The end of an era…

Picture 3

Well I finally recieved an official email concerning the cancelation of Japan’s biggest snowboard event. The Nissan X-Trail Jam in Tokyo Dome. The snow industry heard about the canceling about a month or two ago, and I think anyone smart enough to check the world TTR contest schedule could see that the first big event of the season had disappeared from the roster of events…

After nine years of rocking the house at the Tokyo dome(I MC for every year except two) I was disappointed to not even get a phone call with the news that the event was not happening this year. Today I checked my inbox and found a nice short BCC email to all “X-Trail Fans”. Here is the the email.

関係各位 ならびに
X-TRAIL JAM ファンの皆様へ

今年度「X-TRAIL JAM in TOKYODOME」は、これまで協賛頂いて参りましたスポンサー企業様と、何度も協議を重ねてきましたが、現在の厳しい経済状況により、主催者としては 一旦「休止」 することを決定いたしました。

来年度以降の実施については、引き続き検討中です。
今年度の休止に関しましては、主催としても誠に残念な決定でございますが、今後とも「X-TRAIL JAM in TOKYODOME」の応援を、どうぞ宜しくお願い申し上げます。
X-TRAIL JAM 事務局

========================================================================================

Dear X-TRAIL JAM Fans,
and To whom it may concern

We regret to announce that due to the continuing worldwide economic downturn, we have decided to suspend this year’s “X-TRAIL JAM in TOKYO DOME”.

We have taken this action only after all other options have been exhausted, and after lengthy discussions with sponsors. Our work will continue, and we hope to resume operations next year.

Thank you for your understanding. We appreciate your continuous support for “X-TRAIL JAM in TOKYO DOME” and look forward to seeing you again next time.
X-TRAIL JAM Executive Office

and there you have it…. The end of an era just like that. Japan has lost its biggest contest, 16 invitation riders have lost some easy invitation money, Shaun White or Travis Rice have lost 20 or 30 grand contest winnings, 50 thousand Tokyo snowboard fans have lost a fun weekend, and I have lost a chance to test out my on the spot translating skills. Oh yeah I think I lose a few grand in the deal as well….

Of course I knew it was coming. That is one of the big reasons I decided to do the MC job last year, I knew it would be the last X-Trail for a while. The Global economic breakdown was already apparent well before we hit the Tokyo Dome stage last year, and things have only gotten worse. I made my final X-Trail prediction to anyone who would listen last year.

Once again I would like to say thanks to all the people involved in making the contest happen over the last decade. I had some difference of opinions with the producers over the years, but at the end of the three day marathon of events I always came away with a good feeling. It was fun to be a part of some snowboarding history and see some amazing moves being thrown inside the most famous dome in Japan.

A lot of memories are left behind…

Shaun leaning out the window of the riders bus, spraying a helpless taxi driver with beer, while still wearing his winners wreath crown…. that was pretty cool.

Jamie Lynn who came as a judge last year, holding two glasses of whiskey at the after party, leaning over to me and saying, “I have a pretty good whiskey buzz going on right now”

Terje signing my crazy Volcom suit at the after party…

Seeing Terje shed a tear on the podium as he said that he would be retiring from the contest. I was holding the mic as he spoke, it was a tough comment to translate and a shocking moment for everyone.

Travis double cork 1080…

Rio crying in front of the MC booth and me not knowing what to do. I felt like laughing but that didn’t seem right…

Watching snowboard progress from Haku being close to winning with a cab 900 to not even being able to make it into the finals with the same trick three years later…

Feeling disappointment as the Japanese snowboard industry pampered its prima-donna riders, when they didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of making it into the finals.

Disappointment with the rider selection system that allowed for a lot of outside manipulation. Web voting is easily controlled. Any company with a few employees can spend all day creating fake yahoo email account and then vote for their own riders… Which means unjustified people like “Tonchin” (video hero and stunt man character) gets voted in while worthy riders never get a chance.

Tonchin breaking his collar bone on the first jump of the competition….

Riding in a cab with Bryan Iguchi and Travis Rice, Bryan commenting on Travis’s movie “That’s it That’s all”. He said “people often tell me how great it must have been to be at the peak of snowboard back in the new school era, but I say no way, the peak of snowboarding is right now. What you guys(Travis) are doing is so much more amazing than what we were doing back in the day…”

I could go on, but I think you get my point. I hope things turn around the the X-Trail gets resurrected from the graveyard of snowboard events. It is a much needed moment on the yearly circus of snowboard events.

I guess I will be going snowboarding the second weekend of December this year, see you on the hill!

Neil

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