The third annual Sammy Carlson Invitational went down at Mount Bachelor this Saturday. The event featured a 50-foot jump, a massive 25-foot-tall, 80-foot-long wallride and -- with five "winning" categories, with names like "the wise guy" (most creative) and "Kamikaze" (craziest) -- a completely unconventional format for a contest.
After a two one-hour long jam sessions winners of the event were chosen by a vote amongst the skiers "competing" in it themselves, and when the ballots were all in, it was Sammy Carlson himself who came out as the "best overall" of the event.
Last year, Carlson had to sit out the event due to an injury sustained at X Games Aspen, but this year he was back in form. Besides his consistent air throughout the sessions, he was one of the only skiers who actually made it to the top of the wall to grind the coping.
Friday, high winds knocked down a large section of the wall nearly taking out some of the event staff in the process. For a minute it seemed like the contest might not happen, but Carlson and the Bachelor build crew worked into the night to get things back into place for the countless youngsters who thronged onto the mountain on Saturday trying to get a glimpse of their favorite skiers.
This refreshingly carefree freeski anti-contest was attended by some of the biggest names in skiing, including Carlson, Tanner Hall, Pat Goodnough, Phil Casabon, Candide Thovex, Henrik Harlaut, Maks Gorham, Alex Schlopy, Willie Borm, Torin Yater-Wallace, Mcrae Willams and more.
French Canadian Phil Casabon skied away with both the "best style" and "wise guy" awards after executing an impressive switch-butter cork 10 off the knuckle. Hudson Knoll won "best wall trick" with an alley-oop flatspin 5 into the wall. During one of his trick attempts Knoll aired completely past the coping and into the wooden safety railing behind it -- which reminded the the athletes and crowed how high the set up really was.
"It was frightening to look over the back of the wall," said Knoll. "It wasn't until I got down I realized how close I was to falling off that massive thing."
Reed Lewis won the "Kamikaze" award after he pushed himself to his limit for the entire two-hour competition period, throwing down almost every trick he could think of in the process. The winner of each category took home $2,500.
Although some invited riders were missing, and missed, Carlson was more than pleased with the outcome, "I love to be skiing with all my homies, that's what skiing is about", Carlson said. "The second jam [of the event] went a lot better than the first. The speed was a lot better and people were going a lot higher on the wall. Overall, though, it was such an epic day, just to be riding with all these guys."