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Up for a challenge

Dozens of snowboarders flocked to the foothills of Glenwood's Barsness Park for the annual 2011 Faction Challenge last Saturday. Different from most contests nowadays, this year's challenge was held at a small venue with handmade features built t...

High flying
One of the high-flying stunts in the contest challenged snowboarders to soar between two trees.

Dozens of snowboarders flocked to the foothills of Glenwood's Barsness Park for the annual 2011 Faction Challenge last Saturday.

Different from most contests nowadays, this year's challenge was held at a small venue with handmade features built the day before by a few contest competitors and Alexandria's Faction Boardshop crew, led by owner Jason Lybeck.

Organizers said that having the ability to build what they wanted without having to follow the typical park set-ups now accessible at almost any local ski hill worked well. They said the setup was built with passion, sweat, heart and vision, which were also reflected in the competition.

"This contest is sick [snowboarding slang for cool]," said local pro snowboarder Mike Jost. "Back in 1993, this is all of the features we had to ride on - no boxes or fancy rails, just whatever we could come up with and shovel snow in front of. I haven't had this much fun in years."

Competitors came from near and far to throw down their bags of trick to try and take home the title for their age group.

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The Open Class hit the snow first and took advantage of the best snow conditions before things started to melt down.

The riders wasted no time jumping straight into huge maneuvers - flips, spins and combinations of the two lit up the 25-foot multi-feature at the bottom of the hill while other riders chose to display balancing skills on the sewer tube and picnic tables.

The preliminaries went off without a hitch, according to organizers, and all the age groups did well.

The finals really brought the heat to the competition. Organizers said the younger age groups pulled out all the stops and took to the skies with "sick" spins, barrel taps, even throwing down flips and rodeos.

When it came time for the Open Class to step it up, there was no shortage of amplitude, organizers said. From the first hit to the last, each one of the riders threw everything they had out on the course for the Faction Challenge title.

In the end, it was all smiles and fresh gear from the event's sponsors. One competitor even took home a brand new limited edition Volcom snowboard.

THE WINNERS

Here's a list of the winners:

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12 and under:

1st - Daniel Thompson (11) Alexandria

2nd - Logan Hegg (8) Alexandria

3rd - Aidan Buttweiler (11) Alexandria

13-14:

1st - Graydon Tanis Glenwood

2nd - Bailey Johnson Alexandria

3rd - Nick Moore Osakis

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15-16:

1st - Colby Carlson Alexandria

2nd - Shane Gibbons Alexandria

3rd - Mike Simon Osakis

Open Class:

1st - Jade Whirley Texas

2nd - Josh Haugen Alexandria

3rd - Chris Westerman Duluth

Girls 12 and Under

1st - Frankie Jost Alexandria

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