Words and photos by Brian Walker
On a picture perfect Cinco De Mayo, Mammoth Mountain, CA hosted its annual West Coast Invitational. The last time skiers were invited to compete at WCI was in 2006 during the Orage Masters, when Sarah Burke and team Volkl took top honors. Skiers and snowboarders united once again, this year was also the first time WCI decided to host a big air, and it was awesome to say the least.
Mammoth and Monster Energy teamed up and put a $15,000 prize purse on the line for the top team as well as the best trick for both skiers and snowboarders. The jump was a traditional 70 footer, but with a channel gap landing. The big air event was a bracket style format with a twist; skiers and riders were paired up and the two-man teams sessioned together with overall impression dictating which team moved on.
James “Woodsy” Woods and Lonnie Kauk
Alex Schlopy and Sage Kotsenburg
Matt Walker and Spencer Whiting
Parker White and Chas Guldemond
Alexis Godbout and Cody Rosenthal
Jimmy Greenleaf and Eric Beauchemin
Nick Miles and Tim Humphreys
Joss Christensen and Ole Christian Hagen
Matt Walker, dub 12
The action was nonstop throughout the entire event. The judges seemed to be concentrated more on style than most spins or gnarly tricks, which meant an impressive spectacle of not only doubles but cork 5s, zero spins, front flips, etc.
After an exciting first round it was Alex Schlopy’s team and Parker White’s team that moved onto the semi finals in bracket 1. In bracket 2, local boy Jimmy Greenleaf moved on to face the likes of Joss Christensen and his young gun partner for a chance to compete in the finals.
Parker White, switch 10 tail
A stacked semi final round brought out the best in all the riders. Alex Schlopy landed a switch 1440 mute as well as a couple double cork 12 tail grabs, while his partner Sage Kotsenburg won best trick with a stomped front double cork 10. In the judges eyes, however, it was Parker White and Chas Guldemond that were most impressive. Parker—who I don’t think crashed all night—brought his signature style doing front flips, huge zero spins as well as a couple different doubles.
In semi final round 2 Jimmy Greenleaf showed the huge tequila fueled crowd that he knows a thing or two about style with super smooth cork 3s and 7s, and the always crowd pleasing backflip. But it wasn’t enough to contend with the effortless skiing of Joss Christensen and his teammate Ole Christian Hagen. Joss started off with a perfect dub cork 12 mute followed by a switch dub 10 blunt and finished the round off with an underflip 5 blunt that oozed style. His partner threw textbook front 10s, and together they moved on to the finals.
Photo Left: The winning duo, Guldemond and White.
The finals proved to be a battle of style for the two skiers. Parker started with a switch 10 blunt followed by a switch 7 safety, a huge dub 12, a switch dub 10, and ended with a switch 7 blunt. Joss started off strong with a dub cork 12 mute, then a perfect switch 10 blunt. Proving that he can do doubles with style, Joss did a couple dub cork 12 double japans and finished off with a large underflip 5 blunt grab.
In the end the heavy hitting team of Parker White and Chas Guldemond came out on top. The combination of Parker’s style and Chas’ ability to crush anything you put in front of him proved to be an unstoppable force. Parker also won best trick for “everything he did” as the announcers put it.
The perfect weather, easy spectator viewing, incredible riding and seemingly endless Cinco De Mayo festivities made this an unforgettable event. Hope to see you all there next May to join party.