Friday, March 18, 2011

NW Shred Magazine

I have to start by saying, "Thank you" to Tim Windell. First, he is employing me in the best job I can possibly ask for using my degree. I have been teaching math and science at the Academy he just started up. Second, He published a photo of me and had some really nice things to say in the article that accompanied the photo. The magazine is available to view online at Pages 94-97.

Arkade Magazine

Thanks to I had a photo published for an ad in a magazine. Arkade is based out of the Salt Lake area.

Thank you Diana, Kelly, and

Billabong Flaunt It

This blog is written by my student Nicole McNulty and it goes a little something like this...

"First thing Friday morning, March 4th, the ladies of Windells Academy, including Haley Hougen, Michelle Lu, Erin Marano, Gina Petrice, Randa Shahin, Lisa Dougherty and myself, packed up and started our trek to Mount Seymour, BC. We spent seven hours in the Academy van filled to the brim with boards, bags and pop tarts to compete in the Billabong Flaunt it. The Billabong Flaunt it is an all girls slopestyle and rail jam which makes several stops around Canada and finally wraps up at finals at Sierra-Tahoe on April 9th. This event is especially sick because all of the girls who really kill it come together in one spot to flaunt the best tricks they have. The Flaunt it is an awesome showcase of the progression of girls’ snowboarding and encourages girls of every level to compete.

The morning of the event was a little bit of a hassle, trying to get the car packed, get everyone fed and drive up from downtown Vancouver but we registered just in time. After rallying up the pass to get to Mount Seymour, we headed up for rider’s meeting and to inspect the course. To our surprise, the mountain was completely socked in to the point where you could barely see ten feet in front of you. As a result of the less then desirable conditions, the operators of the event decided to switch up the schedule, placing the rail jam in the morning rather than the afternoon and doing the slopestyle once the fog burned off.

The competitors were given a thirty-minute practice and then the forty-five minute jam session went off. Twenty to twenty-five girls showed up for the contest and everyone was throwing down. Two features were in the rail jam, a flat down box and a down rail. To say the least, girls were getting loose. Switch front blunts same-way 270s out and gnarly switch ups were being thrown left and right. Our very own math teacher, Randa Shahin, threw a front blunt and a tail slide 270 out. Gnarbuckets. Randa, Gina and myself were the only girls competing from our crew and we all had a blast but I couldn’t wait for the fog to clear out and the slopestyle to start.

After a complimentary lunch from Mount Seymour and the awesome sponsors, we all started up the hill again for the slopestyle. The fog was finally gone and the competition was about to get real. The course was two jumps, both with a big and small side, and then the two rail features from the rail jam. Just like the rail jam, the slopestyle was an hour and a half jam session where you could take as many runs as you wanted. Right off the bat girls were throwing some standout tricks including switch back 5s, some big back threes and a few attempt at 7s. I ended up getting five solid runs in during the jam and I was beyond stoked. All of my tricks felt really solid. Randa landed her first cab 5 during the competition and Gina conquered her fear and stomped some sick straight airs! All in all, the ladies killed it. The competition atmosphere was rad because all of the girls were supporting each other while still competing. It was so sick to see a bunch of girls in one place throwing down.

Once the competition ended, we all gathered for the awards and the raffle. The raffle was first and I won a rad purse from Billabong and Gina won a pretty sick backpack. The first award handed out was the Hard Knock award for the girl who took the hardest slams of the day and it was awarded to a local rider from Mount Seymour. The second award was the Best Style award, which luckily I won! The judges said I had the sickest style all day and I had some stand out tricks including a super tweaked back 3 japan and a “sexy” method. The awards were then given out for the rail jam and then finally slopestyle. Randa took 5thand I took 4th! We were so stoked on our performances and the swag we received for out placing. I got a pink mannequin head with some awesome Sony headphones on it for Best Style that is slightly creepy but still sick. Overall, this competition was so rad and I can’t wait for finals in Tahoe in April! It’s going to be an even sicker event that really demonstrates the progression of girls’ snowboarding. Congratulations to all of the girls who placed and all the other competitors! Everyone killed it. Also, thank you to Billabong, Mount Seymour, Dakine, Transworld Snowboarding, Snowboard Canada, VAS Entertainment and Von Zipper for putting on this event, I can’t wait for finals and to Windells Academy and Blindside Colorado for your support!"

