words and photos: Mary Walsh
captions: Tyler Davis and Mary Walsh

The 2014 contest weekend that began with the Second Annual Mike Baker Banked Slalom on Friday continued today with Back to the Boneyard VI at Waterville Valley. And while the group that showed up to Ragged had split to attend the Slash and Berm at Killington, Vermont and the Sugarloaf banked slalom in Maine on Saturday, the crowd came back together in the White Mountains for the sixth iteration of a contest that provides a compelling definition of what snowboarding means to folks far beyond the border of the Granite State.

For the better part of the past decade, the park crew at Waterville Valley in New Hampshire led by Luke Mathison has tirelessly pushed, raked, and salted some of the best jumps and jibs in the country for a litany of snowboarders, from Waterville Valley Academy students learning tricks in preparation for slope contests to Plymouth State students trying to run away from hangovers by taking poma laps. Since Luke took over duties as the head of parks at Waterville, he has continued to build upon the legacy of this New Hampshire resort.

Waterville’s Exhibition Park flanks the front face of the resort and is lined by the poma lift, a surface tow that goes part-in-parcel with the cheesewedges that have turned out a litany of the best jumpers in snowboarding (Pat Moore, Scotty Lago, Chas Guldemond, to name only a few). But one of the most important things that the runs of Waterville have taught the area snowboarders is that there is plenty more to shreddin’ than double corks and contest golds; even the riders that find themselves on the top of podiums appreciate the beauty of a kicked out method or a sponsorless local that can go bigger than most in the halfpipe. It was out of this spirit that Back to the Boneyard was created in 2009 and six winters later, the contest remains an event in which groms, up and comers, professional riders, and old guys come together to share their enjoyment for standing sideways and pointing it downhill.

March 16th was a clear and crisp New England day, with temps hovering at a balmy two degrees, as a motley clan of snowboarders hiked toward the Boneyard set up, lining up at the top of the first zone, a thirty foot up-and-over jump that gave competitors plenty of airtime to twist into tuck-knees, tweaked grabs, backflips, and even one bloody Dracula. The ladies threw down as well with big threes and some flips. Next up was a rail section that was both approachable and provided plenty of options for creativity. A flat-to-closeout tube was first and was followed by a up-flat to stairset, and finally a propane tank. The final section was a classic Waterville Valley quarterpipe at the base of the trail. Luke Mathison and WV’s Tom Peplinski had gotten up before the sun to make sure the quarter was in perfect condition and their diligence paid off with a pristine quarter that was sessioned far into the afternoon.

Both the riding and the spectating were paramount during Back to the Boneyard VI. The Think Thank crew rolled down to Waterville from the Near Canada Open, which had gone down the previous day at Sunday River, Maine. Sean Genovese contributed his proper style to the rail portion of the event. Jesse Burtner was filming followcam laps. Ted Borland may have strayed from the quarter, saying that he is “too tall to ride quarterpipes,” but it was just awesome he was hanging out and having fun. Jacques Beriau and Tyler Davis, who spend most days molding young minds in the classroom, taught on hill lessons in style on both the jump and the quarterpipe. Those dudes rip. Andrew Mutty and Mike Baker were doing double lines on the 30-footer. Tanner McCarty had some of the most creative lines of the day, with tranny-finders and good style all around. Mike Ravelson keeps getting even more fun to watch snowboard, if that’s even possible, and was putting down cripplers on the quarter. Eugene Stancato, Bar Dadon, Parker Szumowski, Rob Hallowell, and many more were throwing down, too. Ryan Kittredge, who was crowned King of the Boneyard, spent the entire contest riding a Burton Air and hardboots, going upside down on the quarterpipe and hitting the rails switch. Young rippers Reid Smith, Sam Gildea, and Chris DePaula were throwing down on all three sections, a nod that snowboarding is in the right hands with these up-and-comers.

As the quarterpipe session wrapped up, the crowd headed into Buckets bar in the baselodge for awards. Winners were crowned and everyone celebrated before the contest train headed north to exit 32 to prepare for Eastern Boarder’s Last Call at Loon tomorrow. Based on the text messages we’re receiving from the crew who’s out at the bar right now, the collective hangover on hill should be palpable, though the riding will undoubtedly be unaffected. Stay tuned tomorrow for the final day of this contest weekend on the East Coast and make sure to get to Waterville Valley next year for Back to the Boneyard.

A huge thanks to Luke, his park staff, and the entire crew at Waterville for putting on yet another awesome Boneyard, an event that we look forward to attending every year.

 

RESULTS

Men’s 16 and Under
1. Reid Smith
2. River Richer
3. Chris DePaula

Men’s 17 and Over
1. Jack Herald
2. Rob Hallowell
3. Casey Willax

Women’s 16 and Under
1. Nora Healey
2. Hannah Kelsey
3. Erin Curran

Women’s 17 and Over
1. Elin Tortorice

Legenda – WUSR
1. Timy McLaughlin
2. Tyler Davis
3. Stephen Bryan

King of the Boneyard
Ryan Kittredge