Meijer State Games at Cannonsburg

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By Benny West
Alycia Choroszucha

Photos: Jon Mollema (Header)
Alycia Choroszucha

OVERVIEW

 

This last Saturday, February 15th, Cannonsburg Ski resort hosted the 1st ever Meijer State Games event. This was probably the most grandiose shred event I have ever been to and that is not a bad thing, not in the least. Sure it may not be cohesive with so and so’s idea of what snowboarding is all about, but really I think everyone is tired of that attitude. The amount of fun that was had at this event for the kids involved was tremendous. So many young dudes who have never been involved with something this elaborate had their minds blown and I think just in that respect the event was an extreme success. I unfortunately was unable to attend the big air event on Friday the 14th, but I had the extreme privilege to be one of the judges for the slope style and rail jam portion of the event.  Our buddy Alycia Choroszucha covered the Big Air portion of this feature.

All of the freestyle events took place on the same course that was masterfully built over a period of about two weeks. The course layout was setup similar to most major televised events you may be familiar with. The riders would drop in and hit some rails in a setup that was designed to maintain speed. The rider then had three sets of kickers followed by a very intricate and challenging jib area. This area is semi difficult to describe, so bare with me. Assuming the riders made it through the jumps successfully they would hit 1 of 3 “up” rail options that would lead them into multiple options of redirects. The redirects then would lead them back to the three rail options they could now hit in a down fashion.

 

BIG AIR

The Big Air contest kicked off the State Games of Michigan at Cannonsburg with a bang… literally. The contest started with a show for those watching the opening ceremonies which included four riders hitting the third jump, accompanied with fireworks.

When the actual contest started, riders got their speed check runs in, and started dropping. Groms/Intermediates/Girls dropped first. We saw a lot of backflips, a lot of corks, stylish spinning and a few methods here and there. The females struggled with getting their speed dialed. Stephany Helder sent it the furthest and ended up with a medal to show for it.

When advanced came up, the competition got a lot heavier. Cannonsburg heavy hitters Brad Doren and Jaime Charron brought their a-game right from the start, but both struggled with their landings. Jaime Charron’s 900 got him some props from the judges. In the end, Justin Blodgett walked away with a gold, Gavin Francis with a silver and Casey Frederick with a bronze.

~Alycia


 

SLOPESTYLE

 

The judge’s for the slopestyle event were myself (Benny), Jacob Jaques, Trent Belmore. Michael Switzer and Steve Innis. I can’t speak for the rest of the judges, but I was grading on control and style. If a rider went down on a jump but still managed to hit the jib features I was adding points. The riders who would go down and just call their run I was dismissing. There were many riders who obviously excelled on jumps but not on rails and vise versa. In the end the riders who were well rounded at both got the highest scores from me. No matter what though if a rider went down on the third they were basically not getting through the rails…it is what it is. The amount of talent blew me away in every age group and in every skill bracket. When the dust cleared the slopestyle winners were as follows.


 

RAILS

 

So this was my favorite part of the night. Slopestyle was awesome, but the rail event was off the chain. So many good tricks were landed and the collective group of riders contained some of my favorite names. I’m not sure what it was. I think when it got dark the kids just turned into animals. The course was a bit faster and I think everyone got used to the quirkiness of the setup. This was a nightmare to judge, but again myself, Jake Tolan, Jake Jaques, Steve Innis and Michael Switzer had the burden of picking our favs. In the slopestyle I think the winners were obvious, but everyone that made it into the finals of the rail portion had something that I feel was unique to them. Whether it was style or a special trick or a single hammer on a particular feature everyone was destroying shit. I mean it started getting buck once the gaps were identified and people started letting it fly. It was a warzone. I think a few boards got broke even. I remember standing at the top of the drop mound and rider Johnny Johnson told me he was going to gap out of the event area. I thought he was full of shit be cause he was going to have to ride up, gap out of the bowl over the event fence and land on the backside of the arena that no one had seen. Yeah, he did a rodeo out, stuck it!