The trip was more than just snowboarding though. The first night when we got into Vancouver we were only three blocks away from the major clubbing strip in the city. Unfortunately, the girls were a little too young to go clubbing, but the street performers kept things really interesting. We did end up going to a crepe shop for some drinks and dessert crepes.....mmm good.

Competition day was an awesome day beside the boarder problems we experienced that consumed the rest of the evening. Luckly, we still made it back into the United States and ended up staying on the coast. The next morning we did a little bit of hot tubbing and we got to explore the shore a little bit during high tide. After our water adventure we went to Mt. Baker. It was the end of the day and the runs were well tracked, but it was still nice for the girls to see what Mt Baker has to offer. We made a friend along the way names Reily that was nice enough to guide us a bit at the end of the day. Overall, the trip was great.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Chile Sept 2010

This year brought upon a very special opportunity for me. A few years ago I worked at Timberline lodge on Mt Hood. During the winter, Timberline had a few Chileans working through an exchange program. Through the years, I have stayed in touch with a few of them and the opportunity to go visit couldn't be passed. I bought my plane ticket with no hotel reservations, no car reservations, and no plans. All I knew was that a friend was going to pick me up from the airport and what the rest of the trip brought...I wasn't sure.

I left Portland, Oregon on the morning of Monday the 20th. My flight went from San Francisco to Miami to a final destination at Santiago International Airport on the morning of Tuesday the 22nd. Customs was a pain and I quickly found out my bag with all of my cloths was lost. However, my snowboard bag made it with all my gear....the important stuff. Thankfully the airport delivered my lost bag the next day.

The trip started with an interesting drive around Santiago. Tomas, my friend that picked me up from the airport is a native to Chile but he lives in a costal town called Vina del Mar so he didn't really know his way around Santiago. He didn't come with a map either. Our mission was to find the hotel that my friend Angeli was staying at. Angeli is a pro skier and she had already been in South America doing some filming and we had the opportunity to link up. Thankfully after a bit of searching we found Angeli. Although, I appreciated the drive so that I could see the different neighborhoods of santiago.

Once we found Angeli we went to dinner and had some empanadas. It reminded me a lot of a calzone with meat and onions. It was really delicious and a traditional food for Chile. After dinner we ventured to another part of the city to link up with another friend I worked with at Timberline named Jose. He owns his own pet store, where I grabbed my new puppy, Lola, a sweater. All four of us went to the very center of Santiago where there is a castle that was a part of the Spanish history of the city. The castle was really beautiful and the view of the city from the top was awesome with the sun setting behind it. Afterwards we went to another restaurant and had another traditional dish called chiorme. It was basically french fries with onions and meat piled on top. Similar to chili cheese fries, but with a Chilean twist. Since Angeli's hotel was located in a hip part of town it was convenient to just go down stairs and grab a few drinks. We ended up chatting it up with some scientists that are doing research in the Patagonia. Two were from England and one was from America. Our conversations carried late into the night.

The next day Angeli and I went shopping and strolled around town. We picked up a few authentic souvenirs and found a skate park along the way. We hung out until Angeli had to leave to return home, then I moved forward to continue the trip alone. After she left Tomas came back to grab me and we ended up checking out this park near the hotel that had a zoo and a tram that took you to the top of the hill where the most amazing view of Santiago were. I had no idea the city was so large until I got to the top. It was really important that we got out of the park before dark so we quickly made our way down the mountain and headed to a friend of Tomas's. To the north of where we where was the nicer residential areas of Santiago. It was there that Charme had a house and was kind enough to host Tomas and I for the evening. Charme is a snowboarder and lives with other people that are involved in skateboarding and surfing. It was really awesome to get to hang out with people that I would normally hang out with if I lived in the U.S. We all have the same appreciations and common interests.

