X Games and Yeti Snowskate Adventures

 

 

With the ever-trusty Saturn “gas saver 3” (yes the same saturn we bought for $500 on a previous trip) packed to the brim and a few hours of daylight left there was one thing to do, Skate!  One final deck snowskate session was in order before hitting the road to Colorado.  And a great session it was, until we headed to the car to begin our journey.  Trick Karl and Burwill someone nudged their noses into the door cracks and munched all of our snacks…including an entire loaf of bread transformed into marvelous peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Unfortunately, the photo evidence was stolen, more on that later…

 

Since the goats at all the food, a burnt pizza for the road

Since the goats at all the food, a burnt pizza for the road

 So, with a severe lack of food for the trip, a quick burnt pizza would have to do. After that it was straight through and straight to SIA Snowsports Expo, the largest winter sports expo in existence.  Fully road-weary and malnourished Kwandy and Phil paraded around the expo on day 1 in full zombie mode, jaws dropped to the floor in awe at the sheer scale of the event. Unable to actually take in the sights and sounds of the event, it was decided that one more day was necessary.  So the crew headed to the home of Paul with Mantis Eyewear to get some much needed rest. After a good nights sleep the Novik guys joined us for some breakfast at a local hotspot known as Devils Food, quite tasty.  

 

Phil & Paul from Mantis after a "hardcore" bfast

Phil & Paul from Mantis after a "hardcore" bfast

Then it was back to SIA with a newfound motivation to really explore what the event has to offer.  The exploration was going great, with stops at all the brands to check out the stuff coming out next year in the snowboarding world.  It also happened to be Polar Max’s day at the show with a guest party with full drink and food offered.  While at the party Donny from PMX hooked Phil and Rex up to the max, and filled their bags to the top with swag.  After that the duo continued onward to explore some more.  

 

Phil enjoys the Polar Max hospitality booth

Phil enjoys the Polar Max hospitality booth

The next booth of choice was Grenade.  They talked goats with Danny Kass and the Dingo for a bit and found out that the Dingo is actually better at milking goats than Danny.  Directly following the goat convo it was off to join the ping pong festivities.  While in the midst of their first game, both Rex and Phil had to depart for a quick bathroom break. 

 

Phil, The Dingo, Danny Kass, and Kwandy: Goat Lovers

Phil, The Dingo, Danny Kass, and Kwandy: Goat Lovers

 Just a few short minutes afterwards they returned to find their Polar Max bags had gone missing.   They were clearly bummed on the loss of the excellent Polar Max products, but the bad news didn’t stop there.  Both Phil’s picture camera and the Saturn’s key were also now meandering through SIA in the hands of another.  (This is the reason why the photo quality of the pictures so closely resembles an ipod: They were shot with Kwando’s Ipod)  After checking with security, lost and found, and nearly every booth in the show, the conclusion was reached, the keys and camera were a lost cause.

       The next step, contacting a locksmith.  After pricing out all of the local locksmiths, it was apparent that all were in the same ballpark.  So they called the first ones on the list and asked them if they could create a key on the spot. The answer was yes so the hour and a half wait began.     

Thumbs down to stealing

Thumbs down to stealing

   Upon arrival the “professional” locksmith circled the car with a confused look on his face, then whipped out his clipboard and scribbled some numbers down.  He then looked up and muttered some broken english that sounded like he had said “$150 to get in car.”  Phil asked if he meant 150 to get in and create a new key?  The man replied, “no, 150 to get in, i can’t make a key without a spare.”  Phil and Rex both had a good laugh and told him they would break the window themselves if all they wanted was to get in.  He responded, “Ok, then $15 service charge, and i go.”  This once again brought a chuckle into their voices as the kindly told the gentleman that their money was in the car, and to get lost. 

 

Bad locksmiths suck. Good locksmiths rock.

Bad locksmiths suck. Good locksmiths rock.

Onto locksmith number two.  He also assured the ability to create a new key from scratch, and he also took an hour and a half to arrive.  He rolled up in a full size cargo van, instead of a minivan, however.  He had the door unlocked before Phil could even as him a price, and had 3 spare keys made within 30 minutes.  Four hours, and $150 dollars later and they duo came to a decision, drive through the night to Aspen and make it to Max Hilty’s, or search for a place to crash and hit SIA one more time in the AM.  The choice was the latter, and the place to crash was Premier Snowskate owner Andy Wolf’s hotel room. 

 

The first ever snowskateboard-like device?

The first ever snowskateboard-like device?

Polar Max is Radical and gives you soap shoe skills.

Polar Max is Radical and gives you soap shoe skills.

Goodbye SIA, Hello Aspen

Goodbye SIA

The next day consisted of a trip back to SIA for the daily Go Pro cam giveaway.  Unfortunately both Phil’s Smagical.com business card and Rex “Kwando Mcdougenbacher’s” card both were not of the lucky few drawn.  With that, the saturn set sail for sweet snowmass villiage.  Aspen, Harry, Aspen.  Four hours later and the car crept into the driveway of Max “3flip” Hilty.  A couple hours of rest and it was off to X Games to check out the park.  Unfortunately, again, the park wasn’t much to check out.  It consisted of 2 ride-on rails, with one closed for “maintenance.”  Things only went down-hill from there, as the contest was strictly a best trick contest.  Then further downward as you were forced to ride a plastic Premier Snowskate instead of your own board. 

