Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 08, Hello 09

If 09 goes like the last day of 08 for the SMS crew, the future looks good.  Temps dropped a bit but once again we had blue skies and a killer park-to-pipe run.  A friend of mine, Laura Austin who is out here shooting photos for EXPN shot with us today.  She was impressed with the team and its always great to hear that from an outsider.  The photos in this entry are a taste of her style.
Highlights were similar to yesterday and most of it was documented.  Emily landed a switch front board, Mike Perle has a worthy slope run down, and TTK was mixing up his handplant grabs.  
Gotta keep this one short, so I will cut to the real performer of the day, Rick Shimpeno.  The dude is on fire and we have the footage and photos to prove it.  I think he got the cover shot for Woodward Copper, handplanting on an A-frame in the woods.  Shot of the trip, no doubt.  And that was in the half an hour he was not shooting photos himself.  
After shredding the coaches got a bit selfish and had a last skate of 08 at the Woodward bowl.  The kids were patient and Rick got down some more.  Coach of the year, underground style.
Best wishes to all SMS fam and supporters.  May 09 be oh so fine.  Dave Redden, you rule.  The Burning Man comment was unconscious.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Crew Returns

Yesterday was the pick-up day at DIA.  Drive down, drive back.  Lots of hugs and Christmas stories.  Great to see the kids again and the energy is high.
Today we headed to Copper.  Probably 30 degrees, clear skies and a new park.  While we have been out here for a month, we have only had one day of hitting jumps and were overdue for some of that.  The best part is that the park is above the pipe so we can get both on every run.  Three different jump lines means no excuses for not learning tricks, check with your kids.  I was as excited as the rest of the crew and smiled from ear to ear after a run of front 5, switch back 180 to back 5.  Rick was shredding too, spinning the jumps and finding insane lines with James (also sick methods off the kicker box).  Shelb began reworking back 3s and Jenn is on the doorstep of Cab 3s.  James finally got an outfit with some color for photos and Rick nailed the shot to the left (not a straight air, front 3 indy).  Mattice was running Cab 3 shifty, Cab 5 to something cool (forgetting, sorry).  Check his photo too.  Roomet had a tough day.  He counted 13 slams and I saw a few of them.  Can't rule the hill everyday!  Abay is pumped to be hitting jumps again and inspired me with some front 7s.  TTK shreds all day and is working on a corked cab 5 that will soon become a 7.  Emily pioneered the jump line for the girls and had made the first two by day's end.  Number 3 tomorrow, no doubt.
Eric B was feeling under the weather and had to chill.  There is no one on this team who would be more upset at missing a day on a new jump line, I feel for the kid.  He should be back at it soon.  Randall gets in at 1am.  We all look forward to his Jamaica stories.  Missing Joe and India, but I guess they love them some New Years with the fam.
Did I mention Rick was on fire today?  I think I did.  Check the top photo where he ollies the Stump of Manhood.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peace and Snow To You

While our elder team-mates continued their Colorado shred tour of training and competing among the worlds elite of the Shred World, the underclass finished out the quarter at home. Three days on snow...DayOne on crushed granular: the lips held (not) together like dry sand, killed it with switchy mixes. DayTwo on 4-5 inches of dry pow: the moisture held the granular together underneath the fresh, killed it with flips over tables for every pro-am and multiple spins for every dev kid. DayThree on the seemingly private corduroy rebuild of Carinthia Park and the new "Gulch" goes: big down rail, newly dialed-with-pop 1st jump, bomb the landing to first successful east coast step up and it begins as (high speed bs 180?) the scariest soft landing going- get yer head around that and you have just learned something and closely followed by the single feature that is three jumps in rhythm going boom boom boom. So small (think tyrolean) and yet so tight that again you are wrapping your head around something very new or you are feeling what you lack quite clearly as you choose between a short length of fat propane on the left, a tall skinny trap box in the middle or the 12 inch wide flat down on the right and then the familiar but not quite triple line of yore but the first table now doubles as a hip contraption and the bottom two are uppity thirty five foot plus tables. Im pretty sure there are jibs all over the place that I was not bonking or watching as I was busy wrapping my head around and watching our crew wrap it's collective shred consciousness around the bussiness end of this shreducational extravaganza. Dizzy with bizzy. If you are putting something deliberate down on every feature of this park your mind is in screaming expansion like J Edgar Hoover at a burning man festival. (He would never find his shoes again.)
So did we kill it ? Perles sevens almost did and his nose presses should have and would have on any other occasion perhaps. And Tierney's method is the prettiest thing since olympic peninsula rhododendrens in june but Hunter broke his helmet in half...almost but no kill. It still stands. And it is gathering power daily. I did eleven laps on the other park by myself in the powder sunday just to be ready for our return. I will need help just to survive. Godspeed for your return.

