Jennifer Madison, CBS Los Angeles
PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — SoCal isn’t the first place that comes to mind for a world-class snowboarding and skiing competition.
But as the sun went down and the lights came up Saturday at the Rose Bowl, not even Diplo could hold the crowd’s full attention at Shaun White’s Air + Style.
Swarms of festivalgoers flocked from the main stage to the perimeter of the 16-story big-air jump while the Grammy-winning DJs beats thumped overhead as a group of 10 riders, whittled from a group of 15 Olympic medalists and X-Gamers, went head-to-head for round two.
The event, part concert, part sports competition, got off to a rough start after an opening set from indie band Teenage Wrist, with British snowboarder Billy Morgan forced to drop out in round one due to injury.
But Japan’s Yuki Kadono, one of the youngest riders in the lineup at 18, lived up to his reputation, securing a gold medal-worthy score of 95.26 – a 25-point lead – with a switch backside triple cork 1620 melon.
According to Air + Style, it was the first time the trick was ever performed in the competition, now in its 22nd year and hosted previously in Beijing and Innsbruck.
Kadono also won the Air + Style Beijing 2012 with a backside triple cork 1440 mute.
Sebastian Toutant, 22, of Canada, meanwhile took home silver with a frontside double cork 1080 mute, landing 70.13 points. Norwegian Ståle Sandbech, 21, secured the bronze medal with 65.65, and took home the competition’s first world tour title.
Crowds also hung around for the night’s big draw, Kendrick Lamar, who was noticeably frustrated as engineers struggled with the sound system before the snowboarding final.
Nevertheless, White, the event’s host and majority stakeholder, said the two-day competition and concert series “exceeded” his expectations.
“This event has been a dream of mine, so seeing it come to fruition with all of the people who came out, all of the athletes and the artists – it’s amazing,” White said in a statement.
Sunday saw 16 skiiers take on the big-air jump, another first in the competition.
Gus Kenworthy, 23, representing the U.S., took home the gold medal with a score of 86.23, inching out over Canadians Alex Bellemare, 21, with 85.68, and Vincent Gagnier, 21, with 85.39.
The event also featured performances from Phantogram, Portugal, The Man, The Black Lips, Metz, Bad Things and In The Valley Below on Saturday, as well as from Steve Aoki, The Flaming Lips, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Sleigh Bells, Cults, Surfer Blood, Deap Vally, The Black And The White and Tennis System Sunday.
Air + Style officials estimate about 40,000 people were in attendance.