Thursday morning Cherme, Tomas, and I headed up to the mountains. The Andes mountains are breath taking. I only regret that there wasn't more snow, but this has been a bad season for this part of Chile and it is also the beginning of Spring for them. In this part of the Andes there are three resorts, Valle Nevado, El Colorado, and La Parva. Valle Nevado is the most popular and occupied primarily by tourists. Instead, we went to El Colorado because Cherme worked there and already had a pass. They also have the better park at the moment. Once we got there I talked to the marketing manager and she was nice enough to give me a ticket for the day. Wahoo, free ticket was a huge bonus. The conditions weren't epic by any means but I still had a blast and couldn't contain my excitement that I was snowboarding in Chile. After snowboarding we made our way to a hostel called Avalanche Hostel. The owner of the hostel was a friend of Charme's and gave us a discount.

Friday, we went to a resort called La Parva. The resort didn't have a park because the season was so bad, but we decided to go up anyway because we had the ability to get media passes. I'm really glad they hooked up the tickets because the conditions were so socked in that you could barely see more than 3-4 feet in front of you. We took two runs to just check out what I could, but that wasn't much since the visibility was so bad. Although,the day before I did get to see the terrain that La Parva has to offer and it is amazing. Huge cliffs, lots of contour, and plenty of steeps. On a good day, this resort is definitely a must go to destination!!! After shredding we made our way back to the hostel where we were merry and played Texas Hold'em most of the night.

There is another ski town in Chile that is about a 6 hour drive south of Santiago called Pucon. They have had a much better season this year and everyone keeps telling me that I have to go. Since my Spanish is so bad I fear traveling alone, but my new friend Jorge is going to come with me. Jorge is a Spaniard that worked on the park at La Parva this season. He also has not been to Pucon so he is willing to travel with me to have the experience and have a traveling buddy. I'm stoked to travel with someone who speaks good English and is native to the Spanish language. We researched the bus fares and decided to travel next week.

Saturday was a slow day, but I ended up running into Chantelle Heroux a pro skier friend from the United States. The irony of running into her in such a far far place just shows how small the world can be. In the afternoon Tomas and I started to make our way to his hometown called Vina del Mar, meaning vineyards of the sea. We arrived at night so I didn't really get to see too much. There as a little empanada place that Tomas took us to since we were starving. We had one baked and one fried and it was amazingly delicious and super cheap. Since Tomas is heading back to Australia soon, he had a lot of catching up to do with friends. Saturday was a late night for us. We went to a bar-b-que at one of his friend's house who was also leaving soon to go study in Barcelona, Spain. I was super tired and wasn't sure if I'd be able to last. I asked Tomas to drop me back off at his parents house before he went to the next place that night, but a few Pisco Colas later I was ready to keep going. Pisco is a type of alcohol that is made from white grapes. Pisco is distilled differently than wine so it is not the same, but it tastes great. I prefer Pisco Sour (with sweet and sour mix, usually made from fresh limes) rather than Piscola (with Coka-cola), since that stuff is harsh for your body. After the bar-b-que we went to a place called Exotica. It is normally a night club, but since it is the off-season in this beach town the place was super slow and closed for a private birthday party. However, this was also the place where Tomas was meeting up with friends. One person who really stood out to me that evening was a girl named Conna. She was a good friend of Tomas and she spoke really good English since she had lived in Australia and New Zealand. Soon she will be working in Canada. I am grateful for her company because it ended up being a late night and we had many good conversations. Tomas's parents have a really nice house with a view of the sea and they were nice enough to give me the guest bedroom. I was stoked to be able to sleep somewhere warm and comfortable. The hostel in the mountains was freezing to the point where I was sleeping in my jacket and could see my breath. This was a nice change.

Sunday was my first full day at the coast. The day started with a visit to Valpraiso, a town next to Vina that was just a bit older. It was amazing though. There are tons of houses on the hills that are all different colors with tons of awesome graffiti and amazing views of the sea. This town definitely had a particular charm to it. Many hills compose the town with elevators that take people down and up the hills. For lunch we grabbed some food at a small resturaunt where Tomas's friends Manuel and Paula joined us. Manuel is a successful business owner. He is a distributor and imports fruits from around the world. I am grateful for his company because he treated us to something I could have never imagined. He invited us to go to a spa that he is familiar with. This spa was very unique to any spa I have ever been to. There are individual rooms with hot tubs that can be filled with mineral water and windows that open to a view of the sea. The water is hot spring water that carries the minerals and salts of the sea so when soaking it is a detox, helps with arthritic pains, and other bodily beneficial effects.

