FineLine Technologies JN Index 80% 1.5 BWR PU
SUM/FALL 12 22
CO NTRIBU TO RS BOMB SNOW ISSUE #18 / WINTER 2013
Chief Motivator Todd Heath Designers VAST COLLECTIVE DOUG ZWANG Personal Relations Andrew Wells Associate Editor Alex Buecking Bomb Snow TV Axel Peterson Gunnar Oliphant Senior Photographers Dan Armstrong Travis Andersen Reid Morth Jeff Hawe Cont. Photographers Liam Gallagher MiKE Brown Kyle Christenson Dave Heath Axel Peterson WILL WISSMAN Patrick Orton MEG HAYWOOD-SULLIVAN Writers ELIZABETH BRUEN Henry Worobec WILL EGINTON Chaz BoUTSIKARIS Jeff Hawe James HANCOCK Conor Hurley Pip Hunt Kyle Taylor Nathaniel Murphy Illustrators Emil Estes Orth STEVE APPLE Cover Artist Taka Sudo Team Shredders Todd KIRBY Shay Lee Axel Peterson Rob Raymond Steve Popovich MICAH HOOOGEVEEN SEAN FITHIAN MARK RAINERY PATRICK COWAN KYLE TAYLOR RANDY EVANS SHANE STALLING Special Thanks BRIDGER BRIGADE + RADBOTS World Wide Web bombsnow.com
Friendly disclaimer: Bomb Snow is a magazine for the people, by the people. Please read with an open mind and a good sense of humor. If you don’t like what’s between the pages, stop bitching and start writing. We are open to any IDEAS you can huck at us and love hearing from our readers. Please Email US + GET INVOLVED: Todd@Bombsnow.com OR write to: 410 N. Broadway Bozeman, MT 59715 THIS MAGAZINE WAS printed in the usa on dead trees. SOME ANIMALS MAY ALSO HAVE BEEN KILLED DURING THIS PROCESS, YOU NEVER KNOW.
Somewhere near Mt. Baker, Washington.
E DI T O R y
EDITOR, Upon moving to southwest Montana, I quickly discovered your magazine and have since utilized it as a guide to my new life. In an attempt to adapt to my surroundings, I have grown a beard and donned a winter hat that I wear indoors just as often as outdoors, use fat skis regardless of the conditions, and often launch my body off of objects that are equal to and greater than my height (5’6”). These are all things that I would never have dreamed of doing back in Massachusetts, mainly because they wouldn’t get me laid. Now for the dilemma: As hardcore as I have become, I am yet to see, much less meet, any girls that resemble the “Betties” that grace Bomb Snow’s pages with their splendid beauty.
In fact, I am not picking up any chicks at all…not even ugly ones. Being totally confident in my newfound badassery, the only possible explanation I can come up with is that it’s your magazine, not my red hair, that is ruining my game. I am confident that you will make this right by adjusting your content accordingly, ultimately scoring me some pristine mountain ‘tang in the near future. Until then, I’ll be standing by patiently, rocking it harder than anybody else. Disappointed, Jeff Douchkoff (Yes my last name is Douchkoff, get over it.)
* After reading Jeff ’s letter via email, we respo nded with an invite to our most recent Bomb Betty Phot oshoot and he generously accepted our offer to assist. You can share in Jeff ’s excitement on page 89. No more excuses now my friend. - Bomb Snow
ARTIST PROFILE 16
The BS Crew in Revelstoke
Overlooking some Revelstoke Lines, BC.
A BALKAN WHITEOUT 26
PHOTOGRAPHERS PROFILE 34
BOMB SNOW ISSUE #18 / WINTER 2013
ALASKAN TALE 52
THE MAD ONES 60
TOM SIMS TRIBUTE 68
RAPPORT EDIT O RS Last week, I kicked down a single chair to a guy in the Slushman’s line before it opened. He was at the back of the corral and my offer bumped him up to somewhere around 10th chair for the morning. The older, salty lookin’ guy came right up and immediately started bitching: “Too many fucking people in the world, too many fucking people in Bozeman.” I thought to myself: “Great. It’s the first bluebird pow-day of the season, and this dude is going to completely ruin my stoke. I looked at him, and said: “You could put a shotgun to your head and solve that problem real easy.” He shut up, and I had a great day. We’ve all been subjected to overly antagonistic political advertisements recently, and it’d be a shame to see the same damaging energy infiltrate the ski culture. Unfortunately, the western world often thrives on this inglorious nature and our demise may be inevitable.
I am asking you all to help delay this cultural calamity. Welcome the fun. Don’t hate, appreciate. Embrace the stoke. Share the enthusiasm. Be a dirtbag, not a douchebag. When positive connections are made on snow, communities are built, interests are shared, and we evolve. Nobody is ever going to remember where you rode, what you rode, or who you rode; but they’ll remember how you acted. This season, help promote positive propaganda by simply enjoying the ride. Next time you’re standing in line on a powder day and hear somebody complaining, find a creative way to make them shut the hell up. Enjoy every day you spend on snow. After all, you are one of the few privileged souls that’s cashing in on an opportunity to spend time in the mountains. -Chief Motivator, Todd Heath
â€œOld friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.â€?
Mike Brown/Sweetgrass Productions Location: Whitewater, BC
By will Eginton
It’s ingrained within us all: the pull to be free, the pursuit of the new and unseen. We have chosen the mountains – the primal test of man versus nature, the dichotomy of the immense and the miniscule. That mystical force preoccupies
us long after spring creeps out of the depths of winter. By fall, it draws us like sheep into dark and overcrowded theaters to catch the latest crop of ski films. We holler, whistle and stare at a wall-sized projection of small people careening down enormous slopes, remembering once again why we spend so much time sliding around on snow. And yet too often something is missing. We are left without depth, that undefinable weight that separates powerful films from the “ski-porn” of the genre. We still sit, respectfully absorbing the sickest lines of the year, the newest double, the deepest snow – but we remain on the surface. We want to go deeper. This sentiment has driven Sweetgrass Productions since it’s inception. “[Ski films] are like the Transformers movies, you know?” explains Mike Brown, one of Sweetgrass’ producers. “There are a lot of explosions and hot chicks – cool shit, but only if you look at it at face value. It serves a purpose, but we want to provide an alternative.” An alternative, it appears, is a bit of an understatement. Throughout the company’s short tenure amongst the ranks of the proverbial ski film production companies, Sweetgrass has consistently released projects that rank among the industry’s best. With a two-year production schedule, Sweetgrass has afforded itself the opportunity to push the boundaries of the typical segmental movie. They create a narrative arc, develop characters, and provide stunning visuals that leave you alternatingly uncomfortable, undeniably amazed, and everything in between. The result is an exploration of individualism, where we can see ourselves in the images before us. Sweetgrass’ movies explore the deeper side of the sport, a difficult feat and a standout amongst a sea of sponsor-laden drivel permeating the ski film landscape.
Mike Brown/Sweetgrass Productions Location: Selkirk Range
“This is a 180 degree departure from Solitaire,” acknowledges co-founder Nick Waggoner. “That film was all about darkness and struggle, and this project is about regaining some of the freedoms we’ve sacrificed.”
Mike Brown/Sweetgrass Productions
12 for the production of solitaire, stephan drake hits white argentine gold below the spires of torrecilla in central argentina.
Jim Harris Location:Whitewater, BC
The cornerstone of Sweetgrass’ cinematic explorations lies in this notion of the pursuit. Their 2011 film Solitaire, set to a harrowing Spanish adaptation of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, chronicles their long journey through five straight winters between North and South America. Instead of the glowing, schmoozy depictions of staggering peaks blanketed in bottomless pow, Sweetgrass exposed the nasty underbelly of adventurism: poverty, muck, and shitty snow. For Brown, the film demonstrates the company’s departure from the industry status quo. “From the beginning, we’ve wanted to showcase why we ski at a deeper level,” says Brown. “Solitaire obviously focuses more on the adventure and process of pushing yourself into the unknown.” Shot over two hard-slogged years, the film required an incredible amount of effort for its light and tight film crew - cored by a group of college friends in Colorado. No helicopters were used; rather, someone would haul a camera up the side of an adjacent mountain, hoping to reunite with the skiers at the end of the day with the footage. The challenges were many, but the crew emerged (after a hectic three week editing binge) with a wonderfully unique piece of ski cinema. Their next project, Valhalla, promises to be a very different beast. Lindsey Ross/Sweetgrass Productions L to r: Ben Sturgulewski, Zac "the Rabbi" Ramras, nick waggoner, mike brown -we are all originally from AK, NYC, Utah + MONTANA
“VALHALLA will be an entirely original, scripted narrative,” explains Waggoner. “There will be plot, characters, and a storyline that isn’t dripping with the typical Hollywood caca.”
Mike Brown/Sweetgrass Productions Location: Selkirk Range, BC
14 after a two-hour predawn skin at sub zero temps, eliel hindert dives into his own little piece of heaven. Cold, yes, but much softer than solitaire’s “bolivian pow pow.”
After bouncing between two continents and a whirlwind movie tour, the small company was physically and mentally spent and yearned to simplify. “Valhalla” means heaven, and they have found theirs in the skiing community of Nelson, British Columbia. “This is a 180 degree departure from Solitaire,” acknowledges co-founder Nick Waggoner. “That film was all about darkness and struggle, and this project is about regaining some of the freedoms we’ve sacrificed.” Gone are the days of third world countries, vast excursions, and logistical nightmares. This project will be much simpler logistically, with roots to draw from the energy of the powerfully authentic ski town nearby. “They’re just in that moment,” said Waggoner of the locals, “So fucking happy with the simplicity of sliding downhill on snow.” Rather than scoping uncharted lines, Sweetgrass is focused on a prospect long overlooked in the ski realm: writing. “This will be an entirely original, scripted narrative,” explains Waggoner.“There will be plot, characters, and a storyline that isn’t dripping with the typical Hollywood caca.” If Solitare was about the pursuit and the chase, Valhalla is about the soul. Much deeper than finding snow and climbing mountains, it will tap into our sense of collective consciousness. By harmonizing refreshing ski content with a developed plot, Valhalla will seek to broaden the perception of what it truly means to be a skier. It’s a tall order, but at this point Sweetgrass has shown they’re up to the challenge. It will be almost a full year before audiences will be graced with the pleasure of Valhalla’s embrace. And until that day comes, Sweetgrass will be out there: letting their freak flags fly and tapping into the ‘golden age of freeskiing,’ as Waggoner would say. Just a bunch of friends, one hell of a ski town, and a mission to remind us just why skiing is so much goddamn fun. “It’s all about tuning in to what it truly means to feel alive,” touts Brown. “When all is said and done, hopefully Valhalla will make us proud to be a part of the Tribe – the Tribe of skiers.” Catch the new Valhalla teaser online, and keep your radar tuned for tour dates- you can bet it’ll be worth the wait. Mike Brown/Sweetgrass Productions some kids throw dub cork 1080’s in the park, carston oliver corks a dub high-five in the whitewater backcountry
SUDO What other hobbies do you have? I love surfing. I used to go surfing every week when I lived in Japan or every time I went back to Japan. Since the nuclear plant accident in Japan, I’ve not been surfing, as lots of beautiful surf spots were devastated by radioactive contamination. They are still discharging massive amounts of radioactive contaminants into our beautiful ocean.
Where do you see yourself five years from now? next cover artist, to be Bomb Snow’s After asking Taka d. In fact, after several electronic he was beyond stoke r. Sudo, I noticed that his cor responence with Mlight up a room. Sudo’s positive energ y could t same energ y artwork radiates tha y- BS and enthusiasm. Enjo
What projects are you working on right now?
Where are you from?
I’m now trying to organize group art show with some Canadian artists and Japanese artists, showing both in Vancouver and in Tokyo. It’ll be so cool to see creativity can cross any borders easily and we can make friends anywhere as long as being creative.
I was born and grown up in suburb of Tokyo Japan. And I’ve moved to Canada 10 years ago.
How often do you travel back to Japan?
How old are you? 35 Where do you live now? Whistler BC Canada. (The best place for skiing and snowboarding. The worst place for artists.)
How do you divide your time? Skiing in the mornings and painting in the afternoons in winter. Mountain-biking in the mornings and painting in the afternoons in summer. Extreme sports always motivate me and give me so much energy, so I like making art after skiing or mountain-biking.
Do you work out of your house? I work in my house. All spaces except bed and kitchen are taken as work space though, I live oneminute walk from ski-hill, it can’t be better.
Do you have a second job or just make art? I’m also helping clothing and toque brand for my friend in Japan. LADE clothing
I’ll keep being creative and making art for something I believe it’s valuable, never for money nor for ego, wherever I’ll be.
Once a year. I get so much inspiration every time I go to Japan. Japan has most beautiful chaos and most beautiful cosmos. I’ve been in Canada for 10 years but still also love Japan and my friends in Japan so much.
Whats your favorite book? “Waterland” by Graham Swift
Can you tell me more about your upbringing? I studied Law in the university in Japan. I couldn’t find any justice or equity in Law, seemed it was just a tool to keep order from the top. While I was in the university, I was also taking a filmmaking course outside of the university and I was competing in freestyle skiing in the winter. I found so much energy and passion in cultures among music, film, art, extreme sports etc. And those strong energy and passion seemed to be able to create new value from the bottom. So I was getting being more into filmmaking. While I was practicing writing script and drawing storyboard, I found art has a potential to tell whole 2 hours story of the film by one piece of
“Since THE nuclear plant accident in Japan, I’ve not been surfing, as lots of beautiful surf spots were devastated by radioactive contamination. They are still discharging massive amounts of radioactive contaminANTS into our
elk painting used for the 2012.2013 faction thirteen ski model >
paper or one canvas. And now Iâ€™m still believing the potential of art and keeping making art. After finished university, I left the freestyle skiing competition. And I visited Whistler for just a season to enjoy some pow. There I met so many cool friends who are skiers, snowboarders, musicians, artists, photographers, filmmakers, party people, bitches, etc etc. I really loved all cool people I met in Canada and their culture, and I wanted to make something valuable for this amazing culture. Then I decided to move to Canada. Now Iâ€™m enjoying struggling to keep making art in this great place and with beautiful people.
