It took exactly one year for Whistler's Dave Fortin to go from agony to ecstasy, from the ambulance to the top of the Grenade Games podium. And although he started the day conservatively, he nailed the Grand Finale win and a $10,000 prize with the gutsiest trick of the day. Then the chanting began.
The Grand Finale slopestyle wrapped up six days of fun and competition, with a crowd over 10,000 turning out on Saturday night to watch the final chapter. The contest was invite-only, although event organizer Danny Kass handed out some additional invitations to riders who put on a good show in the first three days of competition.
From start to finish the Games are the opposite of what a conventional snowboarding competition is supposed to be about, emphasizing fun over form and throwing out the rulebook. Everything was designed to give riders the maximum amount of freedom to push the envelope, while emphasizing a lot of the little tricks and skills that every good rider should have.
And the turnout was huge, with over 320 riders signing up to compete in one or more events.
The competitions got underway on Wednesday with the Grenade Games "Search and Recovery Mission," a series of challenges spread around Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. There was an ollie/limbo contest, a spin contest, a snowskate gap jump and a GT Snow Racer contest. The main event, however, was the giant slalom race at the Pontiac GMC Race Centre on Blackcomb, where the 50 fastest times made the cut to advance to the finals of the dual moguls competition on Thursday on Davies' Dervish. Other riders would have to enter the dual moguls qualifier, and get bounced around a few more times, to have a shot at the win.
Travis Williams posted the fastest time on the race course, followed by Andrew Burns, Zach Wade, Julian Bell, Dave Fortin, Scott Hunter, Paul Rak, Greg Maidlow and Anthony Welgan. Less than a second separated the top 15 riders.
The dual slalom racers benefited from some fresh snow and a sun-softened course, which made it a little easier to stay on course this year and huck off the mandatory jumps.
Whistler's Pablo Aristeguieta took the win in the final dual against Travis Williams, while Myrosha Daley, the defending champion, placed third after besting Squamish rider Dennis Bannock. Rounding out the top top were Craig Beaulieu, Julian Bell, Beau Bishop, Gab Blais, Annie Boulanger - the top female - Andrew Burns and Ben Buschke. Mark Sollars won the "Most Radical Dude" award for attempting to straight line the course and crashing hard, breaking his finger and his board in the process.