Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pat Bridges Speaks On Snowboarder Magazine's Superpark 18 At Mt Hood Meadows

20-foot tall channel hips, 100-foot jumps and 10 photogs per feature, standard Superpark
For the last 18 years, Snowboarder Magazine's Superpark has been spring's final party. One last chance for riders to stack footy, shred insane features put together by the top builders in the world and hang out with all their buddies who do likewise. This year the show is coming to snowboarding's traditional summer home, Mt. Hood, but on the other side of the hill from the camp venues: Mt. Hood Meadows.

The captain of this ship is Snowboarder Creative Director Pat Bridges. You can generally find him at whichever feature has the biggest session. He'll be under the shade of a shrubbery-like beard and a Panama straw hat. If he's not barking orders into a radio, he might be upside down with one hand in the snow or on the coping. Yes, he hits the features. He also dishes out advice on inverts and other low-impact riding to any and all assembled. It's a big moment when Pat spots the real deal in a sea full of up-and-comers. He'll give the kid props and invite him to the sunset photo shoot or webcast session. The kid will express his gratitude. He knows this is a big deal. You will see more from this kid in the future and not just in the pages of Pat's magazine.

Here Pat speaks on everything from his favorite Wu-Tang Clan member (Inspectah Deck) to his interest in lunar launch vehicle design and finally his riders to watch at this year's Superpark. Listen up!

BY: What prompted the move to Meadows after three years at Bachelor? They kicked you out, didn't they?
PB: We have never held Superpark at any resort for more than three years in a row. Bachelor was an amazing Superpark partner and I can see us eventually returning there. The reason we change Superpark venues every two-three years is because we want to mix up the terrain opportunities and get some fresh backdrops in front of the lens. On a side note since 1999 Superpark has never not been welcome back at a resort as proven by the fact that Keystone, Lake Louise, Mammoth, Breckenridge and Mt Bachelor have all held the event multiple times. I am proud to say that the resorts have all been more than eager to have Superpark return and at least three of the names I mentioned above approached us about hosting this Superpark but ultimately we decided to give Meadows the opportunity to prove that they have terrain on a par with the more hyped hills.

We're not exactly known for sunshine up here. How much are you concerned with Mt. Hood's notoriously unpredictable weather?
Obviously we aren't ignorant to the fact that Mt Hood isn't known for having the most predictable weather in late Spring. Of course three years ago when we said we were going to bring Superpark to Bachelor our constituents brought up similar concerns. 150 Superpark hours in Oregon later we only missed out on 10 event hours over the course of three years. I am optimistic that the weather will work out just fine.

That's an army of shreds in a small town. What is Govy going to look like during the week? Summer camp week 0 with Cobra Dogs and Volcano Cones?
Because of its importance as the epicenter of Summer shred in North America most of the Superpark attendees from North America have Govy and Mt Hood entrenched in the fabric of who they have become as riders. Being able to come to Govy and hang at Charlies and lap a side of Mt Hood many have never seen before is gonna be real cool.

Meadow's parks are undergoing a bit of a renaissance the last few years with a couple different partnerships. Who else will be building this year and what kind of new features can we expect at Superpark 18?
Keystone, Woodward and Seven Springs are the visiting builders extending their talents to us. The terrain footprint at Meadows is a great mix of mid angle traditional park style slopes and steep valleys lending itself to both conventional features and weird options. As of late SNOWBOARDER has been seeking out poppier takeoffs that allow for better style due to unweighting. This has prompted me to adopt the motto of "Why send riders around the world when you can send 'em to the moon."

These guys can build anything the snow will allow, has there ever been anything you wanted that they couldn't make happen? I heard rumors of a chairlift gap that got shut down.
Chairlift gaps are pretty gimmicky. I am intrigued by saddle features where riders either crossup in the air or are dealt with multiple fall lines so they needn't be on edge either for takeoff or landing.  I also am interested in incorporating more pitch into the deck of hips like you have with halfpipes. If a world class halfpipe has an 18 degree pitch then why not explore that possibility with hips as opposed to the 6-10 degrees you usually see.

Superpark is not open to the general public, how can folks get a look at the madness that's going down? What's the hashtag to follow?
#Superpark18 is a good start. We also have daily galleries and video recaps on Snowboardermag.com, but the best way is to check out the sessions we are webcasting Friday and Saturday from 1-3pm PST [Note: Those in the area can also catch a free exhibition on the Woodward Plaza feature Saturday from noon until 3. It will be visible from the Meadows sun deck, so you don't even need a lift ticket. Just grab a drink and rock out to DJ Matty Mo while the riders do their thing.]

What does a plaza feature look like? I'm glad you asked.
Got any thoughts on who might be riders to watch this year? Which names are we going to hear the most on the webcast?
Roope Tonterri, Ben Ferguson, Louif Paradis, Jamie Lynn, Mikey Leblance, the Mindnichs, Sam Taxwood, Nils Arvidsson, Dylan Thompson, Jess Kimura, Christy Prior… The list is endless.

Who are the top low-impact riders in the field?
Forrest Bailey, Shane Flood and Dustin Craven with Scotty Stevens a distant 4th.

Any kids coming up that you expect big things from, maybe making the transition from The Launch?
This is Ben Ferguson's year to take the standout.

You've ridden everywhere, what do you like about coming up to the northwest and Meadows in particular?
Meadows has character. It is real. Everything in the Northwest is about the line from the top to the bottom, not the bottom line.


There you have it. Follow #Superpark18 on all of your favorite social medias (@boredyak, @snowboardermag, @mthoodmeadows), drop by Meadows for the exhibition at the Woodward Plaza feature on Saturday and be sure to check out all the updates on snowboardermag.com including the live webcasts on Friday and Saturday from 1-3pm PST. To the moon!

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