This year’s Jib Academy Tour kicked off with an amazing start in none other than North Carolina! Appalachian Ski Mountain was the place to be this weekend and absolutely earned the title as the South’s freestyle epicenter. The locals arrived in full force to show us what they could do on their home turf. Others drove from as far away as Ohio, Florida, West Virginia and South Carolina to take part in the 2008 Salomon Jib Academy Tour. The accents were thick and the biscuits and gravy were flowing.
In the morning, 45 athletes were split in to groups with pro coaches, Tommy Ellingson, Andrew Hathaway, Seth Warner, Nick Martini and Charlie Wilcox. It started to rain a bit but nobody cared. The Jib Academy was underway. Appalachian had 2 parks to choose from so the groups were able to work many different features throughout the day with tons of variety. Participants were able to work on whatever they wanted to and the cheers and support from their fellow group members were inspiring. Everyone learned something new and picked up some hilarious nicknames along the way.
Before we could break for lunch, athletes were asked to vote for the kid in their group they thought worthy of moving on to the final. If we caught anyone voting for themselves, we made them run to the lift tower and back! The votes were tallied and the top 10 prepared for the afternoon’s final. The park was closed for some touchups and the rest of the crew gathered along the sides to judge the final jam session. The final was stacked with returning Snow Trails champion, Nick Goepper, Ohio native Brian Kiss, locals Charlie Owens, Berkley Wilcox and Joseph Tonney and even 10 year old Adam Hitchcock from West Virginia. The competition was fierce with the athletes making use of every feature in the park. Some chose to hike the rails while others bombed it straight for the money booter. It definitely was not about spinning to win. The style and smoothness of the tricks was super impressive and the crowd went wild.
In the end it was North Carolina native Charlie Owens who earned the coveted to trip to Mammoth Mountain in May. He stood tall on the podium along with fellow App locals, Berkley Wilcox in second and Joseph Tonney in third. This weekend Salomon head’s to Spirit Mountain, Minnesota to find out who will join Charlie in Mammoth. We would like to send a sincere thanks to Appalachian Ski Mountain for stepping it up and dedicating so much of their time and energy to making freestyle skiing thrive in the South! If you guys are ever in the area, you need to check this place out! We also want to give a shout out to all of the Jib Academy participants for making the day a huge success. The coaches were hugely impressed with your talent and attitudes!
Stay tuned for the other 3 stops….. Congratulations Charlie Owens!! See you in Mammoth with whole Salomon Team and the other Jib Academy finalists from all over the globe!