Do you remember your first day on a SKIS? I was 3 years old then, so I vaguely remember the first day on skis. But I well remember I peed in my pants as I was too scared.
favorite three artists right now? Rei Mochizuki J Shea Lani Imre
Whats playing on your ipod? Gold Panda Slow Magic HUMANS (dashumans.com) and so many more...
ARE THEIR any similarities between art + skiing? Both wake me up in the morning. Both make me drink in the evening. Check more of Taka's work out at: www.tifdyl.com
Iâ€™ll keep being creative and making art for something I believe itâ€™s valuable, never for money nor for ego.
Hyalite Reservoir, Bozangeles.
Marco Smolla, People Films
The Infamous Cooke City General Store.
Byjames hancock We endure a lot in order to shred on a regular basis, and we’ve all had those shitty jobs where self-inflicted injury (nothing too gruesome, maybe just a severed pinky) can seem like an appealing way out. I had a job like that, but in this case selfinflicting an injury was pretty unnecessary. I had moved out to Bellingham to ride at Mt. Baker, but to afford my pursuits, I found myself pounding nails, avoiding electrocution, and clinging to slick ladders 40 feet off the mud, on a parttime basis. For four days a week (or three if we were getting good snow) I worked on a siding crew, nailing up synthetic boards to windowless walls on new developments from Blaine to Anacortes. Overall it was more than worth it, as 850 inches graced the slopes that winter, but this story isn’t about the epic powder I rode that year. This is the mortar that fills in the gaps between those pow days at Baker. Siding is fairly simple work. You cut up the siding, nail it over the wall’s sheeting, and fill in the seams with caulk. Yet, despite its lack of complexity, a rather lot managed to go wrong on our small crew which oscillated between five and eight guys, depending on factors like inebriation, jail, and injuries. My crew was like the Island of Misfit Toys. The regulars consisted of a crazed, pot-dealing, former pizza chef from the ski lodge; there was his friend who had neither front teeth nor a driver’s license; there was the always-stoned but simpatico illegal Mexican immigrant; there was the passive, vegan out of work yurt builder; there was my loudmouth buddy from Mt. Baker who’d gotten me into this mess; there was our foreman, living on the lamb from a marijuana possession warrant; and then there was me. Of the six of us, I was the only one not to be seriously hurt.
solution to all this medieval carnage was to find a towel, wrap it around the injured extremity then go to the tool trailer and smoke a one-hitter. My favorite version of homeopathy, though, was the treatment of a particularly grisly nail gun incident. Miguel was putting up a long section of siding on the second story with a new guy who was filling in for somebody in the clink. They worked side-by-side joining the two long pieces of siding in the middle of the wall. Miguel held the siding in place as the new guy angled the nail gun to allow him to hit the aluminum flashing behind the seam. But the new guy’s angle was too shallow and the two-inch nail ricocheted off the flashing and lodged itself sideways through Miguel’s upper lip like an Amazonian piercing. “Pinche pendejo!” was the only show of irritation before Miguel calmly backed the bloody nail out of his lip. His post-op solution was to wrap a bandana around his face like a bandito, smoke some weed in the tool trailer, and cheerfully go back to work for the rest of the afternoon.
On Monday I asked him if he’d gone to the doctor or gotten stitches over the weekend. “Nah man, I just grew this mustache instead.” Safety was not a huge priority at this company to say the least, but then neither was quality. In fact with all the siding that we had to replace due to shoddy workmanship, speed didn’t seem a prime concern either. The best way to describe the work ethic is utter dysfunction, but to keep my truck heading up Mt. Baker Highway three days a week I kept showing up. The winter drizzle fell steadily as I fastened my bags around my waist and trudged through the mud from my truck over to the job site. I pulled out the extension cords, dragged them through the wetland that was now forming on the site, and started setting up. As I plugged in the first skillsaw a jolt of electricity shot up the length of my arm, which tended to happen since all the power tools’ grounding plugs had been broken off. Rubbing my throbbing arm, I walked to the porta-john to kill some time out of the rain. Besides the fact that I was on time today, it was shaping up to be normal for a Tuesday morning on the job.
The injuries sustained by our crew read like the OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook. In the six short months I worked there, three people were shot with nail guns. The foreman’s hand was pierced when he tried to catch a falling chisel. Two guys broke an ill-suspended ladder-jack; falling ten feet onto an air compressor with nail guns, material and all coming down on top of them. The pizza chef and toothless wonder, though they were apparently buddies, got into a fistfight that resulted in the further loss of teeth. Of course none of Once the entire cavalry had arrived, our foreman this stuff got reported, and the general medical gathered us all on a particularly windowless wall
of the building to admonish the fruits of our travail from the day before. He gesticulated vigorously, with a bandaged hand, to a gap between two siding planks that you could have driven a car through. I recalled watching my buddy attempt to hide the mistake by emptying an entire tube of caulk into the gap the day before. The result was an even more conspicuous gap that looked like it had just thrown up a jar of marshmallow fluff. As the foreman droned on about craftsmanship and our employee handbook, I started to space out. I drifted off to a happier place, softly bobbing through deep woods and down pillows, as perfectly formed, heavy flakes fell around me. I snapped back to reality suddenly. “You can’t force your fascist regime on us, you fucking Nazi.” The toothless wonder was screaming and pointing his cigarette at the foreman with surprising rage. From what I could gather he was upset with the mention of the employee handbook, whose dogma propagated such things as building code, pay scale, and ironically, safety requirements. The rest of us stared gape-jawed not knowing whether to laugh or run for our lives, as he continued his anti-fascist rant. The display of vexation culminated after a volley of obscenities, throwing his tool bags and quitting on the spot. He stormed off the job site to the parking lot, where his grand exit suddenly lost steam. He stood there for second realizing that he didn’t have his own car or a driver’s license. He then seemed to think, “Fuck it!” and got into the passenger seat of the chef ’s Chevy pickup and cracked a cold one. It was 7:05 in the morning. That pretty much wrapped up the morning meeting and we all went off to begin another day of perilous drudgery. Throughout the day I would occasionally look across at the parking lot, where toothless wonder sat in the truck cab, gloomily knocking back a case of Keystone Light. I imagined the stern voice of Ted Koppel narrating the scene for a Nightline special, “This is what happened to a local honor student after trying methamphetamine...” The skies darkened more heavily as I packed up for the day, amazed once again that I was leaving work with all of my limbs. Walking past the Chevy where rager was still in time-out, I managed a sheepish wave. I hopped into my truck, cranked the heat, and started my commute back from another day at the office. As I pulled out of the lot I caught a glimpse of the cloud-decked mountains to the east. At least it was snowing.
The coastal town of Budva which lies on the eastern side of the adriatic sea, Montenegro.
or the first time in my life, I prayed for it to stop snowing. Granted, it hadn’t snowed for weeks in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, or Utah. But I was 10,000 miles away in the tiny Balkan country of Montenegro, and it was coming down hard.
“You cannot go,” he says when we land. “It is too deep, you will sink.” Radovan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and our tour guide, tells us the country is in a National State of Emergency. Trains have been buried in avalanches, killing three passengers and trapping fifty others for over two days. Access to small villages has been limited to snowmobiles and helicopters. Power usage was under restriction by the government, and all schools and public buildings were shut down. All private traffic in the capital city of Podgorica was banned, as snow was more than a meter deep with more in the forecast. And there we stood, 10 baffled Americans in depths of chaos, just trying to ski.
A BALKAN WHITEOUT By: Kyle Taylor & Pip Hunt Photos: Dan Armstrong
According to legend, some of the first ski tracks known to man were laid down in this country over a century ago. “Yes,” Radovan affirms, “A norwegian man skied the Lovcen mountains in the late 1800’s, and brought the sport to your warrior nation.” Montenegro means ‘black mountains’ and is said to be the place where God finished creating the world. Upon realizing he had many leftover rocks, he tossed them onto a barren piece of land and formed the boulderous, jagged landscape before us. Surrounded by such rich history, we couldn’t help but contemplate our destiny during the storm of a lifetime. We learn our original destinations, two resort towns named Zabljak and Kolasin, were completely without power. No roads, no lifts, no skiing. Our only option was to journey away from the stormy mountains and head towards the ocean. As we descended, we watched the snow line slowly fade away into salty air and sandy beaches. The famous coastline is home to several mega-yachts and a popular hotspot for celebrities like Jay-Z and the Prince of Monaco. Beyond the luxurious hotels and boats, the ocean suits our mood. The usually tranquil Adriatic is silty and tumultuous, crashing ashore in massive barrels from the storm. For decades, these crystal azure waters have beckoned European celebrities and royalty. Both the mountainous coastline and naturally sheltered harbors have enticed Kings, Commanders, and Emperors, imprinting a fierce warrior pride in the people.
KT and Pip Hunt take a stroll at the Splendid Hotel after another tough day of spa-ing â€œno boots allowed.â€?
Naturally, we stayed at the palatial Casino Royale Hotel and drank like kings. Our time is spent between the beach and the pool with countless shots of the national liquor, Loza, in between. Breakfast was served over anxious inquiries for good news, our ears longing to hear of opened roads and spinning chairlifts. Each day our plans for skiing were replaced with coastal tours and boat rides. The dream of heli skiing was fading at this point, as every helicopter in Montenegro was being used to bring supplies to the stranded. With roads impassible, trains buried, and helicopters unavailable we were left to travel by water. A speedboat took us to the Bay of Kotor, one of the most naturally protected bays in the
world. Heavily lusted after by the European Empire, Kotor is surrounded by the Lovcen Mountains rising dramatically out of the sea, protecting the area from attacks from land and water. In our ski gear we toured ancient palaces, museums, and churches. We watched as locals engaged in traditional dancing and singing, but suddenly we had to race back before the road closed; it was snowing heavily again. The following day, almost every single road in Montenegro had shut down. Snow had fallen within a few hundred feet of the coastline, a phenomenon nobody had ever seen before. Crestfallen, we headed back to the beach to build a fire, drink more Loza and beg for the snow to stop. Time is measured by moments, and ours came seven days later with word of the snowfall slowing down.
The city had begun to dig itself out and we finally had a window to strike. The drive up into the mountains from coastal Budva to mountainous Zabljak is only 113 miles, and it took us 12 hours. Slowly, the snowbanks towered higher and higher until they were taller than our Sprinter van. At one point the road became restricted to one-lane traffic coming out from Serbia. Agonizingly, we waited yet again. Finally the road opened, and we began to see more of the mountains in the distance. As the snowbanks in our windows continued to grow taller, so did our spirits. Getting to the lifts, however, proved to be difficult. The wind had filled the tunnel-like roads with snow during the night, and we had to wait for the plows to clear the way. We soon learned this would
THE DREAM OF HELI SKIING WAS FADING AT THIS POINT, AS EVERY HELICOPTER IN MONTENEGRO WAS BEING USED TO BRING SUPPLIES TO THE STRANDED. be done whenever they got around to it and waited yet again, prisoners of time and circumstance. Finally, our group made it to the resort. We hopped onto a rickety, old chairlift which creaked up the mountain and dropped us off halfway. In view was a second, stagnant lift as it disappeared over the top of the ridgeline. “Will the top lift open later?” I ask the lifty at our side. “Maybe it will open tomorrow,” I hear as I spot the buried cables and mangled lift tower laying halfway up the couliour. It seems Montenegrin’s have a different concept of tomorrow than we do. We stood and looked below at the perfect, soul soothing powder. It was the stuff of dreams and just what we had been waiting for. But after just one run, the lifts closed again as the storm returned in a flurry of ferocious winds and dashed hopes. As we piled into the drafty chalet to wait for our ride, Radovan indicates the closed roads have left us stranded. “This man will take us back in his machine,” he says simply as we stare. Soon, there were fifteen of us clinging tightly to whatever was nearest, our bodies precariously perched on the back of an ancient groomer like refugees. Fortune had led us on a wild ride and it was all we could do to keep hanging on.
THERE ARE TIMES YOU SHOULD CHASE STORMS AND TIMES WHEN YOU SHOULDN’T, SOMETHING WE DIDN’T THINK POSSIBLE UNTIL NOW. The storm was endless and would not relent. Day after day the lifts were buried by wind and snow, so we began touring the landscape to ski sketchy spines. One of them slid on our group member Pip, but she quickly ducked into trees before it could catch her. Every day was a battle with the snow in the van and then on our skins. Engaged in a hostile war with Mother Nature, we feared we might lose. On our very last day, we awoke to bluebird skies. Finally we could see the entire mountain range as it rose before us, endless possibilities unveiled. We set our sights on Mt. Durmitor’s central couloir despite the decrepit lift tower strewn in the choke. Pip and I took turns shredding the Y-Chutes and high-sided the obstacle, nearly colliding with the useless piece of metal and rust. It was the end of our journey and the madness of Montenegro had not ceased. More snow was in the forecast and if we didn’t leave soon, we would be stranded in Zablak indefinitely. On the way to the airport, the van’s tires spun on the road as rapidly as my thoughts. We had been dreaming of snow all season, and found ourselves in a place with more snow than we could manage. In fact, it was more snow than this part of the world could even handle. Experience and reflection fuel the fires for revelation. There are times you should chase storms and times when you shouldn’t, something we didn’t think possible until now. We were lucky to have been in Montenegro for this storm, lucky to have skied it, and lucky that the storm of the century let us escape.
