More than 6,000 fans turn out to watch the comeback story of the year
Your typical human knee has four major ligaments, or one more functioning ligament than local snowboarder Mike Page can claim. He seems to get along just fine without it.
On Saturday almost a year to the day after Page sustained the knee injury that had doctors wondering if he would ever walk, much less snowboard, again Page spun a huge corked frontside cab 720, with an Indy grab thrown in for good measure, to win the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational big air event.
The 25 year old hails from Shawinigan, Quebec, and lives in Whistler. Before his accident he was recognized as one of the top riders in the valley, winning the Showcase Showdown quarterpipe in 1999 and shooting segments for Amp and Forum videos.
Page and another local pro snowboarder were injured when they ran into a winch cat cable coming down Blackcomb Mountain following an after-hours photo shoot. Page dislocated both knees in the crash.
The takeoff and landing at the big air were a little on the soft side, and as a result several of the riders had trouble landing cleanly. That didnt stop them from trying, however.
Some of the highlights of this years were Daniel Migneaults backside 900s, Max Henaults switch rodeo 720, Mike Renczs 1080s, Risto Scotts huge cab 900, and Marc-Andre Tartes 1080 with a double grab. A total of 22 riders started the day, with some athletes coming from as far away as Finland.
A total of six riders made it through the qualifier into the semi-finals, including Jesse Fox, Aleksi Vanninen, Daniel Migneault, Mike Page, Andrew Hardingham and Marc-Andre Tarte, who had the lead after the qualifier. Each rider was then given two jumps, with only the best one counting towards the finals.
Migneault, Fox and Page made the finals, with Migneault in the lead with an amazing and slightly corked backside 900.
The leading rider had the option of going first, second or third in the three-man, one-jump final. Migneault opted to go last.
Fox, the first rider, opted for the corked backside 900 and crashed on the way down.
Page went second and pulled off the frontside cab 720 with a perfect landing. In the process he set the bar a little higher for Migneault.
Migneault went big off his last jump, throwing down a stylish backside 900 with a mute grab. He touched his hand down in the landing, and managed to get back on his feet after his revert to ride into the finish circle but he knew where the golden fish and $10,000 in prize money were going.
Page was a graceful winner, thanking the crowd and the event organizers, and praising the other athletes. Migneault, who also lives in Whistler, was second. Fox who hails from Collingwood, Ontario, finished third.
1. Mike Page 52.5
2. Daniel Migneault 46.5
3. Jesse Fox 24.1
1. Daniel Migneault 52.4
2. Mike Page 52.3
3. Jesse Fox 5.14
4. Aleksi Vanninen 49.7
5. Andrew Hardingham 49.1
6. Marc-Andre Tarte 31.3