Brandon Canney was a standout rider to me despite not grabbing a metal at the end of the night. Back flipping the propane tank redirect and sticking the following rail section afterwards. He showed a lot of stability and multiple trick combos. As always Noah Talentino was putting on a high speed show gapping everything. Noah was the first person to stomp land the “box up” gap clean. I love that kid’s riding! Everybody I mean everybody in the finals was just awesome, but three had to be picked. Andy Smith ended up with a bronze showing off creativity, stability, and good style. The same goes for Jamie Therron who did tons of difficult tricks with what seemed like minimal effort earning him the silver. Now this kid, Jacob Visser, got the gold early on in all the judge’s eyes and it never left his neck the rest of the night. The real battle was for second.  That kid is amazing. I think the first backside 180 on the kink that he put down coming out of the wall redirect earned about 10 “oh shits”. It’s impossible to make a list of the best snowboarders in our state, but turns out that kids on it. All and all I had an amazing time and the event was super fun and super positive. It was a ton of work and the Cannonsburg terrain guys did a stellar job.  Kudos to the Cburg team for pulling it together for a three-day event!  It was an honor for me to play the part I did and I am really excited to see the progression of this event series here in Michigan.

 

CANNONSBURG TV – WINTER GAMES (S.4-E.6) from Cannonsburg Ski Area on Vimeo.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS:

 

BIG AIR

• Female Snowboard

1. Stephany Helder
2. Jessica Thompson

 • Grom (13-) Snowboard

1. Drake Warner
2. Tate Gardner
3. Hunter Ventline

• Grom (13-) Ski

1. Will Houscamp
2. Thomas McGregor
3. Reed Vanderkooi

• Intermediate Snowboard

1. Elijah Bentley
2. Nick Brown
3. Reed Misen

• Intermediate Ski

1. Tommy Kowalski
2. Max Anthes

• Advanced Snowboard

1. Justin Blodget
2. Gavin Francis
3. Casey Fredrick

• Advanced Ski

1. Jack Jochum
2. Dylan Lunsford
3. Austin Tank

SLOPESTYLE

• Female Snowboard

1. Coleen Leja
2. Skyler Robison
3. Ainsley Leja

• Grom (13-) Snowboard

1. Adam Glasser
2. Hunter Ventline
3. Evan Jackson (Tie for Bronze)
3. Gavin Jonker (Tie for Bronze)

• Grom (13-) Ski

1. Thomas McGregor
2. Will Houskamp
3. Ben Sosville

• Intermediate Snowboard

1. Collin Kerkstra
2. Jarrett Plekes
3. Parker Wiersma

• Intermediate Ski

1. Max Anthes
2. Tommy Kowalski
3. Luke Vanslambrouck

• Advanced Snowboard

1. Jaime Charron
2. Cody James
3. Johnny Johnson

• Advanced Ski

1. Reese Spaulding
2. Paul Harvey
3. Corbin Redli

RAIL JAM

• Female Snowboard

1. Kyra Marks
2. Coleen Leja
3. Alexandra O’Brien

• Grom (13-) Snowboard

1. Charlie VanDemark
2. Drake Warner
3. Landon Gale

• Grom (13-) Ski

1. Owen Bruinius
2. Thomas McGregor
3. Ben Sosville

• Intermediate Snowboard

1. Nick Jarris
2. Aiden Hascall
3. Parker Wiersma

• Intermediate Ski

1. Max Anthes
2. Tommy Kowalski
3. Peter Wyatt

• Advanced Snowboard

1. Jacob Visser
2. Jaime Charron
3. Andy Smith

• Advanced Ski

1. Reese Spaulding
2. Jack Jochum
3. Dylan Lunsford

 

SKIER/BOARDER CROSS

• Female Snowboard

1. Skyler Robinson
2. Lilly Bentley
3. Cassidy Gale

• Grom (13-) Snowboard

1. Chris Hoffman
2. Hunter Ventline
3. Landon Gale

• Grom (13-) Ski

1. Linus Mallett
2. Sven Daukss
3. Thomas McGregor

• Intermediate Snowboard

1. Aiden Narayana
2. Tony Juarez
3. Danny Choroszucha

• Intermediate Ski

1. Joshua Scott
2. Peter Wyatt
3. Luke Selles

• Advanced Snowboard

1. Jake Vedder
2. Brad Doren
3. Andy Smith

• Advanced Ski

1. Jeff Ford
2. Bricker Reed
3. David Southwell

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