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Saturday, December 9, 2000 -- Snowshoe, WV
Burton/Balzout Big Air Blowout
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [1999 Event Coverage]

Shane McConkey
U.S. Extreme Ski Champ, Shane McConkey, joins the show
(Photo courtesy of Snowshoe)
The weekend of December 9th and 10th had all the ski and board industry big boys out showing their stuff on Snowshoe Mountain. Everyone was welcome to test out the latest in ski and board equipment and give them all a free test drive at the area's largest on-slope demo. But, if you wanted to see the goods put to use in the most extreme fashion, you slid over to the Burton/Balzout Big Air Blowout.

Starting at 12-noon, a brave crowd of skiers and boarders (and snowbladers thanks to Neal Cassidy) readied themselves just uphill from two huge snow ramps. The choice was to go big on the left jump, or go even bigger on the right. Either way, it was go huge or risk smashing into the flat, unforgiving hardpack that led to the steep transition where your landing was most certainly recommended.

Each competitor was scored on three flights, with the top two being combined for an overall score. Each individual run was judge on a scale from 1 to 10 for difficulty, amplitude, and landing, making a maximum score of 30 possible. As a special guest, U.S. extreme skiing champion Shane McConkey was one of the judges and was also putting on an amazing display of high-speed acrobatics before and after the competition.

Adam Cumashot
Go big, or... well, just go big!
Starting off each heat with the skiers, it was Travis McKay with 43 points who prevailed over Jeramiah Keesling (39). McKay could have scored even more after he went ballistic on his final jump. However, an ugly double-release landing didn't score so well with the judges (but it did entertaining the crowd.)

Following the skiers it was the 13 and Under crew hitting the jumps. The consistently impressive Jarod Minghini took the win with 49 points. Clay Bell kept him honest taking second with a solid 47 points.

The next to launch was the fearless group of 14-17 year-olds. A great battle for points between TJ Nine and Adam Cumashot had the two tied after the first run, each scoring 26. Cumashot soared into the lead after a second run 25 to Nine's 21, but Nine wasn't done yet. A final jump 26 gave Nine the win with 52 points to Cumashot's 51.

In the 14-17 women's class, Whitney McVey, the 1999 Big Air overall champion scored a win with an uncontested 42 points.

Phil Swanson
Hey, now that's not an invert...
or is it?
The 18-21 crowd saw Chris Wood keep the Cumashot brothers out of any top spots. Pat Cumashot put together some good runs, but Wood's 27 on his first run was too much. Cumashot's 49 points kept him one point from first as Wood took first with a 50 point total.

Among the 18-21 women, Rashida Hussein put on a dominating display and grabbed first with 46 points. In doing so, Hussein out scored McVey to take the overall women's title for 2000.

The old guys (22 and Up) took their shots last with returning champ Shawn Batzer doing nothing to disappoint. Launching himself for monster air, Batzer racked up 53 points and once again took his class and the overall win. The closest scoring 22-and-Up rider was Phil Swanson with a 48 point total.

For 22 and Up women, Katherine Hayes took home the goods with a score of 38.

Making the event possible were the generous sponsors, Burton, Balzout and Snowshoe. Whether or not you took home a trophy, everyone walked away (well, actually, some were carried away) with sweet new shirts, plenty of free pizza, and a chance at a small fortune in random prizes. You don't have to be the best to get treated like a king at any of the racing on Snowshoe Mountain. So, keep checking the schedule, and get yourself entered in one of the many upcoming events.