2011 was a year of change for the West Coast Session; new riders and sponsors made for an event unlike any Sessions of years past, and we're bringing it to you here on Freeskier for the first time.
The fundamental concept stayed the same: invite the best young skiers and filmers out to Mt. Hood, give them lift tickets and a badass park, invite the public to come watch, and see what happens.
An event like this could never be possible without the support of our hosts Timberline and Windell's Camp. Timberline's terrain parks are great all season long (and the "season" averages around ten months out of the year) but they're in particularly good form in the spring, just in time for WCS. Windell's provides the crew with accommodations and access to its world-class training facilities: trampolines, indoor & outdoor skate parks, foam pit, dry slope, BMX… you get the idea.
Mix all this with a few sunny days in May, some Mt. Hood volcanic dust, and banger online coverage (claim) and you've got the sweet, sweet spring cocktail called the West Coast Session, coming at you for the fifth time around.
"Double flips" the WCS way: the boys from Mammoth double-team the tree jib during the public session on May 1. Photo: Ethan Stone
Things kicked off on Sunday, May 1 with the “Public Appreciation Day.” Blue skies, a crisp spring park, and hot dogs on the Hillcrest Sports grill greeted the hundred-odd skiers and snowboarders who came out to ride Timberline alongside the crew of invited athletes and filmers.
"Enjoying hot dogs under beautiful weather, with amazing skiers, couldn't ask for a better way to start off the session." – Rocky Maloney, Park City-based photographer and 3-time WCS attendee
The public jam was followed by two days of shredding and shooting in Timberline's parks, closed out by an all-day session on a huge 100-foot jump built for us by T-Line's resident jump guru, Logan Stewart.
Logan built this whole jump using only that rake.
After a skier comes to one West Coast Session, it's usually hard to get rid of them again. This time around several of the usual suspects couldn’t be here, but their absence opened the door for a new generation of riders ready to make their mark at the Session. Allow us to introduce you to the 2011 West Coast Session crew.
Karl Fostvedt, Charlie Lasser and Joss Christensen all showed up last year without invites and absolutely killed it. This year they were given official “licenses to shred” and proceeded to abuse the privilege.
Charlie Lasser, the whole Colorado crew, and this cork 5 tree tap were all welcome additions to the Session. Photo: Stone
Ever-photogenic Joss Christensen tucks up a rodeo 5 japan. Photo: Drew Smalley
Karl Fostvedt. Photo: Stone
In addition to these three, a sizeable group of other WCS "sophomores" came back for a second go-round at the Session and were hungry for shots.
Amplid and Buff rider Pako Benguerel is a legend in the Spanish freeskiing scene and also WCS's resident "grandpa" at 31 years young. Here he is teaching the youngsters a history lesson with a bio 12 reverse mute. Photo: Smalley
Nick Miles impressed last year with smooth styles and was back in 2011 with more of the same. Blind 270 tap. Photo: Smalley
Usually at photo shoots the action is centered in one place. Not so at WCS, where the focal point is everywhere and nowhere. Every minute, somewhere on the hill, a banger is taking place. The filmers and photographers frantically try to capture as much as possible of the madness taking place all around them.
The coveted "shot of the shot": Alex Loren shoots Rocky Maloney shooting Tim Gage, Steven Smith, Pako Benguerel and JP Solberg.
Tim Gage bringing back the bio with style. Photo: Maloney
After netting the best shot on last year's box-gap feature, Will Berman was ready to perform for his second WCS appearance. Switch 5. Photo: Smalley
After a breakout performance last year, Windell's Academy prodigy and Hillcrest Sports team rider Nick Goepper once again out-skied just about everybody. Watch out for this kid. Photo: Maloney
Fresh blood this year included Nicky Keefer, Dale Talkington, and Malone, all of whom wasted no time proving their right to be on the invite list. All three slayed it, and Malone's ceaseless knowledge-dropping added an indespensible hilarity to every moment.
