Blog: February 2011

calgary world cup and washington

-23c with -33c wind chill. what a great day to run a contest!
welcome to calgary i guess. The world cup held in clagary was held in mildly cold and mildly icy conditions. When it's that cold you have a hard time getting any sort of speed going and mistakes cost you dearly. When the snow is like that it also burns the base of your board and effectively ruins a board for ever wanting to go fast again.

I've had board problems all year. My contest boards for the past little while have all been custom Bataleons. It was a blend of our project green and an old enemy model from 3 years ago (or so). and i loved them. However i only had a few left at the start of this year so they were prized boards. Bataleon recently changed factories and made every board in the line up softer. This was not working out for me at all. I've had to practice all year on boards that were messed up or too soft or trying other boards out that you're not used too. I haven't been happy with my results this season and i can directly relate it to how bad my practice sessions have been. It sucks to have to protect boards so you have a good one for a contest. then on the contest day you have to quickly get a run together cause you can finally ride how you want. But you didn't get any good practice so it's a bit of a catch 22.

Calgary was no exception to that trend this year. With it being my last major contest for this season (i'm taking a mellow contest year this winter) i was hoping to use my last custom board to practice but the cold snow stopped that idea dead as i didn't want to ruin the board. So in the end I just missed making finals again.

That evening i was on a plane to vancouver, spent a few hours in squamish then packed up the car and headed down to washington to spend a few days shooting down there with my good friends Will jackways and Abbey Lockheart.

We had a gorgeous day in the mt baker backcountry then followed that up with a good day hiking off from Stevens Pass with a few locals. The sun was in and out and by the end of the day it was PUKING. Unfortunately we had to drive home right away since my girl had to work today. Great 2 days down there and now the snow is back in BC and i'm pretty much at home all month ready to ride and get some shooting done. We'll see what happens. never had a march without a contest. pretty excited.


things you don't see at a contest

Waiting. You never really see the waiting.

The past few days at Stoneham were pretty interesting. Firstly i thought the pipe was REALLY undervert. Prior to qualifications, a quickly downloaded app on my phone (while checking out the pipe) gave me the angles on the wall, which read at 75-78 degrees... the machine cuts at 84. I wasn't super stoked on it. But i knew the guys that usually pop to the flats a lot would love it, as they'd suddenly be hitting tranny perfectly and the rest of us would fight to make it back into the pipe.

Wednesday was our first day of practice and i didn't spin or grab my board once. It felt like i was skating a mini ramp so i just did ollies all practice. The second day it didn't feel much better to me. I grabbed a few times and did 2 720s.
Friday was the contest day and it was supposed to rain, which i love. I knew it would help steepen up the pipe walls a little. So that plus the groomer putting a little steeper cut on the pipe definitely helped me out, but still wasn't really loving it. But after traveling out here, missing some good snow in whistler, i had to pull it together and make something out of the trip.

Our day started off mildly late since it was a evening final. practice at 2pm, quals started at 3pm. It was rainy and foggy but we were able to ride no problem. I was the first rider to drop and landed a decent run in the fog that i thought would get me through to finals. After 10 guys had their runs, the fog had different ideas for the contest. We couldn't see past the first hit. So we waited at the top of the pipe hoping for it to clear. Then they tried to judge via the TV cameras that were on site. The judges still couldn't see. So the decision was made to postpone for 30 more minutes. then 30 more minutes. then 30 more minutes. We ended up waiting 2 hours before getting back to the pipe. 15 minutes of practice and right back to were we left off. But now under the lights and the rain had stopped. With everyone being able to see better than earlier i started to think my score wouldn't hold. Thankfully it did, and i landed a slightly better run my second try to make sure.

We ran through quals with no further fog problems and headed into the girls rounds. So the guys that made finals had another 2 hours to wait while the girls rode.

After having gone through several start/stops yesterday, and with the pipe not quite to my liking, i was having trouble psyching myself up for the finals. But I guess experience counts for something in contests and i just buckled down and convinced myself otherwise.

My first run in finals i dropped in too low and my first hit was right where everyone was landing theirs (the hit i was hitting was lower than everyone else to start off with). oops. almost gave up right there but experience kicked in again and I managed to put a run together though. But was really bummed on missing my first hit. Second run went better, but several mistakes kept my score lower then what i was aiming for. However i ended up 6th for the comp right behind my good friend brad martin. With not really liking the pipe, i was pretty happy with the result. Was also a good confidence boost in my ability to make runs happen. The top 4 spots were taken by japanese riders with ryo aono taking the win. Congrats to everyone for the super shredding.

