US OPEN JUNIOR JAM
By John Herald
The US OPEN JUNIOR JAM snowboard halfpipe competition for kids 13 and
took place Sunday March 18, 2007 in the very same halfpipe as the US Open
Pro Competition that occurred the day before, all at Stratton Mountain
Resort in Vermont.
WOW, WOW, all that POW, what a weekend if you were a shredder of any age, as
the snow Gods dropped over 19 inches of the white gold this past weekend at
the US Open. The weekend started off on a sour note when the slopestyle
prelims were canceled by fog on Thursday, but for those of us who were
arriving on Friday, watching the Pro’s for an additional set of Slopestyle
qualifiers was a real treat.
For the Juniors of the Jam, you could see the enjoyment on their faces
throughout the weekend, as they were riding side by side on the Sunbowl
chair and rubbing elbows in the hospitality tent with all the Pro’s through
out the weekend. In the tent, the new Wii systems played throughout the
weekend and gave hours of enjoyable chill time to all riders.
As a Dad of one of the Groms in the Jam, I can’t say enough about what a
great experience the Open is for the Juniors. Shaun White arrived with his
boys early on Friday, at about 7:45 a.m. and went right to the lift and rode
the tough early ice. The experience my son got, seeing that level of
commitment shown by the biggest snowboarding icon, was something you can’t
get out of a magazine, you gotta be there!.
Big ups to Jake (Burton) and the sponsors for making it real for the
Juniors. The opportunity to part ake and see what it takes to be a top
prospect or a Pro, is available for all those who go to the Open. As kids of
all ages throw down during the weekend, any aspiring snowboarder will learn
what skills you need to have in order to compete at the top levels.
The riding was intensified, as both the Pro’s and the Juniors had to compete
in a less than perfect pipe, as the freshies kept dusting up the pipe all
weekend. Needless to say, that didn’t stop any of the riders. Trevor Jacobs
laid down two solid runs that featured a mix of 5’s and 7’s with the surest
of landings. Ben Watts continued to improve and impressed the crowd with his
Kass-like performance and the third place finisher, local Stowe kid
Nils Mindich showed that size doesn’t matter when it comes to spinning.
Above all, the message from the “on hill” announcer was a great one to be
heard by all of the Grom snowboarders. “Snowboarding is not just about
competing, but more about making great friends and having a great time
riding.” The last ride of the day was under sunlit, bluebird skies, riding
powder strewn trees around the Sunbowl at Stratton Mountain.
Northstar-at-Tahoe hosts the USASA Nationals March 30.
About the Writer:
John Herald, and his Junior Jammin’ son Jack Herald live in Canton,
Massachusetts. Jack rides at Loon Mountain where he receives sick coaching
that helps him accomplish his snowboarding goals. His Mom is Patricia, he
has an older brother that just got out of the Marines, and a dog named Emma.
They all snowboard, mom is learning now.
“I enjoy observing the sport of snowboard, and the level of commitment it
takes to tackle the tricks on snow.”
Jack will be 11 years old this week and has been snowboarding since he was
7. He did well last year at the Nationals. He also skateboards and
wakeboards throughout the other months of the year, as well as participating
in the gymnastic stunt team and other traditional sports such as baseball
As a rider who wants to be “bigtime,” he works on his snowboarding as much
as he can without getting home schooled. We have been told, that one must
become a six days a week rider with home schooling, if you want to become a
Pro. It’s hard to make that commitment. So far, for now, he (we) are weekend
warriors and will try to break through that training philosophy.
Jack’s video hopefully will get him a sponsor or two. That’s something that
all of the kids like to say, that they “Represent”