Mallon just this morning forwarded the Dew tour results. Danny Davis and Louie Vito have now won the first two major pipe contests in the world of men's snowboarding for the season. Couple (triple?)the fact of these wins with our great camp out west, and our extremely promising season begun at home and take stock of our community at holiday time. To every Parent, Athlete, Coach, Faculty Member, Friend, Inspiritors known and secret and every Mtn Shredder smiling away out there: Thanks for the universe. Without all of you we would never be able to live the life we are living.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Tikos Touch

Today Tikos was inspired to shoot some photos on the hill.  The attached shots of Sadie (who is ripping in the pipe) and Kevin (who is ripping anything put in front of him) are just  a taste of his style.  He has an amazing eye and could easily develop into a legitimate photographer.  
Similar program today, mens quals went down with Joe, James and Bayer all riding to their full potential and landing 900s.  While they did not make the cut, it was not due to lack of effort or focus.  James jumped on the bus to Copper after his runs and learned backside 540s.  Once again, he chooses to learn tricks 7 feet out of the pipe and makes it look like he has done the trick for years.  Tons of style and control with that kid, and slams do not phase him.  Kevin Mattice, the Jersey park rat, now has a nice pipe run with back to back 5s and a front 7.
I have enjoyed 3 or 4 days of riding with the girls squad (Simpsons, Lena, Emily and India).  They are a blast to ride with.  Full of funny energy and down to progress, easy to coach.  Shelb is getting a nice front 3, Emily is grabbing backside 180s, Sadie is solid in the pipe, India is getting switch back 180s, and Lena was tailblocking and boardsliding with style.  
Two more days left which will be spent at Breck checking out the Dew Tour.  Liz and Ellery are still in and will be competing tomorrow.  
It was our last diner of this leg of the trip with our cook Dan.  BBQ chicken, mmmmm.  We got him a Christmas present to show our appreciation.  It was a gift certificate for a massage.  He has never had one and is excited to indulge himself.   We also had two guest dinners with us tonight, Mike Hahn and Dan Feldman.  The place erupted when they walked in and we all enjoyed hearing stories of their world travels.   Seeing alumni so happy to visit makes me realize how cool SMS really is.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowstorms and 900s

Finally a photo!  This one says it all for today, dumping snow.  Randall Stacy navigating the pipe, using the force.  Most of the crew went to Breck to watch qualifiers where they were treated to shredding by Joe, James and Lizzy.  All 3 landed 9s in their runs (Lizzy's first 9 in a comp I believe).  Liz made the cut, but the guys quals were cancelled due to snow.  Too bad because James was on fire!  Big airs, McTwist, and a smooth 9.
Randall, Tikos, Emily P, and I headed to Copper to continue the park/pipe laps.  Emily hung tough with the guys and was landing slope 360s, front boardslides and switchstance box tricks.  She remains hungry and probably does not want to go home (although she talks about Marianne and Brain quite a bit).
Steak wrapped in bacon for diner, then Rick and I got to go skate at one of our old friends houses (killer because I had not skated in a week).  
Inspired by Dave Redden's 7 backflips back home yesterday I attempted 2 cripplers and a backflip myself.  Inspiration does not always triumph cus all I got was a swollen hip and a bruised ego.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

