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Jake Woodard and his Mount Hood buddies, with smiles all around.

43-year-old snowboarder and Portland REI employee Jake Woodard took home $500 and a new GoPro camera for winning first place in the 2014 Meadows Film Fest with his lively GoPro edit, "Smiles All Around."

The 10 films that made the finals of this year's Meadows Film Festival starred some of the top videographers, skiers and snowboarders on Mount Hood, including Tommy Ellingson, Randa Shahin, Blake McCoy, Marissa Krawczak, Ryan Walker, Josh Larkin, Oregon freestyle champ Tucker FitzSimons and Sierra Jewett. There was spell-binding powder footage from Private Reserve, Heather Canyon and the bowls, and smooth aerial maneuvers off rocks and cliffs and man-made jumps in the Meadows parks.

Woodard's first place film was all about friendship, freedom and sanctuary. He opened it with a brief explanation about how he and and his buddies have been coming up to Mount Hood together for decades to escape the stress of city life and enjoy the mountain. "Meadows has become a sanctuary of sorts, bringing us together, away from distractions of the city. The alpine beauty seems to put everybody in their happy place...

"We have been riding for so long that we are getting to be the old guys on the hill, with most of us closer to 50 than 30. Slowing down for sure, but smiles all around."

Woodard was born in Salem and grew up in Portland. He graduated from Wilsonville High School long before that school had a snowboarding team, and has worked at REI in the Portland Pearl District for years. Almost all of the footage in "Smiles All Around" was captured by Woodard and his buddies playing around with his GoPro, and Woodard used Adobe Edit Premier Pro to sculpt the footage into a short film.

Second-place finisher Ryan Walker also used a GoPro  with excellent results for his film "Can't Get Enough." His film combines passion, humor, creativity and gorgeous natural scenery with tree-line powder skiing, time-lapse images of the stars in the sky, and crazy high-speed bobble-head selfie sequences.

Walker and third-place finisher Randa Shahin both won new GoPros for their efforts. Shahin's all-girls edit, "MHM Ladies Collective" featured super-creative angles and smooth riding from snowboarders Marissa Krawczak, Janessa Bork, Halo Wilson and Sierra Jewett and skier Hailey Cecie.

Here's the full edit for "MHM Ladies Collective":

The other finalists were:

  • Blake McCoy, "2014 Meadows Pow Days"
  • Josh Larkin, "Great Day at Meadows"
  • Miles Cameron, "Grey"
  • Jacob Oberlander, "Hood Fellas"
  • Davis Keeney, "Juneuary"
  • Tommy Ellingson, "Tommy MHFF 14"
  • McKenzie Huff, "Zeal"

All 10 films were shown at a lively event Sunday evening at the Vertical Restaurant at Meadows that also featured Master of Ceremonies Dave Tragethon and the work of Mount Hood videographer Pierce Hodges. You can watch all the top 10 videos at the Meadows website, and vote for your People's Choice winner.

Congratulations to all the 2014 finalists for capturing the spirit of the mountain with some entertaining short films. Oh yeah, and congratulations to the lucky raffle winner: me! Forgive me for being self-congratulatory, but this was the first time I have ever won a major raffle prize after several hundred attempts over the years, and it was a keeper for sure. My daughter Melina and I took home a Full Sail sweatshirt and hat, a Session growler container, and (drum roll) a brand new GoPro with accessories. With my new equipment I will be entering next year's Film Fest contest with the goal of piecing together a community montage of short clips from many skiers and snowboarders of all ages, ability levels and styles, to try to capture the variety and diversity of the Mount Hood skiing and snowboarding scene. I doubt I'll make the top 10, but I'll have fun trying.