Brendan & Pablo Battle it out!

Story Photo: 
Danny Legg

Saturday - Belleayre Slalom:

It was -6 degrees at the house when we left and it rose to a high of -4 degrees on this brisk Saturday morning. We were greeted by Ski Patrol and a snowmobile with trailer in tow at 7:30 and started up the hill for what would turn out to be a great day of competitions. After a series of small obstacles during set-up of the Slalom course, the event team was able to have both venues (Slalom & Slopestyle) set and ready in time for inspection. Once the mountain race crew set up timing, it was on.

Open Class athlete Andrew Poladian (Local 17, Acolyte Industries, Brian Hawken) who dropped in and laid down the fastest time on the mountain. For the second week in a row, amateur rider Soma Kobayashi (Junior Men) was the second fastest man (58.81) on the mountain behind veteran racer Poladian (58.66). Also for the second week running, Youth Men rider Michael Buldo-Licciardi (coached by Poladian) was the third fastest on Hill. Ruggie Boys (7 & under) was won by Blaze Conlan and Ruggie Girls (7 & under) was won by Abigail Barnes. Garret Capela was the Grommet Boys (8-9) winner with Deirdre Passione taking the Menehune Girls (10-11) class. Joseph Carlucci wins Menehune boys and the Breaker Boys (12-13) turned into a tight race between Gold medalist Thomas O'Hara & Silver medalist Michael Palella Jr. while Brendan Ward had to settle for Bronze during his chase of the leaders. Caroline Hughes takes the Breaker Girls class although strong rider Patty Goodwin had a fall and some difficulties on the course that put her at the back of the pack. Sadie Saccoccie was the Junior Women Gold medalist and Lauren Teton (SnowboardSecrets.com, Flexmeter Gloves at Flexmeters.com, Twifties.com) took the Gold over Terry Passione in the Kahuna Women class. Craig Kunaschk won the Legend class & Tony Rizzaro won the Kahuna Men.

After the race finished, we took a break in order to warm up, eat and prepare for the Slopestyle start.

Slopestyle:

The Slopestyle consisted of a step up jump or a round rail or a low flat box into a tire jib that went into a jump feature with three options (small, medium and large). After this jump, the right part of the trail had a gap table or the left side had a battleship rail with a wall ride feature that ended the course. The Belleayre park staff were on hand to assist the team and even helped us with shadow judging for educational and moral support purpose (after all it was -4 out!). With the event broken into 2 heats, the athletes did not wait long in the cold for their runs and it showed in how well everyone rode.

The Open Class title chase continued as Pablo Dawybida (Rome SDS, Lift Gear, Pancho Villa's, Da589) stomped his run to win Gold, forcing Brendan Meehan (Burton) to settle for Silver. Dustin Jordan (True Snowboards, Monster Energy, Alpin Haus) laid down a solid run and won the Bronze Medal to wrap up the Open Class. This was a long time coming as he has thrown some great tricks all season but little mistakes in his runs have kept him from the top of the podium. With both Meehan & Dawybida needing another win in order to take the series title and Juan Mori, Matt Briggs and Dustin Jordan all able to take the podium spots in the last event (a situation that would / could throw off the points in any of their favor based on all athletes finishes), the final event is a true “showdown” of New York’s Catskill Mountains best snowboard competitors! It was Tucker Foti (Da589, Pancho Villa’s) who took 1st for the Open Class skiers and BIG! airs from Natalie Ferretti (skier girls 9 & under) that landed her way at the top of her class. Grommet Boys (8-9) rider Robby Meehan from Rockville Centre, NY took the gold and Little Silver, NJ rider Ryan O'Hara took Silver in front of Aslan Funk in Bronze. The Breaker Boys (12-13) competition consisted of great runs by 1st place athlete Thomas O'Hara from Little Silver, NJ, 2nd place athlete David McCarthy, Attila Benke 3rd place, 4th place Christopher Frignoca and 5th place Michael Palella Jr.

15 year old Head Snowboard team rider Sean Maben (Head, Charlie's Windham Mtn. Ski Shop, Mom & Dad) showed us switch spins, smooth style and tech tricks (even put down a Michael Jackson just to show how comfortable he is with his new Head ride) to win the most competitive age class, Youth Men. The rest of the Youth pack, Chris Anderson, Danny Legg (Nike 6.0) and Nick Ferretti let us know that the future of snowboarding has roots in the Catskill Mountains. In the Menehune Boys (10-11), Austin Lamoreaux (Burton, Oakley, Buckman's.com, The SkyRiders) from Milford, PA beat out Joseph Carlucci for the win and it was Ian Schramm’s smooth runs that enabled him to win the skier boys (10-12). Skier Men (13-15) Brian Corcoran won Gold and Matt Saccoccie took Silver while female athletes Storm Stanley and Tristan Friedman took the top spots respectively for the Youth Women (14-15) class. 1st place honors were awarded to Skier Women (13-15) athlete Ali Perotti and Junior Women (16-17) snowboarder Charlotte Rhodes with great runs in their classes. The Junior Men (16-17) winner was Soma Kobayashi as his wall ride stall was capped off with a ride over the sketchy backside without a fall. The US Army’s West Point Team riders Jonathan Strickland and Benjamin Talbot swept the top of the podium in the Men Jam's (18-22) and continue to be leaders on every level while attending our events. 1st place winner Cassidy Dubois* (19 & over skiers) set the high bar for his class as did Senior Men (23-29) snowboarder Christian Walrath. In what may have been some of the most impressive runs of the day, Master Men (30-39) rider Frank Cabrera, along with Kahuna Men (50-59) super athlete Erik Donaldson (Belleayre Mountain FreeStyle Team) both landed on the top of the podium for their classes.

