Pat Moore Reflects On Superpark—From Rookie To Veteran
words: Pat Moore
For the better part of a score minus four, Pat Moore has been attending Superpark (that is sixteen years to anyone that can only read a digital clock). From knockouts to blackouts, and even a Superpark standout—he is as seasoned as they come when it comes to the late season gathering. But don’t let this “veteran” status fool you. Pat hasn’t lost a step. As much as we joke about his age, he can hang with the best of them at Superpark because that is where he belongs. And as a Standout, it is where he will always belong.
After sessioning with riders all week—some half his age—Moore jotted down what Superpark means to him. Below are his thoughts. Enjoy.
I've been going to Snowboarder Magazine's Superpark events since I was 16 years old… starting in 2003 at Breckinridge, CO. Off a guess, I've been to maybe 13 of them now and for what can happen on a single day of these events, I've seen some crazy shit go down.
That first year in Breck, I saw Travis Rice not only guinea pig jumps no one would touch… but riding them as a line and spinning. In Lake Louise, I saw Ryan Lougee backside 180 over the biggest build I had ever seen, with a halfpipe cut into the middle of it. And then of course, maybe my fondest Superpark memory… riding the lift at Mammoth in 2009 and catching Chelone Miller (RIP) flying upside down seemingly out of nowhere on Loon's monstrosity of a step down, which no one had dared considered. Chili was out sessioning by himself. Such a legend. I've been present for some of Superpark's biggest makes and breaks. The event's are as democratic as it gets. You're invited? Buck up or take a seat. You can either be apart of or witness history. Legends are literally made here.
The greatest part of Superpark is the gathering of a wide verity of riders from young and old, pro and am, ballsy and calculated. In general, you’ve got three options—the knuckle, the flats or the sweet spot. With an average of about 150 riders at each event, you're going to see all three over the course of the week. It’s one of a few opportunities for an unknown rider to show the snowboarding community what they got and do it in front of the best lenses in the industry. I've seen plenty of riders boost their stock with a single performance on a Superpark feature (in person or as an eager fan flipping through the accompanying magazine issue).
Take Travis Rice for an example, in 2001 he rode his horse out from Jackson on a wildcard invite and his Standout Performance helped catapult his career. We all became instant fans of his superhuman abilities. Other examples I can think of is Jake Welch popping higher than we thought possible on the Mammoth Hip in 09' (landing him the cover). Launie kualk flying over everything in 08', which helped him land into Standard Films. And maybe most notably, back in 1999 when Kurt Wastell back three'd into the history books on the Berzerker, which granted him a fold out poster that kids like myself hung on their wall.
I have a sense of nostalgia being here today at Crystal Mountain's Superpark getting the opportunity to ride amongst the top tier of our new flock of riders, learning more about them and their riding. Over my Superpark tenure, I've been the rookie, the standout and now the old buzzard trying to keep up… and for that I'm so lucky and happy to be here. These new standouts are keeping the fire lit and its humbling to see. This week I rolled with crews from Whistler, Colorado and a few lone rangers. The Whistler squad lead by Darcy Sharpe and Charles Reid were like a swarm of bees. See them coming? Get the fuck out of the way. They attacked everything while never stopping, bodies chucking in every direction as a gang of crazy Canucks. The Colorado boys were more calculated, dissecting each feature in sessions and producing trick after trick. Sy Moran, Benji Farrow and Asher Humphreys were all incredibly humble in their abilities and quietly dismantled the terrain.
All in all, my favorite session came towards the end of Day 5 with Grant Giller and the 14-year-old savage, Valentino Guseli, on the Diamond Resorts 114 ft. option just right of their step up feature. Valentino opened up the jump on Day 2, but no one dabbled with it for the rest of the time. I can't explain the respect I have for those capable of guinea pigging these beasts. The gamble is real and those three options I mentioned earlier are always on the table. Regardless of skill, that first hit takes a little bit of luck which everyone is praying for when that lip disappears and your destiny awaits. Three days after his initial voyage, Valentino was gracious enough to show us the speed and we all got some goes on this year’s most intimidating feature. After figuring out the speed and pop, we each got our tricks right after each other in one pass, just by the skin of our teeth. This session brought me back to some of my favorite Superpark memories of riding alongside the greats like Chili and Launie, building a bond that could only be built by trusting someone with your life, or at the very least your knees.
Going back to day 1 of my first Superpark experience in Breckenridge, scoping out the jumps alongside my childhood heroes… I overheard the legend Todd Richards say something that didn't quite resonate with me then. Something along the lines of, "I'm too old to knuckle these jumps, I'll let you idiots figure out the speed." Now I am the same age as he was then, and it all makes a bit more sense.