A light rain made the rail suspended from the side of the GLC a little slicker than usual, but the second annual Urban Rail Session wasnÕt supposed to be easy. Although there were a few crashes, most of the competitors managed to make at least one slide worthy of a spot in the finals.
In the skier category, Iannick B. and David Weale advanced to the finals. Showing true camaraderie they agreed to split the money, whoever won, and went for it. Iannick B. was perfect once again, landing a backside, switch-up, and 270 off to claim the win, while Weale crashed on his attempt.
Iannick B., or Brouillette, then announced that it was going to be his last competition.
"IÕm retired, pretty much. Not from skiing, IÕm going to ski until I die, but just from the whole competition thing," he said. "IÕm going to be helping the companies I ride for put teams together and work with them. IÕll still be around, still skiing with all my friends, but IÕm getting a little bit older, and itÕs time for me to go and open a spot for younger, better kids."
As for going out on a high note, the 28-year-old Whistler resident only remembers coming in second place once, about two years ago, after years of competing in rail jams.
"I think it comes from experience and IÕve always loved the rails. If IÕm riding the park and itÕs a choice between a rail and a jump, IÕll definitely go for the rail every time," he said.
He liked the rail that has been used for the Urban Rail Session, but wishes it was easier. "The transition (at the kink) is a little short and itÕs a little steep to start withÉ it would be nice to have a rail that isnÕt as hard as that one so guys can actually do tricks on and off. It shouldnÕt be ÔwhoÕs going to do itÕ, it should be ÔwhoÕs going to bust the best trickÕ."
Aaron Shapiro, who grew up in Whistler riding with the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club, was in his element all night as he landed a wide variety of tricks on the kink-down rail. In the finals against Geoff Brown he landed a smooth gap to a backside slide, while Brown was bucked at the gap, giving Shapiro the win.
"I was in the festival last year and came second. This year I wanted the number one spot and I did it. I still canÕt believe it," said Shapiro.
Although the transition between the ramp and the rail was slightly shorter than last year, Shapiro said it only took a few runs to get used to the setup.
With a win at the Urban Rail Session under his belt, Shapiro hopes to enter other rail jam contests.
"I ride the park every day, every second I can getÉ. There are definitely a lot of rail jams coming up nowadays, especially in urban areas. IÕm looking forward to going out there and doing a couple more," he said. "(Rails) are definitely my specialty, but growing up with the Whistler Valley Snowboard Kids definitely taught me a lot and I had a good time riding everything every day.
"I still help out (with the club) as much as I can, I get to go up on weekends have a good time with all the kids, teach some things, learn some things, hang out."
Both Shapiro and Iannick B. won $3,500 for finishing first.