Story Time with Uncle Russ Russ: The Final Am Stand

Have you ever woken up late for a cross country flight being stared down by an 8ft snake wondering, where what why and how???? Well that’s the way my trip to my last Am contest started.

The night before the flight me and some so-called buddies went out for some dinner, drinks, dancing and some more drinks. Needless to say, as an 18 year old I took it way too far. I woke up a half hour before I was supposed to be on my flight about 25 in the wrong direction from my luggage. I cant really remember the load that I fed the lady at the check in counter but she got me on the next flight outta JFK heading towards Portland with a bunch of random stops in between. To add insult to self-inflicted injury I arrived in Portland with no ride to Hood and no idea where I was staying.

Will Jesus save Russ? Keep reading…

I sat on the curb lit a smoke when I saw a group of people with a few hot teenage girls amongst them who happened to be on a church trip to Mt Hood. “Thank you Jesus, double thank you!” I told a cleaner version of my story and now needed to get to Hood. Like good Christians they offered me a ride and we were off. I think by this time everything I had ingested the night before was starting to wear off and the last thing I wanted was to be a Shiny happy person amongst the Shiny happy people, but I needed the ride and didn’t want to get kicked out in the scary northwest woods! I’d heard stories about the crazy lack of race relations in the woods in the NW and really wanted no part of it. Luckily, I made it to the Huckleberry Inn where I found some of my teammates who just started laughing…

Back in the day you had to do all three events: Slalom, GS and the Halftube. The first day was one of the race events. At this point I was completely over the racing and there was powder. Dale Rehberg was there with the Midwest boys and we decided after one run through the race course that we were going to go freeriding. I remember rippin through some powder field then getting down to the trees and knowing I needed to go left. I was screaming at Dale but he was just have way too much fun and kept going right almost all the way down to Gov’y! That was the last I saw him til later that night. After another run or two I ran into my coach who wasn’t really that pleased with me not taking my runs, but I told her that I really didn’t see much future in racing for myself. She looked at me and giggled and said ok.

This is where the magic happened then, and sometimes still does.

Back at the Huck after riding it was time to PARTAY!!! My boy Rocket was there, a big ass dude who ripped. I hadn’t met him before but birds of a feather! We started drinkin’ and it was on, but the next day was the halfpipe and I really wanted to win. I woke up, or came to, however you wanna say it, and went up to the hill. I looked at the pipe and it was less then average… I don’t think any of the kids today would even drop in. It was maybe a 6ft ditch with highway hits in it. Still, I think I was in the top three going into the finals, Rehberg and Rocket were right there too, so we all went and talked to the people who put on the contest about the quality of the pipe.

Me: Yeah, Hi, I was just wondering if you realized this pipe really is bad.
Contest admin: I don’t know why you’re bitchin’ you are riding it great…
Me: Great is a relative term..

The contest admin made a scowly face then walled away from me with disgust. I don’t know if he smelled all the booze or just couldn’t believe that I was such a little fucker. Either way I went out took my last run. I did pretty well, or so I thought, and went back into the lodge to hang with the homes. When the final scoring came out I didn’t have a score and if my memory serves me right, neither did Dale or Rocket. I returned to the same contest admin for another conversation that went something like this

Me: Umm.. Why did I not have a score
Contest admin: I don’t know

Me: How do you not know this is complete bullshit!
Contest admin: I don’t know what your bitching about the nationals are going to be at your home mountain next year.
Me: I don’t give a fuck where the contest is gonna be next year! I’m turning Pro next week and I’m done with this bullshit!

THE END of my Am career


Sadly, Russ doesn’t have any photos of this event, but here’s one we found on google image search of what snowboarding looked like back then to help you imagine.

Stay tuned next week for the start of Russ’s pro career…