James is amazing

Eric B made it into the Dew Tour off the wait list and rode in qualifiers this morning.  I saw the footage and he held his own riding large jumps with top pros.  We are not sure if he made the cut yet, Rick is at riders meeting now.  Either way, he made us all proud and stayed safe.  Alex and Jen had practice which sounds like it went well.  Rick is working hard, sunup to sundown.
I had a similar program today, progression session with the girls in the morning, jump to tree bonk filming session before lunch, box filming with Mattice, India, Erik, Tikos and Randall from one to two, and a pipe session with James and Joe from two to three.  James was attempting back nines, seven feet out of the pipe.  He is so close, tomorrow might be the day.  
Simpson girls are getting pretty tech on the box line, and developing good ollie pops.  The crew of Emily, Lena, India and Simpsons are so fun to ride with!  Shelb backside three off a trail jump today, one of my trip highlights.  Erik, Randall, Tikos and Mattice are finding great natural features and pushing each other, what a crew.
Sorry bout the lack of photos on the blog, as I don't have my own computer I have been using a different one each night, and they don't have my software.  I have been filming  a ton though and as of now I believe I have roughly 100 usable clips.  A few kids have already put together trip videos.  
Cross your fingers for Eric B making the cut and wish Alex, Jen, Ellery and Lizzy luck in the upcoming days of Dew Tour.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


At this point 15 hr workdays are normal (7 days a week).  Not necessarily a bad thing when the kids are working hard with me.  Rick worked Dew Tour pipe practice today with Bayer and Cohen.  Sounds like the pipe is first class.  After a short time on the slopestyle wait list, Eric B got in and will be taking a shot at qualifiers tomorrow.  This kid is so driven and excited to be included in a contest of the highest level.  He knows his boundaries and has a run planned that he is capable of stomping.  While we don't expect him to win, it is great that he is exposed to a professional level of riding as we all envision him as a pro in the near future.  Best of luck Eric.  We are hoping to get Jin and James in to pipe tomorrow and they are also worthy of this level of comp.
I headed over to Copper today with the rest of the crew and although I had my hands full, I got help from within the team.  Kevin, James and Jin acted as guest coaches with the girls this morning and lots of rail work got accomplished.  Sadie and Shelb developed some new tricks and Lena got some excellent coaching tips from James.  Emily has taken to the rail line and has tricks and lines to choose from.  Great comeback Em!  India continues to rip.
After an hour of work with the girls, I caught up with Eric, Erik, Joe, TTK, Randall and Kevin for a rail filming session.  Eric and Erik had discovered a great natural rail on the mountain and we quickly set it up and began filming.  Erik R had the highlight of the day, but all the guys ripped and the energy was high.
I ducked in for a 10 minute lunch around 1 and rushed up to the pipe to work with James.  He has been training super hard and today's mission was the Haakon flip.  The kid drops in for one hit and is back up on the deck in less than 2 minutes, over and over (no exaggeration).  
Moments after returning home I headed to the amazing Breck gym with Lena, James, Randall, Joe, and Erik.  As hard as I tried to challenge Randall, he continues to keep up or outlift me.  We follow up with the waterslide and hot tubs.  Then home for a meal of salmon and studyhall.  Followed by email check and blogging.  Its 8:30 now, can I chill?  Darn you Dave Redden for setting the daily blog precedent!