Coming to Bozeman, March 16th 2013 at t h e E m e r s on C u lt u r a l C e n t e r
W W W. C O L D S M O K E A W A R D S . C O M
During the shooting of “Ski Your Ass Off” L-R Schmitter, Spanky and Me. I set this up on a tripod and asked my brother Bill to trip the shutter. Location: Alley Behind Mikes Place Pub, Nelson, BC.
Whitewaters best ever Liftie “Harold” waiting for a ski break on a powder day at the top of the old summit chair, Whitewater BC. Circa 1992.
Ezra and “Newf” blasting at me on the Backside at Whitewater, circa 1991.
DAVE HEATH I
One never forgets moments spent with Dave Heath. Cooking? Dave started the first Mexican restaurant in Nelson. Driving? Dave is the only person I know who has more speeding tickets than I do but that’s neither here nor there, Dave has driven his car (or...well...attempted) up the ski hill at Whitewater in the Kootenays and he is the best goddamn photographer you will never meet, unless of course you leave the “excitable states.” Dave’s term, not mine. But you likely won’t meet him anyway as he is banned from the USA. Dave can rip any line harder than the pro-skiers (lugging 40 lbs of camera gear mind you), but he actually prefers to shoot the common man: the lifty, the old crusties and the local trolls who roam the secret Kootenay underworld Dave calls home. Check it...
pr er ph ra th og ea ot H Ph ave D “Schmitter” in the sweet red and white onesy basting over the “popcorn cliff’ ridge below Ymir peak circa 92. During the filming of “Ski your Ass off” Nikon FM2, 135mm lens, Fuji Velvia.
Matt “Splatt” doin what I asked him to...”a dead bug” Kodachrome 64. circa 93
Thats us, L-R Neil “Spanky” Mason, Me, and Gary “Schmitter” Schmit in my ‘69 VW van in the Whitewater parking lot. I moved to Nelson in that Van in 1986 with $500 in my pocket, $200 for my pass and $300 for beer and peanut butter.
Skier: “Cux” Location: Whitewater backcountry. Circa 1993. “Cux and I hiked up to Ymir Peak high above the resort, I had been watching the afternoon light bathe the slope directly below the peak, but this slope ran out to a 200ft cliff face that Cux had to stop above and hike back up his tracks. We did it twice and I shot this with an old Nikon FM2 with a 300mm lens to compress the background and isolate his body and spray against the diagonal shadow.
Roscoe White kickin an old school backscratcher up in Ymir bowl south during filming of “Sinners”.
Woody my dog waiting for me in my old ‘67 122 wagon during a road trip from BC to New Mexico. We slept in the back of that thing in parking lots from Big Sky to Jackson to Taos.
DAVE HEATH I
Like many movements that rise from the ashes of unpopular political systems, the inception of punk rock in the 1970’s and 80’s was sparked by unrest and grounded in revolutionary ideologies. Also like many movements, the punk movement was not free from factions within itself. Unlike contemporary counterparts, the Sex Pistols, who greatly compounded punk's public view thru drunken television appearances and burning ﬂags; —to CRASS, being punk rock wasn’t about heroin or smashing up hotel rooms, rather, it functioned as a medium to address issues, ideas, and policy surrounding environment, anarchism, war, sexism, globalization, paciﬁsm, racism, consumerism—many still very relevant and controversial today. From sound, to stencils, to demonstrations, and solidarity, CRASS took direct action when it came to the sharing of ideas. CRASS recognized the importance of protecting our environment, eating organic, locally grown foods, and, the role music could be used to spread ideas free from the restraints imposed by corporate industry. Raw and unconventional, CRASS drowned edgy anthems in heavy drumbeats, and anti-capitalist rhetoric. Opposed to any elaborate stage lighting, gigs were often poorly lit, and included ﬁlm projections over the stage, confronting audiences, and making appearances more about the message than the band itself.
Coordinating squats at the vacant Zig Zag Club in West London, taking action in the 1983 London, "Stop the City" protests, and becoming a band known as, a ﬁrst of its kind, but, perhaps the most infamous stunt was the "Thatchergate" tapes that surfaced in the early 80's. The purported taped conversation had taken place between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher during the Falklands war. The tape had been spliced together by CRASS members with excerpts taken from actual speeches by the British Prime Minister and the American President. In the recording Thatcher admits she had the Belgrano sunk (during the Falkland’s war) to prevent any type of peace agreement being reached with Argentina. The fabricated conversation continues with Reagan stating that, “If there is a conﬂict we shall ﬁre our missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays within its borders,” suggesting a nuclear exchange during the height of the cold war. Leaked through an anonymous source, the tape eventually found it’s way into the hands of the U.S. State Department that believed it was the work of the Russian KGB. The story of the Thatchergate tapes found their way into several newspapers around the world including in the United States and Britain. Soon CRASS members found themselves on the radar of both the Thatcher administration and the U.S. State Department. 41
e tw a h t rds RASS r o z-w ut C les fo uz b b b ge, geta Dial re a a e e d l b an wn v d the tenina day a ro te “in s t us this y g pera e, or t l s l s ca as o nd y in den i u i a n s o a h h tl ic re e an quen d org ASS en ly, in th ects g l p r o a n R O t fre behi un inta roj 7 C ciﬁs r P m a 6 . o a a he been e 19 com to m ence ing t t-p s g c i id h in ng in er ve res cs ra g. ha es. S narc y liv geth e i in to ad lly na f th ”. B op dec as a nity work eep o ith t c farm tua n ve , ni ,w mu use pk nd d e side rate Ho l com ces a nd u place orga n a y o es, untr corp ls na sour ngs a mon zz to l b tio o i a a re ork by rou ing c loc iﬁcom rde j t p re e h s u a w n it it d ar ga nd sh day ut ou llowe her w ’s sig oon ps nto y r o a h r r h v s t it u a se eve orks om a t w the s e sw oge Hou , and ' t n r w g b f e d d n as d o f th t live s and ow ini an thing g w al, an ned t o o j n s r i r i r t k o e v ry l li the D reat , afte cour s sh l pun to th £ a eve a n i r e h f the ry w t unt ethe 0,000 mu ds o nce t cam g m ' o n g o lf8 ct di Co roun iste tory sn ua t". Vi t wa ded t fer o re. A is x c g s i e r e V I of an ty its pe tpos les. th t. zu d b t the sei oper list nd men , and g u n u o n a m r a l a p a fo elo agers ltura gal t bles, s, th se fro “all p Capit stion v e e n l u l a d il o cu of io ou the nd b rs d v as a " ck in eir tr onat ial H thos n i a e an a t mb se, in ce e b of th aise d the D ime e rship effor e n r e a m u t e d c y w hear and r free long own ity inal d Ho ve de e n u a e ig th s le to to a s t nd show hed, tak comm ral or n sty nts h prin g e i d n l t e c i a e fr t o u d i a s i o eﬁ rea in wo mi sev ictor res ntal f ble h s ben ld be mpro ents rema day, V r e a na roug y o i e d u r m o t i a y T o c e t tu es y on st w th y. h ug al r ord, olog h cen recen envir rd su orld i o h D e at t w t o w , ft” f the nk id he 19 n the their he w tter is wh e I t e , t o th -pu in side. uce akes to a b vism unk. se o d n e h e e p r s t liv m ry cti arc as an ue to ount ys to most itmen tal a e f n o c n eﬁ wa it al tin sh mm nme nd d ilt o t u c con Engli a o th ea db vir eir the ed an grees d. Th d en to liv e e n an ues sig ch d iquat ace tin su ant , pe con y to nd rch ASS sou ana CR 42
Boozing on the world’s first 4 wheel drive party bike, The Après Bike.
By: Henry Worobec Faster than a herd of speeding turtles! More powerful than Chuck Norris’s pinky finger! Able to transport twenty drunkards with a single pedal! It’s a car! It’s a bar! It’s a bike? Yes, it’s The Après Bike, the best damn thing to happen to the après scene since wet t-shirt contests! When Nelson Riley and Austin Nelson, owners and operators of Après Bike, saw a party bike for the first time in Denver, CO, their destiny was evident. After finding out that party bikes retail for thirty to forty-five grand, Nelson Riley of the Studebaker Family (Studebaker Automobiles) went to work on engineering and building this vehicle/bicycle from scratch in his hometown of Essex, NY. The construction started with the front and rear axles of a beaten up Jeep Grand Cherokee and over the course of three months, was built up from those axles with galvanized steel and teak. “We just saw it in Denver and had to do it. We were determined to bring it to Aspen,” says Austin, Aspen local and après ski specialist, “I mean look at it. It’s instantaneous fun. It’s really well received wherever we go. The other day, a 75
year old women started running after us, trying to take a picture with her iPad while carrying an ice cream cone in her other hand.” The Après Bike can officially carry sixteen people including the driver with ten pedaling stations and unofficially holds upwards of thirty. On flat ground, average cruising speed is 6 to 7 mph. It’s stocked with umbrellas, speakers, and party lights. With 4 wheel drive, this bar-bike can go off road and even handle itself in the snow, making it the burliest party bike in the world. It was not long before the legality of this ridin’ durty machine came into question. Such a large and unique mobile was almost immediately on the radar of Apsen’s police force. Numerous times, the party bike was pulled over and the question would arise of whether it could be classified as a vehicle or a bike. In Minnesota, where party bikes first came to the United States, a change to Minnesota State Law in 2008 made passengers of a five or more person, human-powered
vehicle exempt from the open container law. No such exemptions exist in the state of Colorado, so Nelson and Austin have been jumping through the hoops to try to legalize boozing on their rig. They have added seat belts, a rear view mirror, turn signals, head lights, and a small electric engine in hopes of obtaining vehicle classification and the limousine license in the State of Colorado needed to consume alcohol on the bike . . . uh, I mean “vehicle.” Still wading through the legal hubbub, the owners of the Après Bike feel that the ability to drink on the party bike is crucial. “The bike just doesn’t work if you’re stone-faced sober,” says Austin. Well, God’s speed to you guys and your legal endeavors. And thanks for stopping through town and showing us a hell of a good time!
To learn more, check out: www.apresbike.com. #BOMBSNOW 43
Jim Harris / Earning turns on Rogerâ€™s Pass, BC
Or should I say, Poutine Highway. By: Todd Heath For us, ski trips seldom start without road trips, so we took one last winter. We drove a solid 14 hours through northwest Montana, into the infamous Kooteney north country, up and over Roger’s Pass, and into the town of Revelstoke, British Columbia. Our initial plan was to score deep powder, which was scarce in the lower 48 during the 2011-12 winter season. Upon arrival, it was clear: a nasty high-pressure system had followed us, and we were going to be burdened with bitterly cold, hard pack conditions. We spent a few days exploring Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s (RMR) slack-country and schralping the remainder of a week-old storm on Roger’s pass before we resorted to enjoying everything else the “Stoke” had to offer. We revised our plan, and ventured back to the big city to embark on a mission. We had decided to figure out who has the best poutine, amongst other apres-type deals and fun facts. The plan also included formulating a Dirtbag’s List of Revy’s DO’s and DON’Ts. I only came up with a list of DO’s, because I’m not your mom.
DO: The Cabin. Make sure to check out the Cabin on Mondays for cheap six-pin bowling and alcohol infused root beer floats. The Cabin is a lounge bar, bowling alley, and snowboard shop; all rolled into one. A definite DO. DO: Get yourself a Coopers food card. You will save a heap. If you buy one you get a card plus two key chain cards and it’s free. Three for Free! DO: The Last Drop Bar. Head to The Last Drop Bar on Tuesday for some $5 wings and fries with $4 dollar pounders of pilsner. As far as we could tell, this was one of the best dirt-bag hangouts. DO: The River City Pub…after the Last Drop for Toonie Tuesday. The Pilsner comes in child-size glasses, but it’s still a
Reid Morth / Hiking up one of many options in RMR’s slackcountry.
Jim Harris / The Road back from Roger’s Pass, BC
Jeff Hawe, bowling at the Cabin.
decent deal if you want to venture further than The Last Drop. It’s the best live music venue in town. Acts like Sweatshop Union, amongst other mostly white rappers, make stops here throughout the season. DO: Big Eddy Pub. Wing Wednesday. Two-fur wings. DO: Benoits Wine Bar has great deals all week long. Whiskey Wednesday was our fine group’s personal fave; with two-dollar-off scotches all night. They also serve a dank fondue and cheese plate for $5 off on Mondays. DO: Nico’s. It’s a good option for cheap, late-night pizza. The sushi place is also the bomb (I misplaced the name), and so is the Indian food at Paramjit’s. Check ‘em out. DO: The mountain has a shuttle. I’m not sure on the schedule, but it’s a good option for post bar rides home. DO: Stoked Yoga: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at the base. It’s on-thehill yoga in your long-johns for all of you go-getters out there who want to meet a betty. Mats are provided and long-johns are optional. DO: Farmer’s Market. Go buy some good food, neat crafts, and other local products at the Revelstoke Community Center from 2–5 p.m, every Thursday, throughout the winter. DO: Check out the Revelstoke Curling club. Fridays offer the cheapest beers and five dollar curling. DO: Here’s what you’ve been waiting for: try a heaping pile Poutine at The Village Idiot Bar. It’s called Hugo’s Homage and it’s Revelstoke’s best poutine, made the right way: Homemade gravy and humongous, real cheese curds. The Poutine served in the mid mountain lodge at RMR is also a good contender, but it’s a bit spendy. The Best thing about Canadian ski resorts, other than the massive terrain, endless powder, lively night life and welcoming locals is that you can dirtbag it in the parking lot for the whole season! Although lame ass policies at the majority of American resorts have pretty much banned this winter lifestyle, the wonderful management at RMR welcomes car campers and RV-ers alike to park overnight on-premises all season long. What a sensible idea. Did someone say, “road trip”?
* Disclaimer- Being a non-resident, I am sure that my list contains some discrepancies and oversights. To justify these, I must add that this list was made from iPhone notes, most of which were taken while drinking heavily. If any Revy locals would like to add to the list or call me out, Please email: Todd@bombsnow.com. Thanks, Sarah and crew at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort, for putting us up at the Sutton Hotel. We thoroughly enjoyed our time up- north and really appreciated the generous hospitality. We’ll be seeing you again soon.