A bright spot every year to being in stoneham is the crowd. they're awesome! I've been doing contests here for a decade or so and the crowd is always amazing. they get into it so much. Big thanks to everyone that makes it out every year to the event here in stoneham to cheer us on. The riders love you.

and speaking of cheering people on, I'm going to go cheer on my friends in the big air contest.
Next stop Calgary world cup later this week.

whistler is SUPER deep

this past week has been awesome!
good days in the backcountry last week, and since friday whistler has gotten well over 1m of snow. It's been great on the hill. The past 3 days i've ridden first chair to last without stopping.
Saturday and today were full on storm riding days riding trees all day long - pretty much my favorite style of riding. Sunday we got little breaks in the clouds so Peak was open on whistler and it was all about upper mountain hang time, launching cliffs everywhere. So much fun.
Such a good weekend. I'm off tomorrow morning for stoneham, quebec for a qorld cup then to calgary for another one the weekend after. Hope the pipes are good, been itching to ride a good one.
enjoy the 2 blurry videos from my crappy phone that Kimmie shot today.

museum displays and good times in snow

The last few weeks in and around whistler (since the world champs in spain) have been interesting. We got some rain pretty high which limited us to park and pipe riding for a few days. Then got just enough snow to ride in the backcountry, but you had to pick your landings carefully as some were not as deep as they appeared. Some wind, some sketchy avalanche conditions and finally a bit more snow and safer avi conditions.

I've taken my new splitboard out on a few missions to scope some new terrain, and we've had some really good days shooting. I've been stoked to be riding and shooting a lot with my good Kiwi friends Will jackways and Abby Lockheart. We've been joining Gaeten Chanut, Martin Gallant, Marie france roy, Leanne Pelosi, Robyn van gyn and others randomly for the last few weeks to get some stuff done. It's been rad riding with everyone and seeing them all send. A few days ago we were out for marie's first day in the backcountry since hurting herself last year, and i can easily say she hasn't missed a beat which was rad to see. I love seeing people come back from injury strong and riding well. That day was epic sunrise to sunset riding (my friend jeff's view of the day and me buried in a pow slash -

martin gallant checking the morning zone for some laps.

In between the shooting days i was invited to the Whistler Museum's opening and to help cut the ribbon of their new olympic exhibit, in which I have a bit of my olympic gear. My stinky boots that i loved, a pair of goggles and a shot of a switch back 5 from the Games. It was pretty cool to see my stuff on display with some other whistler athletes' stuff. I'd never been in the museum prior and i have to say it's pretty cool. Basically the history of the area, town personalities, athletes gear, and photos of naked people. Usual museum stuff. Check it out sometime when you're in whistler.

I also went to Calgary for a few days for the Burton Canadian open. The comp was pretty fun although with a chinook blowing in calgary it was minorly (read majorly) windy for those few days. The Open series is trying out a new judging format call Live Scoring which is interesting for sure but i think they have a few kinks to work out for it to work great in halfpipe. But it's going in a good direction.
Anyways, I battled the wind for the second comp in a row and just missed finals by 0.5 point on 100! they were taking top 10 to finals and i got 11th. bummed. However, it being an Open I felt obliged (or egged on by Cory from Snowpark technologies; head digger for the Open) to poach numerous runs in the finals. They had night finals for the first time (at an Open) and the pipe was riding good, minus the ever present wind. congrats to kohei Kudo and kelly clark for taking the wins.

I've also had a few missions thanks to my good friend matt (although not necessarily his fault). I blitzed out of calgary that same night as the pipe finals and was in squamish at 2am. at 7am i received a phone call from Matt asking if I could come into the backcountry to help him and a few other buddies drag his sled out which had broken down a few days prior while we were shooting. I'd be a few hours late. an hour later he called again, saying it was getting bluebird up top and to head to his house and bring his camera gear out there.
What i thought would be a somewhat mellow-ish day taking a few shots and dragging a sled out turned into a nearly 12 hour mission. Punching trails, digging sleds, taking a few photos, having the tow ropes break at nearly the top of a big hill, and sending matt down the cat track in the dark with no headlights or brakes made for a very long day. With a lot of laughing and swearing depending on what was happening, eventually the sled got taken out and we all headed home for food and much needed sleep.

A few days later, at the end of a splitboard mission day, matt decided to spin his truck around on a pretty icy corner of a dirt road. I heard his truck disappear around the corner, and thought he made it. then i heard the tires spin and the truck slid into the ditch. After an unsuccessful first exit attempt left his truck deeper in the ditch, we spent the next 2 hours filling in the ditch with rocks and snapping tie downs as we tried to tow his truck out with my car. Thankfully we eventually got it out (we weren't exactly close to town) to end off another long day.

Usually our days finish past sunset and you just head home no problems. But both of those 2 days are days i've come to expect and pretty much just laugh the whole time as they happen. If nobody gets hurt and everything eventually gets taken home it's all good and worth some laughs. It's happened to me before and will probably happen again so I'm always willing to help out my friends as much as possible.

Whistler's forecast is for a fair bit of snow this weekend, so hopefully it'll be deep until i leave on tuesday for 2 world cups in quebec city and calgary.

As i mention in the title of the video, i sometimes forget i have my cameras with me. I get so excited to ride sometimes i forget to pull them out, for stills or video. good thing there's professionals on hand to document!
thanks to matt domanski, jeff patterson and gary pendygrasse for pointing cameras at us lately. much appreciated.


a custom build we saw in the parking lot. Has a 4 stroke engine and it get multiple people up there in style (although slowly) is all i got out of the owner

something you have to be ready for in the backcountry. broken machines and a bunch of rubber necking friends to laugh at you. matt domanski getting ready to ask for a tow out.

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