words and photos: T. Bird
For the second year in a row, SNOWBOARDER Magazine has gathered the world's best snowboarders under the age of 18 for The Launch, presented by Nike 6.0.
The future super stars of snowboarding are lapping the slopes of Keystone, Colorado and the Keystone park staff has put forth a Herculean effort to provide these tykes with what very well may be the best snowboard park in the world at this moment. The features include a triple line of immaculate step downs, parallel spines, a step up to gargantuan step down, that sends the riders 40-plus feet in the air and a hip that is sure to give last year's Superpark monster a serious run for its money. Needless to say, the participants are chomping at the bit every morning, lined up at the start gate for Bridges to wave the green flag, and when he does, they're putting it to these features until well after dark.
Daunted with the task of documenting all of the action, SNOWBOARDER Senior Photogs Espen Lystad, Aaron Dodds and Photo Editor Ryan “Huggy” Hughes are scurrying about the hill all day long, and their shots are proof positive that these kids are indeed the future Rice's, Müller's, Lago's, Oksanen's, Moore's and Benedek's of snowboarding. For me to put everything down into words would be rather futile, as there's far too much that goes down during the daylight hours to write in a web feature, but rest assured that the feature will be on newsstands sooner than you think, and you're in for a feast of mind-boggling photos and semi-spectacular prose from yours truly.
So far, Keystone's set up has been sessioned by Greg Bretz, Kyle Mack, Trevor Jacob, Bryn Valaika, Nick Julius, Merrick Joyce, Brendan Hart, Zepplin Zeerip, Bryan Shuey, Tucker Andrews, Robert Plant, Ben Ferguson, Tyler Flanagan, Zak Stone, the brothers Kotsenburg (Blaze and Sage), the brothers Dawoud (Jared and Alex), Austen Sweetin, Bryan Shuey, Hans Mindnich, Johnny Lazzareschi, Jai Kearney, Scott James, Jack Herald, and dozens of other shreds that warrant a raise of the brow. Stay tuned to snowboardermag.com for daily updates of The Launch presented by Nike 6.0, live, from Keystone, Colorado.
Special thanks to Nike 6.0, Red Bull, and the entire Keystone marketing, PR and park staff for giving these kids, and snowboarding in general, something awesome.