Reid Morth / Rob Raymond goes for another try just outside the Boundary Line at RMR
Patrick Orton / John Spriggs choking up the goods on a bonus day in the Revelstoke Backcountry
FOUR DAYS IN REVELSTOKE MOUNTAIN RESORT’S SLACKCOUNTRY
Conor Hurley / Mt. Mackenzie, a quick hike from RMR’s Boundary
By: Conor Hurley
Revelstoke Mountain Resort has it all, its slackcountry offers a similar type of variety, from steeps to low angled glades—the adventure is yours to choose.
a nasty combination. Be prepared if you decide to venture out of bounds. Around these parts, when unprepared people decide to go hunting for slackcountry adventure, costly helicopter rescues often ensue.
Steep skiing around Mt. Mackenzie. From Check out this slackcountry tapas plate, the Door chutes and the Northwest face four tours, four flavors. You decide which above, around to the East Face of Mt. one suits your taste best. Mackenzie and onto the chutes and spines on the sub-peaks to the southeast, this joint Day one: has got the goods. If you’re looking to get Montana Creek is, categorically, the tour your steep on, look no further. This terrain you don’t want to take; it has benighted is the real deal, so you better be wearing your many a wayward skier and snowboarder— riding boots and and be avy savvy if you if you see signs with arrows pointing head for this zone. Big, steep, aesthetic lines towards “A night in the woods” or the within a half an hour bootpack from the ski “ski area”, opt for the ski area. Contrary to area, what more could you desire? your average ski hill, RMR is a ski area on a big mountain with cliffs, gullies, creeks, Day three: avalanches and every other backcountry Powder skiing with your old man. The hazard you can imagine. Selkirk bush is Greely trees offer some sweet powder thicker than that of a Seventies’ porno skiing that is good for all ages. Remember star—hemlock, cedar and devil’s club, it’s he’s nearly 62 and has a bad back, maybe
it would be a good idea to shy away from the pillows. The old growth spruce, hemlock and cedar forest is spaced as though it was designed with skiing in mind—it’s right up the retiree ski bum’s alley. Pack a lunch and make it a day, the tour through the forest is as good as the skiing. Climb back up to the Ripper, but remember it closes a half hour earlier than the Stoke chair.
Big, steep, aesthetic lines within a half an hour bootpack from the ski area, what more could you desire? Day four:
It’s sunny, it’s Valentine’s day and your girl loves to ski. What could be sweeter than a sunny side shred down the South Face of Mt. Mackenzie. Take the half hour scenic stroll from the sub-peak (If you’re a real casanova, you won’t forget the wine and cheese like I did.) and enjoy the sun and views of the Selkirks and Monashees. Enjoy the sun soaked turns and decide where you want to go for the wine and cheese party. If your girl is more tuned into shredding pow than Gruyere, hang a left and check out the steep entrances into East Bowl. If you drop in, you’re going to either ski out Greely Creek (Not necessarily a date adventure.) or circumnavigate Mt. Mackenzie back to the Ripper Chair.
THE GREATEST SPORTS BAR IN THE WORLD By: Dexter Burke Illustration: Steve Apple
“This is the greatest sports bar in the world!” shouted the lodge manager, as he clung to a stripper pole with one hand and held a bottle of champagne in the other. He was hanging upside-down in the maintenance shack, where a black light made his tighty-whiteies glow blue. Just a half-hour before, his favorite Swiss hockey team, HC Davos, had won their first-round playoff series in the seventh game. Indeed, it was time for a celebration. Your humble reporter’s inclusion in this spectacle was part luck, part chance, and part female-related. While doing a year overseas studying the finer points of Swiss mountaintops, he had lucked into a dorm-room relationship with a fine young lady known as Sara, who happened to moonlight as a chalet girl during the winter months. And as the season wound down, she had smuggled him up for a pseudo-staff spot at an Alp-based heli-skiing operation that included random seats in the bird when the office-atrophied legs of paying clients tired; a pretty good setup for a ramen-fed college kid, to say the least. The week had played out much as he expected,
with dish duty in the morning and meadow-skipping glory in the afternoons, followed by hot tub sessions, mop sessions, gourmet dinners and a few bottles of client-bought wine to round out the evenings. Essentially, dirtbag heaven. But nothing could have prepared him for this spectacle—a spectacle that grew as the night went on.
tape, clutching her boobs to her chest beneath her yellow curls. She had me wrap her up in a makeshift bikini, and a half dozen of her compatriots followed suit, posing outside for a quick moment in front of the dormant A-Star helicopter. They pranced around the bird, shivering in the falling snow. Inside, the party raged on.
When Davos bagged that second-round playoff berth, the lodge manager quickly ushered out watching patrons and procured a case of fine bubbly for the staff. Out came the grimy coffee table from the heli shack, and in went an equally-sullied stripper pole. It only took a few minutes for it to turn into a pants-off-danceoff. Luckily, the ratio was in healthy balance as lodge girls aplenty trickled up from their après duties to join the party. Then, the music stopped: the mechanic tried to dip a buxom blond pastry chef named Marielle and, in his drunken state, tipped over and smashed his head on a vice. The lights went on; the guides, and even tighty-whitey, flew into intoxicated emergency mode. Three butterfly bandages, a cold bottle from the snowbank, a spattering of blood on the plywood floor and another scar to the collection—it wasn’t enough to stop the momentum, and concussion be damned, the party rolled on. I don’t know where she found it, but Sara suddenly appeared with a roll of yellow “Caution: Heli”
business, while his cadre of vivacious chalet personnel danced half-naked around him. He felt compelled to be heard once again: “This is the greatest sports bar in the world!” I couldn’t have agreed more.
Disclaimer: These events, as reported by the illustriWho knows where the pictures wound up from that night—some say the jean-clad bartender made off with ous Mr. Burke, may or may the memory card for his personal enjoyment. Whatever not have happened. Names, the case, an incoming crew of Italian guests was none- locations and details may have been altered—possibly due the-wiser the next morning as the now lively A-Star to Mr. Burke’s altered state carried them into the freshly-blanketed alpine. The girls’ footsteps had been buried by falling snow—it was of mind—and he accepts no responsibility for any inconsisalmost as if nothing had ever happened. tencies or misinterpretation of But I can still remember the scene at 2am that morning: the details. But he does believe in the legend of the Greatest the lodge manager still clinging to the tarnished pole, Sports Bar in the World. exhibiting what may have been a past career in show
Reid Morth / Nathaniel Murphy and Nathalie Zenklusen
Driving down the Glenn Highway in a whiteout,I wondered why Tailgate Alaska would rent this 15 passenger van with bald tires and rear wheel drive for shuttling riders up and down Thompson Pass. I was with friend and photographer Reid Morth, 9 hours in to a 5 hr drive from Anchorage to Valdez.We both wondered what the deal was with Jimmy, an ungainly guy with a thick Jersey accent who had immediately passed out in the far back seat, snoring loudly. He had apparently paid a lot of money for an all inclusive package and then been forgotten at the airport.That’s where we came in, earning our meal ticket by backtracking and getting stuck in this storm to get Jimmy. I turned up the radio to drown out the arrhythmic, yet predictable sounds from the back.
The Glenn Highway ends in Glennallen, a crossroads within striking distance to some of the best terrain to be ridden anywhere. With record snow depths up and down the Coast Range and the Chugach, the Last Frontier was going off. To the southeast, Absinthe, TGR, Givin’, and the Pirates were all flying in Haines. Liam Gallagher was filming for the Mad Ones in Juneau with Mark Landvik. Twenty minutes away at the edge of the Wrangell Mountains, Jeff Hawe had just met up with Jeremy Jones and crew; in the morning they would go off the grid for Further. We turned onto the Richardson Highway and descended down to sea level, where the whole Tailgate Alaska event was starting. I knew that it was going to be different than the last time I had been. Sponsors changed over the years, the event’s organizers’ have had a falling out, and it seemed far removed from the vision that grassroots snowboard pioneers called King of the Hill. The whole reason I first came to TGAK four years ago was because of my good friend, Aaron Robinson. He was in love with Alaska and the idea of a giant free-for-all shred gathering under the midnight sun. He
Kyle Christenson / Skier Rob Raymond rips a well earned line in the Books, Valdez AK.
dug the community, the landscape, the crazy cast of characters, the ones crawling wide eyed out of snow caves with whiskey and wild stories. The late, great, Arob was inundated to the terrain by the original King of the Hill legends, and continued to pass that torch by taking friends to his favorite misty gems high in the Chugach. Now Reid hung out the window firing landscapes. Over 800 inches from the 2012 season filled in features, making classic runs more mellow than usual, while other areas that aren’t rideable every year were seeing descents. With widespread low tide conditions elsewhere in the lower 48, the crowds had tripled and shit was tracked. But it was still spring in Alaska. 15 hours of daylight and deep, stable, maritime snow was stacked on impossible terrain. Even with crowds and hype, Thompson Pass is still the same epic staging ground it has always been and a place where you can easily disappear into your own private Chugach. Everything besides the present tense becomes trivial. To help people experience that for the first time is really what TGAK does best. At the very least, it provides a new perspective. Someone like Jimmy, for example, might never have made it here. He didn’t know exactly what to expect when he decided to spend his two week vacation from the real world on an all inclusive Tailgate ski package. But there he was, right in the thick of another world-with helicopters spinning and snowmachines brapping and dirtbags lurking. Jimmy didn’t ski too much, but that didn’t seem like what he was really here for. He seemed content with a beer and a smile, and some home cooked food from Aaron Robinson’s mother, Pam. This year PamRob came up to AK for the first time to experience what had both inspired and become a part of her son. Her unfiltered style was infectious. She partied harder and later than anyone, and was up early everyday rocking an apron and a big smile, cooking to keep all the hungry shreds fed. Aside from camp chef and Tailgate MVP, Pam also had another mission. Under perfectly blue skies an
Reid Morth Valdez Harbor, Alaska.
Reid Morth Staging area for King of the Hill, overlooking the Valley of the Tusk.
impressive crowd of Arob’s friends rode out in the backcountry to gather in a place with views of the Valley of the Tusk and the Books, as well as a myriad of other impressive lines. The zone is called Nick’s, it’s not hard to get to, but to all sides the world gives way to an endless sea of mountains. It was named for Nick Perata, a close friend and mentor to Aaron, one of those early Alaska pioneers that took him under his wing. This is the place Pam chose to spread Aaron’s ashes. The run back down to Tailgate rolls through a giant feature filled glacier canyon known as Nick’s Happy Valley. With high expectations for the contest, event organizer Mark Sullivan and the guides comprising the high angle rescue team kept putting the start day on hold until the next reset. TGAK stands out in that it’s snow machine and heli accessed only, and is held in a loose, rider-driven format with a two week weather window. It was easy to forget the event is centered around a competition with $10,000 on the line for first place. At the rider’s meeting, Sullivan stated, “The North Face Masters and Freeride World Tour are all lift accessed events. Here in Alaska, it is completely uncontrolled and real. Basically, we are looking for video part worthy runs.” After days of storms, the reset eventually came. There is no other contest quite like it. Go north to go to Alaska and let Tailgate be a jumping off point. Pam-Rob cookin up the dank meal for the day.
Above: Henry Worobec goes deep. Location: Nowhere near South Korea, Red Lodge Montana.
Big Screens and High Fences. Coffee steam wafts into the deep purple 5am sky as I wait for my ride. It’s a caffeinated panacea that helps me push through the fact that I’m meeting my Boss’s husband for a weekend of Korean skiing and I’m still pretty hammered. It’ll wear off. Rent a board, a little backcountry, hit the terrain park, a microbrew in front of a fireplace—just like home. My companions are Mr. Lee and his 11-year-old son. They arrive in a Hyundai SUV and we drive uphill for a few hours. After the conversation in English and Korean runs dry,
the only noise in the car is the tinny pings of the kid’s PSP and Mr. Lee’s outbursts at the notoriously shitty drivers of South Jeolla province. In a mere half century, South Korea has converted itself from an agrarian war-torn hermit crab to an economic tiger flirting with true prosperity. This triumph has given rise to new things like karaoke rooms, nightclubs, fried chicken joints, business liquor bars, mini golf, bumper cars, and skiing; all at the same place, all at Muju ski resort. Arriving in chilly Muju town, endless blocks of equipment stores line the approach to the ski hill. Almost all Koreans rent. If it weren’t for the ancient temple at the peak, the inorganic faux-Bavarian aesthetics of the resort would make you think you’d landed in a kooky oriental ski-enclave in the heart of the Alps. But the Korean ski hill experience also means ski lifts at intergalactic speed, behemoth flashing Jumbotrons, Korean BBQ joints, and two Kias for every skier. To an outsider, the Korean ski experience isn’t a fascinating Asian voyage into a Western custom—like maybe a baseball game in Tokyo—it exists in many levels of head scratching idiosyncrasies seen in examples like their winter fashion conventions. You won’t fit in at Muju unless you’re a snowboarder with the baggi-
est pants this side of ’97 Jncos or a skier with unintentionally amusing “Konglish” grammar oversights such as: “Wait, Swiss Nearby!”, “Ask Enquired British Culture”, “The Tacoma NYPD”, and “Princeton Alumin.” Another head scratcher is that with so many inexperienced skiers and riders, Muju should be the untouched off-trail Valhalla of Asia. But like most ski resorts in Korea, Muju fails to free the spirit not because of the throngs of crowds, but because there’s absolutely no tree access at all. Off-runs and under the lifts, high fences prevent creative lines. It’s uncharted and impassable—as fenced off as Tim Tebow’s dick. Muju’s demilitarized zones aren’t littered with land mines, but with long-deserted skis, poles, gloves, and smartphone-shaped holes in the snow. Studying the footprint journeys of those who’ve dropped their shit makes time pass quickly on the lifts; traces of their ascents start optimistically at the base, but soon jagged rocks and thick bamboo shoots doom their retrieval hopes. Save for a few, most pull an exhausted deep-footed U-turn back to base. Fair thee well to the butter-fingered dudes who try to propose to their girlfriends on the lift. In a Korean lift line, most snowboarders take their boards off for the ride up, hopelessly uninformed of the one-footed skateboard technique. I carry a “Rockies are unrivaled” mentality, but despite the some arti-
ficial snow and the runs being 100% fenced-in corduroy, the top runs have legitimate black diamond difficulty ratings. Still, riding groomers all the time creates a few distinct groups at Muju: 1.) Exaggerated carvers in overstated bagginess. These intermediate boarders carve poetically in a perfect “S” with maddening hill ethics that pay no mind to those behind them. 2.) The terrain park boyz: They throw up a few decent twists when they aren’t sitting around smoking and texting. 3.) Matching snowboarder couples: These exist by the thousands; sitting on their asses in the middle of the run taking photos of themselves. When they do ride, they stay on their back edges together, swaying and shaving the hill in perfect tandem, like some deviant beginner’s snow waltz. 4.) Skiers and the injured they go home with: If they made it off the hill unscathed, chances are good another in their party didn’t. At Muju, I’m a far better auxiliary patroller than snowboarder. By day, I’m Peter Parker helping the fallen to their feet. By night, I’m a benevolent Spiderman keeping no less than six crossed-up skiers from crashing into the ski racks.