 

More downward facing thumbs for the X games snowskate park

More downward facing thumbs for the X games snowskate park

 That was the decision maker for Phil, so he and Rex watched the snowcross event instead.  Local shredders Ross Martin and Justin Broberg had stellar showings at the event.  Ross led the race at first, then was black flagged and held back to 9th or so, only to catch back up for second place.  Broberg qualified for the main in his first attempt and ran inside the top ten the whole time.  

Doug Henry Inspires.

Doug Henry Inspires.

Smagical DVD regular Doug Henry was also out to race the Adaptive SnoX event.  He grabbed the start and looked to be checking out. That is, until he cased a jump and broke his seats suspension, which is necessary for him to ride the sled without the use of his legs acting as suspension.  After the races the decision was made to head into Snowmass to do some filming instead of stick around X.  The choice was a good one, as shots were stacked in and around Snowmass.
This X Games worker snowskates, well.

This X Games worker snowskates, well.

 

Goodbye X Games

Goodbye X Games

After a final night at the Hilty residence, it was back on the road towards denver, with a detour to Winter Park.  Monday was the first day of the SIA Snow Show on Snow Demo days.  The crew banked on the free tickets on the back of their SIA entry forms to get on the hill.  Unfortunately, the tickets ended up being 2 for 1 instead, leaving the now-broke-after-getting-the-keys-stolen-and-remade-and-still-need-money-for-gas Rex and Phil out of luck.  Or so they thought.  The phone rang and it was Erik from Novik Gloves. He informed the sad travelers about a snowskate park at the base of the mountain.  This brought the excitement back into the travelers weary eyes. 
They actually called it a snowskate park, weird.

They actually called it a snowskate park, weird.

IMG_0178

The park was better than the X Games park, which wasnt hard to do.

Phil mid kickflip back lip

Phil mid kickflip back lip

The "locals" were pumped on snowskating.

The "locals" were pumped on snowskating.

The park had 4 ride one features, which Phil promptly made into ollie-one obstacles and got to it.  Being at the base of the hill the session turned into more of a demo with all of the pedestrian traffic.  The snowskates were well received by all who past, and some even came up to give it a shot.  Phil got some clean kickflip backlip shovit combos on the box and Kwando landed his first multi-trick snowskate line. Rex and Phil shredded until dark, then hit the road to their next destination. 

 

You cant pass Thunder Valley and not stop by.

You cant pass Thunder Valley and not stop by.

The destination of choice was Max’s 2nd residence, Boulder, CO.  Along the way, however, was Thunder Valley MX park, home of the most recent US MXdesNations.  It would be terrible to drive past and not stop by.  The track was in a rare state, covered in snow.  So Rex and Phil grabbed the skates and rode some “pow” lines for a few to break up the drive.

Snowskate holeshots dont work uphill

Snowskate holeshots dont work uphill

 Boulder is hit and miss with snow, and it just so happened that this time was a hit.  Boulder got a fresh 5 inches just prior to the Saturn’s arrival. This made for prime filming conditions, so it was decided to stay at Max’s for a few days and get some more filming done.  The first day was spent adventuring through campus looking for spots.  For a spot that seemed like a surefire bust, Max and Phil stacked on a flat-down-flat ledge for an hour without interruption, just viewers.  Spot number two was the Boulder Skatepark.  The conditions were a bit icy, but both Max and Phil left with at least a few shots each.

 

A no snowskating sign? Thumbs down.

A no snowskating sign? Thumbs down.

Day number two was set to be a travel day, so the spot list was cut down to one to save time.  A freeway-side dragon back ledge was the spot.  Unfortunately the temperatures were already on the rise back to regular boulder spring weather.  This caused for some slushy snow that made it hard to get speed to slide over more than one of the dragon bumps.  Some rad shots were still logged, and it was off to Cheeba Hut, the best sandwich place in the world, for one last meal.  It was the 5th time in two days visiting this fine establishment.   Unfortunately for this trip, it would be the last time Phil’s phone would be in working order.  It took a crash to the floor while Phil was eagerly awaiting his sandwich with some phone kickflips.  This set the perfect tone for the 13 hour drive to Bjorn R-Gormans place in Whitefish, MT. Two drivers, 0 cell phones, one 500 dollar automobile, 1 ipod touch with texting capabilities while in the confines of wireless interweb: A winning combination.

   

They have smart goats in Boulder

They have smart goats in Boulder

As to continue with the timeframe set by previous stops, the dangerous duo rolled into Bjorn’s just a few hours prior to sunrise.  A quick stop to check out the Yeti Park and it was off to bed.  The Yeti Snowskate Jam is the longest running single deck snowskate contest in existence. Saturday rolled around and it was contest time.  The weather was in complete cooperation with the event organizers and things got started up without a hitch. 

