Of Legends and MVPs: Grand Finale Recap—2017 Vans Hi-Standard Series at Sierra-At-Tahoe, CA
To say the grand finale of the 2017 Vans Hi-Standard Series at Sierra-At-Tahoe on Saturday, March 18th was epic would be one massive understatement. Bringing all the MVPs from every international stop together to shred one single skate-style park set-up not only upped the tour's game completely—it took the contest's mantra "style is everything" to a whole new level.
While the morning's blue skies gave way to high winds and some rain in the afternoon it didn't stop anyone from destroying the park. When the dust settled, it was local ruler Josh Naasz who earned the first-ever Hi-Standard Series grand finale MVP title—all as some heavy hitters from the Vans Snow team cheered them on.
Pat Moore, Hana Beaman, Mary Rand, Nick Poohachoff and Yawgoon Members Marcus Rand and Brian Skorupski were ripping laps, helping out with judging and giving away some of the $3,000 in fives to everyone who stomped their tricks with style and control. Shred legends Chris Roach and John Cardiel were also cruising around, with the latter also providing the day's musical vibe as resident DJ.
"It was such fun times riding with everybody yesterday, seeing some familiar faces and giving away cash to shredders with style," said Hana Beaman. "The Hi-Standard series never disappoints."
And neither did the unique setup, which featured a custom-built park including two big air jumps, lots of transitions with hips and transfers, as well as a sick rail garden with three different rails with a quarterpipe at the bottom. This setup is where the Van Doren Best Trick went down, and another $500 was up for grabs.
"The Vans Hi-Standard final was unreal," said Brian Skorupki of the style-defining Yawgoons crew. "The set up was amazing allowing everyone to get creative and show true style."
Sean Murphy straight-up ruled the Van Doren Best Trick with his frontside boardslide pretzel switch-up pretzel-out on the down-flat-down rail for the big money win of $300 for the 16-and-overs. And in the 15-and-under class, Caleb Boneville grabbed $200 for his gap to backside lipslide on the down-flat-down rail.
Guest judge and Vans Snow pro Pat Moore was blown away by some of the riding today.
"The Vans Hi-Standard finals at Sierra at Tahoe was an epic combination of young and old, trickery and style," he said. "Everyone seemed to be stoked just to be there and the prizes were just a bonus. Big ups to Vans for hosting such a great contest series and Sierra at Tahoe for such a sick course!"
Moore was so impressed with rider Matt Schaffer's hardway BS 270 on the down-flat-down rail that he gave him an honorable mention. Schaffer won a killer prize pack from Vans and a legit shout out from Pat Moore.
The day's Worst Bail recognition (and some prizing to lessen the impact) went to Luke Sheets, and the Most Improved Rider was awarded to the young Bruce “Blue Steel” Theile.
Chris Roach said that while he hasn't had the chance to get over to Sierra at Tahoe for many years, being there Saturday watching and riding with the snowboarding's next generation was really inspirational—and even better that it's being so well supported by one of snowboarding's most iconic brands.
"Vans provides opportunities for all ages of snowboarding to get together to strengthen the growth cycle, meet and ride with some of the greatest people in shred," Roach said. "I was stoked to see mountains beginning to change how they build parks and features for snowboarders, now is a good time to be around to enjoy this new world."
And just when you think there couldn't more style and creativity going down in one day, the House of Vans Art Workshop allowed participants a chance to create their own custom works of art on a free pair of blank canvas Vans. Local artist Willie Pinella led the stoked participants in their designs and created his own giant Sk8-Hi. In all, it was a killer end to a killer day.
For more info on the Vans Hi-Standard Series— where style is everything and no spins over a 720 counts—go to vans.com/histandardseries. The next stage of the Vans Hi-Standard Series is at Mount Hood's High Cascade Summer Camp on June 20th, 2017
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.