The 2012 War of Rails kicks off at Bear Mountain, CA

February 25th, 2012 by

We're back at the one and only Bear Mountain, CA, the third annual War of Rails (WOR) being the occasion. No longer Craig Coker's namesake event, the War of Rails is now hosted by Monster Energy and Under Armour's Mountain Division (UAMTN). With more backing from sponsors this year, I'm excited to report that the contest is bigger and better than ever. And I certainly don't mean to downplay Mr. Coker's involvement—the WOR would most definitely not be possible without his hard work.

Situated at the base of Bear Mountain—as per usual—the course this year features setups that had many of the competitors muttering things like, "This is one of the highest consequence rail jams I've ever seen." The assortment of technical gaps and transfers certainly seemed intimidating at first, but with the drop of the first athlete in today's Amateur Division contest, it seemed the butterflies disappeared and athletes gained confidence run after run, upping the ante as they became more familiar with the features.

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The setup, 2012 War of Rails.

Three heats of athletes jammed for 45 minutes each. Riders dropped, threw down and hustled back to the top of the course in the hopes of maximizing their drop-count. The five top-scoring riders from each heat, along with the next five overall high scores on the day—regardless of heat number—would advance to the afternoon's Amateur Division final.

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Rail gap to tank.

After a day full of creative lines, flips, spins, bonks, switch-ups, etc. twenty riders stood atop the course, ready to compete for the Amateur Division title. And compete they did. For forty-five minutes, we were witness to an action packed rail sliding extravaganza. And although nearly every athlete performed well, throwing stunts garnering hoots and hollers from the crowd gathered at the Beach Bar down below, only fifteen would earn the right to advance to Sunday's Pro round. The lucky fifteen would join the likes of the Tom Wallisch, Matt Walker, John Kutcher, Joe Schuster, Spencer Milbocker, McRae Williams and many others who are pre-qualified.

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Over the gap!

Of the top fifteen, the top three finishers would also be rewarded with a slew of prizes. And when the clock struck zero, the three who emerged victorious were Dominic Laporte in third, Joey Vandermeer in second, and Pat Goodnough taking the cake. Laporte impressed judges with his smooth, fluid style—finding creative lines, and landing his tricks constantly. Vandermeer attacked the course aggressively, and earned huge props from all in attendance as he was one of only two competitors on the day to transfer to the top the wall ride.

Not surprisingly, the other competitor was none other than Mr. Pat Goodnough, who was GoodEnough today to top the podium. Goodnough—who has made a name for himself in Summit County, CO over the past five years—displayed tremendous skill throughout the day. Flipping onto the wallride, inverted handplants over the tank-jib… Goodnough skied with a consistency and technicality that set him apart from the rest. For his effort, Goodnough was awarded a free session at Windells Camp on the Mt. Hood glacier this summer.

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Transfer to wall ride.

The fifteen riders who advanced to tomorrow's Pro final are:

1) Pat Goodnough
2) Joey Vandermeer
3) Dominic Laporte
4) Aidan Sheehan
5) Alex Dorszynski
6) Sean McGowan
7) Hugo Pelletier
8) Michael Briggs
9) Conner Bennett
10) Rory Walsh
11) Trevor Stameisen
12) Martin Boulais
13) Sebastien Chartrand
14) Keegan Kilbride
15) Brendan Trieb

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Am Division Podium: 1) Pat Goodnough 2) Joey Vandermeer 3) Dominic Laporte

Stay tuned for coverage from tomorrow's Pro final. We'll have a recap following the event, including a photo gallery. We'll also be releasing a video of the action in the days following the event.

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About the author:
Henrik Lampert loves hot dogs, backflips, the Boston Bruins and Norway. Twenty-seven years old and a Massachusetts native, he's the Editor of Freeskier Magazine and Freeskier.com—a proud staffer since 2010.