Today was our first day out on the hill to officially get America’s Next Top Pro Model started. This morning was the Highest Ollie contest and this afternoon the pros got dirty on a down rail for Best Jib. It was an amazing day of blue bird skys and some pretty impressive riding. I ran into fellow blogger Shayboarder (who always has amazing gear reviews for anybody looking to buy) and she was able to show us around Hood a little and gave us the skinny on the happenings in town.
We attempted to make some early predictions before the competitions got started as to who would end up on top, but that all just proved that nobody really knew what was about to go down. Shayboarder thought that MFM might be able to out ollie the competition and as I mentioned before I was thinking Lauri Heiskari would reclaim his popping skills, but Keegan Valaika came through as the best to go from flat ground to sky and easily cleared the bar at four feet. Chis Bradshaw was training hard yesterday with special shoes for this event and it all paid off when he pulled out second place.
After lunch it was time for the boys to put their pro models head to head on a square rail. Jesse Burtner, who is sitting out of competition with a pulled hammy, got on the blow horn to emcee and entertain us all with his incredible wit. Iikka Backstrom busted out his 50-50 hands in the air, and Kyle Clancy pulled an accidental front flip (Snowboardermag.com might have some footy of that one). Austin Smith was able to stomp a solid 360 on and there were stylish front boards, butters and presses all around. In the end Joe Sexton won it all after putting down huge, clean and impressive hits one after the other. I honestly don’t think the kid hit the rail once without totally killing it. I guess it helps to have guys like JP Walker and Simon Chamberlain around for motivation most of the season.
We will have an official list of first, second and third places for all the contests after the awards ceremony on Tuesday, but in the mean time SnowboarderMag.com will be the guys to see for that information and more. Tomorrow morning it all starts again as we head up to the top of Hood into the High Cascade park for Spin to Win and later in the afternoon is the Highest Air and the Chinese Downhill. We are going to be putting some pictures up on Facebook and Flickr, so be sure to check those out, and we’ll let you know what’s happening with the competitions all day tomorrow on Twitter.
For full details be sure to check out SnowboarderMag.com