Sunday - Catamount Slopestyle:

The Catamount Slopestyle course was great. It had rained 2 inches in only a few hours on Monday (causing flooding everywhere) but you could not tell by looking at the condition of their park. Catamount’s super lady Jenn Brown and Mountain Manager (and fellow Bob) were on hand to take care of all our needs and more. It is such a pleasure to come to this resort as the entire experience is accommodating and athlete friendly. We had to ignore more than half their park (it is just that big) and it still consisted of a large jump feature with multiple options, a corrugated covert pipe feature or a gap to down flat box feature that went into a raised flat box or a battleship rail followed by a long flat box feature that allowed all the NYC riding styles to come out.

With blue skies, sunshine and 11 degree temperatures, it was 15 year old Nike 6.0 amateur rider Danny Legg who stomped (by far) the biggest and most stylish run of the day, with his score coming in above all of the Open Class riders. Chris Anderson and Nick Feretti were able to round out the uber talented Youth Men podium spots behind Legg. These three guys, along with Sean Maben (Head, Charlie's Windham Mtn. Ski Shop, Mom & Dad), may be the most talented group since International Flow Team riders Tim Humphreys and Jeremy Thompson ran together with USASA CMS official Zack Saccoccie in the early 2000s. Expect to see these athletes in the future as their athleticism, sportsmanship and professionalism are remarkable.

Matt Soccoccie has come back strong from a bad fall earlier this season that left him broken and landed big airs (with grabs), one footed box tricks and added a more aggressive style compared to when he first returned to competition. This effort pushed him into the Silver medal spot behind Gold medalist Luke Synder. Skier Boys (10-12) athlete Sebastian Ferretti took home the Gold for his class. Ferretti has been plagued with misfortune during most of the competition season so far, despite having some of the most difficult runs in his class.

The battle for the top Open Class Skier Men continued with Michael Galdi taking the Gold while tour leader Tucker Foti nailed a great run and only fell to the Silver medal spot. Ali Perotti won the Skier Women (13-15) class and solidifies her spot on top of her age class and (9 & under) girls winner Natalie Ferretti went absolutely HUGE! She pulled the biggest spread eagle over the top jump (landing most of the way down the large landing zone) and stylish rail and box tricks to take the win. She is the youngest girl skier competing and truly an amazing talent. She may be the most stylish (she rocks shiny gold ski pants) of our athletes. The Skier Boys (9 & under) class was won by Zeki Funk while his brother Aslan Funk took Bronze in the Grommet snowboarder class. Aslan finished behind Silver medalist Ryan O’Hara and Gold medalist Robbie Meehan. Austin Lamoreaux wins the Menehune Boys (10-11) class and the Skier Girls (10-12) class was won by Brooke Volastro. Junior Women (16-17) leader Charlotte Rhodes took the win over second place rider Shannon Corcoran and Junior Men (16-17) was won by Donny Malone.

Catamount local, David McCarthy of the Breaker Boys (12-13) class, showed all that this was his home mountain and he wasn't going home without the Gold medal. Attila Benke and Tom O’Hara (who pulled a huge Switch 540 with a slight bobbled landing) rounded out the podium respectively. Fourth place rider Chris Frignoca has been riding with style and authority but knuckled landings and mishaps during comp runs have kept him from the podium.

The Open Class Men event was heated and it was all about sticking the big spins for the top guys. Brendan Meehan (Burton) ended up on top of the podium and due to the 3rd place finish of Pablo Dawybida (Rome SDS, Lift Gear, Pancho Villa's, Da589) moved to the top of the series leader board. Hailing from Tannersville, NY, Juan Mori (Da589, Pancho Villa’s, Salomon Snowboards, Smith Optics) laid down the Silver medal run in front of Pablo’s Bronze. So when all the chips went on the table…..all three of these athletes rode exceptionally well and showed that they are some of the regions best riders. In the end it is Brendan Meehan who won the 2010 CMS Open Class Slopestyle Series Title and the Cholula Hot Trick Trophy Bottle.

As always, after the event we did our bib raffle and gave away prizes during the award ceremony. This year we have season long drawings for summer camp sessions. The anticipation continues to build as we picked the sixth & seventh name (of 12) that will go into the hat for our “Who is Going to Windell’s Snowboard and Ski Camp this Summer?” drawing. We also picked the first two names in a similar drawing for a trip to High Cascade Snowboard Camp. We are very happy to have partnered with organizations designed to help athletes train in a healthy, safe and fun environment.

With the Slopestyle Series over, we look to see who will dominate the Pipe & Boardercross/Skiercross events for the next month.