Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Snowboarder Magazine Superpark 18 Recap

Big method. Big mountain.
Snowboarder Magazine's Superpark is a wrap and like host resort Mt. Hood Meadows it was predictably unpredictable. I can't believe I just wrote that. You know, the weather was a factor, like it always is on Mt. Hood. The features were gigantic and gnarly, as usual. There were even some good mini shred opportunities and a pow morning for good measure. If you want to ignore my unpredictable ramblings and go straight to the hammers, check the videos at Snowboarder.

Before the event even started, the weatherman was calling for a mixed bag. Anyone with an eye on the forecast - as every snowman worth his salt should be - might guess that the schedule could get compressed by a day or two due to rain. With this in mind, every day had to fully count and there was no half-steppin on day 1.

After a quick couple lifts to scope the show, I checked out a session at the Woodward Dam step-up feature. Get an eyeful of this land mass. I can never judge how big things like that are, but the airtime was two to two-and-a-half seconds.

Big dam jump
Dudes were chucking carcass when I got there. I left after an hour or so when they had to do some maintenance. Some bros were spinning and corking as hard as they could. Some went the single cork route. Others didn't spin at all, they just turned their backs to the mountain and grabbed with tweaked out style. It was quite the display.

One thing I don't like about Superpark is I never know who's jumping. You'll notice almost none of my photos have proper credits. Everyone is in full outerwear and it's impossible to tell who's who when they're maching at a jump. It's a little better on the rail features, but it's still pretty quick. Maybe next time I'll bring a two-way radio and listen in on the Snowboarder channel.

The way around that of course was the live webcast. T-Bird and Java Fernandez make it interesting. Now if I had a device that could stream the webcast from the event, that would be the bee's tits or the cat's knees or whatever.

One thing I would not recommend is poaching. I guess the worst that could happen is you get kicked out. I watched that go down on my second lift. No violence at all (at least not in sight). The guy made it up one lift and got shut down by the scanners at the second. Then he got personally escorted (most awkward chair ride ever?) up and out. He would have had to ride past a couple features to get out, but I'm guessing his escort liftie wasn't in good spirits. Maybe if you slip him a Hamilton or some bud he lets you watch for a bit. I don't know. They let my dumb ass in for whatever reason. Apparently all you have to do is tell them you have a blog.

OK, back to the park. Feature number two is the obligatory giant-ass hip (see photo up top). More nameless chucking. It's kind of surreal, really.  Dudes just boosting. Big ole volcano in the background. Watch out for that on the cover of a Snowboarder next volume: big method, big mountain. This year, they didn't have a channel cut out of the hip, so there were some dudes going pretty small, too. Hell, I could have hit it. And that is the only marquee feature I can say that about. Well, I could firecracker the stairs on the rail plaza, does that count? Didn't think so.

Days Two and Three were mostly weather wipeouts. They ran the rail plaza, but not the lifts. Dudes ran around Govy. Drinking, smoking. Street shots, bar shots. Mt. Hood in May. You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can't predict the weather. Outkast. Fitting.

Frank April is also a 5-handicap golfer according to the web commentary.
Day Four, back on the grind. Day four was the day I had other plans, so I caught a little of the webcast. T-Bird and Java with some special guests. Woodward Dam step-up/over/big ass jump. Cool to hear the action and pseudo-play-by-play. I guess that's what it's like. Think of a sports game that usually has announcers, then take the announcers away. That's Superpark. Maybe they need announcers. It would add some personality. It would take away that chill vibe of riding on the hill with your friends, though. As if it ever feels like that with me and my friends. We never hike and session anything, much less 90-footers.

Slim Fast. Do they sell that stuff any more?
The Final Day was when the Woodward 'Slim Fast' jump finally got sessioned. This is the jump that Pat Bridges must have had in mind when he spoke of sending riders "to the moon." This is also the jump that Sage Kotsenburg, him of the gold medal on a sketchy slopestyle course, wondered, "Could that jump be any more dangerous?" I managed to miss this session, but as you can see by the Day Five video (that first hit by Jeremy Page is the Slim Fast [there's also a triple cork and a triple rail transfer in that video, if you're into that]) dudes were sending it and the landing was a bit on the narrow side of optimal. They're pros, though, and they have plenty of options. If they don't feel comfortable with it, they can go to one of the dozen other features on the mountain. There's more giant, photogenic features than the pool at the Playboy Mansion.

To wrap up this already-too-long blog post, Superpark's 18th version had it all. Even weather delays. I've never seen so much next-level terrain packed into one spot, on one lift, in my life. The Superparks at Bachelor always had two lifts worth of terrain to work with. That made Meadows' park feel smaller, but denser. The rail plaza was definitely more limited than previous years, but having it visible from the patio bar was certainly a bonus. Giving the public a free show is always fun, especially when you're taking away one side of the mountain. Many thanks to Gatorade, Woodward, Pisten Bully, Sony ActionCam and all the sponsors. Hopefully Snowboarder decides to give Meadows another shot. I'd love to see what they could do with another year of planning.

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