Local Vail Rider Takes Grand Prix Big Air

It was a perfect night for East Vail snowboarder Jon Pearson in spite of the snow storm that raged on the big air on the evening of January 8. After a three hour big air contest, Pearson was awarded with $3,500 and a trophy for his clean double front flip.

“I think I need to go home and learn a new trick,” said Jason Botgstede after being awarded with third place for his switch backflip 180, a trick he has won the X Games, as well as numerous other contests with.

The judging seemed a little questionable to many, as it often is with big air contests. But then again it was a tough field to judge. Nearly everyone was stomping their tricks and some of the best big air riders were competing. Chad Otterstrom was rodeoing and spinning like crazy, Ross Powers stepped up and was throwing down huge spins and flips. Ben Hinkley and Abe Teter were in fine tall guy form making big air look bigger than ever with their height.

In the women’s division the winner was pretty clean and clear with Tara Dakides throwing down lofty backflips that had all of the boys wishing she was their girlfriend. “I did the slowest rotating backflip I have ever done in my life and it felt really strange and I liked it,” said Dakides. “I think I landed like fifteen feet down the jump from the top of the landing, so I had to rotate the backflip really slow if I wanted to not land on my head.”

Dakides walked with $2,500 and a shiny glass trophy for her mantle. Second place was awarded to Tina Dixon for her backside 360 tailgrabs and Leslee Olson was pulling rodeo 540s.

1. Jon Pearson (Vail) 26.10
2. Ricky Bauer (Salt Lake City) 25.20
3. Jason Borgstede (Tahoe) 24.90
4. Chad Otterstrom (Breckenridge) 24.50
5. Scott Arnold 17.50
6. Ben Hinkley (Tahoe) 17.50

1. Tara Dakides (Mammoth) 22.40
2. Kristina Dixon (Salt Lake City) 19.80
3. Leslee Olson (Bend) 17.20
4. Sarah Osterberg (Breckenridge) 15.40