There is no point in beating around the bush: California is in the midst of an historically significant and poor snow year. Yesterday at Bear Mountain, CA where we are for the fifth annual War of Rails, it rained. And rained. And rained some more. The two-day contest was pushed back a day, running the amateurs today (Saturday, March 1) and the pros (plus qualifiers from the am event) on Sunday.
But the weather did not keep the shredders away from the resort yesterday morning. More than a handful of intrepid souls were jumping on the lifts and making laps. Some of them had trash bags or ponchos on. All were buttoned up tight against the driving rain. The point, however, is that in today’s park skiing culture, any resort can offer terrain that is no less fun in the rain than it is under crystal clear skies. And, finally, around 4:00 p.m., the snow started and continued all night.
The Under Armour War of Rails course evolves every year. This year, thanks in part to the aforementioned low snow year, the course is pretty tight. The rails at the top are no longer separated from the middle features—skiers roll straight from landing to takeoff—and the middle features drop you right into the finishing features. That certainly rewarded clean runs from top to bottom and, as a general rule, meant that the three logical lines ran top to bottom.
Anyhow, today’s am event was taken down by a podium of Joey van der Meer in first, Max Moffatt in second and Max Morello in third. The top 18 from today also go up against the pre-qualified pros in Sunday’s MEGA-PRO-FINAL (that’s not actually what it is called). We’re looking for clearing skies and a classic Southern California War of Rails contest day—all webcast live for your Internet viewing pleasure.
Check in at freeskier.com/live from 11:45 a.m. PST ’til 4:00 p.m. to watch all of the action in real time.
Launch the gallery above in full screen and to click the “i” icon for photo captions with a bit more of the story from today. More to come tomorrow evening.
Advancing to finals: Rory Walsh, Simon Gingas, Vincent Prevost, Ben Merrill, Casey Kruger, Tucker Keating, Martin Boulais, Ryan Rasmussen, Jake Doan, Max Morello, Sebastien Chartrand, Tosh Peters, John Fabrizi, Joey van der Meer, Per Fernvik, Max Moffatt, Nicholas Keefer and Jon Haeggberg.