At Muju, après-ski rituals have no place. At the end of the first day, Mr. Lee spirits me away to a condo for three hours of crosslegged floor sitting to watch Korean dramas on TV in front of a customary low-set table in my snow pants. My legs go numb about ten minutes into a plate of spicy Kim chi, bulgogi and several shots of soju. Although somewhat reminiscent of sake, Korean soju tastes more like cheap vodka than some mysterious Asian wonder-elixir. The next morning’s conditions are Vermonticy and I’ve got bubble-guts from the food and booze, hastening my base retreat. In a fit of diarrhea, I panic to find a toilet that isn’t a hole in the floor and the beautiful Swiss-inspired Hotel Tirol finally provides me a truly regal place to sit and get it together. Listen, Korea—if you can put a Jumbotron in the middle of the hill you can give me a bathroom with a seat. Outside it’s the kind of shrieking cold that could freeze even the Dalai Lama’s heart—a wet, spirit-shattering wind that requires another layer. In the Hotel’s gift shop, an employee dressed like Maria Von Trapp helps me find the perfect Muju swag. We settle on a harebrained sweater that says “England, Est. 1887”. Hey, get in where you fit in.
Shovels, ammo, lots of digging and a head that's constantly in the clouds. That about sums up the season. Mad for it all.
Mad a movie about Snowboarding
and some Beatniks.
Nick Russell had to wade through a river to get over to this dream stack of pillows. It's a spot that rarely fills in. Might not be there this winter, or next. Dig the ephemeral.
the Mad Ones
a web based video project
Forest Bailey, Forrest Burki, Patrick McCarthy, Shaun McKay, Wyatt Stasinos, Nick Russell, Kael Martin, Bryan Fox, Mark Landvik, Lucas Debari, Nick Ennen, Scott Blum, Dan Liedahl, Alex Beebe, Will Lavigne, Jamie Lynn, Sebi Geiger, Marco Feichtner, Atsushi Hasegawa, Kohei Kudo, Austin Hironaka and many more.
Scott Blum is mad. Mad for travel. Mad for long johns under shorts. Mad for skateboarding. Mad for snowboarding. Mad for spliffs and cigs and booze. Mad for it all. Mad as they come.
bike rax â€”
Japanese post office. The Holy Bowlers. And Kohei Kudo tweaking.
The Holiest of the Bowlers. Hakuba's locals and their many and varied shred sleds.
Bryan Fox and Mark Welsh. Sharp dressers.
Patrick McCarthy's method with Mt. Baker in the background.
the Mad Ones Kael Martin hiking under the ever present Mt. Shuksan.
A Mark Landvik millisecond at Eaglecrest Alaska.
Seth Huot as seen through some rose-colored Anon lenses in Hakuba Japan.
the Mad Ones Four Mark Landvik milliseconds just out of bounds at Eaglecrest Alaska.
80’s, d i m e h t OUT Through90’s, there were & earlyhings Tom Sims many t anned to do and I pl . together
: t s i L a d We Ha
1. Build the first permanent half-pipe ever at a Ski Area, in Snow Summit, California. 2. Teach every skater in Japan how to snowboard. 3. Get the Sims Skate brand away from Vision Streetwear, sign Hosoi.
6. Decide if we were Canon or Nikon guys. Fuji or Kodak film (he would do some testing and later tell me which way to go).
10. Start a magazine.
7. Open every ski area in the world to snowboarding.
12. Date playboy bunny Kim Herrin.
8. Beat the Vermont guy who married the rich girl (his way of referring to Jake Burton, in the early days, before they (sort of) mended ways).
13. Make a snowboard for riding waves.
9. Create the world’s leading Surf, Skate and Snow business enterprise.
15. Teach Kevin Staab, Hosoi, Alva, Jerry Lopez and all the badass North Shore lifeguards to snowboard.
11. Get snowboarding on MTV.
14. Make a bike for riding waves.
4. Start a mountain bike company. 5. Make a snowboard photo album for that thing called the Internet.
There were hundred’s of other things on the list, these are a few I remember. 1. Never, ever, ever, cover-up any part of the Sims Triangle logo. This was Holy. 2. Never talk to Tony Hawk, Stacy Peralta or Stecyk about snowboarding, they might teach the Bones Brigade to ride and make Powell into the coolest snowboard company in the world, and erase Sims from snowboarding like they did in skate. 3. Make sure all the Bones Brigade guys have a free Sims board. 4. Never go snowboarding without a camera and loads of film. 5. Never shoot riders on anything other than Sims. 6. Never tell anyone at a ski company we are making money. 7. Never let Barfoot get bigger than Sims. 8. Never do anything to hurt Chuck Barfoot. 9. Never give up the back cover advertisement in any magazine. 10. Never let Palmer, Kidwell or Craig Kelly ride for anyone other than Sims. 11. Never buy coke for anyone on the team. Beer, Pot, Acid and Mushrooms are purchased at my own personal discretion and risk.
16. Never ride without style. 17. Always fold your high-back down in photos where you are holding your board next to a Burton guy (so you can show that Sims highbacks fold, and Burton’s don’t – a product difference now long erased). 18. Never wear a backpack. Fanny packs are cooler and show the Sims logo better. 19. Never wear ski clothes. Wear a wetsuit or something bright that you bought in Europe, preferably at the Jet Set store in downtown St Moritz. 20. Always ride gear that no one else can get, and ride in places no one else can go. Make sure you get a photo of you doing it. 21. Always shoot Terry Kidwell doing skate tricks, never show him cruising around or turning. 22. Always go to the Nastar slalom course when you get on at a ski area, make sure you post one of the fastest times on the course. Make sure you sideslip the course beforehand, to clean the ruts and prevent you from wrecking. If you wreck in the course, all of snowboarding’s image suffers. 23. Always remember that snowboarding is just skateboarding on snow.
12. If you can’t be the best rider in the group, be the best-dressed.
24. Never go to work for Burton.
13. Never forget to send every ski area owners kid a free snowboard.
25. Never marry someone that isn’t blonde.
14. Never directionally scrape wax off your board from tail to nose, always work from nose to tail.
26. Don’t drink too much, never smoke and never take pills unless you absolutely need to.
15. Never remove your side fins when you have to ride on hard pack.
27. Never talk about the list.
This list too, could go on for many pages, on all topics of life. None of it was ever written down or consciously accounted for, it was simply what we knew together and talked about each time we were together. It was the knowledge he dropped.
ny” – and required me He once paid me for 9 months “not to start a snowboardoncompa me to a bar in Zurich, took he occasi ent to do no real work for the money. On a differ him. Halfway throug h the drinks with drunk get I Switzerland and demanded that jukebox Bar’s the on Good” Feel “I Brown James play to him he asked me to dare until we got kicked out.
I worked and rode for/with Tom, in one form or the other, from the ages of 15-23. I was a blank slate of a kid, living on the edge of an Indian reservation with a small town half-pipe ramp in my buddy John’s backyard and a 2 chair ski resort 30 minutes from my front door. Skateboarding, Snowboarding and the few heroes who did it were everything to me. While under the tutelage of Tom I kept his rules for the most part. He, as the originator of the lists, kept the rules sacred – I never saw him violate them once. He looked sharp, rode fast and strong—always made sure we ‘got the shot’. As for the ‘to-do’ list, some we got around to, some we didn’t – but everyday at work, or on the mountain, there would be lengthy one-way discussions, goal setting, flights of imagination, laughing, ego, hyperbole and bluster. That was Tom. He lived to create the list, and counted on me to note down and deliver on every idea we/he could think of. The only listed topic he ever remained silent on was Playmate Kim Herrin, who I learned later; he had somehow scored a date with. After a few years with Tom, I became an adult and gained a deeper appreciation for the manic, caring, inspiring, informative, insane and interesting person he was. As more layers of my youth wore off I also came to learn how different from Tom I was – and how important it was to do my own thing, in my own way. He did funny and fantastic things when he could see I was growing up. He once paid me for 9 months “not to start a snowboard company” – and required me to do no real work for the money. On a different occasion he took me to a bar in Zurich, Switzerland and
Tom staying true to his skater style. photo: bud fawcetT circa ‘85 68
demanded that I get drunk with him. Halfway through the drinks he asked me to dare him to play James Brown “I Feel Good” on the Bar’s jukebox until we got kicked out. Nine song plays in a row we were thrown out into the street (I have vague memory of him taking a swing at the barkeep as we lay on the sidewalk laughing). He laughed for days over this event. We also later met up with Lopez, Derek and Tom’s close friend Terry – and took the whole legendary surf crew out riding. As one item on the list reduced, he immediately would replace it with a new item to do. What I remember most of this time however was the coming of age experience and slow realization that Tom was capable of fear and anger, like anyone would be. He was mad his business skills were beginning to fail him. Mad that Burton had taken control of the sport, the history and dialog around snowboarding (he rarely acknowledged the work and dedication of anyone at Burton). Mad that Craig Kelly’s contract (signed in haste at the bus station in Albany, New York) hadn’t held up when Burton came calling. Mad that all of his partners, in every facet of his business, always screwed him in the end. Mad at Vision Streetwear. Mad he couldn’t ride longer and live lighter. Mad at being mad at all of this. Yet somehow, he always kept it light. Whatever feeling he had always flashed, verbalized itself and was gone. In the early 90’s, when I told Tom I was moving on to start Morrow Snowboards (not the shadow of the Morrow brand you see today) with Rob Morrow, Todd Richards and Noah Brandon, I expected mad. A true contrarian, he congratulated me and asked me to give him part of the company, if I could. When I started Bonfire, he again congratulated me, asked me for a Fireman Jacket and part of the company, if I could. I gave him a Jacket, and an option to buy the company 5 years later—not because I knew he really wanted it. I did it because I knew his pride would permit him to wear the coat or buy the company, and in some way I wanted to challenge him to move forward. I did it because I respected him, loved working with him and had grown up with his strange and fortunate influence in my life and work. Mainly, I did it because I was no longer a kid living by his impromptu mental list. We never worked together after that. We moved through the later years of our relationship like many old friends do. Hooking up for the occasional run at industry events. Talking on the phone every now and then, I sent him a note after one of his Facebook rants—told him to mellow out and realize his legacy was sealed, strong and real. He didn’t need to say more about his work. We laughed about snowboard stories old and new—conducted a few secret meet-ups at trade shows, where he would master the ability to speak both deeply and cautiously about his business and personal challenges. We talked when Craig was killed in an avalanche. We talked about divorce, and then remarriage. Mostly in these talks, I listened, took notes and respectfully addedto the mental list as the conversation went along—my
JAKE AND TOM circ
photo: bud fawcetT circa ‘85
way of acknowledging what a tremendous influence and friend Tom was to me. I assume that somewhere we each secretly knew too, there were parts of the list we had each never given up on. My final memory of my life with Tom Sims is also my first memory of meeting Tom Sims. I called him one day when I was 14 years old, and asked him to tell me why his snowboards were so expensive. He ran me through all the technology; Rocker base, Solid Maple Plies, Steel Fins, Channeled tail, 3 inch Velcro ankle closures on the binding heel cup, 2 inch on the toe, “Same material Tracker Trucks builds their truck lappers out of, so you know my bindings are beefy”. I was sold, but explained to him I was currently riding on free Burton gear that Jake had supplied me with a season or two earlier. Tom said he would change that, and followed through a few weeks with a personal visit to my house some 600 miles drive from his home. I’m convinced he drove all that way after I told him Jake had recently visited and rode with my friends and me. The contrast of their visits and the impressions remaining are indelible in my mind. When Jake arrived, he was in a road-grit covered mini-truck with a cheap camper slapped on top. He slept in the back while traveling. As a west-coast born and bred kid, my initial impression at 15 years old was that he was a hippy hold-over from Vermont. I thought he was cool, and very well educated. Everything he had was Navy blue. A year or so later, Tom Sims arrived, in a brand new gold BMW with wide, custom wheels, spoiler on the back and a gorgeous blond girlfriend in the passenger seat. Both Tom and his girl smelled like coconuts and the ocean breeze, rolling up to Flagstaff, Arizona. I breathe it all in. Tom’s car was filled with boards, drills, cassette tapes, camera gear, duct tape rolls, boot liners and everything else he could fit in the backseat. It was total chaos and I was immediately attracted. We met at his hotel, the nicest hotel in town, where his girlfriend pranced shyly around in a bikini bottom and sweatshirt (fresh out of the pool I presumed) while he preached the gospel of Sims and ran me through all his gear, each one of his boards, experiments and views on riding. I remember sliding a case of duct tape aside to view a nose shape from what he called ‘The proper distance to see the whole shape’. He made me move boxes, dig for screws and hold things while he drilled innumerable holes in decks, searching for the perfect stance. I was dizzy with the feint smell of wax, waves, wetsuits, women and willful indulgence. The entire conversation was passionate, quick, opinionated, filthy dirty and filled with eye contact and energy like no other adult had ever spoken to me. I was a child who had inadvertently stepped on the burning bush of snowboarding, and I liked the burn. At the end of it all I thought, “Go! Go to snowboarding with everything you have in your heart…and I did”.
