Snowboard Magazine’s Am Throwdown Wraps Up At Copper Mountain

Last week the four finalist teams descended on Copper Mountain, Colo., for the first annual Snowboard Magazine Am Throwdown presented by Vitamin Water. The teams were selected by you, our readers, based on video entries they uploaded to in February. Five winning teams were selected to come to Copper for the finals last week. Each team had five days to film and edit a 1:30 video part at Copper, for the chance to win $5000. A filmer from one team and a rider from another were injured just before the finals, so we merged the two remaining contestants into one team, and proceeded with a four-team final.

Copper was an ideal location to hold the event because of its varied terrain and word-class park. We wanted the guys to get creative, explore the mountain and not feel confined to just one area of the mountain. The contest had a loose format. We pretty much let the guys run free for the week.

The week started off sunny with a foot of fresh light pow on the ground. As is typical spring fashion in Colorado, the weather was in and out the whole week, so the teams took advantage of whatever the weather gave them.

In addition to our upcoming videos, Vitamin Water filmed during the Am Throwdown for a webisode series it is producing on the evolution of style in snowboarding. Vitamin Water team rider Johnnie Paxson joined us to ride with the guys during a nighttime jib session and hang with the crew for the week.

The four crews made this event a total success. They were all strong riders and filmers and all had super positive attitudes that made the week fun. It was cool to see them all become friends throughout the contest. Not too close though, I don’t think anyone was there sharing generators, bungees, or shovels.

Check out the full photo gallery

We'll be rolling out the videos after judging is done next week. In the mean time. Here's a profile of each of the final teams:

Team One – Jameson Walter & Ricky Bates: Watch their qualifying video

Location: Jackson Hole transplants by way of Summit County (and Beaver Creek)

Ricky Bates launching a local Copper water tower | Photo: Jonathan Glass

Ricky turned 22 the night before the first day of shooting and spent the night getting fed absinthe shots by the other teams at the Green Fairy in Copper Village. He blew it and missed the best bluebird pow day of the event, but made up for it by getting creative around the resort after hours.

Advantages: Knew the area; Strong log rider; Friends own a pick-up truck.
Disadvantages: Thirsty; Other teams had an eye out to sabotage.

Team Two – Brandon Rhoades & Jake Durham: Watch their qualifying video

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jake Durham getting the shot of Brandon Rhoades on the picnic table gap
Photo: Alexandra Erickson

Brandon and Jake are Minnesota kids through and through. There was even a rumor going around that Brandon had never ridden a lift before. He's a product of the streets. Brandon was the youngest rider at Copper. Brandon and Jake didn't get to take a spring break trip this year, so they were pumped to come to Colorado and shred, not mention have a shot at $5,000.

Advantages: Rail destroyer; Creative eye; Underage.
Disadvantages: Getting up and down the lift; Spraying patrol resulted in clipped pass.

Team Three: Mark Kelsic & Paul Heran: Watch Mark & Paul's qualifying videos

Location: Mark is from Breckenridge and Paul is from Tahoe

Mark Kelsic with a rodeo off a tree jib | Photo: Alexandra Erickson

Mark’s filmer and Paul’s rider both blew their knees. So, these two odd balls got paired up to compete. They'd never met before the competition, but quickly clicked, making for a solid team. We didn’t know what to expect from them since their styles could have been a total mismatch, but they definitely put in work and made it happen.

Advantages: Mark carried a hammer in his jacket (no joke) at all times for impromptu jib set ups; One footers; Colorado local
Disadvantages: The first “hello”; Girlfriend tagging along (kidding…sorta)

Team Four: Joe Bosler & Scott Studach: Watch their qualifying video

Location: Seattle, WA

Joe Bosler on a night shoot – Cougars! | Photo: Alexandra Erickson

These guys opted out of the plane tickets and choose the gas money instead. Only later did we learn the gas money went to other necessities. Joe and Scott meant business and came correct with dollies, bungees, generators, and shovels. They spent as much time around the resort village as they did on the mountain. One night they even had a cougar encounter while filming near some homeowners.

Advantages: Northwest pride; Brought all the necessary tools to get the job done
Disadvantages: They have rails at Baker?; Some of the tools got them kicked out of their hotel

Behind the scenes in the green room for the Vitamin Water interview session
Photo: Alexandra Erickson

This was not your average contest. No rules. No schedule. No agenda. Just a chance for eight to get together and explore the entire mountain. It was a chance to get back to the root of our “sport” and have fun with being creative. It was a chance to snowboard.

Johnnie Paxson & the Am Throwdown teams at Endos for the Vitamin Water dinner
Photo: Tyler Malay

Check out the full photo gallery from Snowboard's Am Throwdown

A huge thanks goes out to Vitamin Water, Copper Mountain, YESnowboard, The-House Boardshop, Smith Optics & Friendly Music for helping make this contest and finals week one of the best times ever.


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