Every snowboarding locale is packed with regional solidarity. From Minnesota to Maine, crews are armed with gopros and smiles as they ride their home resort and celebrate what makes their scene unique. The locals of Big Boulder, Pennsylvania stand out though. There is something about this mountain, set in the Poconos off I-80, a short drive from both Philadelphia and NYC, that breeds a unique solidarity.
[caption id="attachment_41317" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="A Poconos sunset after a 65 degree day in February. Photo: Greg Furey"][/caption]
While support amongst peers is nothing new, it was something downright special during Red Bull Butter Cup Friday, February 18th, to see the older competitors cheering and supporting the groms—not in small doses, but in huge yells, whoops, and high fives. It’s this environment that allows young shreds like Miles Fallon, who won the Grom Award, to not only excel on their snowboard, but also to feel comfortable enough to “Dougie” in front of everyone during awards. The tight-knit vibe of this place is uncanny.
[caption id="attachment_41315" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="The history of the picnic table has many discrepancies: whether it was invented in the US or New Zealand, in what year, and by who, but one thing is for sure, once people decided to snowboard across the top of the table, the iconic lawn furniture had found its best use. Of course, having a bowl of your Aunt Josephine's famous potato salad on the table is a close second. Photo: Greg Furey"][/caption]
The park crew may be credited with cultivating this sense of Boulder spirit. Ian Oliver and his scrappy and dedicated team weren’t deterred by two days of 60+ degree temps leading up to the event that were bearing down on the creative build they had planned. Under the February sun, they turned out a next-level Red Bull Butter Cup course, the first like it on the East Coast. Two different snow platforms of snow combined the butter pads, a banked turn, a stair set, and multiple transitions and wall rides. The options for buttering were almost endless.
[caption id="attachment_41319" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Mark Martinez is one of the smoothest guys on the East Coast. This distinction comes not from his ability to convince others of his opinion or pick up ladies, though he could be good at those things too, but instead because he came to many of the Red Bull Butter Cup stops and placed at almost every one of them. Photo: Greg Furey"][/caption]
As the sun set and competitors prepared to throw down, the snow hardened up, giving way to ideal speeds for fun shredding. The Ams dropped first, while DJ Hersh bumped tunes from the Red Bull MXT and dance parties erupted.
[caption id="attachment_41313" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Am Podium"][/caption]
In the Am Division Kurt Barthel was on the mark all night long, matching butters against Fabrice Toussaint, James Dyar, and Matt McFadden among others. Christian Solberg and Brandon Herman impressed the judges and took second and third places, respectively.
[caption id="attachment_41321" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Pro Podium"][/caption]
By the time the Pro Division began, the wind was picking up and it was getting much colder—all the more reason for the pros to bring “the heat”. The Brothers Luza, Dom and Kyle, were at home on the butter pads. Mark Martinez was throwing his signature presses and bonks out, and Billy Keil was riding every aspect of the course, eventually buttering, gapping, and spinning his way into first place in the Pro Division.
A big thanks to Ian Oliver, Guido Martelli, the Big Boulder Park Crew, Junior from Forum, Mata from Oakley, Nike 6.0, Neff, and all of the snowboarders that came out to compete and have fun buttering.
For more visit www.redbullusa.com/buttercup
1st – Kurt Barthel
2nd – Christian Solberg
3rd – Brandon Herman
1st – Billy Keil
2nd – Kyle Luza
3rd – Mark Martinez