Editor’s note: The second installation of the Rock and Roll Express from Russell Winfield journeys to the Third Annual Bode Merrill Minipipe Invitational at High Cascade Snowboard Camp. Legendary snowboarder, Russell Winfield provides his POV on this unique event and aspects of the overall state of snowboarding. Enjoy Russell’s reflections stay tuned for the next trip on the Express. Also, check out the first journey the Rock and Roll Express made to Superpark 18.
words and photos: Russell Winfield
How, NOT how many.
That is the answer. America loves to make things "better" by adding more. The problem is most of the time we do this prematurely, which creates an awkward product. Snowboarding has not been excused from this American phenomenon. Freestyle shredding is a shining example of what can happen if you try to progress something too fast. Instead of working on making a trick look effortless, the majority of snowboarders work on adding another rotation or flip to the trick. This creates an awkward product, the product being the trick. There is no beauty or finesse in a triple cork that is moving so fast in so many different directions. I do believe in progression, I just think that we might need to pump the brakes a little.
Thank goodness for the few pros out there who agree with me. Bode Merrill is one of them. He uses his fame and connections to throw a annual contest up at Timberline Lodge in the High Cascade park where he showcases the “How, not the How many,” unless of course you are talking about feet out of the pipe. The Merrill Minipipe contest is one of the top three contests in the country next to the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom and the Rat Race. This year I showed up at the Smokin’ house with my friend Madla and long time shred buddy, Jake Blattner. We pitched a few tents by the river and got ready for fun! Camping at Mt. Hood brings me back to the early days of snowboarding. It’s real organic and fresh.
There is something to be said when the biggest names in the industry who usually hideout in the backcountry come out into the open to hangout and shred with their bros. Old asses like myself and young bucks like Red Gerard dropped in on the semi-hand-shaped minipipe. The symbolism of the minipipe brings us back to a time when people didn't travel to far away lands to go train by themselves in private superpipes, but instead would call their buddies if they found a perfectly-shaped pipe. It was about the stoke achieved from the session.
It’s kind of funny. One of the only rules is that you can't be a contest guy. It took Chad Otterstrom begging and pleading his case before Bode would budge and let him ride. The contest itself really only lasts a few hours, but the session is all week. It is so sweet to roll up to the pipe around 11:30 and see how is doing laps through it. You might find Scott Blum doin some crazy invert or Austen Sweetin doing a huge switch method. It is all about community. People are attracted to people having fun. The Bode Merrill Time Minipipe is fun!!