Open your eyes X Games: A story of the 900 in Women’s Slopestyle
One of the last memories I have of Jeff Anderson is the time I saw him haul past the judges’ tent at a Vans Triple Crown women’s slopestyle contest in Mammoth yelling, “Open your eyes judges!” The reason for Jeffy’s discontent was that his Volcom teammate and close friend Janna Meyen-Weatherby had been throwing switch tricks the judges seemingly failed to notice, resulting in a second place finish. This was January 2003, one month prior to Jeff’s untimely passing. Janna Meyen-Weatherby went on to change the game in women’s slopestyle with effortless style and a drive for progression that set the bar so high with a cab 900 that after Meyen-Weatherby’s retirement in 2012, the girls are still trying to live up to Janna’s prowess.
In 2009, Janna was throwing off-the-toes cab nines for fun as well as in slopestyle competitions. She landed a cab nine with a butt-check at the X Games women’s slopestyle event in 2010 that put her on the podium with a bronze. Two years later Janna Meyen-Weatherby, the first Winter X athlete to “four-peat,” an iconic rider with shots in Volcom’s The Garden as well as clips in Mack Dawg Productions movies, turned down 3-year deal contracts from her sponsors and decided to walk away from professional snowboarding. Janna now lives a quiet life in Bend, Oregon with her husband, Kirk, their two daughters, and is happy. She barely pays attention to snowboarding and I am one of the few friends from the sideways world she thankfully still stays in touch with.
Janna Meyen-Weatherby is one of Spencer O’Brien’s biggest snowboarding inspirations. The two competed together in the final years of Meyen-Weatherby’s career and became friends. I reached out to Janna after Spencer O’Brien didn’t make it on the X Games women’s slopestyle podium with a run that had a powerful backside 900 last hit.
“Didn’t get a chance to watch any of it this morning, sorry sister!” Janna replied right away. “Did see Spencer’s 9 through a FB post so I watched it for you!” she added. Phew! Here we go…
“I was super stoked for Spencer! “ exclaimed Meyen-Weatherby. “She’s always had that in her! Loved the smile on her face after her run and hope she enjoys it for a while!”
Meyen went on to say, “I can tell you this — I also watched an interview with the 14-year-old pipe jock who said, ‘My coaches told me I should start to grab all my tricks going into my last run, so I did.’ ” Meyen continues, “Um, that’s what’s wrong right there. You have to have a coach tell you to put some soul into your riding! Ugh! These kids today should have a natural born desire to ride with style alone and allow the checklist of tricks to follow after they have found their unique style! They and their dumbass coaches are looking at it all backwards! Don’t they watch sunsets and sunrises and listen to Slayer?! Do they not have a soul?! Just another young rider missing the point! Hope she figures out how to put some passion into her riding before she’s another ugly ass pipe jock just trying to get on the podium! Why the eff do judges reward this crap?!”
“Don’t they watch sunsets and sunrises and listen to Slayer?! Do they not have a soul?!” — Janna Meyen-Weatherby
Next I hit up Spencer for her thoughts on her disappointing result in the women’s X Games slopestyle contest today. “I came to X wanting to do a new run and I did that,” O’Brien states. “It wasn’t as clean as it could have been and the judges really nailed me to the wall for it. I’m so happy to have landed the nine and to have helped push our sport a little further. I’d like to recognize Janna Meyen-Weatherby who landed the first cab nine by a woman at X and also Cheryl Maas who put down a back nine at Euro X as well.” O’Brien’s snowboarding history more on-point than the X Games broadcast. Maas became the second female rider to put down a nine in women’s slopestyle competition at the short-lived European X Games in Tignes, France in 2011, a trick that eluded Cheryl of a podium spot as well.