Monday, December 15, 2008

20 below

We woke today to a thermometer reading 10 below at our house, with reports of 20 below at the hill.  Tikos, Shimp, and Joe were feeling under the weather but the rest of the crew headed to Copper to be pleasantly surprised by blue skys, a great pipe and leftover powder.  The conditions made the weather quite tolerable and by noon temps had risen to the zero level.  I actually felt it was one of the best days yet.  We lapped the rail garden to the halfpipe all day.  I had a tight girls crew working on new rail tricks, switch bombing down the groomers and edging and amplitude in the pipe.  Cam Howe, Kevin Mattice and Erik Roomet acted as guest coaches on the rails while developing their own new tricks.  
India continues to impress me with her work ethic and toughness.  She is not afraid to slam and pay the price of progression.  She wants to run with the rail guys and does a great job of keeping up.  I would say that she is the female version of Kevin Mattice, committed to the sport and the program, fully driven and full of positive energy and focus.
Practice for the Dew Tour starts tomorrow.  Rick will be taking Jenn, Alex and Joe over to get first tracks in the freshly opened pipe.  The rest of us will head to Copper to continue with more of the same.  
Our adventures with acupuncture continue.  Cam Howe, who had suffered back pains since this summer, went for his second session today.  The kid is tough and does not let on to his pain level, but those of us who have had back injuries know what he is going through.  His current mission is to heal up.  
Hoping the weather has improved back home and that power is back to all!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Post-Grand Prix

First of all, congrats to Louie Vito for his Grand Prix victory.  He has always been a great example for current and past SMS students.  He was truly up against the best and came out on top.
Second, thanks so much to Dave Redden for being the blog workhorse.  Great job Dave, I miss you out here.
Last night we received close to a foot of snow.  It is still snowing and will continue all week if the forecast is to be believed.  Today ended up being a powder day for the crew.  It was fun to rip around and explore Copper.  More runs open daily.  As I learned in Argentina this summer, our weak spot is pow riding, so you could easily consider today a training day.
The Dew Tour kicks off this week.  Best of luck to Alex Bayer, Jenn Cohen, Ellery Hollingsworth, Lizzy Beerman and Rick Shimpeno.  
Pipe was closed today but I expect it to reopen tomorrow with soft, forgiving transitions.  
We keep hearing about the disaster scene that is New England.  Hope you all have heat and power.  Hang in there!  
I heard lots of talk about how school starts tomorrow.  I think some kids need to get back into learning mode. 

Underclassmen Return Safely From Colorado...

It was dicey, there was doubt and delay but after our original flight out of DIA boarded nearly one hour late and we ran through the Baltimore airport to our final leg of flying we were not to be denied our return. We hit Albany a little late and had to scrape a half of an inch of ice off the sprinter before getting on the road. We took it easy in respect for the black ice warnings. The roads were dry for the most part but the hanging and downed trees made it clear that the ice was always closebye. Made campus around 1:00 am and I was home by 2:30. A clean run home after a great fall camp. Again many thanks to everyone involved. This crew did not want to leave and it was evident when I walked up to our first gate to see ten laptops out watching the live broadcast of Fridays Grand Prix: mens qualies. We saw Joe's first run from the window at breakfast before leaving and were all super stoked for Jin Wook's high scores being brodcast to us in the airport. Proof of his snowboarding dreams taking shape. Props to both young men for staying in the top half of their heat's against one of the heaviest Grand Prix fields ever assembled. So cool.
Props too to Mike Mallon and the SMS Racers who just landed three of four in the top ten at the Nor Am GS in Calgary Canada yesterday. Indrik, Jackie and big brother Big Z all rode fast and clean in 20 below weather. Today's slalom cancelled a couple of hours ago.
I'm putting in a picture of the ice that is still not melting here at home. Power is still out all over the deerfield valley and Ross was heading home to a dark house when I left him at SMS early saturday am. I'm going to put in some shots from Keystone's area 51 park that we rode thursday to cap off the trip. Sunny and sick as we are fond of seeing and saying. Also a couple of the logsliding development girls from weds. I had a great time getting to do some creative freeriding with these gals and I can tell you that the SMS womens snowboarding legacy is in good hands for the very near future as long as they don't start another level of US development teams. Big thanks to Rick and Ian carrying on in colorado. These guys are looking like the home team wherever they go and I can tell you it's not as easy as one might think rolling around the country keeping real training and health in the focus of of over a dozen highly charged high school shredders.
We are training on tuesday here in Vt and I look forwrd to seeing the kids again already. Peace

