words and photos: Aaron Blatt
While the majority of the American population was dealing with post-Thanksgiving turkey hangovers, Forest Bailey was packing up his truck and hitting the road. With reports of a storm that left the Great Lakes region with a workable amount of snow, Forest made the call to head eastward from SLC and lock in some clips for his X Games Real Snow part. Driving a casual 2,000 miles put Forest and his filmer, Brock Nielsen, in Upstate New York the Friday after the holiday, and when Scott Blum, Keegan Valaika, and myself flew into town that evening, we had ourselves a crew.
There’s no doubt that the X Games deadline on the Real Snow parts (that will drop in January) puts a fair amount of pressure on the riders involved. Some of the guys take this pressure and push it into a relentless effort–hammering through this early part of the season. Forest’s approach is more casual, but not due to lack of drive; he’s a guy who truly enjoys riding his snowboard, and no deadline or contest is going to take that away from him. This approach, coupled with the ability to look at everything from the weather map to a street spot with logic and calculation, is setting Forest up to calmly put together one hell of a part–all while enjoying being out on the road with friends.
The first couple of days of the trip were all time, working through spots with some highlight sessions, big gaps, and some heavy moves on a triple kink. Searching for spots began to get tricky as the days moved on and the snow started to dwindle. As we moved our way out of town hunting for spots, we found a park that was still holding a good amount of snow. Before we wrapped this trip, we made sure to hit just about every feature you could in this park, going back a second day for round two.
The crew put together a classic picnic table line and a solid tree jam came together as well, but without a doubt the best use of the park was when Blum decided to tee-up the town’s first road gap. With some speed from the winch, he was able to utilize a small uphill section out of the baseball fields to air out, careening into an unsuspecting gentleman’s front yard upon landing. With Blum eagerly holding a rope hundreds of feet from the gap, Keegan pulled the throttle on the winch bringing Blum up to maximum velocity. Lo and behold, Blum sailed out of the park and over the road, hauling ass as he touched down in an otherwise peaceful suburban neighborhood.
After a few more go’s, the aforementioned unsuspecting gentleman appeared at his front door, and his reaction was classic. First just trying to piece things together, he asked what in the world we were doing. Then, as expected, he told us we couldn’t be doing what we were doing, but his delivery was that of someone who had just seen ET land in his front yard, almost laughing at how outlandish Blum’s airtime had been. In the end, we didn’t really try and reason with him and we all just ended up laughing together.