words: Mary Walsh
photos: SNOWBOARDER staff and contributors
A lot of pretty good things require some time spent waiting before you really get to enjoy them. A freshly salted take off. The ability to legally purchase a six-pack. The response from any chick on Tinder that's worth writing back to. The next movie in the Star Wars series. The fifth or sixth story in a series of weak Snapchats from a heavy night out. Jell-O. The patience required and subsequent anticipation increases the enjoyment of the outcome. And so the same goes for the start of Superpark 20, which, after a brief day 1 hold due to the ever-shifting weather patterns of the Eastern Sierras, kicked off in full force on the morning of day 2. While the meteorological conditions were still slightly schizophrenic, alternating between sun and bursts of flurries due to fast-moving clouds, the warming temperatures, good snow, and circulating rumors about the massive jumps that had been erected had the the seats packed on Mammoth’s Chair 10 as soon as it started spinning.
And, as with all things, the wait was worth it. Midway up the liftride, the trees parted abruptly and the Superpark arena broke into view. Covering the face of Solitude is a deluge of massive, crisply cut jumps, jutting into the sky far above the groomers that usually occupy the trail. Superpark 20 is, without a doubt, one of the most visually impressive builds of the past two decades due not only to the features themselves, but also the geography they sit on; so much is displayed from a single vantage point. Just in the area visible from the lift, the set up is a staggering expanse of transition, some small (a bmx line and a minipipe), but mostly behemoth: three hips–stacking as the elevation increases–built by Bear, Mammoth, and Seven Springs respectively; a quarterpipe; multiple gap and transfer options; and some hefty cheesewedges on looker’s right. The front face of SP20 is an ocular mindmelt on its own, but it is also only a portion of the set up. Up above, just beyond the ridge line, there's a towering step up with extra tranny, as well as a rail line, both built by Boreal. Below the bmx jumps is a Seven Springs' stepover with built-in quarterpipe and hitching post. There’s features at every turn and plenty of turns in between. Superpark 20 presented by Nexen Tire USA is a bonafied park mecca.
The first day (or second, in this case) of Superpark is the start of a controlled chaos. A unique breed of sussing out speed, lines, and warm up tricks that whirs to life with the speed of a combustion engine. The spark burns fast; it's zero-to-sixty right away. As soon as Superpark begins there's precipitous and palpable need to jump on the semi-infinite options as quickly as possible. Today, the first day of the twentieth anniversary of the end-of-season event was no different. Crews lined the drops ins, lapped through, hiked around and began to pick apart the different sections of the park. Wind prevented the Mammoth and Springs hips from being hit today, but they will see action as the week progresses.
The Boreal step up has already emerged as a goliath of SP20 and today, just a few riders stepped to test their mettle on the structure. Chas Guldemond nailed a back one over the beast early on. Spencer Whiting went in for a three and compressed a little too much on the take off, launching into an unplanned backflip. His insane air awareness allowed him to pull it together and land on his feet. It was nuts. Higher up on the mountain, Boreal’s rail section has also only started to see some action. The single-flat-to-double-down and goal post will be highlighted as the week continues, for sure.
Further downhill, a crew opened up the mid-mountain Bear backside hip. Kyle Mack floated huge air-to-fakie tuck knees. Spencer Whiting sent a massive method into the Mammoth sky. Brandon Davis and Jacob Krugmire were sending. Morgan "Coonhead" Rose took the line less traveled to rider's left, though we're sure we'll see more solid performances from him as the week continues.
In a fall line canyon, the trail was peppered with bmx-style gap jumps where Mons Roisland, Cody Lee, Ryan Paul and more were sending quick tricks. Felix Mobarg, who has been impressing this past season with his penchant for arcing perfect lines on any hill he riders, hit the entire line with one foot unstrapped.
As the day wore on, a motley and massive crew of people collected in the center of the Superpark zone. The Bear crew, metaphorically building off their transitional paradise at Superpark 19, erected a cube filled with options: rider's left hip; QP in the middle; additional quarter with perpendicular flat tube on rider's right; transfer option to hip landing on the left; and transfer to redirect on the right. Matt Wainhouse, Ben Ferguson, Josh Feliciano, and a grip more were testing the waters on the hip. Halldor Helgason was cranking front nines on the same side transfer. Sebbe Debuck and Judd Henkes were careening over the gap, too. Alex Lopez, Brady Lem, Ralph Kucharek, and many more were giving the QP coping firm pat downs as they explored various handplant options. Jaeger Bailey, Chris Roach and Austin Hironaka were spending their time airing out. To rider’s right, Dylan Alito and Gabe Ferguson were going coping/deck to redirect, respectively. Nial Romanek, Nik Baden, Brandon Davis, Danimals and a few others were airing to redirect on the far wall. Reid Smith and Lucas Magoon opened up and shut down (at least for the day), the blue tube off the rightside quarter, along with Jaeger who 50-50 stalled upside down on the bottom of the thing. Reading descriptions of these tricks isn't nearly as rad as seeing them go down—stay tuned for the day 2 video dropping in the morning that will check off the need to watch what went down.
It was a successful beginning to Superpark 20, but there is plenty more to come. Keep posted to @snowboardermag, @snowboardervideo, @mammothunbound, @oakleysnowboarding, @nexentireusa and #Superpark20 for complete coverage from Mammoth Mountain.