The entire conversation was passionate, quick, opinionated, filthy dirty and filled with eye contact and energy like no other adult had ever spoken to me. By virtue of these single and separate visits by Jake and Tom, I have come to believe I had a front row seat to the invisible ‘Matrix-like’ consumer and corporate context of snowboarding today, a context (I will add) that most never know exists—even as they work tradeshows and industry ladders. Tom Sims created the ‘Who’ a snowboarder was. And on the other side, Jake Burton created ‘what snowboarding will become’ and ‘how we will do it’. Both of their efforts, alongside many of us from the second wave, grew a sport. This dynamic lives on today. When you get a board online, or at a retailer, then go to a resort and buy a lift ticket with no hassle or problems, thank Jake Burton. When you see a teaser of Jed Anderson sliding a massive handrail with bloody board graphics that feature his middle finger and a ‘Cheese Dick’s’ sticker, thank Tom Sims. When you see Danny and Dingo, thank Tom Sims. When you see the Sex Pistols, Black Flag and Minor Threat on your riding play list, thank Tom Sims. When you see riders with the freedom to design their own board graphics and image, thank Tom Sims. This is the consumer context, the rider archetypes set into place before an industry or business existed; one archetypal rider which is informed by nature and instinct—loose, fast, fun and untamable in all forms. The second archetype, an anti-form of the first; purposeful, intentional with a personal architecture whose only outcome is successful execution of the plan; Tom and Jake. Terry and Kelly. Palmer and Terje. Danny and Shawn. The archetype, by the way, knows
no gender boundaries, Tina Basich and Shannon Dunn, Laura Hadar and Kelly Clark. It spins on ad-infinitum and snowboarding is always more interesting when it does so. It may also be the reason that Hybrid versions of snowboarding never hold the same imaging power as the pure archetype which is invested in the DNA of the sport by Tom and Jake – boardercross anyone? Moguls? Slalom and hard boots? We are children of a sport with an invisible purity seething out of every seam. Black. White. Cane, Abel, Goofy, Regular. While the Sims brand has primarily failed in the core market today, in the 80’s they exposed the Achilles of Burton that brands like Bonfire, Capita, Airblaster, Ride, Rome, Lib, Union have all exploited over the last 20 years to define a point of difference in the business. As for Burton, for the last 20 years they have mastered indoctrination over incubation, leaving the latter to the ‘cool companies’ to serve up for their swooping while they use their expertise and passion to bring it to market. Neither part of this dynamic is wrong, or better or worse than the other. The point is that Tom Sims saw this structure, and knew these archetypes would drive the sport and everything around it, well before anyone in the second or third waves of snowboarding would ever puzzle this out. If there were a network of X’s and O’s behind the curtain of what was developing, Sims was Neo – and saw the horror, hope and hype of all of it.
For this reason I will never believe Tom Sims invented snowboarding, I will always believe that he invented the Snowboarder.
I have been called a snowboard Pioneer too, for many years now. Have even referred to myself as such, on speaking occasions, press releases, articles and imagery. It always makes me uncomfortable, living under a label. It is fundamentally against what Tom taught me. I have also seen many other people in the industry under the banner of ‘Snowboard Pioneer’, claiming a particular
date they started a brand or began riding. Today, on Tom’s passing, I posit this is all bullshit. I’m no Pioneer. No other leader of any other snowboard company around today is a Pioneer, because we should honor the people who achieve this standard by defining Pioneer in precisely the meaning it was given in the days of the old west. A Pioneer is someone who rides in rough off the plains and out of the wilderness; uninvited, dirty, disgusted and dying to get cleaned up—thirsty for the affections of anyone who will sit down and listen to the improbable tale of how that Pioneer came to be in front of them on that particular day. A Pioneer
is someone who comes in hot – defies convention and corporate models. A Pioneer is to be approached with trepidation and some distance, until we hear them speak the will of their intent. A Pioneer is disruptive, disappears and moves on when you need them the most; they will not be lassoed into a tradeshow meeting, contract or business plan. A Pioneer will not settle in and mend the fences or build neighborly relationships with other Pioneers; because they’re dying to get outside and get to the shit they ‘gotta get done’ before they get to the next town, the next venture, the next idea on the list. This is a pioneer, Tom Sims was a pioneer.
This is a Pioneer. Tom Sims was a Pioneer. The rest of us ‘so called’ Pioneers? We are like the land developers in the days just after the first slimy, glittering rock of gold was panned out of the murky dirt by that poor soul of a Pioneer who searched so hard and deep for something shiny to prove his worth. We are the ones with clean hands, tradeshow teeth and technology, who have happened upon that Pioneers’ clawed out hole in the river. We are the second wave, who put in resorts, retailers, magazines, websites, teams, terrain parks, teasers, podiums and profit. We are too clean and too calculated to be true Pioneers. As we of the second, and many other waves of snowboarding to occur since, look down at that unnamed shiny thing in the dusty desert that was the world before snowboarding, I say we all pause today and put a name to that first Pioneer, that first burst of energy that made us think, “There might be something to do here, something to grow here”. The name of that Pioneer is Tom Sims. I can see Tom Sims standing in the middle of that open area of the afterlife now. Feet pressed into the ground, so at to leave a mark for us in the twilight of life. His neck and body are bent down, looking into a small trickle of water, hardly enough water to require more than one step to pass over. He reaches into his pocket to grab an old piece of paper and a pen. He scribbles a note of what will become the new list, before looking up into the blown out hot sun (shoot firstname.lastname@example.org and close down two-stop, shoot Fujichrome 50 for better blue skies; he would say in analyzing the filmed image of these words). He places the paper back in his pocket and crosses the stream alone. Thank you Tom for our time together. I feel good, like I knew that I would—because I have known you these many years. Put another Swiss Franc in the Jukebox and rest in peace my dear friend.
- Brad Steward
Tom SimS rockin’ a tight stance and even tighter outfit / photo: bud fawcetT circa ‘88
By: Alex Buecking
Itâ€™s fairly uncommon to hear about an un-profitable event planning improvements around a keg party, but thatâ€™s just the nature of The Beartooth Summer Session.
Skier: Shay Lee, sending to slush.
ast June ON3P skis put on a ski camp in Montana’s Beartooth Mountains that defied conventional formats. The Beartooth Summer Session mimicked other camps by offering great skiing, a meal plan, and accommodations, but also incorporated accessibility, autonomy, and dirtbaggery into its general operating principles. The cost of the session was a skinny $270, and included 4 days of skiing and 3 nights of lodging. The camp’s amenities were also available a la carte, which allowed campers to do what they want, when they wanted, if they felt like it. The loose model drew a diverse, dedicated group of skiers to one of the rowdiest venues that most people have never heard of. Although Beartooth Pass is home to countless touring opportunities, the session’s skiing was concentrated at Red Lodge Summer International Ski and Snowboard Camp. RLSISSC is a locally operated ski area that sits at 10,900 feet on the Twin Lakes headwall, and is home to 600 acres of poma-serviced terrain that varies in
pitch from 15 to 50 degrees. ON3P employees worked with the ski area to build a big mountain slopestyle course that forced every camper out of their element at some point during their runs. The humbling venue efficiently deflated egos and fostered comradery within a diverse group of ski bums who rarely explore other niches of their sport.
alike, and if you didn’t compete, you didn’t ski that day. Each competitor was given a rank in Big Mountain, Park, and Overall categories, and not a hint of bitching was audible when the results were announced. Maybe it was because ON3P’s Kip Kirol rounded up copious amounts of prizes and swag for the event, but it could have been the diversity of riding styles and runs at the competition that distracted anyone from finding something negative to say.
Westminster Spires Camp is located at the bottom of the pass, and served as the mess hall, sleeping area, and après venue during the event. Here, campers had a choice to rent a bunk, camp in the yard, or just stay up all night. A large, ever-burning bonfire served as the epicenter for banter, birthplace of ambitious plans, and debriefing stage for facilitators throughout the long weekend. It was an ideal setting for a group of people that had just traveled great distances to sleep in the woods and go skiing in the summertime.
Not only did Kip round up $7,000 worth of prizes for the competition, but he also paid out of pocket for everything from t-shirts to cabin rentals. He succeeded the ultimate goal of creating an incredibly fun and affordable experience, but came up just shy of breaking even this year. Even so, he has full intentions of bringing the session back to Beartooh Pass next year, along with plans for integrating a backcountry ski trip and keg party into the works.
The camp also integrated a touch of friendly competition among participants. The contest was held on the big mountain slopestyle course at RLSISSC, and riders were judged by category-specific panels to ensure that nothing was missed. Entry was free for campers and public
It’s fairly uncommon to hear about an un-profitable event planning improvements around a keg party, but that’s just the nature of The Beartooth Summer Session. Even though it needs more participants to thrive, it still exists for the sole purpose of providing the ski community with an all-inclusive good time at a beyond-reasonable price point. I don’t doubt that the event will push on regardless of financial viability, but in this economy, can you afford not to go?
A brief history and overview of modern weather control
Toxic flames of burning skis and snowboards lick at the cold, dark sky while worshipping revelers drink, dance and pray to their assorted gods for a season of abundant snowfall. However, last season’s less than average snowfall may be a sign that these rituals are not manifesting approval from the supernatural deities who influence the weather in our favor. Have we disappointed the gods? Can we win back their favor? After all, pleading to supreme beings is the only feasible way mere humans can hope to affect such an ephemeral, yet powerful and massive organism as the sky, right? Well, if that’s the kind of warm and fuzzy comfort you need to navigate your way in this “future is now” reality we occupy please, read no further. The desire to control the weather is not a new one. And while people around the globe have been performing such rituals as pray for snow bonfires since the dawn of time, a few men in the not so distant past were brazen enough to take to the sky and try their hand at actually playing God. Professor Emory Leon Chaffee at Harvard University dispensed charged sand from an airplane during 1924 in an attempt to modify weather. In 1930, a Dutch man named W. Veraart dropped dry ice into clouds for the same purpose. Another would-be weather manipulator, Professor Henry G. Houghton of MIT, sprayed hygroscopic solutions into fogs in 1938 to dissipate the fog. Unfortunately for them, none of these early scientists had adequate financial support for their research, so society was unable to benefit from their ideas. Cloud seeding as it is commonly referred to in its modern form was discovered in 1946 by Dr. Bernard Vonnegut at a General Electrics laboratory in Schenectady, NY. Building upon the previous researchers, Dr. Vonnegut discovered that microscopic crystals of silver iodide nucleate water vapor to form ice crystals. He also invented a practical way of generating tiny silver iodide (AgI) particles to serve as nuclei for
ice crystals. Vonnegut dissolved a mixture of AgI and another iodide in acetone, sprayed the solution through a nozzle to make droplets then burned the droplets. This method continues to be the common way to seed clouds in an effort to increase precipitation. Weather Modification companies have been amplifying rainfall and farming snow this way for over half a century. The snow “seeds” are planted into clouds with an acceptable temperature, between -39 and 5 celsius, via ground-based and/or airborne systems. Determination of the best suited method or combination of methods for a given project is based upon an assessment of a variety of factors. The seeding materials are applied to the clouds (sometimes targeted very carefully into specific portions of clouds) so that the material has adequate time to affect the precipitation process, allowing the effect to be focused over the intended geographic area. In many cases, the intended area is your local ski hill. This practice is called snowpack augmentation. Awesome, right?! Someone with enough clams has essentially paid the way for you to have more powder days. Maybe instead of burning skis you could just send a nice thank you card and an edible bouquet. But who, you may ask, is paying for this wonderful snowy gift and why? Clearly, ski areas benefit directly from increased snowfall in terms of more passes sold and services purchased. Large resorts rake in huge profits from repeated heavy dumps and so it’s no surprise that places such as Telluride pitch in for the seeding. However, mountain snowpack not only provides for our winter playground, it determines the amount of runoff in the spring. So, in the San Juan Mountains, for example, Telluride shares the expense with other interested “down stream” parties. In most cases these include power company share holders, local and county water resource boards, drought management departments, agriculture investors and others. (Incidentally, places such as Silverton Mountain enjoy the residual effects of this ongoing endeavor by
receiving massive dumps all season long.) In reality, anyone who has the money for it can essentially order their weather from a licensed weather modification company if the proposal is approved and it receives a permit. This process does not require any public debate or even public notification of the activities. For these and other reasons, laws in Washington and Oregon prohibit cloud seeding. In contrast, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada and California are presently involved in a $20 million, 5 year project designed to create more snowpack in the Tetons than ever before recorded in an effort to ease the strain on the dwindling waters of the Colorado River. That should mean Jackson Hole will continue to have bomber seasons. Currently there are 11 states and over 60 countries using various weather modification techniques. In some places continual modification has been on-going for more than five decades. In other words, weather modification is a multimillion dollar industry. Not bad for producing a product that is very challenging to evaluate with any real precision. That is to say, no one can argue that three feet of fresh powder isn’t a treasure to those who love winter sports, but determining whether or not it would have snowed without the seeding is hard to prove. Jesse Abers, a self-described ex-ridge hippie who has been riding Bridger Bowl every winter for the past 40, currently works as a water resource planner for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. He states, “No one can prove that it [cloud seeding] works conclusively in that setting because all of the antecedent conditions for precipitation must be present in any event anyway…What is there to say that the seeding was the definitive cause? The atmosphere is a dynamic laboratory in which to conduct research since you cannot control any of the variables present, except the seeding itself.” For example, this season will see another La Nina and will also mark the fourth year of the current 30 year Pacific Decatle Oscillation Cold Cycle each of which indicate the potential for heavy, late-season snowfall. However,
despite the unknowns, evidence suggests that the precipitation increase from cloud seeding is somewhere between 5 – 20%. In addition to questionable data, the whole concept of weather modification raises other ethical issues. Appearing in 1952 before a U.S. Senate committee that was considering legislation on weather modification, Dr. Vonnegut said, “Theory has predicted and experiments are confirming the fact that [cloud seeding] can exercise a profound influence over the weather hundreds of miles away from the point of release. Clearly no private individual or group can be permitted to carry on operations over thousands or hundreds of thousands of square miles. The potentialities, both for good and bad, which attend silver-iodide seeding are so large that the development and use of this technique must be placed in the hands of the Federal Government.” Yet, despite such foreboding, today’s weather modification industry is wholly privatized. This means only an estimated 5 – 10% of the information related to these on-going experiments (in the sky we all share!) is being reported. NOAA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration oversees all weather modification projects. Findings reported in meteorological journals illustrate that cloud seeding can fail, yet remain in a storm system and create heavy precipitation far down wind from the target area. Other research shows the wrong combination of temperature and water content can easily lead to reduced precipitation. Rosalind Peterson of the Agriculture Defense Council sees the potential for a multitude of adverse consequences including flooding, drought and extreme heat. She also points to the fact that since ENRON initiated market derivatives on weather modification, trading weather futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry. This raises questions in regard to the potential for insider trading by those who are privy to weather manipulating activities, or worse. These negatives however, pale in comparison to what could be the intentional manipulation of weather in an aggressive manner, namely by the military.
