words and photos: Mary Walsh and Sean Genovese
When Krush Kulesza, the mastermind behind Snowboy Productions, collaborated with the crews at Sunshine Village and Arena Snowparks to bring the Holy Bowly to Banff for the fifth iteration of the esteemed event, the timing couldn't have been more perfect for the first Canadian Holy Bowl-eh. The season has been good to Alberta, with winter still hanging on in elevation even though it's nearly the end of April. The ample snowfall with which to build the biggest Bowly set up to date was definitely a draw for Bowly boarders to cross the northern border, but the current political climate in the US, as well as the country's lack of Caesars had to have been advantageous for the RSVP list, too. Whatever the reason(s) each individual had for making the trek to the Canadian Rockies to drop into the berms and bumps, the result was collective: Holy Bowly is an annual reunion of snowboarding unlike any other, both for terrain erected and community created. And as the third day of Bowl-Eh at Sunshine kicked off, creative lines, new directions, and different take offs and landings began to emerge quickly. The crew was getting familiar with the course and further picking it apart, casually destroying the hips, waves, boobs, and even a double-rings bowl dubbed Ben's Butthole.
On day three, the crowd further grew as Tim Humphreys, Dylan Thompson, Zak Hale, Dustin Craven and more joined the riding ranks. The sky was filled with puffy white clouds that rolled over the high alpine letting in bursts of bright sun, changing light conditions every few minutes and illuminating pockets of transition with every pass. Up at the top of the course, the rider's left alley was firing all day. Koutaro Minamiya was effortlessly carving coping and Hikaru Taira was laying out backflips and stomping one foot shifties over the a hipped-out wave at the end of the alley. As the sun peeked over the peaks, trains of riders mached through. Phil Jacques, Brandon Reis, Mikey Rencz, Austin Hironaka, Zebbe Landmark, Jamie Anderson, and more were sending easy style airs over the hip. Over at the middle tree gap, Ted Borland and Stefan Krumm were gapping from both directions and at one point, barely missed one another on a spliced air. Scott Stevens, Chris Grenier, Beresford and Kuzyk were lapping the entire set up for a new @changethattape edit (check game).
On the back side of the upper alley, hip and quarter sessions went off in the early afternoon. Tim Humphreys and Charles Reid sent doubles. Milo Malkoski continued his tour de force by putting down plants on the coping. Internet king Jacob Krugmire was going overhead and tweaking out ridiculous Japans. Zak Hale was destroying the on the QP on repeat. Max Warbs was hitting everything and doing more tricks than we're able to keep track of. The kid's been clippin' up—standard issue for Max. Lower down, Ian Keay and Timmy Sullivan continued to demolish the course via their unique New England-bred perspective. Watching these two snowboard throughout the multitude of transition is like trying to keep your eyes on a pair of tornadoes. They seem to find propulsion to launch high overhead off even small modicums of transition. Jack MacDougall, Sean Miskiman, Miles Fallon, Milo, Cooper Whittier, and Matteo Soltane were gapping the second alley and popping over Ben's Butthole. As the afternoon wore on, Tucker Andrews, Krugs, Warbs, Timmy, Burtner and more transitionally talented individuals took to the whales for carves, airs and one-footers. The riding never slowed until the clock hit four and it was time to grab rakes and clean up the Bowly course for more riding tomorrow. Stay tuned because the video from the first three days drops tonight on Snowboarder.com.
Three days down, but there's still two to go here in Banff. Stay tuned to @snowboardermag, @snowboardervideo, @snowboyprodutions and @sunshinevillage for timely transition updates direct from Sunshine Village.