The timing was amazing though because the sun was just setting when I got to sit in this amazing tub and stare out the window. I almost cried because I thought to myself, "how lucky am I right now." After the hot tub session we all went upstairs for some healthy snacks. Hot green tea, a bowl of fruit, and freshly cut aloe awaited us. Freshly cut aloe was a new experience for me. We ate the aloe because it is supposed to help with your digestive system and we rubbed some on our skin. You have to eat it whole though, chewing is not pleasant. Afterwards Manuel treated us to the most memorable dinner. Since Vina is on the sea obviously sea food is plentiful and good. The restaurant we went to was amazing. We had a sea food casserole, Matchas which is a pink clam that was in a parmesan cream sauce and was "orgasmic" as Manuel described it, and we had Loco which was also my first time trying but delicious. The evening was amazing and I am so grateful to Manuel for making it possible.

Monday was my last day in Vina before I left for Pucon. I hit up the markets a bit to buy some souvenirs and we got to spend a while on the beach just enjoying the views, smells, and sounds of the waves. The water is a pretty shade of blue and the waves were nice barrels where the sea lions and the surfers were getting their fill of fun. Before I knew it the day was over and I had to catch an overnight bus to Pucon. It left Vina at 8 pm and was due to arrive in Pucon at 8 am. The bus was large with two stories and I paid the extra money to be on the bottom floor where there were seats that laid back to be full beds. I figured the extra ten bucks was worth a good night rest since I had a full day of snowboarding the next day.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to ride the next day. The bus pulled in a little late and most of the shuttle busses to the mountain had already left for the day. I didn't mind though since the weather was rainy. I figured the visibility on the mountain wasn't so great. Jorge came with me on this trip so we left the bus station with our equipment and started walking to our hostel. We stayed at a hostel called "The Tree House Hostel." Our beds cost us 8,000 pesos a night which is about $16 U.S. dollars. Two things kicked ass about this hotel. First, the tree house, obviously. It has a really great view of the volcano and the surrounding area. Second, the wood stove in the common area. It was very efficient and probably was the warmest it had been in a while. The room that our beds were in was attached to the common area. No heat in the rooms forced us to keep the door to our room open so we could let the heat in from the wood stove, but completely worth the good warm nights rest.

The next day Jorge wanted to save money by hitch hiking. It probably wasn't the best idea, but it was worth the experience. After walking about 20 min to the bottom of the road that leads to the ski resort, we ended up running into a bunch of people that were already trying to hitch hike also. Two hours later, no one was getting picked up. Every car that drove by was full of people. My frustration was quickly growing to the point where I was willing to pay for a ride. Eventually a taxi came by and we flagged it down to see how much it would cost to take us to the resort. The driver said he would take us for 12,000 pesos. We grabbed two other people who were waiting for a while and headed up to the resort at 3,000 pesos each. Once we got there I wanted to talk to the marketing office about a pass, but there was no marketing office. The base lodge facilities are so outdated that they didn't even have any kind of dinning area or manageable facilities for people. We went to the ticket counter and the women there said the marketing office was back in the town of Pucon. She called the area manager that told us we had to talk to the marketing office because the pass situation was out of his hand. The lady at the ticket counter called the marketing office, but I guess no one works there until noon? Anyway we stood in front of the ticket booth for about an hour before we got a hold of anyone. Once we did get a hold of someone in the marketing office, they said I needed to e-mail them about passes. I was already there though and didn't understand why I couldn't talk to someone so I decided to head down the mountain back to the town of Pucon to talk to someone in person. Jorge and I hitched a ride back into town to the Casino where the office was. There was a guard at the front door that wouldn't let us pass to go to the marketing office. Again we stood there for about a half hour while the guard made some calls to get a hold of someone in the office. The head person from the marketing office, Claoudia, said she was in a meeting and to come back later. That is exactly what we did, we came back later. Again we stood and waited at the door while the guard made some calls. Eventually one lady came down from the office just to tell us we had to go to the Grand Hotel to talk to Claudia there. Great, what a circle we are being sent on. So we walked to the Grand Hotel and talked to one of the men at the door there. He told us to wait. Waiting was the theme of the day. He came back down just to tell us that Claudia decided not provide us with passes. I was so frustrated. I wasted my whole day getting the total run around from these people. I also don't understand why Whistler and all the other ski resorts in Chile could provide me with a media pass and Pucon couldn't? I mean Whistler is one of the largest ski resorts in the world and they were more accommodating then this little tiny whole in the wall resort that could probably use some good publicity, but obviously not.

