From the first ride up the Gold Rush Express, you could tell there was something special about Super Park 21. Mammoth Mountain had been pulverized by snow this season and the 5 build teams took full advantage by pushing the largest piles of snow this event has seen. The amount of features was overwhelming, where was one to begin? With good weather and 450 hungry as hell riders, sessions started as soon as the park opened that Monday morning.
“Have you hit the Woodward Zone? What about that Loon jump through the trees? Mt. Snow built a crazy rail on a spine down on Lost in the Woods! The Mammoth Snake Run is the funnest thing ever!” Riders could not contain themselves as hooting and hollering could be heard echoing throughout the trees for the entire week.
One build area was casting a rather large shadow (literally) over the park however. The Mammoth jump and hip. With the jump measuring in at 120 feet and the hip towering 40+ feet in the air, the features were giving riders the chills just looking at them. Unfortunately, they were not ready to be hit and after Day 2 came to an end without the features being ready questions began to circulate as to whether or not they would ever be ready to ride. Super Park 22 perhaps?
Day 3 of Super Park 21 dawned sunny with just a puff of breeze out of the SW and as riders made their way up the chairlift, they saw that TJ Dawoud and his Unbound crew had finished the features and there was now an 11am call time out to those looking to hit the massive piles of snow.
Brock Crouch, Tyler Flanagan, Jeremy Page and a few other riders started checking their speed on the in-run of the jump. With no mention that he was going to hit the thing, Brock pointed his board downhill, started hauling ass towards the takeoff and cleared it perfectly. What a beast. What transpired over the next 90 minutes was nothing short of mind-boggling. The amount of airtime on the jump was giving riders the chance to spin more, tweak more and go bigger than they had ever gone before. Pat Bridges, Publisher of Snowboarder Magazine shut the session down a little early so the riders could give the hip a go.
Guess who was lurking at the top of in-run looking to guinea pig the hip? None other than Brock Crouch. Opening up that session was no easy feat and every single rider that hit the cutout hip was a minimum of 20 feet in the air. Sebbe de Buck, Toby Miller and a few others began boosting off the thing as a real session began. Yuki Kodono pushed the highest into the stratosphere with a bs air that was all of 30 feet.
Sessions can end for a number of reasons but nothing shuts one down faster than someone getting hurt. That is exactly what happened to Wakita Tomoki who caught an edge on the takeoff of the hip and fell 40 feet to the flats. Somehow, the strong Japanese rider made it through the terrifying incident with an ankle injury and a fractured vertebra. Minor injuries in comparison to the severity of the slam. We wish him a fast recovery.
All told, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that these were the three most exciting hours of snowboarding in the history of the sport.