During the Vietnam War, the United States Military operated a five year weather assault dubbed “Operation Popeye” in an effort to extend the monsoon season along the Ho Chi Min Trail. The goals were to increase flooding, destroy crops and lower the morale of the enemy. Luckily, this project is detailed in public files otherwise, proving that the weather has been modified is nearly impossible. In his 1968 book titled “Unless Peace Comes” Gordon J. F. MacDonald writes:
“Among future means of obtaining national objectives by force, one possibility hinges on man’s ability to control and manipulate the environment of his planet. When achieved, this power over his environment will provide man with a new force capable of doing great and indiscriminate damage…and the weapons of mass destruction were those of environmental catastrophe. As I will argue, these weapons are peculiarly suited for covert or secret wars.” Well, the future is now. Need proof ? A 2005 Business Week article reported speculation that Hurricane Katrina was steered inland by former KGB agents. And a research paper written in collaboration by 7 U.S Air Force Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels and Majors titled “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025” clearly outlines the military’s perspective on utilizing weather as a weapon: “A high-risk, high-reward endeavor, weather modification offers a dilemma not unlike the splitting
of the atom. While some segments of society will always be reluctant to examine controversial issues such as weather modification, the tremendous military capabilities that could result from this field are ignored at our own peril. From enhancing friendly operations or disrupting those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of natural weather patterns to complete dominance of global communications and counter-space control, weather modification offers the war fighter a wide-range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary.” One should note this would be in direct violation of the resolution adopted by the 1977 United Nations General Assembly prohibiting the signors from hostile use of environmental modification techniques…or is this already happening? Let’s speed check here. Recall the first paragraph. You, the reader, were warned to protect your fuzzy warm feelings by NOT reading this article. Everything described so far is just the view from the top of the rabbit hole. Jump inside and you enter a confusing world of conspiracy theories, geoengineering, chemtrails, upper-atmospheric aerosol spraying experiments, connections to honey bee and bat die-offs and increasing human illnesses that will force you to question your trust in the real supreme entities controlling our planet and our weather…even reality as you know it. Doing so however, is not recommended. Instead, dear reader, enjoy the fact that despite global warming, winters out west should continue to be blessed with enough snow to satisfy your carving cravings. (Although this season should give some perspective on that matter.) Feel free to burn as many skis and snowboards as needed to fulfill your offering obligations. That toxic smoke is somewhat irrelevant to what is really going on up above…and maybe, just maybe, some God will take note.
Story by: Jessie Shoemaker / Photo: Reid Morth
If you are into snowboarding and do not know who Romain DeMarchi (RDM) is yet, it’s time for you to figure it out. He has been a hard-charging pro snowboarder for almost two decades now, and has produced numerous mind-blowing segments and photos over the years. Once recognized as a Burton International Supershred, RDM has moved on to develop the YES brand with his two partners in crime, David Carrier-Porchern (DCP) and JP Solberg (JPS). Not familiar with those names either? Take what I just explained about RDM and apply it to the other two hard-charging, motivated, unique individuals, and you have YESnowboards. I’ve been shooting photos with the YES crew over the past three seasons and I’d like to say that it has always been a pleasure, but that’s not the case. A lot of my time with them has been spent battling deep snow on sleds while slogging headlong into some of coastal B.C.’s nastiest winter storms. Nothing stops this crew from getting after it; they’re dedicated. The owners of YES are building their company on the foundation of riding as much as possible; not only for themselves, but also to show a new generation of Whistler shreds how it’s done. I could ramble on and on about how great YES is, but who wants to hear it from some photographer/writer hack? I recently caught up with the boys at YES Snowboards to find out THE REAL SCOOP.
DCP goes fast, Alaska.
â€œYES is a positive movement in snowboarding. We want to see people experience the sport for what it really is: a mind-opening culture!â€? -JPS
You are all talented and decorated snowboarding veterans. What’s it like to take younger, unheard-of riders under your wing and give them a home at YES? DCP- “It’s very cool. It’s a way to give back. Snowboarding has given us so much in life in terms of opportunities and experiences. Giving someone a chance to push themselves and offering them a team and a media platform to do it with feels right.” JPS- “I love seeing how different riders keep recreating the little things that you can do on your board. The sport is still young and we haven’t seen shit yet! I want to be there for all of it!” RDM- “We give back what snowboarding did for us. So having young kids under our wings is just what we are supposed to do.” 78
Clint Allen pulls a Lofty BS 360. Whistler, B.C.
“ The companies who say they know how to make the best boards, bindings, boots, outerwear, etc. are full of shit. It’s just a cheap way to capitalize on all the things that bring in money. We believe in doing one thing really good, instead of doing everything kind of good. “ -JPS
In the time I have spent around you guys, your stoke for continuing to ride hard has been very apparent. Tell me, how do you keep that fire going season after season? JPS- “The fact that nobody tells us what to do anymore has allowed us to take a step back and realize why we started doing this in the first place. Nothing is more special than a full pow day with friends! I don’t know what it’s like with your homies, but shit gets crazy when we all get together and stoke is high!” RDM- “The more I ride, the more I want to progress, and that has never stopped during the past 21 years.” DCP- “The thought of discovering new terrain and using it as my natural park, or picturing myself going fast down a line puts a smile on my face and makes my heart beat faster. I love riding somewhere new. The anticipation for the moment of riding away from something exhilarating keeps me fired up!”
Pascal Gallant, Paul Watt, JP Solberg and Clint Allen Review footage.
How does the tight knit friendship between you three play into YES? How about your time shared on the hill? JPS- “The raddest thing about all of the time we spend together is that any second could be a board meeting. It could be on a peakall inspired before dropping in, or hungover as fuck on the road somewhere. We keep it really fresh in our company. Freedom to say whatever we want is crucial, after that we take a vote and see what comes to life.” DCP- “Romain, JP, and I go way back. In the Burton days we created UnInc together. We were blessed with a lot of travel around the world to ride and promote. I believe you get a strong connection with people you travel with. When it comes to riding, I can really trust these guys. It’s very important to have good riding partners if you want to push yourself and keep it safe at the same time. We got each other’s backs on and off the hill. I don’t remember how many times I kept Romain from getting in a fight or going to jail for the night. Those guys are my brothers!”
RDM- “We are all different, but have the same vision and passion, so we compliment each other well. When it comes to the hill, we love to push and support each other. We are like brothers going to play in the backyard.”
Why should people back YESnowboards? JPS- “YES is one of the purest and most concentrated companies out there right now. We are dedicated to making the best boards for the type of riding that goes down today. We are not cutting any corners in our goal to be the most legit brand out there. The companies who say they know how to make the best boards, bindings, boots, outerwear, etc. are full of shit. It’s just a cheap way to capitalize on all the things that bring in money. We 79
believe in doing one thing really good, instead of doing everything kind of good. In skateboarding there are truck, wheel, bearing, and deck companies; if any of those brands tried to do the whole package it would be the biggest joke. There is room for everybody and I miss that in our sport.” DCP- “YES is rider owned and operated. YES is snowboarding. So I think by living your snowboarding dream, indirectly you are supporting YES snowboards. Our boards can elevate your experience on the hill or in the streets.” RDM- “This is as close as you can get to supporting a true snowboard company.”
What are future goals at YES? DCP- “We are going to take over the world! No, seriously, we want to keep pushing snowboarding and giving chances to strong passionate riders. We will have a women’s line next year and will keep pushing what’s possible with board technology. We want to have a bigger penetration into the market and start taking market shares from the big guys. We are turning people on to the YES movement!” JPS- “To kick out bullshit companies that have no clue what the values of snowboarding are. And hopefully inspire more shred heads to start their own show, taking back snowboarding one company at the time!” RDM- “Take over snowboarding!” So there you have it: A portrait of a company painted by the dedicated humans who run and live it. As you can see, YES isn’t your typical company. It’s the manifestation of three lifelong, dedicated riders’ dreams. The commercial aspect is simply their way to share and continue snowboarding with purpose. YES is a vehicle for inspiration to live and snowboard in the mountains that radiates positivity and change. Their goal is to inflict positive changes in the snowboard industry that drive the sport in a direction that is good for the snowboarding community, not just for large companies looking to make a buck. I think they’ll succeed. 80
Romain spinning in the Whistler Backountry.
DCP strappin’ in, Alaska.
“If you have a goal, put all your energy towards it and don’t let go until you finish” -RDM 81
A ski bum sues the federal government. Too often, it feels as if the Fat Cats can trump any opposition. They can clear cut our forests, bankrupt our towns, and poison our food and water. Fat Cats will cover your life in scat. Then they dub their product “All Natural” and pretend like they’re doing you a favor, licking your face with the tongues they just wiped their asses with. It’s easy to feel hopeless or resigned in the fight against Fat Cats, but now and again a persistent underdog can send those pussies running up a tree.
John Meyer is a climber, snowboarder, and graduate of the University of Montana. He started working on the Tongue River Railroad case five years ago while attending Vermont Law School. Meyer grew up playing in the woods of Northwest Indiana and was the first of his family to graduate from a four-year college. His mother cuts slabs of steel for a living at a mill near Gary, Indiana. His father started out pumping gas at a full service station and now manages multiple gas stations in the Mid-West. After graduating with a law degree, Meyer returned to Montana and established Bozeman’s Cottonwood Environmental Law Center.
Meyer and an attorney from Missoula represented The Northern Plains Resource Council against twelve other lawyers who represented the railroad company and federal government. On December 29, 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government’s approval of the railroad violated federal environmental law. The Surface Transportation Board’s original Environmental Impact Statement had neglected to take the effects of the railroad in conjunction with the effects of the ensuing coal mines into account. In many instances, the agency didn’t even Almost three decades ago, The Tongue River Railroad Company, know which wildlife species were going to be impacted. owned by Arch Coal, first purposed building a railroad across Southeastern Montana’s Tongue River Valley for the sake of developing new This summer I got a chance to catch up with Meyer to learn more about Cottoncoal mines in the Powder River Basin. This $550 million project would wood Law, which managed to stop Arch Coal from destroying the Tongue River have transported millions of tons of coal per year to be burned in Valley. Looking for Meyer’s house, I drove up a gravel road in the woods outside loosely-regulated Chinese power plants. A local group of fourth-gen- of Bozeman, MT and parked by his truck, in the irrigation ditch. A lightly traveled eration farmers known as the Northern Plains Resource Council, had game trail led me into a clearing where a yurt sat with prayer flags hanging over the been fighting to protect their family lands from this project for nearly entrance and a snowboard leaning against the canvas wall. Inside, I found John thirty years before John Meyer got involved. and his dog, Guinness.
Meg Haywood-Sullivan 82
Somewhere in Washington...
