Closing day at Mammoth Mountain might have been on August 6, but a about a week ago we found ourselves jonesing for more laps. And with the insane winter we had, there were still patches of snow left for us to explore. We geared up “semi” early (we might have sent it a little too hard the night before at Lakanuki), and set off on the trail, not really knowing what we would find. While it was definitely a long walk with our snowboards, it was worth every second of the journey.
Exploring the mountain trails with the goal of snowboarding in mind brings a whole new meaning to summertime activities. We trekked, jumped over creeks, took in amazing summer views, and chatted with pretty much everyone we passed about our end goal. We knew the patch was around there somewhere, and after some bushwhacking and mellow rock climbing, we found the spot, quickly booting up so we could take some turns.
It might not have been much snow, but it was more than enough for us to get a taste of what snowboarding in September is really like. We lapped the patch for a few hours finding new lines and goofing off in the sun cupped corn snow, but I was starting to feel like I wanted to do something more exhilarating.
Right when we first arrived, Jeep and I immediately began eyeing this cornice over the lake, and we talked about possibly sending it off the snow into the water. After a few hours of soul shred, I was definitely more than ready to live a little. Jeep set up under the cornice, and I strapped in on the snow, mentally preparing myself for the drop. Little did I know that it would be the coldest water I’ve ever jumped into in my life (should have known, as the lake is strictly snowmelt), but it made for one of the coolest shots I’ve ever gotten and was the best way to end a banger day.
Some may say that the eight mile round trip wouldn’t be worth it because the snow conditions aren’t ideal, but the expedition, coupled with the electric feeling of getting to snowboard at a time of year you never get a chance to, made for one of the best days I’ve ever had on snow. Pushing ourselves to get there made the turns that much sweeter, and I know we will all be riding that high until opening day at Mammoth in November.
Thanks to Jeep Eddy and Alison Brooking for coming along with me on this insane adventure, it wouldn’t have been the same without you guys!
With an upcoming Olympic season approaching and a precursor of qualifying events to prepare for, training for snowboarding’s hucking hopefuls is in full swing. And with that training, amidst our normal summer newsfeed of glaciers and good times, a new shape has risen out of the slush.
The new shape is a sloped airbag made by Progression Bags that is helping riders learn their tricks from start to snow in a safer environment than ever before. First conceived to push the level of slopestyle riding, Marc-André Tarte of Acrobag teamed up with Aaron Coret and Stephen Slen of Katal Innovations in the Squamish area for a customized airbag that mimicks the grade of an actual landing instead of just a flat pillow.
The result of their planning is a 200 ft. long, 77 ft. wide bag that weighs around 12,000 lbs. and separates into multiple pieces for travel. Complete with a 35 ft. deck, landing and walls to prevent the athletes from sliding onto the ground, the first ever Progression Bag was set up at Mammoth Mountain this past month for visiting and hometown pros to train.
U.S. Team riders Hailey Langland and Chris Corning were two of the many riders attempting new tricks into the bag. Both coming off big seasons, Hailey taking gold in Women’s Big Air at X Games and Chris holding his own in some major competition stops, here is what they had to say:
Hailey Langland: -The slope/jump bag is a newer addition to the training camps–can you describe what it’s like hitting it? The bag is basically a gigantic bouncy house, material wise. Speaking from my personal experience, the bag is definitely a hit or miss. If you fall on it the right way, you won’t feel a thing. I have literally landed upside down—pretty much on my head—and didn’t feel it. But if the bag is kind of sticky or you fall on it wrong or land a certain way it can whip the living daylight out of you.
-Traditional airbags didn’t have the ability to mimic a landing, so this one seems like a game changer with learning new tricks. You’ve already been dabbling in doubles without the added security of the bag, so will this change how you try new variations or other tricks entirely? I’ve only tried and done one double ever in my life, and so to have this kind of resource is super exciting for me. It’s not only to try and get comfortable with going upside down twice, but even to try basic tricks that I’m terrified of. FYI switch backside is literally my kryptonite.
