Not since the glory days of Vegetate has Mt. Hood Meadows put on a snowboard event of note beyond the Northwest, but on March 30th, 2013, Snake and Hammers was just that. Half slopestyle, half banked slalom, the event is the brainchild of Bobby Meeks, who used his influence and budget at Nike to design the ultimate test of snowboarding skill. This course especially required the ability to actually ride a snowboard.
Out of the gate, competitors dropped and 8-foot cliff into the first set of turns. After gaining some speed in the slush, riders got the choice of three rail features, then went straight into a 30-foot jump. One more turn and it was onto the “X-Box” or “Thunderdome” or whatever the hell you wanna call the Nike feature they carted over from Forest Park. On each of these features riders were given a score from 0-6 from influential judges such as Logan Fuquay and Mike Estes, based on how sick they got — a higher score meant more seconds were deducted from your overall time. Finally, a step down led into the last three turns, which were fast and loose and caused a competitor or two to fly violently into the snow fence.
The Oregon sun was out in force, and the unseasonably warm temperatures caused many of the weekend warriors to stay in the city, but some 80+ riders turned out to compete. Each got two runs, although by the second run the field had already been thinned down to the most hardcore — either people didn’t make it back up in time, licked their wounds, or chose to just ride slushy side hits for fun. Some 60 people took another run though, vying for the fastest time and a slot in the 15 man and 4 woman finals.
Once the field was whittled down to the best of the best, each rider got one more run to impress the judges with their freestyle stunting, but mostly to negotiate the course and the highly inconsistent snow the fastest. When the complicated math was said and done, it was local boy Jeremy Nylund, who’s like 12, beating out the old men to take the win. Johnnie Paxson was also on hand to judge the best hammer, which went to Randall Wheaton for his smooth backside 7 Japan.
Though Snake and Hammers involved no actual snakes, it was a damn good time, and there was free food. All in all, a successful spring day, I’d say.
1.Jeremy Nylund 49.52
2. Jeremy Page 49.62
3. Max Warbington 50.02
1. Ronda Shanin 55.28