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By John Herald

The US OPEN JUNIOR JAM snowboard halfpipe competition for kids 13 and under
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 and lacrosse.

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”


"Let's Ride!"






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