DC Snowboarding, Jordan Morse

words: Mary Walsh

photos: Mary Walsh, Mark Clavin, Jeep Eddy, and Peter Morning

We were going about 70 mph six miles outside of Mojave, California, a tiny desert town lined with gas stations, motels, and a truck stop, when we heard a cracking explosion that sounded more like the bang of a head-on collision than anything else. It was one of the loudest noises I had ever heard and immediately the RV was careening through the left lane, teetering on the edge of paved road and desert drop off. Chunks of tire and bumper fuselage streamed through the air as Travis, who was behind the wheel, muscled the RV away from the tipping point, miraculously maneuvering the giant rig into the breakdown lane on the right side. The whole crew hopped out—Iikka Backstrom, Brady Lem, Jordan Morse, Anto Chamberland, Torstein Horgmo, Bobby Meeks--and found Travis, staring at a gaping hole in the front end where the bumper, wheel panel, and driver’s side headlight had been just a few moments earlier. The once beefy, tractor-trailer-sized, right-front tire had been whittled down to a scraggly, black elastic wound tightly around the wheel. The gas tank sat precariously just behind the bludgeoned metal, fortuitously unscathed by the tire’s explosion. The crew’s collective brows furrowed. Was there a spare? No. Were there tools? Not sure. Flares? Nah. There was a fridge loaded with Coors Lights and a cabinet full of snacks, though, which was good because we were going to be here for a while.

Iikka Backstrom and Justin Fronius

Quick skate stop in Huntington before heading out. Iikka and Fronius. p: Walsh

Jordan Morse

Jordan quickly destroyed everything at The Berrics. p: Walsh

DC Snowboarding

Oops. Unplanned stop in Mojave. p: Walsh

Earlier that morning, I had met up with Meeks and the DC Snowboarding team for their second annual pilgrimage to Mammoth Mountain for Opening Weekend. We loaded the DC RV in Huntington Beach with boardbags and skate decks, squinting under bright blue skies and a sun that was scorching the mid-November day to above 80 degrees. Iikka popped a few quick kickflips over Froni in the street and we were off, headed deep into LA for a pit stop at The Berrics.

The Berrics is just insane. We arrived early and were the only ones there for a few hours, the entirety of the warehouse park to ourselves in what was really a dream-like situation. Iikka and Jordan immediately started picking apart the different corners of the massive room. Both of these guys have deadly style and moved from stairset to tranny and coping to manny pad and back again with relaxed precision. Bobby wallied up a Jersey barrier onto a higher level and the proceeded to find enough tranny to wallride over Brady’s head, so close that Brady’s hair blew sideways as he passed. DC filmers Martin Fobes and Sam Sosnowski even got a chance to roll around in front of the camera a bit, too. As if skating at The Berrics wasn’t rad enough, a half a dozen pizzas showed up just as everyone needed a breather—the Rogue roadtrip was off to a banger start.

Brady Lem

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Hanging out with the DC team is like spending time with a group of brothers. There’s the Finnish one who the younger Minnesotans antagonize, ending up on the receiving end of headlocks. The one from Quebec who is most able with a set of tools to get the crew out of a jam and also tends to emerge victorious from any arm wrestling match. The Utah native, whose humble and deliberate demeanor is a perfect balance with looser style brought by the Midwestern members of the gang. And then there’s the Norwegian statesman, whose even keeled personality adds a mellowness to the group—except of course when they’re all on hill, when it’s collectively no holds-barred. All in all, it’s a crew whose personalities mesh as cohesively as their varied styles of snowboarding. To put it simply, the DC team is nailing it.

