words: Tanner McCarty
photos: Aaron Blatt
What do you get when you take a bunch of East Coasters to Baker for opening day? A couple landed tricks, a bunch of rag dolls, and endless roaring laughter as the crew zig-zags their way down the mountain. All the powder snobs must have stayed home, because the entire day was spent lapping chairs 1 and 8, pushing our luck on some steeps that may not have been ready for turns, all without waiting in a single line. Washington local Austin Hironaka was luckily there to show us around as we navigated every bump to landing we could find.
“Send it! The landing is super soft, just a couple of knobbed branches barely sticking out! You got it,” yelled High Cascade’s Dave Marx to Think Thank filmer Sean Lucey, who despite being a full six and a half feet tall, sent one of many backflips off a highway hit into the tracked out, stick-filled landing.
Brandon Reis flew into Washington due to the Bone Zone bust, and was not complaining as he bounced around the mountain like a little kid, landing what we think was the first double backflip of the Baker season.
The “holy shit” moment of the day came when Austin Hironaka threaded the needle through two trees to jam off a bent pine, all on top of a sizable cliff riding down a steep sketchy landing like he grew up there. The dude knows how to ride his snowboard.
After a quick break in the lodge and a couple beers in the parking lot, we met up with Baker local, Gary Milton who knew where to find the best windlip on the mountain, which was perfect because we were trying to catch some air. After a mandatory upside down session, the trails got dark, feet started to cramp, and we all began to realize how out of shape we were. Baker opening day was one for the books and as an East Coaster, I can now check it off the bucket list of things to do before I die.