White pockets win (again) in Session rails
VAIL ” Shaun White’s name was conspicuously absent from The Session jumbotron after the first 15 minutes of competition in Friday night’s rail jam at Golden Peak.
Canada’s T.J. Schneider took the first $2,000 prize and 15-year-old newcomer Matt Casinova, whose name was a last-minute addition to The Session roster, was surprisingly in second place with $1,000 tagged next to his name.
White, who walked away with first-place honors in last year’s slopestyle and rail events at The Session, admitted afterward that he was frustrated with his riding in the early stages of this year’s opening pro men’s event.
“Actually, in the beginning of the night, I was like, ‘I’m over it.'” he said. “I was all bummed and I didn’t want to keep going. But, I was like, ‘Whatever, I’ll go have fun.'”
When White did start having fun, his name ended up on the scoreboard. After 30 minutes of action in the 90-minute competition Schneider was still No. 1, grabbing another $2,000 for a handplant-to switch-ollie combo into the middle channel of the rails course that cranked the crowd-noise meter up a notch.
“We missed practice, so I guess I wasn’t tired like everybody else,” Schneider said of his fast start. “(My teammate) Scott (Shaw) got his board stolen right before we got here. So, we were super late getting here. I got to drop in once before the contest.”
White had pocketed his first $1,000 of the night, however, for one of his signature-smooth runs and was steadily gaining confidence. Another $1,000 at the 45-minute halfway point of the contest was the final warning shot fired by the 18-year old superstar before he went into full assault mode on The Session course.
And, when the final flame was shot out of the fire cannon at the bottom of Golden Peak announcing the conclusion of Friday night’s event, White again walked away with top honors ” pocketing a total of $8,000.
The secret behind his success? Just like last year, White displayed his versatility to the panel of six judges scoring the competition by trying new runs nearly every single time down the course. He used the whole course as his canvas to paint original lines and in doing so distanced himself from the rest of the field.
There was an impressive board slide across the quarteripe gap followed by a 270 into a frontside boardslide on the 40-foot down/flat rail. There was a bold 50-50 up the kinked rail in which White gapped over the flat section and then used the top part of the rail to pick up speed heading into the quarterpipe. There were also impressive maneuvers on both C rails flanking the course.
“I just really wanted to hit everything,” White said. “I don’t know. I guess that’s what the judges were looking for.”
Casinova takes Malay Factor
Casinova was stoked just to be riding with some of his idols that he’s grown up watching. He was even more stoked to finish in fourth place with $2,500 and earn The Malay Factor for best trick.
The award was named in honor of Vail pro Josh Malay who died last year after a snowboarding accident in the Andorran Pyrenees. The award was handed out by Malay’s younger brother, Sean.
“This means everything, man,” Casinova said. “The kid had heart and soul. You saw his riding out here when he was in The Session. To get an award like this, that’s pretty amazing.”
Casinova wasn’t sure what trick earned him the honor.
“The only maneuver that I can think of is possibly the half cab 50-50 to backside 270 nose slide to 270 out,” he said. “Or, maybe frontsiding over the channel.”
In the money
With the new pay format, which paid the top-five riders every 15 minutes, 14 riders ended up walking away with checks Friday night.
The reaction to the new payout structure ” an innovation thought up by The Session’s competition director Greg Johnson ” drew a big thumbs-up from all competitors.
“I think that’s a way better way to do the money situation,” third-place finisher Mitch Reed said. “It gives everyone a chance to get some money and it’s not someone who always wins winning all the money.”
Schneider, who finished second with $4,500, also gave props to the pay format, which was designed as an incentive to keep riders busy and to spread the wealth around a little more.
“I thought it was awesome because otherwise Shaun White just would have won,” he said. “He always wins. This makes more people win money. It’s just in general nicer to everyone else other than Shaun.”
Staff Writer Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Shaun White $8,000
2. TJ Schneider $4,500
3. Mitch Reed $4,250
4. Mike Casinova, $2,500
5. Kevin Pearce, $1,100
6. Colin Langlois, $750
7. Rahm Klampert, $500
8. Mason Aguirre, $350
8. L.N. Paquin, $350
10. Ryan Lougee, $250
10. Max Henault, $250
12. Lane Knack, $100
12. JJ Thomas, $100
12. Jacques Berrieau, $100