Tom Wallisch wins 2012 War of Rails

Comments by Henrik Lampert/

'Twas another day in Bearadise here at Bear Mountain, CA. Following yesterday's exciting qualifying rounds, the stage was set for a rockin', ragin', balls to the walls final round here at the War of Rails. And that's exactly what we got.

See video of the action:

Watch Video 1 — Freeskier's finals highlights video.

Watch Video 2 — Finals highlights by Bear Mountain.

Under blue skies and a baking sun, 28 athletes took to the course to strut their stuff on what many considered, "One of the best rail jam setups of all time." Two heats of 14 were allotted 30 minutes each to tackle the course. Of the 28 riders, only 15 would advance to the afternoon's final round: The top six scorers from each heat, along with the next three highest scorers—regardless of heat number. And the riders certainly didn't make things easy for the judges during the two semifinal heats. Left, right, backwards, then turn around again—riders dropped one after one, performing a wide array of technical tricks.

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Luke Van Valin and Craig Coker introduce the 2012 War of Rails.

When push came to shove, only 15 were fortunate enough to advance to the final round. After a quick lunch break—complete with hot dogs, burgers, ice cold beers and a smorgasbord of deli meats and sandwich ingredients, amongst other things—the lucky fifteen marched to the top of the course to await the green flag. From atop the course, the athletes looked down at the unique venue. Just behind the rail features lies the infamous Beach Bar patio, packed to the max this fine Saturday with Southern California's finest ski and snowboard enthusiasts. It's a sight to behold.

As the clock struck 2:30 p.m., the proverbial gun sounded and mayhem ensued. For the duration of the 45-minute jam session, jaws dropped repeatedly as the competitors raised the bar ever higher. With the stomping of an impressive trick came roaring applause from the massive crowd gathered at the Beach Bar, along with a slew of approving remarks from the announcers Luke Van Valin and Reed Speedman–whose voices boomed from the various speakers and echoed throughout the base area.

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Spencer Milbocker airs onto the wallride.

Noteworthy performances in the final round came from Tom Wallisch, who attacked every feature of the course with style and grace—Spencer Milbocker, who impressed all in attendance with a massive hand plant to misty flip off of the up rail-gap to tank feature—Pat Goodnough, who carried his momentum from his victory in yesterday's Amateur contest—Karl Fostvedt, who is for lack of a better word, an "animal"—Dominic Laporte—Giray Dadali, who also sent one heck of a massive handplant to misty flip off of the aforementioned up rail-gap to tank feature, in addition to a handful of other über impressive stunts—Khai Krepela—Matt Walker—Joe Schuster—Aidan Sheahan—and last but not least, Kyle Smaine, who put a giant exclamation point on his day as he sent a switch 270 onto the tippity top of the massive wallride on his final run. I name only a few here, but I should say that the other finalists are all deserving of applause—it was quite the show out there. The sounding of the final horn came as a disappointment to many. The skiing was escalating to absurd levels, and there is no doubt in my mind that the progressive trend would have continued with more time on the clock.

After a big ol' raffle at the base area—with tons of product on hand thanks to the event sponsors, and proceeds benefitting a local youngster who was diagnosed with cancer—it came time to announce the podium.

Landing in third was Kyle Smaine. His consistent riding, combined with his finishing stunt was enough to propel him to the podium. Well deserved, Kyle. In second was none other than Spencer Milbocker. Milbocker's massive airs onto the wall ride, along with his antics on—or over, I should say—the tank feature were impressive to say the least. And continuing his winning ways today was Mr. Tom Wallisch. Hot off X Games gold and with the Dew Cup in his pocket, Wallisch is quite simply on another level. This afternoon, Wallisch demonstrated his versatile skill as he bagged tricks on each and every feature in the course. Whereas some athletes focused on one or two lines in the course, Wallisch worked his way from rail to rail stomping technical and stylish tricks on each. For his efforts, Tom earned himself a fat $10,000 check.

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Mr. Wallisch shows off the goods.

At the end of the day, The White Panda—a popular mashup duo—took to the stage and inspired dance amongst the masses. The beer continued to flow and the sun continued to shine. As we mingled with friends on the patio—we reminisced on what had been an outstanding 2012 War of Rails. There aren't a great many true rail jams in existence these days, and to have one as big and rockin' as this—it's exciting, and refreshing for all.

Big thanks to Monster Energy and Under Armour for hosting the event this year, and thanks to everyone who came out to support the event. See you at War of Rails IV, 2013.

See video of the action:

Watch Video 1 — Freeskier's finals highlights video.

Watch Video 2 — Finals highlights by Bear Mountain.

CHECK OUT THE FULL GALLERY

 

 

Tom Wallisch on the 2012 War of Rails.

2012 War of Rails Results:

1. Tom Wallisch
2. Spencer Millbocker
3. Kyle Smaine
4. Pat Goodnough
5. Karl Fostveit
6. Joe Schuster
7. Giray Dadali
8. Dominic Laporte
9. Matt Walker
10. Khai Krepela
11. Alex Dorzynski
12. Aiden Sheahan
13. Martin Boulais
14. John Kutcher
15. Sebastien Chartrand

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