High $5ives in High Country: Seventh Stop Recap—2017 Vans Hi-Standard Series at Mt. Norquay, Alberta, Canada


For the Mt. Norquay stop of the Vans Hi-Standard series on Saturday, Feb 18th, organizers wanted to do something different, something that would take the fun of this already blast-of-an-event to the next level. So instead of running the event in the terrain park, they put the setup right near the resort's main lodge—right where all the spectators could easily be a part of the day as well. And coupled with the incredible backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and the sun coming out later in the day, it ended up as fuel for an awesome day of snowboarding.

For those who don't know, the contest series is focused on one simple rule—style is everything and the only rule is no spins over a 720. This format makes for some of the most creative riding you can see at a contest—a clear reaction to a shred world gone kinda crazy with Quad Corks and ballerina spins.

Big air

The day kicked off with the series hallmark, the Big Air jams, which featured two take-off options: a 25- and 45-footer. This accessible-for-all setup gives everyone from young intermediates to aspiring pros a chance to shine in front of their friends in an ultra-fun way. Like most of the Vans Hi-Standard Series events, a visiting Vans rider showed up to help give out $2,000 Vans cash in $5-bills to all the deserving shreds who could throw down their tricks in a controlled manner with tons of style. Today's guest was Vans rider and ultra-creative self-filmer Ben Poechman (a.k.a. Selfiestickman).

He says he was really stoked about the event and what it means for the kids and spectators to be there, having fun.

"The Vans Hi-Standard is a unique event that brings everyone together in a tight community type of way," he says. "I was stoked to be part of it—it’s a rad and unique concept. Style is everything!"

Big air jam
Ben Poechman
5 dollars bill

Living up to that mantra, local ruler Josh Reeves threw down all four 720s as well as just about every other trick in the book, which earned him the coveted title of MVP, plus a free trip to the finals at Sierra-at-Tahoe, California next month to throw down against all the other MVPs of the series.

As if that weren't enough, a whole lot more stoke would go down later in the afternoon during the Van Doren Best Trick on a three rail setup: a long box, a down rail with a donkey, and a picnic table set up in front of a down rail that made for a sick gap to rail. 

Joshua Reeves
Rail Jam

In the 16-and-Over division, Jake Whitburn took the well-deserved $300 for his Switch 50-50 to Switch Backside Pretzel Out on the table gap to down rail. And in the 15 and Unders it was Michael Modesti's Half Cab 50-50 to Backside 270 Boardslide on the same table gap to down rail that earned him a $200 paycheque and the admiration of the spectators.

Jake Whiteburn
Michael Modesti

For showing heart and improvement throughout the day, the Vans Hi-Standard Most Improved Rider went to Molly Hibnal, and the Worst Bail of the day went to Damian Bucknar. 

Molly Hibnal
Damian Buckmar

But for the creative of a visual kinda at Norquay today, the highlight was the House of Vans Art Workshop. Here, those not competing in the Vans Hi-Standard Series got a chance to design their own custom-made Vans Classic Slip-Ons with some help from Calgary artist, Dustin Fleming, who put his stamp on a giant Vans Sk8-Hi shoe, which was given away to one lucky winner, Luka Unterasinger. All in all, it was one of the best days of the season so far for everyone who came out.

House of Vans Work Shop

For more info on the Vans Hi-Standard Series—which gets riders to express as much creativity and style as possible, while keeping all spins under a 720—go to vans.com/histandardseries . The Vans Hi-Standard Series hits Grindelwald, Switzerland on Feb. 25th and then returns to the U.S. at Copper Mountain, Colorado on Saturday, March 4th. Online registration is available for 45 of the 90 spots.

Over the course of its 2017 world tour, the Vans Hi-Standard series hits South Korea, China, France, Switzerland, Argentina, the United States and Canada—and at every stop, registration is free and Vans provides lift tickets and a lunch for all participants, as well as freshly made waffles hot off the irons for spectators and riders alike.