Kicking off at 8 p.m., snow had been trucked down from the ski area to cover the monstrous scaffolding that supported a three-rail set up in The Mammoth Village. Inclement weather could not deter Mammoth's hardy tourists from a solid hour of jibtacular spectacle, charmed as they were by Snowboarder magazine editor Pat Bridges' dulcet voice announcing all manner of sliding. With the hood of my puffy up over my ears and the wind carrying sounds in odd directions, it began to sound as though Jello Biafra himself was sassing the riders, particularly Lucas Magoon, whose name simply begs for repetition. Hip-hop blared, people sipped illicit cocktails via well-hidden CamelBaks, and one dude hoisted a green sign declaring "Free swine flu!" for all to enjoy.
Dylan Alito marked the occasion by marrying his teeth to the bottom half of the down box, baring his bloody mouth for the camera as ski patrol escorted him from the arena. At least four of the next seven riders followed with slams in tribute, yet lived to hoof the scaffolding stairs another day.
Stirred, but not shaken, the remaining 19 riders lined up for last runs and cast their ballots in the corral. In an unprecedented move, there stood but one vote between the Winner Who Would Take All and his runner-up, who normally would take nothing. Tanzer handed a crisp stack of bills totaling $2,500 to shocked bridesmaid Mike Casanova, whom the others would no doubt pester for drinks at the after-party later that night.
But Top honors and a sweet handmade box containing $10,000 in cash were bestowed upon Dan Brisse. He mounted the single Red Bull podium, held aloft the magnificent gold cobra, its jewels sparkling in the gleam of a thousand flashbulbs. The gondola lurched forward; up and away we were carried to Canyon Lodge for Dilated Peoples, MFM, and plastic cupfuls of Jameson as reward for surviving the squall. And that's that: Another solid (and don't forget fun) WCI for the history books.
Zak Hale, Blaze Kotsenburg, Sage Kotsenburg, Greg Bretz, Trevor Jacob, Niko Cioffi, Cameron Pierce, Kade Madsen, Madison Ellsworth, Mike Casanova, Forrest Bailey, Dylan Alito, Nick Pooch, Chris Rotax, Dan Brisse, Tyler Flanagan, Silas Stannard, Chas Guldemond, Jared Dawoud, Johnny Lazz, and Lucas Magoon.