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Last Day of Fall Camp

Today was the last day of fall camp. Jen Cohen and Shelby Simpson competed in the Chevy Grand Prix qualifiers and while they did not make the cut, they recieved praise from Ross Powers who said they rode the hardest he had seen them ride all week.
The rest of the team headed back to Keystone for hot laps in their first-class slopestyle park. There was a great 3 jump line and more box/rail features than I could count. James Haffner, Eric Beauchemin and Hunter Wood put together great 3-trick lines on the jumps and showed that they are ready to compete. Cesar is riding as hard as the next guy, and progressing very quickly.
While the camp has been one of the best fall camps I have been to, there was one unfortunate turn of events for Connor Hudson who sustained a minor fracture to his collarbone two days ago. He is a tough kid and is in great shape. We expect a speedy recovery. Wish him well!
The younger crew heads out tomorrow with Scotty and Dave and should be back to SMS around midnight. We hear the weather and conditions are tough back home, but this east coast crew is not scared, ready to shred anywhere!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Progression Session Resumed Monday

SMS was assembled and warming up before anyone else in coppers superpipe this morning. The aggressive hike from the 10,000 foot base of the hill makes for a great circulatory warmup to precede the light stretch and easy fundamental runs to that begin the day.
After four hikes the Dev crew headed off to some different terrain for edging drills. This crew is learning to identify with many skills they already use and adding flexion/extension range in the ankles and knees for more dynamic turns and edge hold. When Ross Powers and Scott Johnston are demonstrating each drill the gang is seeing and following near perfect execution.
Rejoining the Elite and Pro Am crews we found that a few of our riders had been chilled and stuck on the chair that malfunctioned while most had the pipe to themselves. Rick's gang has been rebuilding their base all week and really getting ready for the Grand Prix contest in two days. The uncrowded training was an extra bonus toward that end. Joe was linking seven to seven. James landed a 1080. Shelby is bringing back her five forties and amplitude. Jin is smoothely adding back five to his air to fakie, cab seven to front nine routine. And Jen Cohen is bending her board with front side air grabs. Check the photo.
Kevin Mattice is still working like a seasoned pro in his first pipe camp. He has learned and linked front five, back five, front seven faster than Ive ever seen. Hunter is riding through pain and doing his biggest pipe airs consistently. Roomet's rail skills are blowing Ian's mind and Kirk is one of the planet's rare adults who know the names of most every jib. That's a hard mind to blow. Mike Perle is continuing his large smooth tech mix. Connor Hudson landed a back seven and took a hard fall trying back nine. He is in fine health tonight and ready to push the progression again tomorrow. Chris Tierney lapped with Brendan Conroy throughout the day and they both steadied up the backside spins to consistently link with their fs fives and sevens. Style counts for much on a snowboard. Check theirs in tonights photos.
I just can't mention everyone in each blog but today one big highlight of the camp for me. It's clearer than ever when I loaded the photos. The mornings hike is always a proud time to be coaching and there is a photo here. Every other photo shown today was snapped in less than two minutes near the end of the day. SMS was rolling on copper mtn and I have never seen a tighter happier group of snowboarders.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pipe Madness

What a fall camp! After a great day of powder riding we got back to work on halfpipe and rail skills. If I can say so myself, the coaching crew is on top of things. With 5 coaches on the hill, bases are covered and feedback is maximized. Rick's still camera made an appearance today, which means high quality photos are on the way. Scotty has a tight crew and progression is apparent on a daily basis. Dave Redden is fully sponsed and continues to break down halfpipe riding for every level of ripper.
The addition of Ross Powers is amazing. The guy is a true champion. The kids took right to him and he is very approachable. Plus he rips, so our coaching crew has the most clout by far!
My approach to the camp updates seems to be the highlight approach so here we go:
-Jin Wook riding 5 hours straight and boosting his new backside 540
-Jen Cohen with a large, smooth first hit in the pipe.
-Kevin Mattice stacking footy 1 week into the season
-Josh Cohen riding with the pros and developing each run.
-Erik Roomet displaying smooth Vermont style.
-Pheobe Novello straightening out her pipe line and beginning to boost.
-Cesar is on a mission. The kid is full of energy and fearless. Pipe and rails.
-Emily Pannkuk dialing her switch riding and getting rail footage.

