out of the male dominated sport.
After helping launch the careers of several successful athletes, Kimura decided the franchise into a competition where “women aren’t just a subcategory, they’re the main event.”
“The Uninvited Invitational brought together the most talented female riders in street snowboarding. The energy and overall vibe of the event was one-of-a-kind and matched with immense support from the snowboard community. This event was a historical moment in snowboarding history as 40K was rewarded to the winners and propelled women’s snowboarding to a new level,” said event co-organizer Sharalee Hazen.
The course was designed and built by Trinisha Lumos from Reno who built unique features from scratch out of wood and steel. She worked alongside Matty Alleva, another female welder fabricator and snow cat operator.
The course was designed to be a mix of traditional freestyle, such as hip and gap jumps and city-style features, such as double drop rails and stairs.
Nearly 40 athletes spent two days pre riding the course before the two-hour competition on Saturday.
Melanacon was joined by Jeff Holce, and Mikey LeBlanc. The judges were looking for overall impression, execution, originality, technical difficulty, and consistency.
Several women were injured during practice runs and Alexa McCarty was awarded the $500 Best Bail award after an injury took her out early in the competition.
The competitors were allowed to do as many laps as they wanted during the two hours and it was truly non-stop for the full two hours.
While the action itself was entertaining, with the girls getting huge air, taking big falls and throwing in a few barrel rolls and backflips, the atmosphere set the event apart.
The judges interacted with the competitors, asking to see certain tricks, telling the woman do tricks bigger and better and cheering when someone nailed the trick they had tried and failed several times already. The competitors cheered each other on and celebrated the other women’s successes. On top of all that, it was obvious the competitors themselves were having a massive amount of fun.
Overall, $40,000 were given away in prizes. Lauren “LoLo” Derminio walked away with First Place, as well as Best Trick after she dropped off a rail place on a shipping container onto a second rail several feet down.
Kimura was emotional during the awards, especially when presenting Derminio, who Kimura said she saw a lot of her self in, her first place award.
“The girls riding was incredible. They surpassed my expectations and I already felt like I knew what they were capable of, but they blew my mind today, and I’m just so stoked to have all the support and give them a chance to shine,” Kimura told the Sun.
On Sunday, April 16, the competitors partnered with Beyond the Boundaries, an organization that helps introduce women to the sport of snowboarding and brings together the snowboarding community.
Savannah Golden is a Truckee local and BTBounds coach. While it’s been years since she’s competed, she came out of competition retirement for this event.
“I was very nervous going into it and then of course, all my friends are here to support and so I think that helped a lot just like having all my people here but it was really fun, a really great time,” Golden said.
As a BTBounds coach, Golden was very excited when she heard Kimura wanted to include them in the event.
“I was overjoyed because I think that this type of stuff, that kind of like bringing together, that collision of the community is what it’s all about,” Golden said.
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