Words: Ethan Stone
"I think I'll hike up for a few more hits," says Sammy Carlson. He has spent his whole afternoon launching to the top of his Invitational's massive wall ride and was the event's overall winner after a raucous session on the feature at Mount Bachelor, Oregon. But as usual, the indefatigable Sammy C. is just getting started.
Skiing has never seen a wall ride like this before. It is 25 feet high, 80 feet long, and banked in the middle. At first glance, its proportions seem absurd. Who decided to triple the size of last year's Sammy Carlson Invitational wall ride? Sammy, of course. On Saturday at Mount Bachelor, he showed everybody how to ride it.
"Sammy goes all-out, puts everything into the features, really takes his time, and it shows," says Will Berman. "It's fun as hell to hit a feature like this, because we never get to. It was a little intimidating at the beginning, but once we got used to it, it was super fun just popping up on there, catching some tranny, and cruising down this huge wall. It's a pretty insane feeling, but really fun at the same time."
The competition had all the making of a great event. Epic crew? Carlson, Tanner Hall, Candide Thovex, Henrik Harlaut, Phil Casabon, Duncan Adams, McRae Williams were all on hand. Giant, never-before-seen feature? Check. Jam session format, Internet live stream, Luke Van Valin on the mic? Check, check, check.
Slowly, the skiers launched higher and traveled further across the wall. A few leaders showed the way, and more than a few innovators created their own ways. By the end of the second session, Hudson Knoll had almost fallen off the backside, more than a half-dozen riders had had their moment on the top coping, and Sammy was effortlessly leaping to the top and sliding the coping into the curve of the wall.
"It's insane," says Carlson of the top of the wall. "As soon as you get two feet from the edge the white tube sticks out at you like crazy. Then you go over it and you see the horizon line, and you're just like, 'Oh shit.' It definitely feels like you're way up there."
Phil Casabon cleaned up in the rider-voted awards, claiming both the Wise Guy (most creative) and Best Style honors. Northwest riders picked up a few awards: Hudson Knoll claimed Best Wall Trick with an alley-oop 180 on, 180 off of the very top of the wall, and Reed Lewis was given the Kamikaze Pilot for being the madman that he is. To unanimous acclaim Sammy Carlson was picked as the overall winner, for showing us all how his wall was meant to be skied.