Just like ice cream, there are different flavors of snowboarding - half pipe, slope style, boarder cross - but the flavor that Minnesota has a tradition of excelling in is rail riding. 16-year-old Eddie Fauth of Grand Rapids, MN is carrying forward the tradition with a second place finish in the 16-21 age division of the Volcom Peanut Butter Rail Jam International Championships in Mammoth Lakes Resort, CA on April 19. This result backs up a first place finish by Eddie in the 15 and under division at last year’s 2013 international championship.
As can be expected at any international championship, the competition was formidable with participation by 130 leading amateur rail riders from ten countries in Europe, North America and Japan. The 9,000 foot elevation of the contest site combined with a highly challenging course to push the riders to their limits.
To excel at the rail riding discipline, a combination of skill and courage is required, because the consequence of a bad fall can be life-changing. Riders descend the slope then launch off of a kicker ramp onto a long metal pipe rail or other obstacle, while performing a series of highly acrobatic spin, grind, and rotation maneuvers. A clean landing coming off the rail is essential for a high score. Riders then hike back up the slope on foot over and over again for 30 minutes in what is referred to as a jam session. By the end, having made the hike and launching about 15 tricks, contestants are fully exhausted. At that point, it is time for a big drink of water and the long wait until the results are announced by the contest judges.
Eddie’s second place finish brings with it significant prizes and credibility in the snowboard world. He sums up his reaction to this upbeat closeout of the season saying, “It’s too bad my home hill, Mt. Itasca (Coleraine, MN), doesn’t have snow all year. Sometimes I wish it was never summer”. Eddie also credits a good part of his success to product sponsors Rome Snowboards, NoComply Board Shop of Bemidji, and Phoenix Skateboards. You can learn more about the contest and view video at www.volcom.com.
~ submitted by Wade Fauth