Jib contest offers spills and thrills
Throngs of anxious skiers and snowboarders poured in to the base area of Boreal Mountain Resort Saturday evening, enduring chilly temperatures and a biting wind in trade for watching the first competition of the season: The Jibassic Pro Rail Invitational.
The main event, after waiting out three film premiers ” “As if,” “White Shine” and “91 Words for Snow” ” did not disappoint. As predicted by organizers, the 20 invited skiers and snowboarders provided plenty of entertainment, both by way of deft technical tricks and bruising wipeouts that drew winces of empathy from the crowd.
“It’s good to come out for the first day of the year, when nobody has ridden,” said Zak Shelhamer, a 19-year-old snowboarder from Colorado Springs, Colo and one of 10 boarders in the contest. “There’s a lot of tricks I forgot how to do.”
Shelhamer, who managed to remember some of his tricks once the judging began, said he appreciated the invite from Boreal terrain park director and event organizer Eric Rosenwald.
“It feels special being invited,” he said. “I was surprised. It’s a good opportunity for me to represent.”
The three 30-foot boxes ” two of which were straight and the other with a 22-degree kink in the middle ” that spanned 30 stairs down to a base filled in with 750 cubic feet of delivered ice, got a thumbs up from Shelhamer.
“It’s a pretty mellow setup, although the stairs are pretty intimidating,” Shalhamer said. “The ice is graceful to land on. You’ve just got to worry about the stairs.”
After the tail end of a storm swung through and dusted Boreal with snow early Saturday morning, Rosenwald and staff managed to gather enough of the natural stuff to blanket the starting area, which was erected from bails of hay.
The setup also won the approval of Bobby Witty, a 16-year-old competitor representing Truckee.
“It’s pretty sick,” Witty said. “The drop-in is perfect. [The boxes] are fun. They’re pretty slick.
“There’s definitely a lot of good riders out here.”
Each received a number of chances to show off their tricks, as one competitor after another charged the stairs for a lengthy period of time. In the end, winners were chosen.
First place in the snowboarding went to Truckee locals Jake Davine and Destinee Perata. Max Peters and Grete Eliassen, both of Utah, beat out the field of skiers for first-place finishes, as well. Davine and Peters were each awarded a $2,000 check and Eliassen and Perata were given a $500 check.
Rosenwald, who over the summer custom-built the boxes, along with about 100 other new features that are set to transform Boreal into an all-mountain terrain park this winter, said the Jibassic Pro Rail Invitational ran smoothly and according to plan.
“It went great,” Rosenwald said. “I was excited to see so many kids come out and have a good time.”
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Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy alumnus JC Schoonmaker had a career-best day in Ruka, Finland, racing to a seventh-place finish at last Friday’s World Cup sprint event.