12 Months Project // Face Shots To The Derby
Yewww! This last December was an awesome one! I received a nice little phone call from my TM at Rome Snowboards asking if I could drop what I was doing and meet up with a crew in Canada for a little tour across the Great White North, down into Washington and finally finishing off in Oregon for a contest of sorts. I thought about it for a second… yes. Why would I not? I opened an email with a tentative schedule and trip itinerary listing our priorities to chase deep fresh snow and close the trip at the Dirksen Derby. What did any this mean? Road trip with some awesome characters, snowboarding pow all along the way and participating in a fun event!
I decided that I would head out a couple of days early so that I could do some exploring before it was time to work. On my way up to Canada I stopped in Yellowstone to nerd out and take some pictures of trees, mammals and other boring things near the North entrance of the park. Afterwards, I cruised on up to Banff Alberta to do more of the same. Both of these parks are some of the greatest national parks North America has to offer. While in summertime they flourish with tourists, I was happy to enjoy my time individually and without the circus- exactly how nature should be viewed. It had been a very long time since my last Yellowstone trip and I had never been to Banff, so I promised myself I would do some exploring and walk around a bit. I met up with a new friend and we played tourists, doing some Christmas shopping while she showed me the town and a tea shop that was simply overwhelming with options. Good thing I love tea. Weather wasn’t exactly favorable but it’s winter right? I ended up hiking about 6 kilometers in the snow to some waterfalls and enjoyed some hot tea in the snow. Bachelor life.
In Calgary I met up with the crew who had just arrived in a priceless rig. Justin Cafiero from in-house, Theo Muse the projects filmer/editor, and riders Viktor Simco and Jordan Phillips showed up in a 1988 Chevy Caprise Wagon with teeth painted on the front fenders giving it that old bomber plane look. The Rig would be turning heads at every junction, provided it could make it up the mountain passes first. We headed to Sunshine Village to start the trip and hike some fresh snow off the resort for my first real day snowboarding this season. No better way to start of the season than riding pow! Afterwards we headed straight to Revelstoke where throughout the day our grins were fixed wide. Revelstoke could be my new favorite spot with its deep snow pack and complex terrain around every corner. It was unfortunate we couldn’t stay longer, but I’ll be back… Next stop, Whistler. Here we met up with Rusty Ockeden and Marie-France Roy to explore some stash spots around their neck of the woods, and embark on a little Whistler nightlife.
Whistler was a blast! It had been such a long time since I was last here. Our ritzy hotel made us store our boards in a fancy locker, while the price of the town’s nightlife was enough to cause heart attacks. Eventually, we had to head back for the border and try to squeeze the 88’ Caprise back to American soil without a hiccup. However to our surprise, the vehicle was forced to pull over and undergo a full cavity search once again. Authorities seem to love this vehicle. Anyways, we talked Marie into joining us for the rest of the trip and continued on down to Seattle to meet up with Derrek and crash at his house. His mom hooked us up big with a comfy spot and food to boot, while Derrek found a new fondness for Smirnoff Ice. Fortunately, Stevens Pass had also been getting some snow so we continued our search for pow in Washington.
However a big theme of this trip was the road, so off we were again to Mt. Bachelor. A pit stop in Portland for some desired sushi, and next thing we knew we were in Bend at pimp house with snowboard legend Bjorn Leines and Grady Skelton from in-house hanging out drinking beers. Over the next few days we participated in the 6th Annual Dirksen Derby, slapping high fives with friends all the while. We took high-speed runs as a gang all day hitting every bump and jump we could find, riding to the end of the day. Later, at the bar a few people told us that the Rome crew looked as though we were having the most fun out of all the teams that showed up. Possibly. Although, it’s hard to have a sour attitude when you’re relaxing with good company and having fun snowboarding. However, results could not afford to be so relaxed and fractions of seconds mattered through the derby course filled with speed bumps, banks and jumps. In the end a Marie took home 2nd place in the women’s division! Furthermore, after all the traditional racing was done we participated in the splitboard division where we had to start at the bottom, convert to tour mode, race up and through the red course, convert the splitboards back into ride mode and finally race down for a physically harsh and demanding race. Fortunately, I held back the tears and puke. Typically when I splitboard it’s never a competition for converting and touring, but it’s fun to push yourself sometimes. Afterwards Marie bought us Bloody Mary’s and we celebrated the good times!
The next morning we all went our separate ways and I was on my slow journey back to Colorado to catch Christmas with my family. I’m thankful for all the amazing people in my life and to be able to have snowboarding take me all the places it has. Keep an eye out each month, as Rome will release another episode in its 12 Months Project showcasing all aspects of snowboarding with riders around the world. For information about the Dirksen Derby go to Mt.Bachelor.com or http://www.snowboardermag.com/exclusives/the-6th-annual-dirksen-derby/