The JP Memorial: The backflip mute contest was pretty much perfect

The JP Memorial: The backflip mute contest was pretty much perfect

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When honoring JP Auclair, how does one possibly follow-up an all-time session on a beautiful, hand-shaped quarterpipe? With a backflip mute contest, of course.

Tuesday afternoon played host to an ultra-fun session near the base of Riksgränsen Ski Resort. Approximately 30 skiers partook in the hour-long jam; they performed before a solid crew of spectators who lined the hill alongside the jump—others gathered on the patio of the Lappis restaurant, situated just a stone’s throw from the jump zone.

The backflip mute was a stunt popularized by the late, great JP Auclair. The trick is steeped in historical context; performing a backflip mute is as much about the pure fun factor as it is a nod to the origins of freeskiing. Organizing a contest in honor of the maneuver, and JP, was a natural choice for the Armada clan. And the action did not disappoint.

We must have witnessed upwards of 200 backflips during the hour-long stretch. And among ’em, more than a few were “first-evers.” Kim Boberg, Phil Casabon, Sven Kueenle and a couple of The Bunch members (just to name a few) tossed the trick for the first time.

We also witnessed Åre, Sweden’s own Joel Anderson attempt a number of backflips whilst shredding a green, shiny GT Racer. He endured slam after slam before finally stomping the trick and drawing raucous applause. This too was a tribute to JP; many skiers will remember his segment from Poor Boyz Productions’ Propaganda (2001), in which he performs a handful of stunts on a GT Racer, including a backflip.

We saw tandem backflips. We saw 10+ skiers attack the jump in train formation. We saw jean jackets. We saw neon jackets. We enjoyed Tuborg after Tuborg. We high fived. We cheered. And some shed tears. ‘Twas an incredible afternoon. It was relaxed, fun, fitting. It was pretty much perfect.

Photo by Chris O'Connell

JP Auclair in Whistler, BC, 1998. Photo by Chris O’Connell.

Clay Bryant, 32, of Breckenridge, CO, traveled 4,447 miles to honor JP. “When I heard there was a backflip mute contest, that alone was worth traveling all this way,” he told me.

A winner of the “best backflip contest” (judged by the riders) will be crowned here on Wednesday evening. Winners of the QP contests will be named then, as well. Along with “best hair,” “most fun,” “best photo” and the “send it” award. The awards ceremony will be followed up by a 90s party. Stay tuned to the FREESKIER Snapchat for some insight into what’s sure to be (another) wild night here in “Riks,” 200 km north of the Arctic Circle.

Related: The JP Memorial: Hand-shaped quarterpipes are the best

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