It didn’t take long for Whitehorse snowboarder Max Melvin-McNutt to show his worth to the BC Provincial Freestyle Team.
The 17-year-old, who is the first Yukoner ever selected for the team, was among the top boarders at BCSA Provincial Slopestyle events at Big White, near Kelowna, B.C., over the weekend.
In what were his first competitions with the team, Melvin-McNutt finished second out of 68 athletes – first for the men 15-18 age category – on Saturday.
He then made the final and finished in ninth overall and fifth for his age category on Sunday.
“It’s a really good start to the year,” said Melvin-McNutt. “I’m glad I’m at this level now and I’m doing well with it. I’m one of the top guys in B.C. right now, so it’s pretty sick. I’m glad I’m doing so well.”
To give an idea of how strong Team B.C. is looking so far, Melvin-McNutt and four of his teammates occupied the top five spots on the leaderboard at the end of Saturday’s slopestyle competition. And that’s with some stiff competition, going up against B.C.‘s development team, Saskatchewan’s provincial team, the Kootenay Riders, the Rocky Mountain Military, First Nations Snowboard Team and individuals with no team association.
“It went great; the whole team did really well,” said Melvin-McNutt. “In the first contest, five out of six members of the team made the top five. So that was great for the whole team. The one girl on our team got first for the women.
“So it was a great success.”
For his second-place finish, Melvin-McNutt delivered a melange of tricks over the course’s three rails and three jumps. On the rails he began with a backside board-slide pretzel 270 out, then, coming in switch, did a switch tail-slide, 270 out, ending with a switch lip-slide.
On the jumps he completed a rodeo 540, then a switch front-side 720, completing the run with a switch backside 540.
On Sunday he landed a switch backside 900 for the first time in a competition.
“I’ve done one of those before, but that was the first time I’ve landed it in a competition,” said Melvin-McNutt.
Though now catching air for B.C., Melvin-McNutt has represented the Yukon well in the past.
A year ago at the Canada Winter Games, he too eighth in the halfpipe for Yukon’s best finish in snowboarding. At the 2010 Arctic Winter Games he was awarded the overall silver in the juvenile boys division, winning gold in the halfpipe, bronze in the snowboardcross. In the previous Arctic Games in 2008, he won bronze in the big air and the rail jam.
Just recently, Melvin-McNutt was in town and grabbed first for snowboarders at the second annual Sandor’s Icebreaker Rail Jam at Mt. Sima over the holiday season. He also won the Board Stiff Yukon Championships in 2010.
But being on the B.C. team, which has him on the slopes seven days a week and training with his coach four of those days, is sounding like a good fit for Melvin-McNutt.
“It’s cool being with them because they’re guys like me who just love snowboarding and skateboarding,” he said. “They’re really good riders too. We have a lot in common so it’s really good chilling out with those guys. We’re becoming buddies.
“In the Big White competition, it was just us in the final so it was just a throw-down with all the B.C. guys battling for the top spot.”
Melvin-McNutt may compete again this weekend at Mt. Seymour in Vancouver, but it depends on the condition of his knee, which he hurt recently.
“There’s a problem with my snowboard that I have to get fixed today, but if my snowboard’s good and my knee is good, I’ll ride in a competition this weekend,” said Melvin-McNutt.
If he misses it, there are plenty of others on the season schedule, including the Burton Canadian Open in Calgary starting at the end of the month.
“That probably is the biggest contest of the year,” said Melvin-McNutt.
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