By James Sullivan
Contests are sometimes boring because the outcomes can be too predictable. The same people always seem to win doing the same old tricks while taking the same old runs. At the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final, however, predictability was handily tossed out the window. Among the field of six finalists we had a Transworld Rider of the Year, a Burton Global Open Series Champion, a US Open Champion, and a Winter Dew Tour stop champ, leaving the top of the podium within anyone’s grasp.
A natural favorite was the winner of the Breckenridge Snowboard Slopestyle, Spencer O’Brien, who arrived well-rested, confident, and pre-qualified. “I was lucky I didn’t have to go through Prelims; I had place in the Final which was really nice spot to be in.” As the top qualifier, that spot was a lofty place from where she watched all the ladies take their runs before dropping herself. When she did, Spencer locked in a boardslide to fakie, a boardslide-gap-boardslide to fakie, followed by a switch backside 180, a frontside 360 and a backside 5, leaving her with a then-leading score of 81.50 going into the second heat.
Hoping to unseat Spencer, Laguna Beach-native Chanelle Sladics, who has been having her “best trip to Vermont ever,” stepped up her efforts with a boardslide to 270 out, a 50-50 to gap, a cork front 3, a 50-50 to straight air capped by a back 3 and frontside 5. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough as the judges granted her an 80.67, less than one point below Spencer.
Not to be outdone or outshone was Tahoe’s Jamie Anderson, who expressed some trouble overcoming Vermont’s chilly January temps. ” You come here and it’s a whole new world; icy and freezing and moist and I’m like ahhhhh! I can’t handle it!” she said with a laugh. “My first run I screwed up and I was pretty bummed. On the second run I was just like go for it… no messing around here,” she said. Indeed she went for it, landing a tail press on the first rail, pretzeled out of a nose press on the second jib, then linked together a switch backside 3, cab 180, a boardslide, front 3 and frontside 5, to close her run. Jamie earned an 85.67, seizing first-place with a four-point lead over Spencer.
O’Brien tried to come back but couldn’t surpass her first run score. She wasn’t all that upset about it though. “I just came up today really hoping to get my run down,” she said. “I did that and was really stoked.”