"WCS was tight as f*ck, all the teenagers were killing it with their truck drivers and doubles and such." Words of wisdom from Malone, here doing some old-fashioned rail sliding. Photo: J.Dominguez
The meat man Nicky Keefer ventured into the T-Line slackcountry below the parking lot with the 4bi9crew. Photo: Dominguez
As always the 4bi9 crew rolled deep to WCS. "During the four days we were in Oregon, we were able to film a couple classic Hood features, including a rail in Government Camp, Parking lot jump, and the West Coast Sessions public park and big jump," says 4bi9's Andrew Napier. "As usual Timberline killed it with the park and jump, and we were able to walk away with a handful of quality shots for the upcoming film."
Steve Stepp on the Govy bridge rail. Still frame courtesy of Andrew Napier/4bi9
This year's notable poacher was Maks Gorham, who showed up and put out an edit of his own that easily rivaled any of the official videos. Here he is scouting out a little trannyfinder gap through the trees next to the park with filmer Jasper Newton (in the background). Nice edit boys! Photo: Stone
The roster was additionally strengthened by the return of two incredible skiers we haven’t seen at WCS since the first event way back in 2007: Sean Logan and Jon Marks.
Sean Logan, no stranger to blunts on big jumps. Cork 7. Photo: Stone
Jonny Marks made an unforgettable impression at the first WCS by rodeoing head-first into a cornice wall (see it in the Off Trail Productions edit here). This time around he managed to one-up himself by arriving with a few staples in the back of his head, which he then had removed by "Dr. Gage" so his helmet would fit right. Photo: Stone
Add the dozen-odd other skiers who have become WCS regulars over the years, and we had a stacked list of talent to take on the T-Line park and the big Palmer jump.
Amplid's Steve Stepp in goblin pose: upside down grabbing a switch 5. Photo: Maloney
John Kutcher, solid as always. Photo: Smalley
We have some new sponsors to thank for funding the construction of the jump. Buff, a performance headwear company based in Spain, sent over a box of their fresh fleece-lined bandanas and hoods. Oregon-based clothing company Auviq brought some of their local talent up to slay the setups alongside the out-of-towners.
After a few days of inclement weather, the skies opened wide on on our final day of shooting May 4, and we took advantage of the sunshine for an all-day session on the monster jump.
Tim McChesney guineaed the big jump, then went back up for a second hit and tossed 720 nose as clean as this one. Photo: Maloney
Deuling double cork 1080 mutes: Ben Moxham… vs.
Nick Goepper. Sequences: Maloney
After four days of sun, snow and shred, it was finally time for the big sunset shoot to close out the Session in style. While the filmers and photogs scrambled back to Windell’s to dump their memory cards, the Vital Films RV became the unofficial athlete lounge in the Timberline parking lot.
Inside the "athlete lounge."
The sunset shoot gets started. Photo: Smalley
On the tow rope: Max Gorham, Sean Logan, Nicky Keefer & Will Berman.
Tim McChesney high above the Timberline snow goose. Photo: Alex Loren
"My highlight skier would have to be Joss, he killed everything swaggasaurus Rex." – Malone Photo: Stone
Auviq snowboarder Matt Guess apparently doesn't like to straight air big jumps. He followed fellow Auviq teammate Ari Delashmut in for his first hit and almost back 7'ed into Ari's shoulder blades. Photo: Stone
Nick Miles and his classy cork 7 blunt. Photo: Stone
Joss Christensen doing what he does best. Photo: Dominguez
Max Gorham got the chance to take part in the sunset shoot and made a good first impression with this 360 tail. Photo: Dominguez
Nick Goepper's quiver of double flips is complemented by some stinky style tricks, like this switch 5 double grab. Photo: Darcy Bacha
After the sunset shoot it was time for a group powow back at Windell's Camp to decide…
The 2011 West Coast Session AWARDS
Right double flat 900. Sequence: Stone
MVP: Karl Fostvedt
The vote for MVP was extremely close this year. Against stiff competition from Joss Christensen and the Vital Films RV, the outstanding performance of "Hot Karl" Fostvedt ultimately prevailed for the title.
