Words: Stan Leveille
The world is a big place. Google estimates it would cost someone $40,000 to travel around the Earth for a year looking for the best quarterpipe riders. (Willing to show my research at a later time.) Luckily for us, Mammoth Mountain offered us a place to invite some of the best quarterpipe riders to come show their stuff, so we didn’t have to spend all that time and money to find the next highest air behind Terje.
That’s a joke. It references the fact that for the last two years, there has been one random person outside the fence yelling about Terje’s high air at a quarterpipe contest over two decades ago. I’d equate it to someone going to the summer X Games yelling at the moto riders how many cars Evil Knievel has jumped. It’s quite funny.
On April 30, 2022, Mammoth Mountain played host to the world’s biggest stage for quarterpipe riding. And if you are a flat earther, I know what you’re thinking: the world’s biggest stage IS the world. Frankly, that’s a topic for another time. For now, let’s focus on the 28-foot quarterpipe.
While the quarterpipe grew in size this year, so did the list of countries represented. Last year’s COVID restrictions limited us to a national-scale event, but 2022 saw representation from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Spain, and perhaps most lethally—Japan.
Handplant highlights are always worth some ink here at SLUSH, and this event’s candidates all seemed to find themselves in hour-long battles to get their respective tricks. Erik Leon demonstrated his signature rocket plant, Reid Smith finally perfected a frontside revert and Stefi Luxton battled an Andrecht on the 28-foot coping with the utmost determination.
Overall, there was an impressive showing from a great number of riders including Hunter Goulet—whose continued amplitude on various straight-airs and inverts alike gave him an earnest run for the title. Bend’s representation lived up to its name as Max Warbington displayed his incredibly versed trick list, Jared Elston and Gabe Ferguson consistently demonstrated powerful style, and Mason Lemery consistently demonstrated all-out chaos.
If we are looking at this by location, Colorado certainly had a nice showing, surprisingly, if I may, led by Windham Miller, who not only showed up with a Palmer-esque clown haircut but almost took the highest air of the day. Summer Fenton was another rider from the Centennial State who made an impression with one lofty 540 in particular. Ryan Wachendorfer and Cody Warble rode notably as well.
In the end, though, it wouldn’t be a battle of Americans. No. By the time we reached the super finals a couple of international scraps were going on. On the men’s side, the contest was boiling down to a Japanese face-off. Shuhei Sato, Raibu Katayama, Yuki Kadono, and Ryoma Kimata hiked higher and higher until Raibu boosted the highest landed air of the day. Landed being the operative word, as Yuki gave him a run for the money on a backside air, but bottomed out. Shuhei Sato was well on his way too when he took a hard deck and broke his arm.
On the women’s side, Queralt’s consistent amplitude was setting her apart from the rest, but it wasn’t without contest from America’s Summer Fenton, New Zealand’s Stefi Luxton, and Australia’s Emily Arthur who continued to push closer and closer to Que.
Off-hill, the DC house carried the torch for party debauchery. They quite literally carried the torch as more and more items were lost to someone’s drunken arson each night. You name it, Brady Lem’s snowboard boots, Denver Orr’s guitar, Sam Sosnowski’s entire wardrobe. Frankly, I am surprised their house is still standing.
We simply couldn’t write this article without a mention of Teddy Rauh, a sturdy mid-forties Mammoth local who gained notoriety with the youth in 2011 trying a triple wildcat at June Mountain and knocking himself out. All jokes aside, Teddy Rauh was the rider who pushed the pack to keep hiking. Champions aside, riders like this are even more important at a contest, and it is aptly why he was awarded the NIXON Best Time Award.
Sharing the Best Time Award was Ellie Weiler. The Colorado native’s power, dedication to hiking, variation of crippler, and general “hyped to ride” mentality granted her a watch fit for a champion. In the end, despite the efforts of America’s robust field of competitors, it would be the rest of the world that proved victorious as the champions of the day were Spain’s Queralt Castellet and Japan’s Raibu Katayama.