Brady Lem

First park laps of the season. Brady Lem. p: Walsh

Anto Chamberland

Anto Chamberland finding some early season goods off the top. p: Morning

Jordan Morse

The duality of Mammoth Opening Weekend, from rooster tails to early season park laps. Jordan Morse. p: Mary Walsh

Post Berrics we were ready for cooler temps and the advent of chairlift laps on fresh snow. But there we were, down a tire on the side of the road, less than twelve hours from when the Chair 1 would start turning and we were three-and-a-half hours from Mammoth, unsure of exactly how, or if, we would make it to the mountain in time for the first day of the season. We sprawled out in the RV while waiting for some form of roadside assistance to materialize. We watched 'DC Mtn Lab', the 2005 classic, on repeat, since it was the only DVD we had. A policeman came by and dropped off some flares. Iikka hoarded them, managing everyone’s safety with a Coors in one hand. Two guys in a convertible came by after the sun had set, demanding politely to meet Dyrdek, who they knew was inside the RV. Iikka and Bobby illuminated the front end with their iPhones as Anto, a firefighter back in Quebec, worked magic and removed a piece of twisted metal that was nearly scraping the ground. We waited. We told stories. And we grew hungrier, breaking into a muffin assortment by 8pm.

Jordan Morse

Morse. p: Walsh

DC Snowboarding

Fronius, Morse, and Lem. p: Walsh

Anto Chamberland

Anto. p: Walsh

It was nearly nine when two guys, one in a Red Sox hat, pulled up to the RV in a dilapidated pickup truck and delivered a new tire to us. Anto casually wielded the impact wrench and secured the hulking rubber circle to the wheel. In a few minutes, busted up front corner or not, we were back on the road, cruising the rest of the way to Mammoth Lakes, just a little later than expected.

Thursday morning we woke up to the sound of an avy bomb followed by cheers—the traditional noise of the start of winter at Mammoth. The sun was high, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and we grabbed our boards and headed to the gondola for the first run of the year. A quick lap down Cornice Bowl, where lightly tracked pockets of fresh stacked the rider’s right side led us to what would be the nucleus of the mountain for the weekend: an early season Unbound park just above the bottom of Chair 3 that contained three sets of Mammoth-pink jibs. Mammoth’s opening is as much about meeting up with friends as it is about the snowboarding and day one was full of laps, high fives, and a few cold ones at the base. The guys started stacking clips on the pink rails amidst the frenzy of excited boarders who had descended on Mammoth for the weekend. As tracks piled up, it was time to call it a day and we headed downhill to one of the best apres spots in town, Mammoth Rock ‘N’ Bowl, a bowling alley-slash-bar-slash-restaurant that combines inexpensive drinks with competitive sport. We snagged two lanes and spent the night draining pitchers and gutter balls.

Iikka Backstrom

Day two everyone’s legs were warmed up and we spent the whole time in the park. The opening weekend set up had ample opportunities for minishred on a rainbow box and mellow tube. Jordan stayed low dragging a hand across the box and Froni sent a massive three from takeoff to far-away flats. He must have landed it nearly a dozen times, only running into in the fence once. Froni is an animal. As shade began to set in, Brady found a sidehit stump perfect to get quickly blunted on before cruising downhill.

Jordan Morse

JMorse always finds the creative line. Quick transfer off box-to-tube. p: Eddy

Bobby Meeks

Meeks method. p: Morning

Brady Lem

Brady Lem. p: Walsh

Justin Fronius

Straight to the flat. No problem for Fronius. p: Walsh

Gallery

Brady Lem

Late day log blunt. Brady Lem. p: Walsh

Torstein Horgmo

Anto Chamberland

Anto, press. p: Morning

There’s no stopping during Opening Weekend at Mammoth and once off hill, we headed to Black Velvet for snacks and drinks with the Mammoth crew. Molly and TJ Dawoud, Gabe Taylor, Lauren Burke, Peter Morning, Sydney Jones and the Unbound staff enjoyed the epic Black Velvet waffles, and a well-deserved after-hours break from the work they all put into Opening Weekend. (The crew at Mammoth is an all-time one—an extra thank you for everything they do, from November all the way through May and beyond!) The mellow vibe at the coffee shop-slash-bar was only the beginning though, as there was a double-header premiere to go to. Abisinthe’s ‘After/Forever’ was on tap at Sushi Rei and Mammoth locals Kimmy Fasani, Garrett Warnick and Jaeger Bailey were deserving of ample accolades for the hammer parts they had filmed the past season. Sapporos were cracked, the restaurant was standing room only, and Kimmy, Worm, and Jaeger were duly celebrated. There continued to be no break in the action as we all headed to 53, just a few doors down in the Mammoth Village, where ‘The SNOWBOARDER Movie: Resolution’ was next up. The tequila came out and the edges of the evening blurred. Before it got too late, our crew pulled the ripcord and loaded into the RV to head back up to the mountain in anticipation of the following day’s boarding, though we heard Laka Nuki went off that night, we were merely pacing ourselves.

