As a human being who is enthusiastic about outdoor activities, I have a basic need for fun and adventure, and seek it out as if it were integral to my very survival. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you share this trait. It was that very need that inspired me to take an extended shred related trip this winter season. It was an insanely busy spring/summer of 2014, a year that saw a lighter amount of travel (by my standards), that acted as the catalyst to its realization. I’ve been to Cancun during the height of the summer season, for work. I’ve been to Whistler in the height of the winter season, for work. This winter, all I wanted to do was take an adventure (a radventure, if you will) through some Northwestern states in pursuit of pow and good times. All for nothing more than the love of snowboarding and traveling. I will be sharing this adventure, through written and visual documentation, throughout the coming weeks and months.
A lot of people take snowboarding too seriously, but I am not one of those people. I’m not the teenage kid throwing 7’s in the park and critiquing myself on the invert of my spins. I’m the guy with a bionic knee brace concealed beneath my snow pants doing shifties on wind lips or lapping a stump bonk in the woods, all the while making bird noises with a huge smile on my face. Snowboarding helps me to escape the seriousness of the rest of my life. An escape from “real” life is what this trip is all about. Part of this journey will involve shredding places I’ve loved and miss, and other parts will involve going places I’ve always wanted to go. It will involve seeing distant friends and making new ones along the way. The point is to explore places, new and old, through snowboarding all the while maintaining the whimsical, “fly by the seat of your pants,” attitude that made snowboarding more prevalent in my life in the first place.
I consider myself occupationally lucky, in that, I can feasibly take off for a few months on an adventure like this while still working as a video editor enough to wine and dine myself. I sold my car and left Portland headed east with little more than my snowboard gear and a loose plan, and now I’m in southern Idaho. Before I got here, the first two resorts on my list were finally getting hit with some of that sweet sweet powder. I was fiending for some of that dry and fluffy pow, and dreaming of Idaho powder days I had in the past. Well, a few days before I got here, it stopped snowing and shifted to freeze/thaw conditions. I will refrain from complaining too much, because as much as this area has struggled this season, Mt Hood has struggled more.
With that said, I’ve been stuck in the vortex that is Boise, ID for the first week of my trip awaiting more snow in the mountains. Much of the Boise area is a sea of chain restaurant laden strip malls and bad bumper stickers making bold statements like “cowboy up or go home” and “red girl, right state.” But it’s not all bad, and I was able to get a frozen desert hike in and find some shred-related good times.
Above: Burke Gamblin with a natively Idahoan ollie to fakie in our friend Blake’s backyard bowl (shot with the Lensbaby Circular Fisheye).
Sunny weather and milder temps (high of 45° F during the day) allowed for some good outdoor skateboarding early in the week, the highlight of which being several sessions at a friend’s perfect backyard bowl. Needless to say, that helped with some of my “snowboredom.” Getting in some indoor sessions at a few cramped mini-ramps in town, one in a garage and one at a bar, helped as well. While skating the ramp inside the bar (The Shredder), amidst rows and rows of delightful old school arcade games, I almost completely forgot about the mountain conditions. The next day, it got even better. I got the opportunity to ride at the Eagle Sports Complex, a small in-town rope-tow terrain park run by Gateway Parks. The area surrounding the terrain park is now bereft of any snow that once existed there, but Gateway Parks crew has used a combination of snow machines and snow farming to keep the terrain park going strong. They’ve done a great job of creating a “snoasis” on what would otherwise be a muddy desert. The set up of the park is not without its quirks, but is super fun and the whole place has a great vibe. I even got some super extreme tubing in after taking a bit of a digger on one of the boxes.
Check out this montage from some local rippers, filmed at the Eagle Sports Complex: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1GA02CzC20&feature=youtu.be
Next week’s post will feature the McCall, Idaho area and some of that coveted cold and fluffy white stuff. Thanks to US Outdoor, Poler Outdoor Stuff, Smith Optics, Lensbaby, and Tubbs Snowshoes. Stay tuned for more this coming Monday y’all!