10/02/2009 | by Onboard
At the Burton Euopean Open 2008, there was one of those frozen-in-time moments where every single spectator, fan, pro rider, journalist, photographer and even the cafeteria guys up in the Laax restaurant, thought the exact same thing. It was incredible to say the least.
Kevin Pearce at the BEO 08 – photo: Sander Taphoorn
The reverberations were felt throughout the snowboard community for weeks on end as he stomped a career defining Halfpipe run that included one monster of a McTwist, while simultaneously defeating the modern day Halfpipe legend Shaun White. He later went on to claim the 2007/2008 Swatch TTR World Championship Title at the end of the season and solidified his place in snowboarding as the down-to-earth rider from Norwich, Vermont who made the difficult climb up to professional world status without a flinch.
After one of the most successful seasons ever, Kevin Pearce is already looking forward to repeat and add to that success, confirming his presence and accepting personal invites to some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious contests such as the Burton US Open and The Oakley Arctic Challenge. With all this contest killing and forward thinking, it can’t be helped to wonder where Kevin got his start.
It wasn’t too long ago that the 21-year-old was learning the ropes, shredding with his brothers and uncles at local resorts in the green mountain state of Vermont, USA. Classic east coast locales such as Killington, Stratton and Okemo helped nurture Kevin’s skills on a board and while he had to wait a few years before he was introduced to the glories of parks and pipes, it wasn’t before long that he was entering USASA Nationals and Grand Prix competitions, working the ranks, making a name for himself and attracting highly desired sponsors.
Skip ahead a few years and you can tell Pearce is glad he stuck with snowboarding instead of taking the conventional college route. And his determination and hard work has certainly paid off. In the past few seasons Kevin Pearce has proven that he’s right up there with the best of them, destroying every contest in his path while progressing his riding considerably.
In 2006, the regular-footed rider made his introduction on the Ticket To Ride World Tour, his best finish a 5th place at the Honda Session at Vail. But it would be the 06/07 season that Pearce would begin to cultivate his success and break out as the rider to beat. He claimed his first TTR victory in the Slopestyle at the 4Star Burton New Zealand Open, but made it clear that he could handle any terrain, sacking another podium finish at the O’Neill Evolution QP, and a first in the Nippon Open Slopestyle.
Pearce winning the TTR World Snowboard Tour 07/08
In February of 2007, Pearce found himself on top of the world after stomping a smooth alley-oop chuck flip Japan that had him finish first at Terje’s Arctic Challenge – the very same contest that saw Terje break, and set the QP height record at 9.8 m. While Pearce came out of the Arctic Challenge in the Tour lead, poor results at the following Burton US Open resulted in Kevin finishing the 06/07 season in TTR World No. 4.
However, KP would soon find redemption in the 07/08 season with victories that would land him the coveted Swatch TTR Tour Championship Title as well as a promotion to Burton’s Global Team, sitting amongst riders like Terje Haakonsen, Shaun White, Nicolas Mueller, Mads Jonsson, and his fellow ‘Frends’ Mason Aguirre and Danny Davis.
Once the 07/08 TTR Northern Hemisphere Tour commenced, Pearce was let loose on a rampage. He opened up a whole luggage case of whoop-ass with is cab 1260 in Munich, Germnay for the 6Star Nokia Air & Style, setting the pace for the rest of the Tour after beating out favourites Travis Rice and David Benedek. A 4th place in Tokyo Japan at the Nissan X-Trail Jam kept his momentum hurdling as he continued with another insane upset in Laax, Switzerland at the 6Star Burton European Open. Shaun White was thought to take home the Pipe Title, but Kevin pierced through the competition, completely shutting down ever naysayer and laying down a beyond-epic run that had the crowd screaming for more.
Kevin quickly delivered, continuing on to Innsbruck, Austria to claim his second Air & Style win in the same season at the 5 Star Billabong Air & Style. But perhaps it was KPs stellar performance in Oslo, Norway that pushed him to the new frontier of snowboarding legend. With a list of attempts that included a McTwist with a Tweaked Japan, his best-trick-winning Inverted BS 5 Double Grab, a massive BS Air Method, a Chuckflip 7, and another solid BS Air, Pearce’s second consecutive win of The 6Star Oakley Arctic Challenge gave witness to his hard work, progression and east coast talent, able to ride with literally the best snowboarders in the world and rise above.
Pearce ended his 07/08 season with a 3rd place after a dramatic finale at the 6Star Burton US Open in his home state. Nevertheless, Kevin secured enough points to earn him the 07/08 TTR Tour Championship Title, a title he more than deserved.
Like many riders in the business however, Kevin’s pro status isn’t just confirmed by his growing collection of trophies. Amidst all the contests, he’s still able to find time to film and put together some slick parts (check out MDPs “Picture This”) as well as ride and travel with his buddies in the Frends crew.
Check out how he’s doing at this years BEO in the ONBOARD EVENT SECTION