Saturday morning I checked the weather for Lincoln NH. 35 and rainy with temperatures plummeting that night to below zero and staying below 20 degrees for the next few days. The perfect recipe for fresh East Coast powder to turn to sheets of ice. Eastern Boarder’s Last Call was on the following Monday. Not exactly the conditions that one would want for the East Coast’s premiere snowboard event now that US Open has taken up residence in Colorado. If you have never been to Last Call, or missed this years, you better make it a point to attend next year. This annual event is an awesome gathering of East Coast riders both young and old who come out to shred an amazing setup or partake in spectating and maybe causing a little debauchery on the sidelines.
Monday morning I woke up to bluebird skies and the thermometer hovering around 9 degrees. After organizing my camera gear I made my way up the mountain and to the LMP. Every year the Loon Mountain Park Staff outdoes themselves, this year was certainly no exception. As I jested with a few friends during the day, this year’s setup was solid, so was the turnout, the jumps, the landings and snow… The Park Crew this year built a two hit gap jump line to wall ride, an amazing rail plaza, followed by two hip hits into the superpipe. Last Call is a jam format, so riders are hiking and dropping as many times as they can within the allotted amount of time, making for constant action.
The day kicked off up at the jump section. Which looked like a blast having to snake over the gaps of the off angled jumps. Zack Normandin was throwing doubles off the second hit. Travis Neuenhaus looked like he was contemplating doing the same, going huge off the second hit later in the session, only after throwing a bunch of stylish poked and tweaked spins. Shaun Murphy, Merrick Joyce, Ryan Kittredge, Brendan Gerard were also putting it down on the jump line.
After a quick break for Chili Dogs compliments of Loon, the riders attacked the plaza. Rob Hallowell and Normandin were crushing it with massive gaps. Kittredge was annihilating the stairset in his leprechaun outfit. Mike Ravelson was getting tech off all of the features. Christian Manhard was in his element pressing here and there. Neuenhaus was out there as well making his presence known. Tim Major, Alex Cole, Justin Melanson, Brandon Honeycutt, Shaun Murphy were killing it as well. Kevin Court aka Gravedigger finally tossed his shirt and started shredding.
The rail section finished and it was straight down to the pipe. The pipe had been reshaped so that you could hit it as a hip, you got judged on your hip hit and then your first pipe wall hit. I was looking forward to this section all day. Why you ask? Because pipe riding is almost a lost art. I was not disappointed, the competition started dropping and others chose just to sit out and watch. Shaun Murphy put down an awesome crippler on his pipe hit. Brendan Gerard ditched his leather jacket for an unbuttoned hawaiian shirt. Normandin was in the midst throwing spins where others threw airs. Kittredge still had his leprechaun hat on somehow. Tyler Davis was boosting some of the best methods of the day. Shane Nassar was giving people the thumbs down left and right quickly eliminating the field. Alex Cole didnt care though and joined the group of poachers like Brandon Halberstadt who were having a blast just ripping. Travis Neuenhaus was killing the pipe, sending it way overhead on almost every hit. On possibly the biggest hit of the day he ran out of transition and slammed hard resulting in a broken humerus and a seriously fractured wrist. Heal up soon man!
At the end of pipe session the winners were announced. Zack Normandin came in first with his constancy throughout the day. Travis Neuenhaus scored second even though he was mid ambulance ride to the hospital and Shaun Murphy took third. Crab Grab gave out a few Free Seafood Dinners to a few of the riders one being Brendan Gerard. Rob Hallowell got the Crab Grab Dead Last award a jest at his refusal to get a tattoo after coming in dead last at the Mike Baker Banked Slalom this past Friday. Even though conditions were less than favorable, the 2014 Last Call was one of the best yet!