Monday, November 30, 2009

Photo Day with TIkos


Today our HP progression mission was put on hold when we heard that Thomas Tikos-Kadji was coming up to the hill with the sole intention of shooting photos. My entire Elite Crew have various sponsors, and its important for them to have a library of shots to send to said sponsors. This was a great way to slow the crew down a bit and refocus on amplitude and style. We treated this like any of our daily missions and the results were pleasing.


It only took an hour or so for the guys to get some killer shots, and then progression proceeded. James landed his first backside 9 which he comboed into a front 9. Joe has regained full amplitude and is working his cab spin. Hunter is stomping full runs with 5s, 7s and 9s. He is on the cusp of several new tricks. Randall landed the nicest front 7 I have seen out of him. In 3 days of pipe riding he is already ahead of himself at the end of last year (does that make sense?)
So please check out the work of Thomas Tikos-Kadji and tell me, do you think these guys are developing amp and style?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rome rail jam @ LOVE LAND 11/29/09

Copper Pipe Day 2


It was another sunny day at Copper. Sunscreen and dark lenses were a must. The one difference today was the presence of even more top pros. Shauwn White, Danny Davis, Ellery Hollingsworth and Louie Vito were just a few in attendance. That certainly doesn't phase my crew. They politely push up front and throw down focused runs. The crew all chose a trick or combo to work on and they all succeeded. Tierney, Wood and Spencer all got their front to cab 720s back. It was Randall's first day in pipe so he focused on amplitude and style, and developed them both in 4 runs. Mike Perle attempted back 900s but came up a bit short. James chose front 1080s and while he might be tough on himself for a minor hand out, I'm calling two makes. Just like that, 3 hours on snow and 90% of all goals accomplished. These guys are on point!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Grand Prix Halfpipe Opens

I have to apologize again today for not having photos of the day's action. This shot of Pro/Am Coach Scotty and Daniel Landy is nice though right?
The halfpipe for the first Olympic qualifier GP opened today. The US team had it for the first 2 hours, leaving us to patiently watch from the coffee shop below. At 10am sharp we rolled into the pipe and it was much like the Breck jump line day. Lots of riders, many pro, and the Elite Team pushing its way up front and throwing down for all to see. The crew was happy to start slow, building amplitude and feeling out the tranny's. They kept it safe all day, but I had to marvel at what a mellow day is for these guys. 5s, 7s and 9s were the tricks thrown with ease and style on the first day of pipe training in 2010. With skills like that in Nov, the season looks good. James and Spencer stomped front 9s and Spencer rivaled the amplitude of anyone in the pipe.
After watching the riding and feeling out weak areas, I held a meeting with the Elite men to determine the next steps and directions. They all have goals that are attainable in a few days. This looks to be a great fall camp.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Woodward Rail Jam

Woodward at Copper held a free Yam Jam (rail comp) today. The announcer was none other than Rick Shimpeno, so you know tricks were called right and laughs were had by all. We have been training rails daily and it showed, as Randall Stacy, Connor Hudson, Mike Perle and Eric Beauchemin all made finals. They only took 10 to finals, otherwise James Haffner, Tierney and Spencer would have been in the race. I was also impressed by JAMIE CHARRON who had the eye of the tiger, hiked his butt off and landed most of his tricks with style. This kid is driven. Kyle Dorfman was also all business and landed some great tricks too. These two will soon be recognized for their skill and hard work. In the end it was Eric Beauchemin who walked away with the win, beating out a few of Coppers ripping locals. That's two wins in two days (Rumble in the Railgarden being #1), and he is off to the Rome Rail Jam at Loveland tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow, one of the best pipe's in snowboarding's history will open to us at 10am. The Elite Team and Orin Pearce are amped and getting a good night's sleep in preparation for an epic session. Should be some good photos.
As I type I am awaiting the arrival of DAVE REDDEN, Phoebe Novello and Kylie Kennedy. They should be full of fresh energy, and they are showing up at a great time. This means that you will be treated to some Redden blogs over the next few days, and we all love those!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday Rumble in the Railgarden