The next day was beautiful. Jorge and I took the shuttle this time to make sure we could get to the resort at a reasonable time. It is spring in Chile right now and non-peak prices should have been in effect, but they weren't. The resort was charging full prices in anticipation of the independence day holiday that hadn't started yet. Also, they only had two of their 7 or 8 chairs running so that made for a totally boring day considering the resort is super flat where the chairs were running. We took the same run about 8 times and I didn't want to do it again. I was upset that I paid for such a lame day on the mountain. I do not recommend Pucon ski resort but I do recommend going to the town of Pucon for everything else that is offered in the area. There are many hot springs, rafting, national forests with amazing hiking and views to see, and much much more.

That night I hopped the bus for an overnight travel back to Vina for the bicentennial holiday. Chile spends three days celebrating their independence day and this one was extra special since it was the 200th birthday of Chile. When I got to Vina, Tomas picked me up from the bus station and told me we were going to go to another beach town called Argorrobo. My friend Patty was going to be there for the holiday. Patty, was another Chilean that I had worked with at Timberline and she also lived in Santiago. Therefore, the plan was to get me to Argorrobo so I could go back to Santiago with Patty since my flight to the States was leaving on Monday after the holiday. Tomas's friend Rudolfo was nice enough to take us to Argorrobo and we stayed with their friend, Philipe, aka "Gargola," or gargoyle in English. Philipe's family has this large house that is subdivided into separate apartments where each aunt and uncle and grandparents had their own apartment. Their family was very welcoming and the accommodations were very comfortable. We got to Argorrobo just in time for the bar-b-que. After eating and drinking Piscola, we went to what is called the Ramada. There are Ramada's everywhere and they are basically these temporary huts that are put up with wood and leaf roofs where everyone dances and is merry. What I didn't realize was how hard the Chileans can party. I had to be mindful of my alcohol consumption considering I am in a foreign country and it could be dangerous for me to loose my consciousness. When the sun was starting to rise was when the Ramada closes and it was at that point we made our way back to the house for some sleep.

At about noon we went to the beach to sleep some more until about 5 pm and then we went back to the house to do it all over again. Bar-b-que all night then go to the Ramada until the sun comes up. Like I said, Chileans party hard.

Sunday Tomas and Rudolfo headed back to Vina and I stayed to figure out how I was going to get to Santiago the next day to catch my flight. Patty's father had a heart attack and she had to rush to Santiago so my plan to leave with her didn't work out. Philipe was nice enough to offer to take me to Santiago the next day since he lived there and it all worked out in the long run. Sunday was a bit more mellow. We went to the beach to catch a siesta, "nap," and then afterwards we went another cliffside beach to fly some kites. Flying kites is popular in Chile this time of year because the wind is very consistent. Another bar-b-que followed, but not the Ramada, thankfully. I was very tired. We ended up staying at the house and playing a game that was dice involved, however it is way to complicated to try to explain. I think we went to bed around 1am, and then there was an earthquake around 2am. I am a heavy sleeper so I slept through the quake.

