Words & Photos: T Bird
It may not have gone down on 4/20 this year, but the 7th annual Grenade Games drew stoners, boners, derelicts and degenerates to Big Bear yet again. Danny Kass and his RV full of alpine antagonists pulled in to Big Bear Lake, California under sunny skies, but when the smoke cleared at the end of the Grenade Games, there were still vapor trails visible from San Bernardino. The Grenade Games has become a gathering more so than an actual contest, and the Grenerds, as they're so aptly titled, certainly love a good ol' fashioned barn burner. This year was no different.
Roped off from the general public (and for good reason), the Grenade Games course, built by Clayton Shoemaker and the dedicated pushers at Bear, left little to be desired, and allowed the participants to have free reign over the entire venue in an all-out jam session where no feature was ever technically closed. Because of this, the on-hill assemblage (including the likes of but not limited to Dustin Craven, the Dingo, Louie Vito, Keegan Valaika, Eric Messier, the Midget Mafia, Chris Bradshaw, Lucas Magoon, Zak Hale, Chris Brewster, Harrison Gordon, Shane Fortier, Brian Regis, Johnny Miller, Cody Rosenthal, Dylan Alito, Johnny Lazz, and the dreadlocked hero) had their way with every single feature all day long, with no strict regimen of who needed to hit when, when, and why. It was chaos, and truth be told, our kind rather enjoys chaos, controlled or not.
A channel gap, quarterpipe, mini pipe with all the fixins, big kicker, little kickers, dual slalom course, mogul field, and pond skim. Those were the features. At any given time, there were three to four session happening at once, with Mr. Danny Kass himself stepping away from his duties as a competitor and stepping up to the microphone as the main heckler. Danny's a funny guy. At one point, I made sure to jot down what I believe to be his best line of the weekend: "I was on stage with The Game last night and I’ve never been so stoked in my life, and 12 hours later I sharted in my pants." Now that's just gold.
Personally, my favorite event to watch was either the Chinese Eyed Downhill on the mogul field or the final day's event, the Dual Slalom in which participants were pitted head-to-head and pointing it down a boardercross-style course consisting of rollers, gaps, and rails, and finishing at the pond skim. There was serious carnage, and I took morbid pleasure in watching the contestants eat massive loads of shit. Regardless, it was my first time at The Grenade Games and there's no way in hell I will ever miss another one. From Dustin Craven's on-hill and off-hill exploits to the return of Bobby Meeks and Brian Regis (those dudes are still sick), and the dreadlocked hero who flung himself off of every feature with no regard for his or anyone else's safety to the disclaimers in the lodge warning parents with small children of the event that was in progress, it was one of the best things I've witnessed at a ski resort in a long, long time. I'm riding on a contact high that I won't soon forget.