Max Eberhardt had never attempted a triple cork in competition before, though you never would have guessed it as he flipped and spun his way to a Monster Energy Shred Show Big Air title.
The Canadian snowboarder stomped a backside triple 1440 on Saturday night, April 12, to win the World Ski and Snowboard Festival showcase event at the base of Whistler Mountain, and its $15,000 grand prize.
"I've actually never tried that in my life," a champagne-soaked Eberhardt said of his winning trick, right after stepping off the podium. "I've been waiting all season for the right jump for it, and it just felt right."
The North Bay, Ont., native grabbed mute on the trick and earned a score of 95.33 from judges to take down the event, a five-star contest on the World Snowboard Tour calendar.
Kyle Mack, who landed a triple 1440 of his own, finished in the runner-up spot, while top qualifier Justin Morgan placed third with a backside double 1260.
Nobody had attempted a triple cork on Saturday until Eberhardt did it midway through the last round of the 10-man final. The large crowd gathered at Skiers Plaza erupted when he put the trick to his feet.
With the high reaching 14 C in the valley Saturday, soft snow made it tough for riders to take good speed into the 70-foot jump. But once the sun went down and temperatures started to plummet, competitors were able to take advantage of the faster conditions.
"I actually almost pulled out of the contest in practice because I kept knuckling the jump," said Eberhardt, 19. "I'm pretty stoked.
"This kind of made it worth it for me to come out, now. I didn't even come out intending to do big air, but then I got a spot in it, and it worked out."
Canadian Olympian Sebastien Toutant also went for a triple on his last jump but had a slight touch down on the landing. He finished fourth.
Meanwhile, Winter X Games big air gold medallist and defending champ Maxence Parrot reached the final but fell on both of his attempts.
Mack said he was thrilled to take runner-up honours against a field that featured several Olympians.
"A podium is unbelievable," he said. "I'm hyped I finished second. Max killed it."
Anthony Stefanizzi finished 19th for the top result from a local.
MACK MAKES MORE MONEY
Mack found the podium again — the top step this time — when the Shred Show moved up into Blackcomb's Nintendo Terrain Park for slopestyle on Sunday, April 13.
The contest underwent a last-minute format change, as qualifiers were eliminated and all 23 riders received three runs. Mack only needed his first one, earning a score of 86.50 after a run that included a backside double cork 1080 Japan grab, a switch cab 1260 and some impressive work on the three rail options at the top of the course.
Between the slopestyle win and runner-up finish in big air, Mack ended the Shred Show with a total of $21,000 in prize money.
Toutant finished second on Sunday with an impressive run of his own, which included a backside double 1080 and a double 1260. Fellow Quebec-based rider Matts Kulisek finished in third place after some of the most technical rail tricks.
Eric Beauchemin and Morgan placed fourth and fifth, respectively, while Parrot and Norwegians Gjermund Braaten and Torstein Horgmo each placed in the top eight.
GOLDBERG GREAT IN BOARDERSTYLE
Rube Goldberg won a final heat full of Whistler riders when the Shred Show's competition schedule wrapped up with Boarderstyle on Monday, April 14.
The event, a hybrid of slopestyle and snowboard cross racing, drew more than 30 competitors from all over, but it was the locals that stole the show.
Goldberg took home $1,000 for the win, edging two-time Boarderstyle winner Jon Versteeg in the final. Whistler riders Chris Rasman and Cody Logan also reached the final and finished third and fourth, respectively.
Visit www.wssf.com for full results of all events.