Unfortunately, my trip was coming to an end. I had to make my way back to the airport to catch my plane back to the United States, but I was looking forward to going home as well. The trip has been an amazing experience, mostly in part to my friends that made sure I had the true Chilean experience from the food to the culture.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ride Women's Board Testing Session

Ride snowboards has recently launched a movement to really step up the level of the products available for women. In the spring they held a session with a handful of women who are strongly involved in the snowboard industry. Athletes, buyers of key snowboard shops around the country, and women who are pushing the movement were all attendees. We spend three days discussing women's products from snowboards, boots, bindings, and outerwear. Discussions included what the consumer wants and what athletes think are important features in their products. One of the key elements we had asked the engineers of our products was to develop technology specific to women and not to just carry over the same technology in both genders' equipment. Recently, a few of us realized that the engineers are actually listening to what we requested. Ride is going the extra mile to make sure their products are as specific to women as they can be.

On July 28th and 29th, Ride snowboards conducted a women's specific product testing session. They asked a few of our team riders to be there as well as Molly Hawkins and Emily Kaelin. Molly handles the marketing for Evo gear an online shop based out of Seattle. Molly is very passionate about the development of women in the actions sports, so it was great having her there. Emily is an important part of the design team for Ride. It was really nice to see her shredding and hanging out with the ladies outside of the office. The team members that were there included pros: Hana Beaman, Megan Ginter, and ,newly joined, Silvia Mittermuller. The other members of the team included myself, Jessika Jenson and Rainey Pogue, both Ride's young up-and-coming shredders.

Our board engineers, Doug and Paul, were there to mediate the testing session. This testing session was a blind test. They provided us with 8 boards to test. The boards are 2011\2012 prototypes that had already released 2010 graphics on them. All of the boards looked exactly the same. Four of the boards were park specific and four of the boards were all mountain specific. Even though all of the boards looked exactly the same, they all rode completely different, thus giving us the chance to make unbiased comments about the boards. The engineers are really passionate about using the right combinations of technology to develop the best boards for women.

The engineers asked us ahead of time to not share our opinions with each other until the testing was all complete and they wanted us to take the exact same run every time so the results could be as accurate as possible. We took full runs from the top of Palmer to the bottom of the Mile. This gave us a chance to take lots of turns and test the riding ability of the boards on the way down to the public park where we could jump and jib to test the park abilities of the boards.

Each run we stopped at the picnic tables at the top of the Mile chair where we would take the time to fill out some questionnaires and swap out our bindings onto the next testing board. The questionnaires were really specific about what they wanted us to determine about the boards and in each category we were asked to rank from 1 to 5.

In the end one all mountain board was voted 8 for 8, a clear winner. The board is amazing and I recommend that everyone give it a chance in the future. There wasn't as clear of a park board winner, but I think that is because we all have very different expectations of our park boards. Some like a softer board to jib, some like a stiffer board to have stability on large kickers.

Overall the testing experience was an amazing experience. Spending more time with the team was great to get to know each other more. All of the girls on the team have amazing personalities and are all very kind and interesting. It is an honor to be a part of a project that has so much potential and really cares about women. Being able to have such a significant influence in the development of women's products is not very common. Overall, snowboarding is a Male dominated sport and Ride snowboards is really focused on supporting and developing the Women's side of snowboarding. Thank you to Paul and Doug for putting so much love into our boards. Also, big thanks to Casey Raymer, Ride global marketing manager, for really supporting the movement to develop our women's industry.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Campus Rail Jam Tour - 2010

The Campus Rail Jam Tour was a blast this year. The set up included a down flat down rail, a gap to down box, and a rainbow to down box. The first stop I did was in Spokane at Gonzaga University. The girl turn out wasn't very large, but that stop usually doesn't have the largest turn out in general. It had been a while since I had some good practice on rails and I was feeling really rusty. At the end of the competition I was stuck on trying to land a tail 270 out of the rainbow down box. Unfortunately, I couldn't land the trick and the judges were bored watching me try so I ended up leaving with second place.

One stop was added to the tour last minute and unofficially in Bend, Oregon. Considering the event wasn't really broadcasted with advance notice, there was a really good turn out. There was at least more than 10 girls there ready to throw down. Plenty of familiar faces were there including Krysta Pelchner and Ashley Thornton. The battle was fun and in the end I left with first place. Since the stop wasn't official, I didn't get one of those cool totem pole trophies...Boo. Those totem poles look pretty cool and are way better than the Jackalope heads I got for trophies last year....oh well.