-Having this type of facility when it comes to slopestyle contests and heading into the upcoming contest season and an Olympic year, how do you think this will affect women’s slope and big air in general in 2017-18? I have mixed emotions about going into the Olympics this season. I think that everyone knows, on the women’s side of things, if you don’t at least have a double cork, your chances of being on the podium are pretty low. Which makes me so excited because it means we are going to see the highest level of competition and progression from the ladies. Ever. But it also makes me super nervous and antsy from a competitor’s stand point. Every day that you know someone else is on that bag, they’re learning something new, and you’re not.
-The slope/jump bag is a newer addition to the training camps–can you describe what it’s like hitting it? I would describe hitting the airbag as a big Slip ‘n Slide if you hit it right, or getting your board caught in a really sticky situation that sends you into a really bad rag doll.
-Traditional airbags didn’t have the ability to mimic a landing, so this one seems like a game changer with learning new tricks. To go from learning doubles/triples/etc on traditional airbags/regular jumps/etc to this method, are you guys learning things so much faster? Is it game changer with being able to try new things? Having the airbag is a real game changer. You have to go into learning new tricks with the right attitude, though. You can go into it thinking you can chuck your body and forget about the mechanics of how to throw the trick. If you learn your trick without your mechanics and your brain kinda lagging because [the airbag] is soft and you can fall, when you go into the jump and actually try the trick it’s going to be a lot different—you need your mechanics and your brain in full effect because you do have to land it! If you do it the right way, I think you can progress really fast!
-For the quad 1800 that you just stomped, you said you didn’t use the bag to learn it–can you describe the process of learning that trick and perhaps touch on why the bag was not a necessary component of that? For my quad 1800 I did not use the bag. For me, I like learning things straight to snow because of the reasons in the last question. Trying the trick on that small of a jump was kind of a worry for me because no one has done it that small yet. They have all had massive jumps built just for trying the trick. But I sent some triples without popping and just going safety seat because I knew that where I needed the next flip. I then went big on triple and tried to throw it slow, and then the next time I tried the quad. It took me five tries and two days, but I got it.
-For quads and/or any other trick you want to learn or just dial in, how do you see the bag fitting into the process in a general sense? Well, I definitely see myself using it when there is no snow, just to keep my air awareness in high intensity over the summer. Keeping my tricked dialed over the summer will be key on the airbag, I think. I see myself using it in the future, for sure though!
The progression bags are just one of the many things Marc-André Tarte has given to snowboarding. With an impressive riding resume himself, Tarte was the first ever to land a 1260 back in 2002 and has worked with Max Henault over in Quebec who trains names like Seb Toots, Max Parrot, and Mark McMorris.
Hate or love the airbags, Tarte doesn’t care, and they seem to be here to stay. With the Mammoth Progression Bag already making waves, Marc is currently installing a second one for the U.S. Snowboarding Team in Utah Olympic Park and has orders for more.
Lapping through the Whistler public park at the Blackcomb Glacier, Lucio DM, Bryan Bowler, Mark Goodall, Brin James Alexander, Quin Ellul, Raph Louis, Colton Conway, Daniel Glibota, Etienne Duval Phaneuf, and Benson Frapiccini have brought back their Camp Backflip edits to the delight of the snowboarding world. Summer snowboarding has officially hit full swing.
After hearing of the closing of Camp of Champions earlier this month, we are stoked to see this unsanctioned association holding court and ripping what is available on the glacier. Filmed and edited by Gabriel Ostapchuk,
Once again, this is not a real camp, but if you are thinking of still attending, the riders and filmers outlined the essentials for sign ups on their video page. “Here’s what you need to sign up: One, a snowboard. Two, a sight-seeing lift ticket. Three, beverages… many. And four, your freshest greenery. See you there next week!”
Be on the lookout for more unsanctioned sessions dropping this summer.