BS: So, if you’re a real lawyer, why do you live in a yurt with no running water or utilities? JM: I live in a yurt for a few reasons: I always wanted to live off the grid and experience the lifestyle, and the second reason is because it was the only way I could afford to start Cottonwood Environmental Law Center. BS: How many hours do you work in a typical week? JM: If we have a deadline on a case, I could work upwards of a 100 hours and be sleeping in the office. If we don’t have any hard deadlines, I’m hopefully snowboarding or climbing in a foreign country. BS: It has been awhile since you proved that the federal government had broken its own laws in the Tongue River Railroad case. Have you been paid yet? JM: No, we’re still fighting. We won on December 30th, 2011, and on July 2nd we’re still arguing. It will probably be another two or three months before we have any sort of resolution. BS: What does that victory mean for your firm? JM: I think that the victory gives us credibility. I think it says a lot about our intelligence and our ability to secure favorable outcomes for our clients. BS: What are you working on now? JM: We have a lot of neat projects we’re working on. We’re trying to get dirt bikes out of an inventoried roadless area. It contains fens, which are a specific type of wetland. It takes over ten thousand years for fens to be created, and once they’re destroyed there’s no way to replace them. We’re trying to get these dirt bikers out of there so they don’t destroy these very unique and special places. And we’re trying to get the wolverine on the endangered species list. We’re hoping that the government will do the right thing and put them on the list in January of 2013, if not sooner. We’re also trying to stop the government from cutting down a tract of old growth forest in Central Montana that is over three hundred years old. The area provides unique habitat for the Northern Goshawk, and it provides security cover for elk. We’ve been working on that case since 2009. BS: Besides staying awake through an entire documentary about all the ways I’m contributing to the destruction of the world, what can I do to appease my environmental guilt? JM: I don’t think that its a matter of feeling guilty. I think it’s a matter of looking within and finding something that you feel good about. We shouldn’t move from a place of guilt. We should move from a place of heart, in which we want to do something instead of feeling like we have to do something. I think when we start moving from a place where we want to do something, then it becomes much easier and much more enjoyable instead of a feeling of dread, like: “O’ God, I have to do this or that”. BS: Right on, so how many lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb? JM: O’ I’ve heard this before. Two? BS: The correct answer is six. One to replace the bulb and five to write the Environmental Impact Statement. JM: No. It takes seven—one more to sue them. Hats off to John Meyer and staff attorney, Andrew Gorder, of the Cottonwood Environmental Law Center for protecting what’s good and sticking it to The Man. To learn more about the C.E.L.C. visit www.cottonwoodlaw.org.
REVIEWS brooks range vs. sierra designs The Brooks-Range Alpini 0 Degree vs. The Sierra Designs Zissou 0 Degree Alpini weighing in at a slender 2.68lbs takes on the Zissou at 3lbs, 1oz. The Brooks-Range Alpini features 850+ down fill, a slender cut, and minimalist design including an easily accessible interior pocket. The Sierra Designs Zissou comes with 600 fill DriDown, a more spacious cut, and a thicker shell layer. Both bags are rated at 0Â°F. Warmest: Alpini. The more fill and tighter fit allows for less pockets of cold air inside the sack Best Price: Zissou at $299.95 (Alpini retails at $479). Best When Wet: Zissou (Treated down such as DriDown is the future of down, keeping gear warmer and drier than traditional down without the sacrifices of synthetic down). Best Style: Alpini (The low profile color scheme and embroidered Brooks-Range Bunny gives this sack a classy microbrew chic in comparison to the lime green interior put forth from the far larger company). Down and Dirty: If youâ€™re looking to Jeremy-Jones-it this season, get a little deeper, further, more out in the middle of fucking nowhere, either of these two bags would make a great addition to your gear closet. For camping in the heart of winter, on the coldest nights, you want a bag rated at colder temperatures than 0 degrees, but for spring missions, when the snowpack has stabilized and the camping is more agreeable, these sleeping sacks will get the job done and not take up too much pack space. - Henry Worobec / Both Bags are pictured on next page
Dan Armstrong and Reid Morth / StrobotStudios.com
CAsT Touring setup . Green Mtn. Freeride While resort-friendly touring bindings have come a long way in the past few years, they still fall short when it comes to climbing performance. Luckily, a few rippers have thrown their hats into the ring and somebody’s finally making some real uphill progress. The boys at Green Mountain Freeride are developing a binding system called the CAST; it integrates the uphill performance of a tech binding with the downhill reliability of an alpine binding. The system is composed of a lightweight aluminum housing that’s mounted to your ski and holds thin, interchangeable aluminum plates that are mounted with tech and downhill toe pieces, and a riser that an alpine heel-piece is permanently mounted to in the back. This allows users to take the best of both worlds: touring without any lifted heel-weight and skiing without an elevated concern for binding carnage. After testing, the binding has proven just as sound in practice as it is in theory. The CAST will be available in Look, Tyrolia, and Salomon downhill compatibilities, with Plum and Dynafit as the uphill options. And don’t worry, your beloved downhill boots can be easily modified* with toe inserts to be made CAST-compatible, making it an equal-opportunity system. *If you don’t have a good bit of mechanical know-how and a set of tools, you might not consider this task “easy”. Don’t worry though, Lars will do it for you if you’re scared. The Down and Dirty: This may or may not be the the end-all of binding compromises, but it’s definitely the closest anybody has come so far. Critics will snivel about having to click out to switch between tour and ski modes, but you’ll have summited and completed that step by the time their shit-talking reaches earshot. You’ll be able to preorder your own CAST setup through an upcoming Kickstarter campaign. Drop by casttouring.com for a look-see. *We apologize for no pictures, the boys sent us a super low-res shot last minute.
Guardian Touring Bindings . salomon I had the opportunity to use the new Salomon Guardian bindings on some Salomon Rocker 2’s for a couple deep days at the end of last season. Ironically, the late April storm came after the lifts had closed and it turned out to be Bridger Bowl’s biggest dump of the year. The setup worked really well for both skiing and touring in nearly 3 feet of spring powder. Maybe not the best conditions to test skis, but I was more interested in trying the bindings anyway. The skis were fun, but what fat ski wouldn’t have been? All the features of the long-anticipated Guardian worked as promised; most notable was the ease of stepping in and out and the ability to switch between touring and skiing modes. The familiar snap of a real binding locking in was reassuring. On a couple occasions there was a little snow build up under the toe that needed to be cleared before locking down the heel. But with this much powder, I think that would be expected with any touring binding. The Down and Dirty: My one real criticism is that the heel lift is not quite tall enough. Like Marker did with the Duke, the Salomon team will need to create a taller climbing wire for some customers. Apparently, folks around here put in some steep-ass skin tracks, and these Euro guys don’t test on steep tracks. It was only an issue in a couple really steep and slippery spots, but still hard to believe they can’t figure that out in the beginning. The Down and Dirty: Clearly, the weight of this binding makes it most practical for side country jaunts or smaller tours, but it skis great and is the perfect everyday binding for those that want the flexibility of going on a spontaneous mission away from the ski area. I’m a fan and will be acquiring my own set for this winter. -Travis Andersen
the goggle condom . aka . the gondom Protection for your goggles anywhere, anytime! Application: Simply insert the tip of your goggles’ lenses into the Gondom’s soft, stretchy interior. Stretch the neoprene around the goggles for a snug fit. Perks: Your goggles will stay scratch-free, and more importantly, fog-free! This handy little protection unit fits discretely in your pocket when not applied. It will also keep a beer cold, or warm, if you choose to lube up the day with an adult beverage. When après or the RV calls, you can simply apply them while goggles are on the helmet and your lenses are protected from the flying fluids that are often associated with said activities.
A big thank you to this season’s “Bomb Betty” Sarah, as well as the Big Sky Ski Patrol for putting up with us, and making this photo shoot one of our most successful and most sober shoots to date!
Mammut Element Avalanche Beacon
The Down and Dirty: While it is nice to wake up, put on your goggles and know what you ate and drank the night before because you lenses are covered, it is hard to see and can sometimes trigger a gag reflex. Keep your facial windshield protected and safe with the affordable Gondom – oh, don’t forget the fun innuendos that come with the Gondom free of charge! We love their motto: Keeping the visuals great since 08’! Website: tlg8.com / Made in the USA.
Way Better Than a Plastic Jesus When I began poking around the backcountry in the early ‘80’s, avy beacons were rare and complicated. Operating on the now antique, 2.275 kHz frequency, units of that transistor era were low-tech gadgets complete with awkward earphones. I clearly recall the advice given the first time I took that firstgen Pieps up on Teton Pass, “Practice with that thing, or it’s no better than a plastic Jesus.” Relevant as that sage advice is today, avalanche beacons have come a long way. Blending digital & analog technologies, multiple antennae, LCD screens and intuitive audio cues, modern beacons have made it so most anyone – even our short bus shred buddies – can operate one successfully given a wee bit of practice. Having used a Swiss-made, Barryvox beacon for the past decade, I was searching for a contemporary replacement with all the 2013 tech & features. However, for those of us who embrace the KISS theory (keep it simple stupid), I wanted less buttons not more. While the Mammut/Barryvox Pulse beacon is the paragon unit amongst avy pros (patrollers & backcountry forecasters), I was drawn to Mammut’s simpler Element. Serving up three-antennas, a long (50 meter) reception range, a group check mode and marking of multiple burials, the Element is a sturdy, digital beacon with no unnecessary gee-gaws. And, yes, I’ve been practicing with it. Check it out. -Mike Harrelson
ONE BINDING systems . THE OB1 Recently flung across my desk were a set of plates called the One Binding System, made right here in Bozeman. The plates purpose is to make your resort board compatible with your Spark R&D splitboard binders. They say the plates bolt to any snowboard and adjust at five degree increments. Although the stance adjustments aren’t quite as specific as a typical binding, I think it’s a happy medium to get the stance most will need. So I went ahead and bolted them on to my new deck, slid my Spark R&D bindings on there, and went to the hill. The Down and Dirty: Definitely for the aggressive, all mountain rider. Stiff and responsive; don’t look for flexy gimmicks or a cushy ride. And over all, switching from my split to my in-bound board was a breeze. It’s simple and really does allow me to ride my favorite pair of bindings in any venue. This might change the way we drool over a set of bindings that until now were only used in the backcountry. We might have to agree that All You Need is “Juan.” Check out onebindingsystems.com for more info and photographs. Coming soon to a local shred shop near you. -Hector Garcia
NOW BINDING systems Tagged as the world’s first skate-influenced binding, I have to say I was a bit skeptical at first. I kept hearing about how your board will ride like a skateboard, and before I actually tried the NOW binding for myself, I assumed the binders would feel too loose. The Down And Dirty: I was wrong. The Bindings feel great, and ride much like a regular binding, but with much less torque on your baseplate and much less work on your feet. The binders are placed on rubber bushings, which creates a slight rise from the heel when you carve into a toeside edge. When carving heelside, there’s a slight rise off the board in the toe too. The feeling of a skate truck is true, but very subtle and agreeable on your arches. I felt like I was way less chattery on my heelside turns, and was able to carve harder on hardpack with less stress on my feet. I didn’t notice much difference on the toeside turns, but I will try the softer bushings next time I head out. Overall, great concept! Ask your local shred shop if they carry the NOW binding and if not, tell them they should. -B.S.
A big thank you to our new friend Jeff Douchkoff, who wrote this issues Letter to the Editor, hence landing him an invite to the“Betty” photoshoot. No more excuses buddy, although we think you may have a better chance of scoring if you ventured away from Big Sky. -Just sayin’. -BS 89
TOP TWENTY SUBSTANTIAL WINTER JAMS TO MOISTEN YOUR EARS.
DOSES AND MIMOSAS
HAZY SHADE OF WINTER
HURDY GURDY MAN
Simon and Garfunkel
SPIRIT OF LIFE Blackmill
Nightmares on Wax
13 QUIET STORM 14 FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK 15 TONIGHT YOU’RE THE KIND OF GIRL 16 116 Smokey Robinson
The Isley Brothers
1 2 10 3
44 5 66
18 19 20
Y TU QUE HAS HECHO
The Flaming Lips
PICKIN’ UP THE PIECES Fitz and the Tantrums
CAN’T HOLD US
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
ONE MORE CHANCE / STAY WITH ME (REMIX) Notorious B.I.G.
LOVE WHAT HAPPENED HERE James Blake
These songs are in no particular order or time era. This mixtape is courtesy of my obsession with the Shazam App. Yes, I love Technology. -Tio
BOMB SNOW NEEDS YOU.
PARTYING SHOT. PIT VIPER AMBASSADOR CHUCK MUMFORD EARNING POINTS / PHOTO: DREW STOECKLEIN
A valanches L oading P ath T errain Trap R ating U nstable Snow Th awing
LIVE TO SKI ANOTHER DAY www.mysteryranch.com
! S A N A N A B C I N A G R O C ne-Traction I g a M N h it A w C a n a L n V12/1O3 Dark Series C2 BTX Power Ba RD BUILDERS BITCHIN’ BO.cAom www.lib-tech
Mik e, l
ott Sulliva photo: Sc
Nick Bullock approaches the West ridge of Kyashar (6769m), Hinku Valley, Nepal Himalaya
L. Warzecha / A. Houseman
The DOWN CODEX project is an on-going audit of our entire down supply chain. Working with an independent testing organization, we have developed an on-going audit program to ensure that the down used in our down products has been sourced to high standards of animal welfare, including: no live plucking or harvesting and solvent free processing. You can trace the source of your down and learn more about our animal welfare project at: www.mountain-equipment.co.uk
Xero Hooded Jacket A pint-sized down puffy, weighing less than a pound*, the go to jacket for an extended traverse and cozy enough for a 20 degree evening chill. *size medium
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PHOTO: GLORY BOWL TETON PASS © GABE ROGEL
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gallatinalpinesports.com / 406.995.2313 / 3091 pine dr. big sky, Mt.
KODE 30 Photo: Reid Morth // Strobot Studios
SKI / SNOWBOARD MOUNTAINEERING / BACKCOUNTRY RESCUE / SKI PATROL
PHOTO / HENRY GEORGI
M Y M O U N TA I N I S M O O N L I G H T R I D E R / / S H A N E STA L L I N G TIME 1:15PM · LAP 13 L O C AT AT I O N W H I T E R O O M , T H E L O N E T R E E L I F T P H OTO G R A P H E R R E I D M O RT H AC R E # 4 2 0 O F 1,9 0 0
E L E VAT V AT A I O N 1 1,1 6 6 ’ T O TA TA L V E R T I C A L 4 , 0 2 0 ’
Buff速 is a registered trademark of Original Buff, SA Spain.
nailed it on the 16th try
Your Bandana Buff速 protects your head, neck and face from the elements. It tells the ice, wind, UV rays, and snowbanks to back off, so you can ride longer.
Find your style at Buffusa.com.
Let fun reign
Snap the QR code to see how many ways you can wear a Buff.
Bomb Snow Magazine delivers fresh and honest perspectives on both developing and established subjects pertinent to the winter culture. We a...