The last stop that I went to was in Corvalis at Oregon State University. This stop was the last one before the finals in Portland. Mt. Hood usually draws a large crowd for the summer and with the last stop being so close to the summer there is a really good crew of people that show up. This stop had girls from all over the place, like Colorado, Utah, Tahoe. I really had to work hard to take second place. I was throwing switch tricks with different variations of switch ups and front boards. Emily Blewitt took first deservingly. She also was throwing down switch tricks and a sweet 180 swivel through the kink of the down-flat-down. She was keeping me well on my toes and motivating me to the fullest. I loved it!!! Being able to compete with girls that rip is a thrill and makes snowboarding more fun.

The finals in Portland was held Friday May 28th and it was such a wet day. The rain just did not stop poring, but for how much rain fell, there was still a great crowd of spectators. This was the best of the best. There were ladies from all over in Portland ready to take a stab at the title and cash up for grabs. California, Utah, Colorado, and your very own Oregon were being represented. It didn't take very long for me to take a nasty spill. My second hit on the down-flat-down rail I came off a little early and left the scaffolding heading fast first into the concrete. Instinctually, I placed my hands in front of my face to protect myself, but there was nothing I could do about the scorpion that was coming next. Regardless, I got up with so much adrenalin to finish what I started. Krysta Pelchner ended up taking the win for the day. I saw her land a really clean 270 onto the gap to down box and Ashley Thornton was super clean with a variety of tricks on all of the features. To see the top three spots being held by Oregonians was awesome. It just shows that that the Northwest can produce talent and there'll be more to come. Having all of the ladies in Portland was a really great time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spring has finally arrived!!

The spring season at Mt Hood is usually the best time to practice jumping. Visibility is finally available, the sun comes out, and Timberline puts up a killer park that has a good line of jumps that lead right into a full run of jib features. This year spring has been as unpredictable as this winter. One week we have 50 degree weather with beautiful blue skies and the next it is a socked-in rain marathon. However, for that 9 day stretch of solid weather, all the locals were out building, snowboarding, and taking photos.

Ever since I broke my neck from over shooting a jump, I've had a hard time overcoming my fears. The sun brought on some good feelings within and with the help of some friends I was able to flush away those fears. My friend Jimmy Weisgerber helped motivate me to hit the largest jumps that Timberline had. I was really grateful for the motivation because it helped lift some of the barriers that I was placing on myself. Thanks to Karim Hadid ( I was able to get a few good shots on Paintbrush's jumps.

Madison Blackely recently arrived to the Mt. Hood area and was staying at my house. Having her around was a great way to get pumped about jumping. Madison is coming back from a gnarly injury to her arm that resulted in surgery. Her motivation to regain strength and get back into the game is outstanding. Her energy is hard not to feed off, thus making shredding 'oh so much better'. She's making a killer comeback and will be kicking ass soon enough.

Megan Ginter has also been making an appearance in these parts. Of course, we all know that Megan is the Queen of jumps so having her around is always a motivating treat. I can't think of anyone else that can through back 7's on giant kickers, so her advice goes a long way. We both participated in a photo shoot for POW gloves. We were getting sled rides to hit the features which is spoiling.

One day really stood out as one of the best days of the spring. Good friends Matt Kratzer and Ryan Faulk a.k.a "Rick" took the time and energy to build this awesome feature over a river gap. The snow was still melting out so the walls to the river were well over 10 feet and the gap over the river was no less than 20 feet from lip to landing. Even though the gap is not that large, the experience was overwhelming. My first time over made me tingle so much I had to sit down for a few minutes and let myself calm down. The consequences of coming up short could have been fatal to myself and the photographer below, who trudged through the river to get "the shot." All I could see myself doing was coming up short, smacking against the opposing wall, and falling backwards into the rocky, shallow river. This all while slicing the photographer's head off since he was standing at the bottom of the opposing wall. Drew Smalley ( is a really talented photographer and it wasn't until he showed up that I decided I had to man-up and hit the feature. Thankfully I did because Drew took some amazing photos.

I guess this is a shout out to all of my friends for always being so supportive and for pushing me in snowboarding. This spring has been a blast so far and I look forward to the summer shred at Windell's snowboard camp.