You know that day of snowboarding when you get off the hill and you say to yourself: “Wow, today was truly incredible.” Well… Today happened to be one of those days. Signature sessioner Bode Merrill teamed up with some of his sponsors: Anon Optics, Salomon Snowboards, Billabong and Skullcandy to bring a breathe of fresh air to snowboarding. The Merrill Mini Pipe Invitational is a gathering of incredibly talented, stylish, creative and amazing individuals in snowboarding. Unlike many snowboarding events today, this event was relaxed and kept to be put plain and simply….fun. Here are a couple photos from the event shot by Greg Furey.
At the beginning of any contest, you can’t help being nervous. However, as soon as the riders started watching each others runs the tensions were dropped and it turned into more of a gathering of friends pushing each other than a contest. Everyone was ripping, but some stand out riders included Alex Lopez, with his creative runs utilizing anything that came in his way. Brandon Cocard started off his run with a huge back rodeo linking into some of the most technical tricks of the day. Cody Rosenthal was going bigger than anyone and showing off his signature double method. The biggest standout of the day was Mr. Scott Blum. Scott Blum can be somewhat elusive but today the myth was out and proving his impact on snowboarding. His first run was a work of art, constructed in Scott’s mind and painted onto the High Cascade Mini Pipe and could quite possibly be the best mini pipe run in the history of High Cascade. The run included inverts of all kinds with hands planting and not. One thing is certain, Scott Blum knows how to ride a snowboarding, and has the attitude that snowboarding needs.
The amount of talent that was in the Mini Pipe today was insane. It’s really cool to see different generations of snowboarding coming together for one event. There were guys like Colin Langois, Nate Ferrell, Russell Winfield and Doran Laybourn who have impacted snowboarding so much in their careers dropping in today and ripping the pipe harder than most. Nate was doing some of the biggest back rodeo’s I’ve ever seen in my life. Watching those guys snowboard in person is just as inspirational as watching those guys in the videos that made most of the new generation in snowboarding right now want to snowboard.
Just when you thought the contest was over after each of the riders two runs, it was actually just heating up. Most of the riders continued riding the mini pipe until Castro sounded the “parks closed” alarm at the end of the day. We saw incredible maneuvers from huge airs and inverts from Cody rose to Scott Blum moving into uncharted waters in the hand plant realm. Scotty Arnold did a huge frontside 1080 which really got the session going. In many way’s the session after the contest was far more exciting than the actual event. The pressure is lifted and the riders can feed off of each others energy. These are the sessions where standards are set and new tricks are invented in snowboarding, which is exactly what happened.
3rd – Kyle Lopiccolo
2nd – Brandon Cocard
1rst – Scott Blum
The Merrill Mini Pipe Invitational is truly a fantastic event in snowboarding. Huge thanks to Bode and his sponsors for helping put together such an amazing day for so many. Next year we hope to see you at the Third MMPI. Results and recap coming soon!