Men’s snowboard winner Ryan Tiene makes the most of the pole jump. Image:: Rip Curl
Rip Curl Freeride Pro
Jordan Houghton’s just done a 1080. The crowd appreciates it. Backflips, multiple spins and falling head first down the staircase feature all elicit extra exuberance from the couple of hundred strong crowd arranged on the hill behind the Rip Curl ThrowDown site.
The Fifth annual Rip Curl ThrowDown is on right now, and it’s just exactly as an under-lights night time event should be. Almost everyone in Thredbo tonight must be here, perched on the hill sometimes known as Lover’s Leap or milling around near the tennis courts watching the action on the giant staircase – pole jump monster-feature. Master commentator Reggae Elliss is buoying the atmosphere with some great chat – which includes impromptu $10 giveaways for audience members who can perform backflips or offer some other party trick. The Judges are handing out $50 to riders for crowd-pleasing manoeuvres, XXXX – that beer from Queensland – has sent along its combi van-come-DJ booth to ensure the music’s pumping and, of course, the riders are pulling out crowd-pleaser after crowd-pleaser.
Each rider can only win $50 once, but the big prizes of the night will be announced at the end of the two hour session. It’s a rider decided prize. As they hike back up to the top of the feature each rider is stopping to tell the judges who they think is throwing down the hardest. Come 7:30pm a bunch of cash will be given out.
ThrowDown ski cash prize winners. Image:: Rip Curl
There’s 15 minutes to go and the intensity’s gone up a notch. A memorable last minute trick could win anyone the cash. Local duo Kris Evans and Jesse Haughton have followed up their earlier holding-hands backflip with dual double daffys
The riders are sweating. It’s not a cold night and the only way back to the top is to hike. Every jump is a chance to nail that cash winning trick so they’re lapping furiously. The crowd’s stuck with them. Dinner reservations, baby’s beadtime and Home & Away have all been sidelined. This is perhaps the most exciting part of the 2011 ThrowDown. In previous years poor weather has put off any would-be audience and prevented the use of the DJ truck, making for a disheartening lack of atmosphere for the riders. Tonight every spin and flip is rewarded with the sound of five hundred ‘aaahhhhs’ and whole thing is bouyed by the party-happy soundtrack coming from the XXXX combi-DJ van.
And all too soon it’s time for the traditional rapid fire and then the presentation.
First up it’s the skiing – rounds of $50 and $100 for the groms and Jordan Houghton is given $200. The big prize in the men’s ski goes to Bernie Rosow, the American who’s here for the season working as a snow groomer. He earns a nice $800. Zoe Jaboor is awarded $200, making it a double win day for her.
In the snowboarders Wiki Jones gets $200 – another double win. Trick of the night goes to Chris Ingham, $500 for that one. Then Ryan Tiene finds retribution for the earlier mixup that saw him kicked of the Freeride Pro podium by taking out the ThrowDown – $1000 is a nice consolation.
Men’s ski winner Bernie Rosow