A Happy Thanksgivng to all my blog followers. For those missing their kids on this family holiday, know that they spent the day doing what makes them happy, shredding in the sun. It was another clear and warm day, conducive to enjoyable progression. Crowds were minimal as most normal persons are at home preparing for stomach stuffing.
The halfpipe is coming along nicely, but will not be open til Saturday. That left us to another day of rail training, which my crew is only too happy to endure. The day's mission was a game of Follow the Leader in the railgardens. Each rider chose a trick on a rail and was awarded a point for landing the trick. If said rider landed his trick, the others had to attempt the same trick and scored a point for completion. The idea behind the game was to get the guys to try tricks they would not normally think of. While a cautious approach could guarantee easy points, the riders went for the throat on each attempt. Again I was reminded that I'm with the Elite Crew now, and these guys don't hold back. The tricks were difficult and creative, and when a hard trick was copied the crowd went wild.
As two rounds neared completion it was SPENCER SHAW and ERIC BEAUCHEMIN who were left to determine the day's champ.

Spencer was one point behind and was the last to go. He landed his trick, a risky 50-50 back 360 off the a rainbow box. This tied him with Eric who was the last to attempt the trick. What a way to end the game! It all came down to one difficult trick. Well I can't say I didn't suspect that Eric would stomp it, and stomp it he did, riding away with a holiday victory. His win granted him Ranking Officer Status on the Elite Team until our next challenge.
Credit goes to all riders as each had at least one amazing trick or follow up.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reunited WIth Shimp



Today we stayed off snow, but had some of the best training possible at Woodward Copper. There is no doubt that this place is the future of snowboard training. The trampoline and dry snowboarding set-ups are exactly what aspiring riders need. To see James throwing back rodeos and Randall sending double backflips fully convinced me of the legitimacy of foam pits.
Our guide for the day was none other than RICK SHIMPENO. We were so glad to see him again, just an encounter would have been enough. It was great to see Rick in his new element and he gave us a great intro course. This was followed by a long-awaited skate session. In 30 minutes the mini-ramp was scorched by SHIMP, HUNTER WOOD, JAMES HAFFNER, CONNOR HUDSON, CHRIS TIERNEY, IAN KIRK AND RANDALL STACY. Randall blew my mind by landing all his difficult tricks in his first run. The kid has not skated in weeks, yet stepped to it like he had been skating all day. The skate session flew by, but the good feeling of reuniting with Shimp is still felt.
Yesterday Serena Shaw took a good slam and messed up her hip and ankle a bit, but its hard to tell by looking at this photo. She insists on chilling with the team and will not be kept off snow for long!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Breck has had a triple jump line open for the last 3 weeks, and the kids knew it. We choose to get passes at Copper because they will have the first pipe open and the first Grand Prix. While we stand by this choice, its hard to ride there before they have features, knowing there is a jump line miles away. The team has been patient, polite and positive, but I have knew they were chomping at the bit to get to Breck. It hasn't helped to have other riders tell us daily how sick Breck is. Today we decided to hit Breck up before the pipe opens at Copper. The team was excited, but even I was fooled by the true level of said excitement.
Being in charge of the Elite Team is still new to me. I am used to weeks of prep and development when the season begins. I now have a crew of budding professional riders whose skills are honed. Giddy was the word of the day and I could truly feel electricity in the air on the first painfully slow lift ride to the park. I gave them the speech about starting slow, riding smart and staying together. Upon unloading the lift I felt like I was holding the reins to a dogsled whose 8 full grown dogs had a rabbit pass by. It was all I could do to keep up.
This sport is still growing and its followers getting more enthusiastic by the day. Having the only jump line open in the US made for a mob scene at the drop in zone. The pad was packed with some of todays top riders, which can be intimidating to many. The Elite Crew pushed right up front, run after run and threw down with style for 3 hours straight. These guys deserve naming again. SPENCER SHAW. HUNTER WOOD. CHRIS TIERNEY. JAMES HAFFNER. RANDALL STACY. JOE MENSCH, MIKE PERLE. ERIC BEAUCHEMIN. They dropped in line and it made my mind spin to look down the slope and see trick after trick popping off at the same time.
I have been especially pleased to see how Perle and Tierney have developed as riders and personas. These guys have been quiet around me in the past, but we now chat the day away. I really look forward to the next few years with these guys. Mike Perle has the nastiest BACKSIDE 720 (pictured) which he lands on command. Tierney's style and character are a pleasure to witness.

Below the jump line was a creative jib park that the crew also devoured. Randall Stacy stepped right to this area with his signature steeze, as you can see in the FRONT BOARD TRANSFER shot below.


