Spinning and twirling is Chas’s specialty, and luckily for him, that’s how you win this sort of contest.
Words and photos by Tony Sulser
Chas Guldemond stole the show on Cinco de Mayo at Mammoth Mountain, winning the 11th annual West Coast Invitational and Jaeger Bailey, (Fact: he’s a snowboarder, not a wicked beverage concoction) notched first place at the Eddie Wall Ride Invitational.
The ever-changing WCI continued to serve up great riding as well as good times as the Mammoth Unbound Park Crew pushed almost every remaining section of snow to the base of Canyon Lodge to build the jib setup and a monster 90’ jump with a split sectioned landing for the end-of-the-year fiesta.
It’s only a matter of time until someone takes their foot out. This time it was Grendys.
In a Hike-Park session for the Eddie Wall Ride, Torstein Horgmo, Mason Aguirre, and several others charged the May afternoon slush, in a jam contest format, WITH NO PRIZE! Jaeger Bailey, Sam Taxwood, and Chris Grenier finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively, with an array of hand plants, rodeos, clean spins, and the occasional back flip that had everybody in attendance holding their breath and hoping the riders would find some transition. Judging by the level of riding and commitment, you would have never guessed the contest was all in the name of fun, and was truly a celebration of the season’s end with good times and cold beers flowing like the trout of the High Sierras.
Everything about this photo screams art, so we’re not even gonna try and figure out who it is.
As day turned night, the lights fired up and so did the riding, as eight snowboarders teamed with eight skiers, and lit up the massive 90’ feature, in a format that required each snowboarder to hit the jump at the same time as a skier. After a few miscues leaving riders midair over the gap and landing in the dark, the competitors and the lighting team got everything dialed in and the event was on.
Throwing everything in their arsenal, from Chas’s switch 180’s and smooth methods, to Sage Kotsenberg’s 1260 which won him a cool $2,500, the rider’s amount of dedication was evident to all in attendance. Chas and Ole Christian Hagen met in the finals, and despite a great effort by Ole, the experience and sheer power of Guldemond sent him, and ski partner Parker White, to the top of the podium winning a nice chunk of the $10,000 purse.
This photo is before it got dark, so technically misplaced in this story. Deal with it. Chas Gueldemond.
In the end, this event is not about the podium or the money. The WCI is a pilgrimage that riders make to Mammoth to celebrate a great season; opening of trout season and emergence of bikinis mark the end of another year on the slopes, with memories and anticipation for what’s in store the following season. Once again, the WCI secured its unique place in West Coast snowboarding.
Grendys also did some tricks strapped in, such as this invert.