The 2015 Tom Sims Retro World Championships: Fast & loose California snowboarding

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The Tom Sims Retro World Championships is an ode to an extraordinary man and a throwback to a time in snowboarding when riders dug their own halfpipes, wore fluorescent, despised rules, chose sunglasses over goggles, headbands over hats, raced boards with long noses and short tails, drank beer instead of water, skateboarded, poked out grabs, didn’t spin over 540 and had one hell of a time on snow. Halfpipe contests were jam format and there were no snowmobile tows or lift rides to the top — riders hiked and cheered for friends and got inspired to kick out their methods even harder next run.

California was the epicenter of snowboarding’s culture, where the Retro Worlds were born in 1983. Thirty-two years later, the event moved from Soda Springs to Boreal Mountain Resort where riders then and now came together for the love of snowboarding and a weekend of sun, spring shred and community. Riders like Chris Roach, Terry Kidwell, Tim Eddy, Seth Hill, Eric Messier, Gray Thompson, Jimmy Halopoff, Kevin Jones, Dave Hatchett, Monty Roach, Cameron Beck, Cody Horan, Nate Holland, Christie Elder, Alex Rodway, Matt Belzile, Scott Blum, Frank Knab, Johnny Brady, Jake Kuzyk, Silver Serino, Sean Tedore, Chris Beresford, Jody Wachniak, Mark Wilson and Leanne Pelosi to name a few. The boards that made appearances were almost as impressive as the riders — swallow tails, flat tails, no tails, Snurfers, snowskates, Sims ½ Pipes, Burton Craig Kellys, K2 Daniel Francks, even a Morrow Lunch Tray.

“Tom Sims Retro Worlds is definitely a blast from the past,” says legend men’s race winner, Olympian and Tahoe local Nate Holland. “One day is a race and the other day is freestyle, and that’s how it used to be growing up. I had the chance to ride an ’88 Sims ½ Pipe and my mission was to do as many tuck-knee tweaks as possible.”

“My favorite part of this event is that there is racing; no one has racing anymore,” says three-peat racing open men’s division winner Cody Horan, who is also from Tahoe and 22 years old. “They don’t even call racing snowboarding anymore, it’s alpine — it’s stupid,” he continues. “I grew up riding hard boots and racing and I don’t ride rails really, unless it’s with a skateboard — it all translates. Everyone’s out there having fun, riding noboards, racing and then halfpipe the next day so you get everything — speed and then freestyle. It’s cool. I like it. Everything’s fun about Retro Worlds.“

Whatever your preconceived notions may be about racing, check them — and also check Cody’s style in the hand-dug halfpipe — it is no surprise he’s a skateboarder and that Chris Roach is “his hero.” The legends of Tahoe have his back and are passing stoke down to the next generation through this timeless event. “Last year for my 21st birthday Michael Chantry took me to go skate with Steve Caballero and Jeff Hedges down in Freemont. That was the sickest birthday,” Cody says with a smile.

The bottom line is if you love snowboarding and care about where it all began, Tom Sims Retro World Championships is a sideways celebration not to be missed. A generous thank you to Boreal Mountain Resort and all of the sponsors that supported a weekend of amazing riding.

For more retro radness, check out last year’s event coverage here.

Tom Sims Retro World Championships GS Results

Legend Men
1st: Nate Holland
2nd: Kenny Hill
3rd: Cameron Beck

Legend Women
1st: Christie Elder
2nd: Julie Brown

Open Men
1st: Cody Horan
2nd: Alex Rodway
3rd: Matt Belzile

Open Women
1st: Leanne Pelosi
2nd: Brittany Thompson
3rd: Susie Floros

Juniors
1st: Micah Elder-Ussher
2nd: Zaca Elder-Ussher

Halfpipe Results

Legend Men
1st: Chris Roach
2nd: Craig Goebel
3rd: Marc Vitelli

Legend Women
1st: Christie Elder
2nd: Julie Brown

Open Men
1st: Tim Eddy and Seth Hill (tie)
2nd: Chris Beresford
3rd: Eric Messier

Juniors
1st: Caleb Bonneville
2nd: Micah Elder-Ussher
3rd: Zaca Elder-Ussher

Overall Results

Jr. Overall
1st: Micah Elder-Ussher
2nd: Zaca Elder-Ussher

Legend Men Overall
1st: Craig Goebel
2nd: Chris Roach
3rd: Marc Vitelli

Legend Women Overall
1st: Christie Elder
2nd: Julie Brown

Open Men Overall
1st: Seth Hill
2nd: Felix Mobarg
3rd: Cameron Beck

Open Women Overall
1st: Brittany Thompson

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