photos: Ryan “Huggy” Hughes, Mike Yoshida, Oli Gagnon, E-Stone, Aaron Blatt, and T.Bird
words: Mary Walsh
captions: T.Bird

Each year, as mountains melt and shut down across North America, a litany of snowboarders eschew traditional summer activities and make for Mount Hood in an annual pilgrimage to the Cascades. This year though, the streets of Government Camp populated early as over five hundred riders and industry veterans packed their bags and pointed it to Mt. Hood Meadows. Superpark 18 presented by Gatorade was kicking off the summer season early.

May in Oregon can be tricky when it comes to weather, and as the sky opened up to blue skies and bright sun on Day 1 of Superpark 18, the riders were ready to make the most of the conditions. A slew of lenses pointed toward the sky as snowboarders like Louif Paradis, Austin Hironaka, Will Lavigne, Mike Ravelson, Austen Sweetin, Desiree Melancon, Brandon Cocard, Red Gerard, Matts Kulisek, Jamie Lynn, Spencer Schubert, Frank April, Peter Line and more lined up to hit the features.

Keystone, Woodward, Seven Springs, and Mt. Hood Meadows have pulled no punches in providing the gathering with features worthy of the Superpark moniker. Sessions broke out immediately on the Booter Dam, a massive step-up built by the Woodward Park Crew and a hip and jump combo feature constructed by Seven Springs. Keystone pushed a house-sized step down that saw Andrew Brewer, Grant Giller, Casey Willax, Seth Hill, and Ozzy Henning floating from take off to landing.

In the afternoon, the Seven Springs hip went off. Roope Tonteri, Yuki Kadono, and Sami Luhtonen were just sending it. Jake Kuzyk was stomping textbook alley-oop front threes. On rider's left of the feature, a bevy of Burton boards were sending it off the jump, led by Gabe and Ben Ferguson, Zak Hale, and Nik Baden. Jeremy Page was a standout as he lapped the jump all afternoon and beyond. Up top, directly below the lift, the ruts of a snakerun sunk deeper and deeper as riders dipped into it on every run.

As the sun began to dip low in the sky, two sunset shoots began simultaneously, with small crowds perched along the sidelines to witness the Day 1 action. On the Woodward step up, Chas Guldemond and Tim Humphreys held court. Down a few trails, the Seven Springs hip was being sessioned by some of The SNOWBOARDER Movie crew, along with Johnny Brady, Sean Genovese, and Seth Hill. Hans and Nils Mindnich, who are arguably more comfortable on steep transition than on flat ground, were shooting the hip with timeless grabs and 180s. Honestly, the amount of style displayed by the young riders from Foreword is fairly ridiculous and the as the evening session wore on, the yells from the crowd got louder and louder as trick after trick got bigger and better. Garrett Warnick was sending smooth, lofty sevens. Jaeger Bailey was going upside down and it was sick. Following up his performance at The Launch, but in no way repeating it, Ben Ferguson was sending enormous methods into the twilight, and once again shut down the evening with an especially massive one. If this session is any indication of what to expect from this crew when The SNOWBOARDER Movie drops in the fall, and we're sure it is, holy hell, that flick is going to be insane.

Day 1 of Superpark 18 was a heck of a kick off to the week and we're excited to bring you the full download on what goes down each day, here on Stay tuned for the Day 1 video and tune in to Superpark 18: The Webcast on Friday, May 9, and Saturday, May 10 from 1-3pm PST to watch this next level riding go down as it happens.