When I rolled up on the feature for the inaugural Tanner Hall Invitational “contest” at Sierra at Tahoe yesterday there was a snowcat on the feature that looked like a toy. The massive mound of snow had been shaped in to a symmetrical feature, two machine cut quarterpipes with a snowcat sized gap between them giving access to a huge double-sided hip jump. The possibilities, as they say, seemed endless for the mega-roster of skiers to tee off.
Starting with practice this morning, before two free-for-all jam sessions, pretty much every option was exhausted. Right-to-left, left-to-right, quarterpipe-to-quarterpipe, hip, over the hip, quarterpipe-to-hip crossovers, straight airs, fakie straight airs, stalls, hand plants, double 12s, butters… it all happened.
The format was, fittingly, a bit ADD: go ski, take a break, eat some food, go ski some more, then get together and all the skiers will vote for their favorite skiers from the day in three categories. The overall winner on the day was Henrik Harlaut, while Phil Casabon won the other two categories, style and creativity. It was the ultimate in subjective judging and that made it basically a session of a bunch of good friends skiing their brains out (with a few timely pauses, mid-session, to sign autographs and high five the many spectators).
And although the usual suspects took home the prizes, I’d be remiss not to mention some other un-freaking-believable moments: B Devine was the first skier to step over the hip to the backside landing, local shredder Kyle Smaine ignored the “Invitational” tag to boost some insane tech tricks, Duncan Adams returned from injury and his normal under-the-radar style to send the biggest airs of the day, Rory Silva (!!!!) did his first backflip in “a couple years” from the left QP takeoff to the right hip landing (WTF?!!!), and Simon Ericson led the charge in the early session before smashing his chin then coming on strong again after slapping an ineffective band-aid over the cut.
And some of the other big names didn’t win, but they certainly showed why they are legends in skiing: Candide Thovex showed that a couple of years away from skiing park don’t stop him from being the man, Sammy Carlson dropped some classic bombs over the hip, Joffery Pollet-Villard dropped some hammers on the QP gap, Torin Yater-Wallace went huge and technical on both the QPs and the hip.
And finally, let’s mention Tanner. He skied every line, and stressed every detail of the course and contest. A huge thanks to him for putting together the whole thing with huge support from GoPro, Rockstar Energy, Oakley, Dakine, Armada and Sierra-at-Tahoe.