Sometimes sequels can suck. They become a sad attempt to recreate something original and often ruin all the good memories of the previous version. Sometimes, however, round two turns out to be a surprising venture, especially when you have all the key ingredients: a beautifully sunny day, perfectly sculpted frontside and backside hips and a great group of old friends and new acquaintances. All these things came together March 7th and Gunstock Mountain Resort for the second annual Tyler Davis Hip Jam.
This year Rob Hallowell and the Gunstock Park crew created back-to-back hips that gave each rider the chance to show their best backside and frontside tricks. The afternoon start time allowed the setting sun to provide a killer backdrop for all the riders.
Katie Kennedy held it down for the ladies sending stylish airs throughout the contest. As the afternoon wore on her airs got higher and higher and she walked away with first place. For the under 18 division Grant Shambo showed everyone how to send it by going the biggest off of the first hit with massive backside airs. Cody Ross was putting down run after run, mixing up his grabs and ripping all afternoon long. One of my favorite sights of the contest was watching Morris Gifford and Tucker Johnson take lap after lap. Both of these guys, who are only 10 and 9, rode with absolutely no fear of the hips and stomped numerous grabs with style way beyond their years.
The open men put on quite the show. Gunstock locals Eamon Aldridge and River Richer threw down fully tweaked crails and tail grabs with ease. Will Mayo made the journey east to show everyone how to go huge and do proper methods. Merrick Joyce and Tyler L’heureux showed up, rode about 100 miles and hour all afternoon and put down some of the most stylish airs of the day. Their high-speed style also led to them finding a unique gap, a tranny finding ollie from the tops of both hips to the slightly groomed backsides. Without question the MVP award belonged to Jed Skye. He put on a show, launching huge airs, ally-oops, a perfect backside rodeo and a crazy frontside ally-oop 720 nose grab. His riding earned him a unanimous vote from his peers for best shredder of the day.
Last but not least, the legend men showed all the other riders that age ain’t nothing but a number. Graham Hoffman was riding like he was in cruise control, putting down tricks with the smoothest style and making everything look too easy. Tim McLaughlin made the journey south from his coaching job at the Waterville Valley Academy to show his riders just what style really looks like; a combination of air time, fully committed tweaks and precise control. Seth Learned upped the ante with backside rodeos and switch methods, a trick that no one else dared to step to, to give the younger riders a proper demonstration in board control.
Probably the highlight of the day was the surprise visit from Chas Guldemond and his family. Chas and I learned to snowboard at Gunstock and both learned our first methods there. Watching him send a gigantic method off the bottom hip, at the mountain where he learned the trick, was one of the best things I have ever witnessed in snowboarding. It’s rare that you get to see something like that come full circle, and it’s just further proof that snowboarding with friends is the best thing ever.
With another successful Hip Jam in the books, I must give my enormous thanks to everyone that made this possible. Thank you to Rob Hallowell and the park staff for all your hard work and Randy Williams, Tom Ryan and Doug Poole for taking the time to shoot and film the event. A massive thank you goes out to all the amazing sponsors that threw down: Oakley, Ass Industries, Volcom, Ride Snowboards, The Snowboard Shack and Snowboarder Magazine; this wouldn’t be possible without your support.