Juneau boarders catch Big Air

Sorenson, Nye win snowboarding events at Haines

Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The 12th Annual Big Air snowboarding contest in Haines drew one of its largest-ever crowds of participants and fans Sunday - and a Juneau boarder took top honors.

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Held in the tree-line just beyond the Canada border, the event featured 24 participants launching off a table-top jump. Locals built the jump, and eventual champion, Chauncey Sorenson of Juneau, fine-tuned the apparatus.

"It was the most beautiful jump we've ever had," said organizer Luck Dunbar. "He built jumps all winter at Eaglecrest, and he perfected it."

The new location of the jump was off the road, forcing fans to walk to view the competition, but that didn't deter the crowd of some 70 people, Dunbar said.

"It was a huge crowd," Dunbar said. "Kudos to them."

Dunbar said the advanced category had 10 participants, one of the largest fields ever.

Sorenson won the competition with 248 points. He also posted a perfect score on his first jump.

"He hit the corner of the jump and went straight off the edge and just soared," Dunbar said. "He was way up there and just kept going."

The 28-year-old Juneau resident won a free day of heliskiing with Alaska Heliskiing.

Sean Brownell said the company offers the prize to give young skiers and snowboarders a chance to get into the mountains.

"It's cool to see a young kid get to do something rad like (heliskiing)," Brownell said.

Juneau's Paul LaBolle took second place with 246 points while Haines' Aaron Nash finished third with 243 points.

"He was doing these huge, laid-out back flips that were really slow and smooth, like butter, when he landed them," Dunbar said of Nash.

Another Juneau resident, Riley Nye, won the intermediate category. Nye bested Fred Graham, Logan Simpson and Haines' Tyler Thomas for the win.

Nye received a Billabong jacket and a Big Air sweatshirt for his victory.

Michael Hugill, a fifth-grader, won the beginner's event.

The results were announced Sunday at the premier of the snowboarding film "Lines."

Announcing the results at the film premiere was a bonus, Dunbar said, adding that snowboard flicks served as motivation for the crew of teens who started Big Air.

"We'd sit at the Nash house and watch all those old school videos and get jonesed out," Dunbar said.

Proceeds from the event benefited the establishment of the Olen Seth Nash Foundation, in whose memory the contest is held.

"Eventually, we'd like to be able to send the winner to Mount Hood snowboard camp," Dunbar said.

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