The beginner class ready to get rad!

The youth class ready to get rad!

The beginners took to the course first.  Event announcer Rex Kwando was entering his first snowskate competition, so Phil took over announcing honors for the youth and beginner classes.  The class was so big that they had to be split into heats.  Kwandy put the hammer down for heat 1.  He threw down a front board shov off the up rail and attempted numerous high-speed shovits. It was the latter move that left him with the “Best Crash” award.

The official Yeti Jam Yeti was in house

The official Yeti Jam Yeti was in house

After some course maintenance and a mini-comp it was time for the experts to take to the course.  Just minutes into the event it was clear that it would be a battle between Ambition teammates Alan Gerlach and Phil Smage.  The two went trick for trick over the course of the 15 minute final.  A missed trick became a rarity as the two actually ran up the hill to get another hit in. 

 

Phil flipping a hard flip

Phil flipping a hard flip

Alan getting down on the Yeti Hubba

Alan getting down on the Yeti Hubba

Phil kickflips over the stump gap

Phil kickflips over the stump gap

Alan nailed some nollie lipslide variations on the down ledge while Phil took to whole park, getting tricks on every obstacle and finished it off with a kickflip 5050 first try on the down ledge. When the results were announced it was Canadian Cole Welter in 3rd, Minneapolis’s own Alan “G”erlach in 2nd, and Wilbur the Goat sponsored Phil Smage taking the win and the 5 pound Yeti Jam Gold Medal.

 

Josh Sequin, frontside bigspin boardslide

Josh Sequin, frontside bigspin boardslide

The loot

The loot

Phil pumped on the close win over Alan

Phil pumped on the close win over Alan

 The day after the contest the crew headed to Whitefish Mountain to do some filming.  Phil took main camera duties for the day while Alan, Bjorn, Josh Sequin, and even Kwandy stacked some shots.  The mountain was nice enough to let the guys shred till close.  Big props go out to Whitefish MTN for a great park and staff. After a quick drying session it was out to Bjorn’s backyard lumberjack snowskate park to do some more filming.  The gang skated a monstrous double sided hip that Bjorn had fashioned out of trees and plywood.   Cam Foster snapped some rad shots and the night was complete.
Phil films while Alan stacks clips.

Phil films while Alan stacks clips.

  The following day the plan of attack was fun.  The group headed out to the local waterpark to poach the slides.  Seguin bagged the most unique shot of the day with Phil follow filming him down and through a winding water slide with tunnels galore.  Alan manned up and stacked the gnarly shot of the day, dropping in on the near-vertical slide known as “Geranamo.”  Word from the locals was that the slide was recently shut down during the summer due to the danger factor being too high.  Fortunately Alan didnt get that memo.  Phil stuff countless backlips down the kiddie pool slides and Rex managed to get lost in the maze of winding slide madness.  The gale force winds and bitter temps forced the crew to call it a day early.  After that it was back to the familiar feeling of being crammed into a sardine can.  In other words, it was back on the road in the Saturn.

 

Flat tires are no problem in the Gas Saver!

Flat tires are no problem in the Gas Saver!

The next destination was photo ace Cam Fosters place in Bozeman, MT for a few hours rest.  The trip was not without excitement with Rex throwing down some “off road passing” on the highway and Seguin getting to experience his first flat tire.  The wild Canadian expected us to be stuck for the night, but Kwandy impressed the Canuk with his uncanny mechanical skills.  Six hours later, and the two cars rolled to a stop in front of Cams place, just before 2 AM. Everyone hustled into the house in order to grab couch space instead of getting stuck on the floor. As soon as their eyelids dropped it was time to open them and hit the road again.

 

Off to visit Alans hometown!

Off to visit Alans hometown!

The penultimate leg of the 4,000 mile journey was from Bozeman to Minneapolis to the home of Alan Gerlach.  A quick 17 hours after the drive began, the cars limped through the ghetto and up to Alans front doorstep.  Once again, it was straight to the sleeping quarters to try and catch up on some sleep before heading out to film later that day.  With just 30 minutes of daylight left after the crew got going it was rapid fire in an effort to get some shots.  Phil and Seguin nabbed a gap to down ledge just as the sun set behind the MLPS cityscape.  The gang left right from the spot, back to the highway.  The destination, HOME.  Elkhorn was a short 6 hour drive from Minny, and this fact alone was enough to plaster a smile on the face of every passenger in the car.  The ride went smoothly and the crew rolled into Smagical Acres just after midnight.  This left two days to prepare for the biggest cash purse snowskate contest in the world, the Midwest Open of Snowskating.   Check back shortly (or not so shortly with the excellent internetting connectione’ we have) for the Midwest Open/Quebec Stairmasters/Vermont/Icon Classic road trip story!  Hang loose!

 

 

Home sweet Home

Home sweet Home

 

 

 


 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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