At this point I would like to break from the highlight format and recognize our camp MVP, James Haffner. Today he hiked the pipe from 9 til 3. He would hike to his drop spot, strap in, drop in to something killer (McTwists, backside ally-oop 5s,Haakons, front 7s, 9s and almost 10s) and then hike right back up. The kid is ready for action next week at the Grand Prix.
Tomorrow is our day off and we plan on a trip to Denver to skate and shop. Aside from a few aches and pains, the crew is looking strong (a credit to D Red's dryland design).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rick and Scotty J in da woods

Pipe Training Postponed Today.

Yesterdays pipe training was again highly productive and all star filled. We split dryland training with a skate session at woodward where our underclassmen were joined by Rick and the junior/senior skaters. The rest of us did gym work here with me at the Copper Athletic Center or the Breck Athletic Club with Scott.
Today was another story. Due to another fresh six inches of snow and snow falling all day long the pipe was put on hold except for the obvious flip sesh. The mountain is beginning to open new terrain and the team attacked the various terrain and trees with great enthusiasm. Free-riding is a always an important element of training and the weather sometimes makes that choice for us .
The other important highlight to note is that today is day two of the Ross Powers coaching Era. To say it has been seamless doesn't address how well Ross has fit in. Every athlete and every coach here is appreciating Ross' riding and demeaner. I for one hope he can make it a permanent gig. Obviously a Halfpipe Gold Medalist is a boon to any staff. The depth of what it really means can only be understood this way: our athletes are training with one of the very few Great Snowboarders on the planet today. I hope everyone gets a chance to see what the kids are going to see more and more of.
Im going to get booted off the internet here shortly so, enjoy the pictures and tune in tomorrow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday Highlights

All I can say is monday went off! Conditions are great, fresh snow, mild temps and a very workable halfpipe. Some highlights of the day off the top of my head:
-India Stevenson tailslide to front board on the kink box.
-James Haffner monster McTwist.
-James Haffner slamming a large McTwist and being tough enough to quickly shake it off.
-Mike Perle just shredding with power, style and tricks.
-Emily Pannkuk being the hungriest rider since James Haffner.
-Sadie Simpson already at her last-year level and ready for whats next.
-Kevin Mattice on a progression blitz in the pipe.
-Cam Howe getting tech and creative.

And thats just what I saw. Connor Hudson, Chris Tierney, Austin Schwyer and I ended the day with a heated two hour skate session. I think everyone will benefit from our day off snow tomorrow.
More soon.

The Real Pipe Training Began Today

Every day you ride you are training but when you are traveling to and training in the same pipe as the United States, Swiss, Japanese and New Zealand Teams you know you came to the right Place. Louie Vito, Scotty Lago, The bothers Mitrani, Kevin Pearce, Kelly Clark, Antti Autti...The list goes on and includes the SMS Snowboard Team right in the beginning, middle and end of this picture. Rick's elite crew was again pushed along by the increasing amplitude and hike filled work ethic of James Haffner. The pro-am crew is focusing on getting all four threes, and all four (frontside, backside, switch front, switch back) straight airs. The development team continues to find its legs and solidify the powerful riding stance.
It was great to get a pipe without the pow. It is great to rejoin Ellery Hollingsworth and Lizzy Beerman. The conditioning continues, the health and acclimatization gets better. We decided to keep all squads together in scheduling our day off tomorrow rather than last nights posted plan. So things are in full swing but we will rest tomorrow. Enjoy the photos and we will post again after our next training day.