words: Mary Walsh
captions: T. Bird
photos: Huggy, T. Bird, E-Stone, and Mary Walsh
It may almost be April, but winter is very much alive in Southern California. On Day 2 of The Launch presented by Volcom, the crew in Big Bear awoke to multiple inches of snow in town and a few more up at the mountain. Clouds moved in and out overhead as blue sky peeked through and illuminated the fresh snow. The Bear park staff prepped The Launch lane as the riders lined up above the jumps. It was on. Weather can be a fickle beast, but again, as we mentioned in the Day 1 recap, the young ascendants in snowboarding aren't bothered by overcast skies.
The lower section megalith of a jump, which can only be described as a snowy Agrocrag saw the bulk of the action on Day 2. The transitions of this massive hunk of frozen precip are nearly endless. Take the rider's left take off and send it over the top. Judd Henkes, Red Gerard, the triple corked Marcus Kleveland, and Kix Kamp did just that. Justin Phipps and Dusty Henricksen released the hoof over the gap. Windham "Lawndart" Miller has no sense of danger and we're down. Prefer to find a different route from take off to landing and the additional options were plentiful. Send it through the berm and hit the quarter on the right side up and back in Brock Crouch, Dru Brownrigg, and Jack Coyne or transfer from QP to the landing of the jump like Jake Pates (the session instigator), Toby Miller and Nik Baden. Gabe Ferg put down a one-of-a-kind line, going up the middle cut out in the gap then re-entered into a Euro carve. Tranny finders abounded, too. Parker Szumowski and Cody Warble spent the morning etching lines into the left side of the interior of the gap, clinching redirects. Kyle Kelley chose the line less taken on rider's right and sent it directly into the back wall. The tranny plaza was a flurry of activity, nevermind that the rider's right gap has yet to be hit.
Up top, the session was heated late in the afternoon even as snow flurries began to swirl in the sky. Miles Fallon decided to drop into the massive marshmallow step-over with only one of his feet strapped in. From there, he teamed up with Milo Malkoski and they hit doubles on the wallride. We can't yet confirm, but rumor is that Braedon Wheeler stepped to and made it to the end of the 100-footer at the very top of the park (you can watch Drayden Gardner get the whole thing on Day 1 here). Peter Cerulo was dropping some of the most stylish tricks of the day as he gapped the channel in front of the wallride and stomped both a frontboard and frontlip on the coping of the snow tranny. As 5pm drew near and the snow started to fall harder from the sky, Tristan Heiner, Mike Ravelson, Cooper Whittier and an assemblage of steel savants, ever hungry to place base to metal collected at the bottom of the mountain to session a wide tube to end the day.
Don't take our words for it, of course, the Day 2 video drops tomorrow (watch the Day 1 video here) with legitimate moving pictures of all that went down at Bear Mountain with the hungry groms of The Launch 2016. Stay tuned to @volcomsnow, @bear_mountain, @snowboardermag, @snowboardervideo and #TheLaunch2016 all on Instagram for updates as the action happens.