We rode right through lunch, and when my crew was somewhat tired, I was able to look around at what else was going on. DANIEL LANDY was spinning frontside 540s off the third jump and I saw a dirty rail combo out of JAMIE CHARRON. I think it was frontside 180 on to switch front board 270, but Im not sure. It could have been half-cab on.
One of the amazing things about the SMS life is our interactions with past graduates. If you've watched SMS Cribs you see that we have space for visitors and we have enjoyed visits from KEVIN MATTICE, THOMAS TIKOS-KADJI and LIZZY BEERMAN. Today on the hill we also were warmly welcomed by the legend CHRIS WAKER and our only PG, CHRISTIAN CONNORS. Its an honor to have these heavy hitters rush to greet us and visit our house.
Tomorrow we take a day off snow and will visit Rick Shimpeno for a Woodward tramp and skate session. Then an SMS Thanksgiving which I will try to document on film!

Monday, November 23, 2009

2010 Elite Team on Fire

We were greeted by a few inches of fresh CO snow today which got our already amped crew even more ravenous to ride. And ride we did! My thesis for todays blog is the superiority of the SMS 2010 Elite Crew. Even our first warm up run was mind-blowing. These guys have come up in the ranks and know the basics which means even their cruising skills are noteworthy. Ripping down a long rolling cruiser run with Spencer, Hunter, James, Tierney, Mikey, Eric, Joe, and Randall was a trip. Style and control were the words of the day.
There is no jump line up yet, which gives us a chance to work on the second half of slopestyle, rails. The mission today was to choose a trick on two rail features, land it, and mimic it switch. The tricks these guys chose were creative and challenging (for example, James Haffner nollie tailslide 270s and the mirror fakie tailslide 270). Trust me, the USSA judges would miscall that one. By lunchtime the mission was accomplished, not George Bush style, Elite Team style. Team rookies Chris Tierney and Mike Perle kept right up and chose killer tricks. These two ooooozze style and are the future of this program.
At one rail we caught up with the Pro/Ams and in the short time we shared I was impressed with Kyle Dorfman's trick choices and Dan Landy's unbeatable character. Few want to ride a snowboard more than Dan Landy and his attitude and exuberance are very James Haffner-esque. Did not have time to shoot many photos, but trust me the tricks were worthy. This poorly shot pic of James is all I came up with, but you can see some style.

As fun as the riding was, the Elite Team workout session topped it for laughs. After a good workout, Hunter Wood purchased a women's one-piece swimsuit and hit the crowded swimming pool. Jaws dropped and one High School girl's ski team will never be the same. Hunter blew our minds and cramped our stomachs with laughter. Start to finish today, the thought that dominated my mind was, I love my Team.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Time Flies


Just like that, one of the most memorable snowboarding trips is coming to an end. There were highs and lows, and while the lows were subterranean, the highs were stratospheric. Would I do it all over again? No way, Makayla is too important to the team to even consider it. But we had to make the most of our ordeal and there isn't an athlete on the trip who wants to leave (including Mak). The scenery was majestic, the hospitality humbling, and the riding was better than we could have imagined.
We spent our last day on the glacier filming and training on the slope course. Highlights included Eric Beauchemin speaking in German before his drops, James running out of tricks to film, Phoebe SLAYING boxes, Indy getting her spins back, and Serena Shaw hell bent on learning switch backside spins. She was looking for sw back 360s (which she learned in NZ). Although she did not land them, she overspun 6 or 7 with legit style. That girl is tough as nails and won't take no for an answer. I was so proud of her efforts and love her grit.
We returned home to find Makayla full of energy and in good spirits. She is in minimal pain and has started using her crutches to get around. She was able to leave the room for the first time in 2 days to share a team dinner with us. Our house mom Veronika outdid herself with the dinner she prepared. She runs a health camp in the summers and has recipes for days. We will miss her, but we know we have friends in Schladming for life.
Its 10pm and we begin our travels home at 3am. Veronika was nice enough to drive with us to the airport so Makayla can ride in comfort and I can rid myself of the stress of driving in an unfamiliar country in the dark. We couldn't have scored a better set up. Veronika's sister was the organizer behind the event and she was impressed with my crew. I had foreign riders asking me about Makayla 5 or 6 times a day since the incident. Many of these people I had not even met. I often expect to get the stinkeye from foreigners for being American, but that was not the case here. I attribute that less to Obama than to the 6 amazing youths traveling with me.

