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Sunday, February 24, 2002 -- McHenry, MD
Ford Big Air Series 2002 (iPO Event Id#: 4815)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Big Air Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]

Race Pic
Airborne at Ford Big Air #3
They were doing it again on a beauty day at Wisp (I knew I should have brought the sun screen). The skis, boards and bodies were flying all over the place at the Ford Big Air Series race number three. Many folks paid the price fighting for position in the skier/boarder cross and going huge in the big air. There's a reason why they require helmets for all competitors.

The skier and boarder cross events got things started halfway up The Face, a steep black diamond trail that lies just above the entrance to Devil's Arena. The line was a little straighter compared to the extreme gate positions that made up the top of the course at Big Air #2. But added this time was an ending, requiring a 180 degree turn on the quarter pipe, that had racers facing back up the mountain for the finish. It added a lot of excitement to some close racing right in front of the crowded finish line.

Race Pic
Paying the price for being aggressive
In the boarder division finals, 22-year-old Mark Nestor was looking to repeat as champion. However, he had some tough competition from his friend Mark Roberts, a local talent on the "Ruff Riders" snowboarding team. But in the elbow-to-elbow, no-holds-barred, brutal sport of boarder cross, it doesn't necessarily help to have friends.

At the finish it was Nestor getting the win with Roberts coming in second. "He punched me getting out of the starting gate," said Roberts when asked why he finished second. Checking with Nestor, he replied "It's true, I had to to beat him." While the tactic may be questionable, nobody was complaining... there's always a next time.

Speaking of next time, kudos to Elizabeth Stump who was the only woman in the day's competitions. She gave it a go in the boarder cross right along side the boys. Come on ladies, get out there and give this girl some company. We'd love to see an all girls boarder cross heat.

Ruff Rider Pic
Team Ruff Riders give the cross course a test drive
In skier cross it was Danny Ellis looking for a three-peat, but his older brother Nathan Ellis had other thoughts. The two made it to the finals and battled all the way to the finish.

Nathan held a slight edge going into the last gate and looked to keep his momentum with the high line on the quarter pipe. Danny took the inside line and cut it hard to take the short route. But then Nathan caught an edge on the quarter pipe and the mistake was costly. In a practical photo finish, Danny snuck in for the win.

The win had the younger brother talking smack, "That's three and I'm gonna win the next one, too." Big brother wasn't quite as sure, "He was lucky this time, he'll have to work for it again if he wants another win." The rematch is only a week away at the Ford Big Air Series #4.

Jack Alvarez was up to his old tricks again
For the big air, extreme skier and X-Games qualifier Jack Alvarez was once again in the mix. However, there was no room for error, or for any disqualified runs (your hip must stay below your head on all aerials) with this event's scoring format. Two runs to get off whatever you could on one huge hit, total points wins. For good measure, bonus style points could be awarded for running the bottom of the terrain park and the quarter pipe with flair.

A nice crowd came out in the afternoon sun to watch the sick tricks and phat air. The spins, grabs, rolls, etc. came in such a flurry that some of the participants didn't even know if there were names for their crazy moves. We even overheard the announcer getting some words of advice on calling the shots, "Just make it up, nobody will really know anyways!"

Have a look
Even Wisp's fashion models were out in the latest slope-side attire
With no one to knock out of the competition by force, Mark Nestor had to rely on impressing the judges this time. In the 16-and-over group, he did just that. Ripping off a pretty nice Front Side Rodeo 720 and a Nose Grab 720 was just what he needed to make it two wins in one day. The Ruff Riders took second and third represented by Ryan Kitzmiller and Mark Roberts, respectively.

The 15-and-Under boards launched into some impressive moves of their own. Coming out with the goods was Garrett Friend, Nicholas Williams, and Zac Brosnihan.

Taylor Glotfelty
Who knows? Call it a Glotfelty Grab
In skier big air Taylor Glotfelty, skiing for Nordica and Smith, was looking to avenge a close second place finish from Big Air #2. He pulled of what he called a Daffy Grab 360 and an Iron Cross 360. The judges raved and the 16-and-Over title was his. Keeping him honest and getting second and third was Elliot Perfetti and Mark Collins.

The under 16 crowd was also going big with Tom Wallisch taking home a first place. Paul Railey, while doing his best to rally the crowd, settled for second with Taylor Cabe getting third.

Everyone put on a nice (or should we say sick) show, and quite a few were nursing wounds from one too many butt, hip, or body checks. Helping to make the pain go away was the always generous material rewards. Thanks to the generous sponsorship provided by Ford, Rossignol, K-2, High Mountain Sports and Rudy's Outdoor Adventures, there were more than enough prizes for everyone to bring home the goods.

Big Air Pic
And we'll see you next time...
It was almost as much fun to watch as it was to participate, and most certainly less painful. With everyone who plays getting a long-sleeve series T-shirt, and everyone cleaning up at the prize table, and a price to play of only $10, who wouldn't want in on this. First pick of the prizes went, as expected, to the winners. Then it was on to a random drawing and tosses out to the crowd. With what was left, we'll just call it some sort of frenzied free-for-all.

Now don't forget we'll be back for the finals of the Ford Big Air Series on March 3rd. So get on out there and show us your stuff. Even if you don't go the biggest, you'll bring home something to brag about to your friends. Than again, you could stay home and be lame. We'll let you make the choice...