Four days in Whistler can feel like a month -- especially when you're involved with the Shred Show, where every day is a contest, every night a party, every afternoon a mandatory après, and every morning a struggle to get out of bed. But the show must go on, and today the fourth and final of the event was mellow by design: a noon-ish start for the Moguls Duel with cloudy skies, icy bumps, and a steady supply of beers and barbeque for spectators and participants alike.
After another $25,000 was handed out for Slopestyle yesterday, even a noon start proved too early for many riders, including defending champion and third place finisher in boarderstyle Travis Williams, who failed to show. However, perennial top four finisher Myrosha Daley held it down for the local contingent, being one of the first and last competitors to drop. Despite occasional sunny breaks, temperatures hovered just below freezing and kept the course icy and undoubtedly sketchy -- in other words: perfect.
Perhaps the announcers' demeanor best sums up the Moguls Duel. Instead of praising a stomped 1080, their main role was to heckle all who dropped, hand out twenties for anyone who flung themselves off the mandatory airs at the bottom of the bumps, and laugh at those who hooked up in the icy mank and found themselves sliding face down across the finish.
For riders interested in posting a good time -- roughly 17 seconds of rut-bashing being the fastest -- it was all about sucking up the kicker and hearing about it from the peanut gallery below. Still, Tuesday brought more smiles than the past three days combined. The serious business of TTR points and big money behind us, the Moguls Duel brought out the true spirit of snowboarding -- just bashing through sketchy lines in sub-par conditions with your friends, and loving every second of it.
In the end, it came down to Daley and young buck Zak Hale in the finals, with Hale qualifying first, earning the privilege of the easier blue lane, and claiming his victory with both hands raised across the finish line -- a fitting finish to four days of controlled chaos. From Big Hip to Boarderstyle, Slopestyle to the Moguls Duel, an appearance by Terje Haakonsen and a big weekend for Antoine Truchon, The Shred Show is in the books. Goodbye Whistler-Blackcomb, it's been a blast. We'll see you next year.