Time to get a few hours of shut eye. Wish us luck on our travels home. Farewell to Austria and the peerless Alps. Thanks again to Mike Mallon for making this all possible. Makayla will be back in action before we know it.

Post Script:
Couldn't load the above last night, just did it now FROM HOME! So, yeah we made it back. Thats quite a story in itself, but one for another day. Time for the first real night sleep in a week!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quick Mak Updtate

Loyal readers,
We had a tough incident with Makayla Tierney on day 2 of our trip, but as you can see below, she is comfy in a nest of pillows and being catered to by her girls. We stayed off the hill yesterday to make sure she was comfy and positively engaged.
The day was otherwise spent learning German, eating good food, sightseeing and, for James and I, some skateboarding.
We head up to the mountain today for a film session, then we pack up for home.
More detailed blog coming tonight!



Thursday, November 12, 2009

Freedom Fries in Austria


Day one could not have gone over better! As I mentioned in the last post, yesterday was a bit overcast. Today's skies were clear and blue, giving us breathtaking views of the Alps. What a contrast to New England riding! The Austrian Alps are awe-inspiring. Massive, sheer rock faces with hanging glaciers and granite spires tower over us.
Veronika, the lady who runs our hotel, made us a great breakfast and the chatter was positive and entertaining. We then hit registration where we were told we were the US representatives for this event. We made sure to mention that we are the SMS Americans. The media folk loved the crew and requested an interview session at 5 tonight (10 minutes away).
The drive to the resort was really cool. Quaint villages, livestock, churches and clean streets, fields and rivers. The road up is a bit hairy as its curvy and narrow. As we drove up the road we spotted a building perched atop an intimidating granite peak. It was scary just to look up at it. We soon realized that it was the gondola building and the cable ran exposed up to it, over a thousand-foot drop. Needless to say the ride up was intense!

Lets get to the snowboarding part, right? The course is mellow, but fun (butter box, 3 jump line, wallride). James and Eric stepped right to it and have lines planned already. I took the girls to warm up on a small 3 jump line. There was some evident rust in our skills, but we diamond stoned it right off. After getting some style and spins back we headed to the comp line. I had the girls ride through while I checked the speed. Right when the girls were reved up to hit the line, they closed it for maintenance. Oh well, they will have no problem with the line tomorrow. We spent the next hour or so running the mini parks and filming rails.

Clouds rolled in by that time the crew was full of snowboard action so we headed to the lodge perched on the precipice to enjoy this team's favorite food, Freedom Fries!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Safe in Austria

We arrived in Austria without trouble and are bedding down in a nice chalet in Schladming. Our house master is a nice lady my age who has already taken to the crew. She is impressed with their behavior and travel savvy. Her name is Veronika and she runs a fat camp here in the summer so she has all sorts of recipes for us starting tomorrow. The town of Schladming is quaint with amazing views of the Alps looming over us. The streets are narrow, non-grid, and mostly one-ways. I ran many of them the wrong way looking for the hotel and was relieved to hear no horns honking or curses yelled at me (even though many locals were in my path).
We enjoyed a team dinner, schnitznel and pizza, with Danger and Ty Walker. Now the crew is getting prepped for day one on snow (I can hear the girls talking about how excited they are). Should be a nice night, augmented by Alpine fresh air.
Somewhat overcast today so the cameras were not put to use yet. Lots of good photos and footage on the way. More tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

So Close Now


Awoke to see the snow guns blazing up on Stratton. There was snow in the bed of my car too, not sure if it blew down from the guns or if some natural fell last night. There have already been 3 or 4 rail jams in VT, with more lined up each weekend from here on. Winter is just about here and the kids are dying to ride. Gotta keep on top of the schoolwork for a few more weeks though!
Next week a small crew of slope riders head to Austria for the Horsefeathers Pleasure Jam. Eric B, James Haffner, India, Serena, Phoebe and Makayla head out on Tuesday for a European Mission. We will be running a jump line our first days on snow. This crew of riders can step right to it, and after a focused two months of dryalnd, they are fit for the trip.
India has been working on getting product support from ROME, and she sent me her resume last night. She sent three or four photos, all of which showcase her budding style. The FRONTSIDE WALLRIDE shot at the top really caught my eye. Skate style! Wish her luck in her sponsorship pursuit and wish us all luck in Austria!