Mark Aiken brought home silver, placing second in the first-ever Stowe Ski & Ride School "Lord of the Boards" contest. The LOB, held in conjunction with the annual Ski & Ride School fun race, is a grueling 3-part event, combining times of 3 runs in a giant slalom course on snowboard, alpine skis, and telemark skis.
"It was a thrill," said an ecstatic Aiken, between sips of a replenishing fluid (aka a 16-ounce Pabst Blue Ribbon), "just to be a part of the inaugural event." In fact, the event seems sure to gain momentum in years to come. Ski School Director Dave Merriam was heard discussing plans for a Lord of the Boards trophy -- to contain ski, telemark, and snowboard parts. The prize is sure to be highly coveted -- right up there with the Stanley Cup and the Ski Bum Bowl -- in the future.
Regarding this year's second-place finish, Aiken seemed to downplay the fact that there were just two contestants. The big winner -- 2010's Lord of the Board -- was snowboarder Frank Wilcox, who was seen practicing his telemark turns on Gondolier prior to the event (and who put up surprisingly strong numbers in his ski runs). Analysts close to the event (and believe me the event was full of analysis... and trash talk) agreed that the keys to the contest are having a strong ski run, a strong snowboard run, and a strong telemark. The level of brain-power surrounding the event was as astounding as the skills and technique demonstrated by this year's field.
As for Aiken, he will certainly spend his off-season training harder than ever for 2011's LOB.