Iikka Backstrom

Iikka rock wallie. p: Walsh

On Saturday, as the liftlines grew longer with weekend traffic, we met up with Peter Morning who wanted to head to the top. It was a tad windy up there and we were all skeptical, but Peter is practically a mayor of Mammoth; he’s grown up on the mountain’s trails and has worked in the marketing office nearly as long as he’s been skiing. Yelling over the gusts as we exited the gondola, we reluctantly headed left toward Dave’s Run. It was cold and wintery despite the bright skies at the top of Dave’s. We all side-eyed the terrain we were supposed to follow Peter down, but once we dropped in we were greeted with blower turns. It was a bit hard underneath—it was November, after all—but Peter was right. Iikka and Anto showed the crew how it was done and let loose some roosts that were worthy of mid-winter. Big Mountain Brady showed up on his 153 jib board and sent snow into the air. We got to the bottom, traversed back to the front side, and then went back up for more. A quick lap through the soft snow of the park, another run kicking up light snow. There are few places that you can have this duality of snowboarding the first weekend of the year but Mammoth is definitely one of them. We spent the rest of the day lapping the park, staying up late past when the crowds had left the hill. Jordan and Anto capitalized on the receding golden hour for the media crew. It was the very end of the day by the time we got off hill, tired, stoked, and with one more night left to head into the Mammoth Village.

Iikka Backstrom

Iikka Backstrom

Iikka, sending up a proper roost. p: Walsh

Torstein Horgmo

Torstein. p: Clavin

DC Snowboarding

Brady, Froni, Anto, Jordan and Iikka, top of Mammoth. p: Morning

Jordan Morse, Anto Chamberland

Jordan and Anto catch the last of Saturday's light. p: Walsh

Justin Fronius

The crew. p: Walsh

Last year, the premiere DC Rogue to Mammoth road trip culminated in a dinner at Gomez’s cantina where Brady and Jordan were presented with DC Somebuddy boards and officially welcomed onto the DC team. The evening had illustrated both DC’s commitment to the newest two riders on their squad and also their penchant for tequila when a solid night out was afoot. This Saturday, similarly to the year before, fishbowls of margaritas were dolled out, tequila shots made the rounds, and Brady narrowly avoided a mid-dinner Jaeger bomb. As we walked across the village once again to 53 for the premiere of ‘The Wildcats Movie’ and TWS’ ‘Insight’, the early evening blurred into late night. The appropriate ender to Opening Weekend.

There are few better ways—though at the time it sometimes feels like the opposite—of burning off a long night than ripping around the Mammoth skatepark. It was time to bounce out of town but before hitting the road we capped off the weekend with a few hours pushing around. Iikka and Bobby were going off, wallieing and fast-planting a large rock, respectively, before sessioning some coping-less tranny with Jordan and Froni. As the morning turned into afternoon, it was time to once again hit the road, this time back to the coast, another DC Rogue to Mammoth road trip was coming to an end, clips stacked, photos snapped, and an epic weekend in the books to kick of winter 2017. Huge thanks to Bobby, Dave, Sam, Martin, Iikka, Anto, Torstein, Brady, Jordan, Justin and the entire DC crew for the wicked season kick off. And thanks to Travis for being an incredible driver! Finally, a big thank you to everyone at Mammoth--you guys rule.

Justin Fronius

Froni up and over at the Mammoth skatepark. p: Walsh

Justin Fronius