|   Stan Leveille
The world is watching | Photo: Mike Yoshida
Words: Stan Leveille
The Ideal Quarterpipe is but a monstrous wall of snow and ice rising defiantly from the perfect amount of flat bottom, allowing a rider to gain their bearings before unweighting on the transition. Approaching the flat bottom can evoke a momentary sense of impending doom, a rush of uncertainty. Yet, it is precisely this thrilling anticipation that draws riders irresistibly to a good quarterpipe. It is in these moments of fear that the true essence of snowboarding reveals itself— a flirtation with danger.

Among all the intricate details involved in crafting a quarterpipe for such an event, one element truly stands out as the highlight of this year's construction: the height meters. In a departure from the conventional numerical markings, we opted for playful phrases that ranged from "try again" to "seriously?" and "yawn" to "that's cute" for heights from 1 to 6 feet. The heights from 17 to 19 feet, on the other hand, were denoted using Japanese Kanji characters, paying tribute to the exceptional riders we believed capable of reaching such impressive heights. It served as a challenge to the Western riders, though few were courageous enough to rise to the occasion.

Hunter Goulet big flyer | Photo: Andrew Miller
As for the contest itself, We at SLUSH once again set forth on a quest to bring together a chosen few from various international realms, in pursuit of a singular purpose - the coronation of a snowboard champion that would transcend borders and proclaim dominion over the boundaryless quarterpipe.

Thus, amid the stark peaks of Mammoth Mountain, California, an annual gathering took place, where participants from no less than ten of these international snowy sanctuaries journeyed from distant lands to converge in the grand spectacle. Representatives from the United States, Canada, Japan, China, New Zealand, Great Britain, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, France, and Germany took their rightful places amidst the pantheon of snowboarding elites.The atmosphere crackled with the electrifying anticipation of a showdown. A towering 28-foot snow feature loomed large to test the mettle of these international gladiators.

Media crew | Photo: Mike Yoshida

Riding wise, we’d be remiss not to mention Teddy Ruah, or rather, I am actually worried he might kick my ass if I don't point out his spectacular double attempt that landed him on the deck’s weathered yellow crash pads. He also made a clear point to tell me he did NOT knock himself out trying the triple at June Mountain way back when, he merely buttchecked, so, It is my editorial duty to clear that up.

Quite a few riders made a strong impression that day. Denver Orr emerged as an incandescent contender, a figure who seemed destined to hoist the victor's mantle. Riders like Benny Milam came to show their prowess beyond rails and defined air awareness particularly well with one deck-to-accidental-front-flip-stomp that was quite impressive.

Another flyer. In fact, everyone flew that day. Brooke D'Hondt | Photo: Mike Yoshida
Canada showed up in numbers, with riders like Jack MacDougal making a strong presence all day. Dustin Craven would have had early betters counting their cash with his massive airs but he was eventually sidelined with a tweaked knee. Liam Gill was another Canadian that showed early promise but eventually was bested by the melting beast.

From the Scands, Sven Throgren might have snuck away with the win after a last minute double, but regardless of outcome was vital to the contest's collective energy. 

Dillon Henrickson | Photo: Andrew Miller
On a local front, Scott Blum is a handplant god and we thank the heavens above we still have someone as good as he is so dedicated to the rare craft. Also amidst this theater of daring feats, Dillon Hendricksen soared with a particular ardor that transcended mere competition. His zealous demeanor rose the collective spirit of all riders present.

The brothers Kiashu and Ayumu Hirano surged into the quarter pipe at breakneck speeds, pushing the boundaries of possibility for the set up, even if it meant the occasional eruption in landing while the other soars air to Fakie. The Japanese riders were unquestionably at the forefront, relentlessly testing the limits of the fast-melting quarter pipe. Ayumu Hirano slamming down most notably. 

Ok, this is just plain nuts. Kaishu Hirano | Photo: Mike Yoshida
The reigning champion of yesteryear, Raibu Katayama, despite unyielding tenacity, repeatedly trekking back up the slope after debilitating falls that left him motionless and drained, was not able to repeat his luck as champion in 2023. Despite his valorous efforts, it was Yuki Kadono who ultimately claimed victory, consistently achieving new heights with an explosive and snappy presence.

In the women's field, Brooke D'Hondt swiftly emerged as a dominant force, delivering the most impressive backside air early on. She seemed to solidify the win with a couple nice Backside 360’s. Yet, China’s Liu Jiayu mounted an impressive challenge, relentlessly striving to overthrow D'Hondt with switch tricks as the ticking clock heightened the intensity of the competition. 

Ayumu Hirano | Photo: Mike Yoshida
As the sun blazed mercilessly, so did our determination to forge ahead. The melt out was savage, a relentless assault on our ambitions. But adversity only fueled our fire, for it presented a crucible through which we could glean priceless wisdom to refine the hallowed World Quarterpipe championship moving forward. 

So let the world bear witness to our reckless passion, to the chaos we court with open arms. For in that madness, we shall find the brilliance that sets riders apart. Until the next championship we shall continue our quest to make the World Quarterpipe championship a contest like no other.

Best Time | Photo: Andrew Miller

Men’s World Quarter Pipe Champion: Yuki Kadono (JPN)
Women’s World Quarterpipe Champion: Brooke D’hondt (CAN)
Men’s Nixon Best Time Award: Dillon Henricksen (USA)
Women’s Nixon Best Time Award: Hrund Hansdóttir (ISL) 


World Quarters