I’ve been all about going to where the party is…and it was definitely at Heavenly last Saturday night for the High Roller Hold ‘Em. Snow Park Technologies came in and built a massive jump at the Cal Base that was easily view-able from the farthest part of the resort. You didn’t even have to go in the general area to see it, and a lot of people hung out in the parking lot and tailgated with their friends and dogs. It was like going to a football game, except this one had the Red Bull DJ Hummer-thing busting out tunes, IN THE PARKING LOT.
Once we got past the party in the parking lot, we headed into the competition to see what
was going on. Heavenly invited some of the world’s best riders to hit this jump, and threw a little poker into the mix. Each rider was dealt 2 cards with each card featuring a different trick. Each rider bet on the trick of their choice and had to land it as best as they could to win their round and qualify for finals.
However, I didn’t know exactly how the format was executed as I was watching it, I just saw some guys playing poker, then snowmo up to the jump and land super hard tricks. The only rider I recognized was Chas Guldemond, who I had to root on ‘cuz he’s a local boy.
There was a $50,000 prize purse and ESPN filmed the whole thing. A stage behind the jump featured DJs and ex-strippers dancing, I mean, the “Heavenly Angels”. And a group of 10-yr-old boys perched up against the barricade watching the “Heavenly Angels”, their backs completely turned from the jump.
Meanwhile, I watched on the megatron screen what was going on at the poker table. I saw
a few hands, and it seemed like Chas was always advancing and every round he STOMPED his double-corked 1260. As the sun set and the lighting changed, it was obvious that it was a bit harder on the riders to land their tricks with consistency, and we saw some gnarly crashes. My friend and I cruised around and watched a lot of flips and spins and crazy mctwists off that jump that I couldn’t even dream of even hitting, but I think we were both impressed with their skill and ease of stomping their tricks- or at least not even being afraid to fall and slide down the super steep landing. Then we hiked up to the side of the jump and joined all the misfits who snuck in their own alcohol, and we got a perspective on the take off and huge size of the gap of which the riders had to clear, do a couple flips and land on their snowboards safely. Whew. It stresses me out just thinking about it.
We watched at least 4 rounds and the finals before it was clear who won- Chas Guldemond! Shaun White and the Heavenly Angels gave Chas a $29,000 check as the rest of the $50,000 prize purse was split among the runners up. Chas so deserved it- he absolutely killed it every single round and it’s nice to watch a guy who I see at the Truckee skate park just enter a comp at Heavenly and take home $29,000.
After the awards ceremony, it turned into a dance party, and as we were cutting up the snow in our warm SB boots with the Red Bull logo emblazoned on the gigantic jump behind us, Heavenly topped off this perfect night with a fireworks show. And it was better than New Year’s.
Heavenly and SPT did such a great job of putting on this event, they definitely have me thinking about renewing my Tahoe Local Pass for next season…