words and photos: Mary Walsh
By the time the ropes dropped midmorning on the second day of Snowboy Productions' esteemed transition event, Holy Bowl-Eh at Sunshine Resort, the line up of riders had already increased. Zak Hale, Chris Grenier, Mikey Rencz, Louif Paradis, Alex Yoder, Jason Robinson and more joined the ranks of Scott Stevens, Phil Jacques, Andrew Burns Jamie Anderson, Marie-France Roy, Chris Beresford, Ted Borland, Brandon Reis, Finn and JJ Westbury, as well as the SRD and Oil Country crews, and many more at the top of the drop in.The sun was shining, illuminating the peaks of The Monarchs that frame the expanse of slope where the Bowly course sits. Puffy white clouds floated through blue skies overhead while gray stormclouds loomed in the distance, taunting the perfect weather.
The day started off like a firecracker; the sunlight cast shadows against the multitude of transition and the bevy of Bowl-Eh boarders took to finding lines with the immediacy of a pack of bears at a salmon run. Andrew Burns gapped over a bowl at the very top of the park. Oliver Dixon decided to warm up by sending the first transfer on rider's left, which is far from small. Timmy Sullivan and Jeff Keenan started working on opposing transfers on a tree island near the middle of the set up—unfortunately the clouds moved in mid-session halting things—more to come from those guys. Ian Keay riding around with an enviable smoothness. The crew from Japan was going low and fast around all corners and berms. The massive area taken up by the bumps, turns, hips, and bowls was filled with frenetic energy. And then it started to snow. The course plunged into a white-out cloud. But again, the winter weather deterred no rider. A session started on a butter pad at the top of the Bowl-eh park and slowly small crews moved down through the park for low impact sessions. Scott Stevens, Chris Beresford and Jake Kuzyk deduced transition tricks along the banks in the lower section. As the clouds started to part ways, they were joined by Matteo Soltane, Miles Fallon, and Milo Malkoski, three young up and comers with not only boundless energy but also heaps of style. Milo boosted high off a hip and kicked out a hoof twice before landing. Matteo noseblunted a snowmound with his front foot unstrapped. Miles offered up Miller Flips he had just learned a few minutes before. If these three (as well as Cooper Whittier, who was throwing textbook methods off any available hit) are any indication of the rising generation in snowboarding, things are looking good.
As quickly as the snow had started, it disappeared, illuminating the Sunshine Village again with the bright rays of its namesake. Up top, Andrew Geeves was sending a transfer. Tucker Andrews, Blake Paul, and Blake Geis were sessioning the QP with banger results. Jesse Burtner was linking fast plants in Titty City while Finn Westbury was exuding style as he popped and spinned sans grab. JRob and Yoder lapped through effortlessly.
By the time 4pm rolled around and it was time for the team rake to begin, everyone at Bowl-Eh was not only fully warmed up on the creative course, they were collectively firing. The next three days are going to be a melee of turning, slashing, and sending, and SNOWBOARDER will be here in Banff to press record and capture all of the carving. Stay tuned to @snowboardermag, @snowboardervideo, @snowboyproductions and @sunshinevillage following #HolyBowly to see what goes down up to the minute.
Big thanks to Snowboy Productions, Sunshine Village, Arena Snowparks, Monster Energy and Lib Technologies for making the Holy Bowl-Eh happen.