It was the little details that distinguished Karl from the rest: a switch lincoln, bags of shots in all of the daily edits; and some interesting antics on the big jump, including a landing a trick into death chunder on the side of the landing, and an unexpected right double flat 900.
Karl truckin'. Photo: Dominguez
"It was KRAZY to voted this year's MVP. I was super amped to get the designation. This year's WCS was the most fun time I've ever had park skiing! The vibe WCS creates is pristine because it is so low-pressure and laid back. It encourages skiing as art, rather than an "extreme sport". It's sick that every spring in Hood we get a big crew of homies together to session some of Oregon's finest park skiing." – Karl Fostvedt
Rookie: Dale Talkington
"Dale was killing it in the public park every day, showing everyone why he is one of the most stylish skiers out," says Napier. "His 7 trucks and switch 9's on the big jump were more than impressive, and for his first year at WCS he was throwing down really hard." Congrats Dale, you're this year's WCS Rookie.
King Meat: Nicky Keefer
Still frame courtesy of Andrew Napier.
Since Keefer's nickname is already "Meat", he was an easy pick for the "King Meat". His first attempts at a switch double on the big jump looked plain scary, but he kept at it until he stomped a mind-bogglingly stylish switch double cork 10 blunt (that you can watch in the Vital Films edit) a few minutes into the evening shoot.
Nicky got popped a bit on this switch rodeo, but casually opened it up and floated to a stomp with composure. Photo: Maloney
Repeat Offender: Jonny Marks
Cork 5 dub nose. Photo: Bacha
Jon Marks took home the "Repeat Offender" title for the best returning skier. Jonny skied incredibly at the first WCS in 2007, but a series of injuries kept him away for several years afterward. Four years later Jonny maximized his long-awaited return to WCS by skiing at 150% all week long and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. Okay, maybe not getting bucked on the big jump – but all the other minutes for sure.
Switch misty 9 mute. Sequence: Stone
All Day Syndrome: Tosh & Max Peters
"I vividly remember Tosh Peters saying, 'Only 30 miles out of the Dalles which means only 30 minutes 'til Mexican food!'" recalls photographer Rocky Maloney. "No more than five minutes later, the Peters Suburban made a horrible clicking noise and then a loud POP." The Peters brothers' trustworthy 'burb had finally bit the bullet, and in fine fashion, by blasting a piston through the oil pan.
Tosh with a forward 1080 blunt. Photo: Maloney
Luckily the Park City crew was able to hitch a ride the rest of the way to Mt. Hood in the Colorado RV. "Thank God for Charlie Lasser and Stephen Smith waiting for over an hour and a half for us to get towed into Hood River and dropped off," said Rocky Maloney. "Charlie, Stephen and crew drove a luxurious RV out from Colorado, which was a perfect size for the ridiculous amount of bags and skis that had to be transferred from the Suburban."
Max Peters. Photo: Maloney
Luckilly not even the untimely demise of their trusty Suburban could hold the Peters brothers back from demolishing their fifth consecutive West Coast Session in style. No one skis harder than these guys on every run, all day long.
Best Trick: Nick Miles' double backflip
Sure, a lot of technical doubles went down at WCS. But the crowd favorite was Miles' laid-out, keepin-it-real double backflip. After enjoying a couple of huge single backies, "Giles" sent his first-ever double about 150 feet deep. Watch it in the Day 4 edit.
Gypsy Trick: Ben Moxham, switch double 900, knuckle tap, 360 out
Wild Card: Kevin Malone
Rodeo 5 into orbit. Photo: Dominguez
Mammoth park crew, Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camp coach, OG skier, champion knowledge dropper and infinite jester: Kevin Malone is a man of many talents. He is this year's WCS Wild Card. Thanks Kevin.
Many thanks to the sponsors that helped make the fifth annual West Coast Session a success:
Thanks for reading, and see you next year! In the meantime you can stay up-to-date on West Coast Session news at our website, westcoastsession.com.