Words|Brendon Rego Photos|Brendon Rego, Alessandro Giampaolo, Tyler Benton, and Joe Craig
Fasten your seatbelt! High Cascade Snowboard Camp is underway and just wrapped up Session One! If this session was a preview of what’s to come than this is about to be one epic summer! Mt. Hood just had 8 days of blazing sunshine under bluebird skies with the party crew that is Lick The Cat. Signature Session™ Pros Sage Kotsenburg, Spencer Schubert, Blake Paul, Sam Taxwood, Max Warbington, and a load of the homies ambushed the private parks of HCSC and the streets of Govy.
The LTC boys brought product by the boatload and made sure every camper went home just as stoked as they were when they arrived at PDX International. From slack line contests to product toss dodgeball Sage, Schubert, Max, Stax, and the boys made sure every day of camp was action packed. Schubert even carried Camper Aiden off into the sunset after one epic performance of sandstorm at the Day 5 talent show. With Session 2 currently baking in the oven, things are starting to smell good around Government Camp and this summer is sure to be one of the best to date!
Above: Marko Grilc making his way through a slushy summer Rat Race course at Mt. Hood. | Photo: Darcy Bacha
It’s officially summertime, and snowboarding is in full swing. Music to our ears. Don’t let a shortage of summer gear hold you back from getting after it; we’ve got you covered with eight summer shred essentials.
Dragon MountaineerX Sunglasses
Dragon is to sunglasses as Snickers is to candy bars. The best. The MountaineerX sunglasses accommodate the longest days on the mountain and the ever-changing weather conditions that come with them. With UV protection and leather sun shields, these are the ultimate summer shades. Shop here.
Airblaster Hot Bibs
A day of summer snowboarding inevitably ends in soaking wet gear. Drenched mittens and boots may be unavoidable, but a wet butt is not. The 15K mm waterproofing saves your butt from getting wet every time you slam or taco and end up in the mashed potato snow. Airblaster has the Hot Bibs for the chicas, and the Stretch Krill Bibs for chicos. Bibs in the summer just make sense. Shop here.
Gnarly BozUber Hat
As Wu-Tang Clan would say, protect ya neck. Some people don’t immediately think sunburn when they think snowboarding, but it’s all too real. To avoid a gnarly sunburn ruining an awaited trip, snag this Gnarly hat. It’s lightweight so you won’t be sweating more than you already were, and the long flap really does abide by RZA. It protects your neck. Shop here.
Dakine Vault 25L Backpack
Layers are essential to summer snowboarding. Some days the clouds roll in and a long sleeve tee would feel just right, some days it’s way too hot to be rocking the beanie you brought, and some days the sun is shining a little brighter, melting off the sunscreen you applied an hour ago. A proper backpack is a necessity to keep all your goods together, and Dakine does it right with this stylish 25-liter option that will function just as well off-hill. Shop here.
Rome Spring Trigger Mitt
Can’t decide between a glove and a mitten? Problem solved. Rome has delivered a model spring and summertime mitt to keep your hands cool, breezy, and trendsetting. The 3-finger mitt is warmer than a glove but more versatile than a mitten, making it easy to unzip your jacket, take your phone out of your pocket or change the song in your headphones between runs. Shop here.
686 Dazed Pullover Henley Long Sleeve
Long sleeves save lives, and chicks don’t dig farmers tans. A nice, aesthetically-pleasing long sleeve tee like this one will prevent your arms from a harsh snow rash and help you steer clear of tan lines. Shop here.
Salt & Stone Sunscreen
Salt & Stone is not your average Walmart-brand sunscreen. It’s all-natural and unrefined, using plant-based ingredients able to hang with a high-spirited lifestyle, like the fellow lovers of adventure and escape that represent the brand: Pat Moore, Jake Blauvelt, Blake Paul, Gigi Rüf, Jake Welch, and Austen Sweetin, among others. Salt & Stone will shield you from all the rays. Shop here.
Volcom Taylor Turtle Cloth
It’s a bird, it’s a plane! No, it’s just Volcom’s Taylor Turtle Cloth! This commodity is whatever you want it to be. You never know if you’ll be feeling a hood or a face mask during a day on-snow under the heat of the summer sun, but no matter what, you’re going to want to be covered. Shop here.