words and photos: Mike Yoshida
One thing you can usually count on is good snow and sunshine in the month of March. This year, March has been uncharacteristically warm in the Northwest, with massive amounts of rain pouring into the mountains.
I traveled up to Mt. Baker to shoot with the 686 team, and was a bit worried, as I heard it had been drizzling rain for days up until the shoot was to begin. A small window of hope was seen, as the rain was to change to snow overnight the day before our first day. As always, Baker delivered the goods, mysteriously dumping two-three feet overnight, turning the rainy slush piles into a winter wonderland.
The snow kept coming down, but that didn't stop us from building and hitting two jumps a day. Bits of sun broke through here and there, and it was a classic case of window shopping, to get the good light.
New to the crew is Cam Pierce. He's an awesome shredder and an all-around entertaining guy to have around. Forest Bailey, Pat McCarthy, and Marco Feichner were the more seasoned vets on 686, and were sending some insane jumps all week. Pat was touring us around to all the classic hits that he had sessioned over the last ten years, and we also found some new ones to pop off as well. Nate Lind, resident local legend and guide, was also helping us find zones and build jumps. It's not too often that you have a guy like Nate in the crew who can build jumps, hit them, and film everyone else, all in the same session.
Phil Jacques came down for a day, and ended up hitting the infamous Cat Track Gap, aka the “Pat Track Gap.” And the Hakuba Heartbreaker himself, Masaki Kitae joined us for three eye opening days.
All in all it was a very successful trip. All the riders were riding at such a high level, and the good snow and sun proved to be a proper Miracle March.