words: Mary Walsh
photos: Justin Fronius and Mary Walsh
Saturday afternoon at 3:30 the liftline was still humming at Mammoth. We had just unstrapped and were shouldering our boards as we headed off hill, reluctant to leave the pristine conditions, but we had little time to change before meeting up with a crew down the access road for a loaded night of premiere: Shred Bot's Shredtopia and SFD were playing at 53 Kitchen and Bar in just a few hours.
Opening week at Mammoth is always a heavy affair, loaded with esteemed riders, industry veterans and a heap of the Northern and Southern California populace, but this year–with more snowfall already than in the past two Novembers leading to an unexpected early opening day on the 5th–was crazy. The usual weekend-long celebration was stretched into a week-and-a-half and an overnight storm on Monday the 9th clogged trees with powder and then opened to continuous days of bluebird sunshine and mild temperatures. It was the kind of opening that everyone had been waiting for.
Suffice to say that by Saturday, spirits were wicked high. We raced to remove boots and throw on jeans because the DC team was already sipping skull-sized margaritas at Gomez's in the village. With a heavy crew assembled, including Iikka Backstrom, Torstein Horgmo, Anto Chamberlain, Justin Fronius, and Marc Salas, the boys of DC had been slashing pow, ripping groomers and shutting down the park all week. Now collected around the table at the Mexican restaurant, they were cheersing to the day’s turns and getting ready to join the evening fray.
With that much lime juice and sour mix, things escalated quickly. The night started off far from mellow as DC officially welcomed Jordan Morse and Brady Lem to the team with specially-made Somebuddy boards. At 6pm, standing at the head of the table, Bobby Meeks and Dave Appel unveiled the decks and congratulated the two up and coming rippers on joining the DC Snowboarding roster. Fanfare surrounding team additions, pro unveilings, and general rider recognition are so important and here at SNOWBOARDER, we were stoked to be able to witness the growth of the DC Snowboarding family. Brady and Jordan are not only accomplished new faces in the snowboarding landscape, boasting unique, proper style and deep bags of tricks, but they are just two good dudes. Their new teammates were stoked, Brady and Jordan were fully surprised, and they were totally hyped. If we all weren’t ready to celebrate before, it was on as soon as the boards were unveiled.
From there we headed to 53, where the premiere was set to start. Tip: if you are in Mammoth, go to 53 and get the pretzel bread and kettle chips as appetizers. They're too delicious; our crew went through multiple orders. As the thermometer dropped outside in preparation of a burgeoning storm, a high pressure system quickly moved indoors as nearly the entire population of Mammoth Lakes filtered into the restaurant. The line at the bar grew fast, but Dana Starr and Vanessa Bokencamp were manning the taps and they are serious all stars. Thanks for putting up with all of us all night! After days of bluebird boarding and with a serious crew in town, the collective energy that filled the building was raucous. The DC team, was of course, in full effect, with Anto Chamberlain and Torstein Horgmo featured in Shredtopia. Shred Bots Craig McMorris and Andreas Wiig had flown in, too. Hana Beaman, Marie-France Roy, Harrison Gordon, and Eddie Wall were in town, joining locals Eric Jackson, Kimmy Fasani, Scott Blum, and Danny Kass. It was a massive reunion to start the season and everyone was hyped.
The SNOWBOARDER Movie: SFD played first. By the time Jamie Lynn appeared on screen, it was standing room only. Tequila shots were stacking up by the bar and every screen in 53 was illuminated with the riding of Iikka Backstrom, Scott Blum, and the rest of the SFD crew. As the atmosphere continued to become more and more slippery with each clink of glass, Jake Welch closed down The SNOWBOARDER Movie and Shredtopia began to roll. Shredtopia is a barrage of worldwide bangers, and with four stars of the film in the building, Andreas, Torstein, Craig and Anto, the excitement skyrocketed. If you haven't seen Shredtopia yet, make sure to download it asap.
As the night wore on and the bright lights of 53 blurred into dewy colors, the hours were filled with stories that are best retold in person. Fronius snagged a DSLR and spent the evening behind the lens, debuting as perhaps the best party photographer currently embedded in snowboarding. Seriously, despite the fact that his late night vision may have been slightly blurred along with the rest of the crowd at the premiere, Froni has got an eye for images that deftly capture the nighttime vibes. This is only a sampling, too; yhere's a few hundred more photos where this album came from, but they're now the stuff of legends. Wisely, the new DC ams pulled veteran fades in the wee hours--the only photo of Jordan Morse from the premiere is the one Froni took of him asleep back at the hotel. The future is bright for these two. In the end, as the stores of ginger beers were emptied and the copper mugs were dirtied, and the crowd filtered out into the cold night, clamoring into cabs to find their way home.
There are a handful of days every season that combine perfect on hill conditions with an epic nighttime send. The days that you ignore how tired you are from lapping open to close and get a gale force second wind at 4pm. Saturday, November, November 14th was the first of the 2015-16 season and if both the snow on hill and the collective excitement of the assembled individuals is any indication of what this El Nino winter will bring, a storm is definitely brewing.
Thank you to the amazing staff at 53, all the Shred Bots, and the entire crew at DC Snowboarding for a next level premiere. And thank you to Justin Fronius for taking such insane photos. Send us an invoice, please.