The Gibbons Life big air wrapped up just a short while ago, here in Whistler Village. Amid steady rainfall, and following a jam session, plus a final, it was Sweden’s Jesper Tjäder who emerged victorious. Rounding out the podium were Bobby Brown and Vincent Gagnier, in second and third, respectively.
The weather certainly wasn’t ideal this evening, though that didn’t stop this stacked list of riders from putting on a spectacular show. Given the rain, we didn’t see quite as strong a crowd as we’ve become accustomed to here at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, though, many folks did indeed brave the elements, gathering in the Village Square to cheer on the boys.
After snapping some head shots and a few action pics during the practice session, I made for the GLC (Garibaldi Lift Co.) where Monster Energy had taken over the patio. The umbrellas and heat lamps provided for a nice setting in which to take it all in—certainly better than up on the knuckle of the jump, where I may have been standing otherwise. Though, whilst indulging in Caesars and chitty-chit-chatting up a storm, I must admit I missed the occasional jump, as I eluded to briefly via the @FreeskierLive Twitter account.
Amid the highlights tonight: Alex Ferreira stomped a massive backflip, bare naked. He skied his way down into the finish corral covering his private parts, and then proceeded to run back up the hill, giving all a nice view of his rosy cheeks.
We saw one triple attempt during the jam session: Noah Morrison put it to his feet, but landed sideways, suffering a fairly brutal slam. After a nervous stretch, as we watched the ski patrol tend to the downed rider, he was carted off, raising a hand in the air on his way out. A moment of relief. We wish him well.
Come finals, ABM’s double cork 7s earned solid applause; Tjäder stomped a large, smooth double cork 16 tail; Brown opted for his classic switch double misty 12 and 14; Gagnier made me question, “What the hell grab was that?” as he oftentimes does; and so much more. Surely someone’ll have a video recap before too long.
I spoke with Tjäder following the conclusion of the event; he spoke about his recent success.
“This season has been unreal,” he explained. “It started pretty well, then I qualified for the Olympics, and I didn’t do so great there, but since then, things have been going so well, I don’t know, it’s unreal. I’ve never felt better at skiing than I do right now.”
Tjäder continued, “This is my first time in Whistler, and my first time in Canada. It’s good so far. Really good so far,” he said with a laugh.
“It was kind of slow tonight. I would like to have done a switch triple, that was my plan before I came here, but speed was not too good, so I had to go forward, and went with a double 16. Pretty sure that was the best one I’ve ever thrown. To wrap up my season with a victory at this big air, I couldn’t be more stoked.”
I spoke with Mr. Brown, as well, who was complimentary about Tjäder’s skiing of late.
“[His skiing] has been insane,” he said. “Seeing the clips he’s been putting out, it’s been pretty cool. The double back from Nine Knights, the switch triple front from JOI… he’s just a circus, dude. He just sends the gnarliest stuff. So it was fun to see him ski really well tonight, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else he comes up with.”
Brown too commented on the sub-par weather, but like Tjäder, expressed the evening was still big fun.
“This event is so sick. The weather could have been a bit better, but during finals it was perfect. Speed got better through the night. This event is just fun, though. It’s the end of the season and everyone is kinda just burnt out a little bit, so it’s just kinda capping things off, but we’re capping it off in a big way, it’s awesome.”
And speaking of going big: Following the awards ceremony and a brief fireworks show, most folks made for the Longhorn Saloon where the official after party is currently raging. And on that note, I’m out!