Jimbo Webb takes Sickblade award
by Than Acuff
Thanks to the copious amount of snow provided by Mother Nature this year, the Headwall was back in play for the bladers to prove their ilk, whatever ilk is.
Still, recent weather patterns presented conditions that could be troubling for some, challenging for most and downright impossible for the rest. So much so that a warning shot about venue conditions was fired to all potential athletes in the form of a Facebook post, which is where I get most of my information.
Breath—just as bad
Just like your first time, it’s going to be hard and fast. Conditions are stiff, competitors, so be ready for the most exhilarating 30 seconds of your life.”
Nevertheless, the intrepid athletes dropped in one after the other, some in the midst of a winter squall, while onlookers gasped in astonishment, or confusion. And when the haze cleared, a new champion was crowned.
For eight of the past 10 long years, one man has stood above the rest, rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the wanker pyre to show all in attendance how to do it. How to take it to the limit just one more time, again, again, again, again, again, again, again and again. How to be the Snowblade Extremes World Champion.
But, just like that Greek myth that I did not pay attention to in high school and is so often referred to in rock ballads, Blackwood flew too close to the sun only to come falling back to earth, crashing like a ring-necked dove fed an Alka-Seltzer.
The man, the myth, the eight-time Snowblade Extremes champion Ben Blackwood has been dethroned and for the second time in his well-documented career, Grant Spear was the one who did it.
Spear last won the title in 2012 and spent the past seven years a little distracted.
“Obviously, I wasn’t doing the right thing these past seven years,” says Spear. “I was too into the shredding and not the blading.”
Spear admits it wasn’t the title that drove him to the title this year. It was something far more visceral.
“I wasn’t necessarily going for the title, I just knew we had to knock Ben off the top spot,” says Spear. “He’s had a little bit of help maintaining his throne these past couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, Ben is one of the greatest bladers that’s ever lived, just like Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers that’s ever lived.”
But now, once again, Spear reigns supreme, nacho supreme, above the rest as the 2019 Snowblade Extremes champion… of the world.
“Standing above Ben Blackwood is great,” says Spear.
As for Blackwood, a change in lifestyle, injury, illness, gear and his peers brought him to his knees.
“The competition was phenomenal this year, and I’m not going to try to make excuses for why I didn’t win,” explains Blackwood. “I mean, yes, I did miss half of the winter recovering from abdominal surgery and, yes, I did blow out of one of my blades from shredding so hard during my run. Of course, the aggravated sesamoid bone in my foot is still an issue, and I did have to adjust to using a brand new set of blades that one of my sponsors, Black Tie Ski Rentals, was kind enough to supply me. Oh, and I had been fighting an illness this past week. But I’m not going to make any excuses.”
Still, with eight titles and a slew of young guns nipping at his heels, Blackwood looked for a new approach to try to maintain his dominance, an approach that would end up backfiring.
“The past year has been different for Ben Blackwood,” explains Blackwood. “Right after winning that eighth championship in 2018, I started doing daily meditation to clear my mind and find inner peace. I gave up the booze and got clean. I found Jesus. I became vegan, went gluten-free, and made fruits and vegetables a prominent part of my diet. I implemented an intense and rigorous exercise regimen. I went to bed early and rose with the morning sun. I gave up all the many, many women and lived a life of monogamy. But after losing that Snowblade Championship Belt, I’m now realizing it was all a complete waste of time. It’s now clear to me what I need to do to get back to the top of that podium. From here on out, it’s alcohol-fueled ragers and closing down the Talk of the Town. Back to steaks, donuts, whiskey, and huffing paint. The late-night orgies are back on, ladies. My life clearly got off track during this last year, but I now see the error of my ways. Hey, thanks for nothing, Jesus.”
While notable tele-blader Mark Robbins was unavailable for the event this year, Gross Pony Tail and Alex Stevenson carried the torch in the tele-blade category making sure all styles and techniques were represented at the premier competition and primed to give the reigning champion some trouble.
“There was zero pressure,” says Mr. Tail. “The other tele-bladers were secondary to me. What kept me focused was the singular goal of knocking the mustache off of that false god Ben Blackwood. He skied, and dressed, like an aging animatronic leopard at the Rainforest Café. Next year, I’m going to bring a bigger lurk stick and longer, grosser ponytail.”
“I want to welcome Grant Spear to the exclusive club of athletes to win multiple Snowblade World Championships,” concludes Blackwood. “It’s really the elite of the elite. Adam Westlake and I have been basking in that glory for a long time now, so I can only imagine how honored Grant must feel to be in our company. It’s a little odd that he somehow won by blading an area not even included in the venue, but I respect his blading. It kind of reminded me of T.J. Burke in Aspen Extreme when he and the new kid shred off-course in honor of Dexter Rutecki to win the Powder 8. I guess cheating pays off sometimes. Things didn’t go my way in this year’s competition, but in no way did it affect my standing as the greatest blader in this or any other galaxy. For Robert Mueller’s next assignment, the rumor is that the Department of Justice wants him to investigate how it’s possible that one man can be so amazing. They can ask me any questions they want, but, other than destiny, I don’t know that there’s any explanation for my preeminence in snowblading. The only thing they might reveal is that greatness is guilty of collusion with Ben Blackwood.”
While Blackwood has something to say, Spear has the last say for at least the next 365 days.
“The title belt is going with me everywhere, never gonna leave my side,” says Spear. “I want to make sure Ben sees it every time he steps out the door.”