words: Mary Walsh
captions: T. Bird
photos: Ryan “Huggy” Hughes, Mike Yoshida, Aaron Blatt, E-Stone, T. Bird, and Aaron Blatt
There's a saying on the East Coast, if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes. Spring in Pennsylvania is healthy mix of warm and sunny days, rainy weather, and freezing nighttime temps, and all of the various conditions intertwine at random intervals. After two days of Superpark 19 presented by Nexen Tire that were perfectly blue and sunny, Mother Nature was too complacent and needed to mix it up a bit. Day 3 saw all manner of typically East Coast conditions: bright gray skies, spotty rain showers, a brief fog, and then a turnaround to a clear afternoon. Throughout all of it, the riders of Superpark 19 were hardly deterred, sessioning the Bear, Boreal and Springs sections early in the morning and then moving to The Streets when the weather turned. Even during the short deluge of precipitation, The Streets were still lit up with a bevy of snowboarders hiking and throwing down on the DFD hubba, wallride and quarterpipe. Jamie Nicholls, Riley Nickerson, Jesse Paul, Ryan Paul, Colin Wilson, Tommy Gesme, Seth Hill, Rowan Coultas, Boody, Christian Connors, Shaun Murphy, Jack Kyle, Desiree Melancon, Mary Rand, Mogran “Coonhead” Rose and many more were undeterred by any sort of atmospheric ups and downs.
Once the afternoon had cleared up, a small group of riders set their sights on the hitching post in the bottom of the Boreal area. While sessions with Lane Knaack, Ryland West, and Seth Hill, all of whom stomped impressive tricks, Scotty Vine extended his all-terrain domination by landing a textbook Andrecht at the top of the post.
The riders present at Seven Springs have continued to throw down over the past three days and there's little sign of anyone slowing down. Alongside them, behind the scenes, the Bear, Boreal and Springs build crews have been pulling long hours to make sure all run-ins, landings, and transitions are pristine. There's been plenty of chatter about how fun the features are at Superpark 19 and we have to give a big hand to all the boys for their continued efforts at maintaining a very unique, progressive, and fun set up.
The transition paradise crafted by the crew from Bear Mountain has seen plenty of action from boarders of all stripes and styles. Clayton Shoemaker, Bear Mountain Terrain Park Manager provided some insight into the behind-the-scenes of what is surely one of the most insane, tranny-heavy, skate-inspired set ups in snowboarding to date.
This if your crew's first time building a park out East, what has been different from building at home in Southern California?
Clayton Shoemaker: The weather. (laughs) We showed up in Pennsylvania and it was freezing at night, then all of a sudden we got spring-like conditions, then we got rain and then more rain, more rain, and more rain—all before the event started. And then two sunny days!
How do you keep the set up in good condition through all that?
You just need to know really when to get on and get off of it because you can really mess the snow up. Maintenance-wise you have to really think about what you are going to cut first with the Zaugg to be able to cut the next thing…to be able to cut the next thing. It took a lot of putting our heads together, making sure we were all covering our paths, because when you build something like that, you're not just driving over it, you have to strategically plan out how you're maintaining it so you're not driving over finished product. You can't go in there and just start driving around with your tiller down. You have to be strategic and methodical about your moves. Maintaining it was one thing, and for the build part of things, a big part was the commitment that Seven Springs had to making that amount of snow.
Do you know how much it was in your zone by any chance?
It'd be fun to calculate that with Joel [Rerko, Seven Springs Mountain Ops Manager], because when we showed up the snow was just above the chairlift on the skier's left edge. We took all the snow from that side to the righthand side. That is what makes a Superpark, having all that snow. If you don't have material to build a house, you can't build a house.
Riders have been really stoked on the options in the Bear zone. People really respond to these type of features and everyone is really stoked to have this type of set up at Superpark. What went into this idea and how did you figure out the layout?
Desi had this idea where he wanted to elevate a pipe on a pad and then I had this drawing of the first feature that was tranny on top of tranny. I know that sounds dirty….How do you get transition on top of transition? And the idea between the two features getting put in and how we thought those should line up. We said, "let's incoroporate transition all around this. When you go to a skatepark, you don't just ride in a straight line and hit something and you're done. To me, truly felt like something you could ride through, like you were at a big snow skatepark where you're not forced to just ride straight down the mountain; there's options everywhere. As we were building it and putting it together, we had to pay attention to what you were doing—what was going to line up with the next thing, where do we put the next feature. So, coming up with those two center pieces and then having ways to ride everything within it and come back out and hit something else was the key. It's like riding a powder day in the trees, features are in front of you, but you're not going straight down the mountain. The first day everything had the sharp cuts in it, but I think after the riders started rolling the edges, everything just got better and better. The rolled edges are great because you can see through to the other tranny and it just makes it so the whole thing is ridable. That first cube feature, all of a sudden kids are riding up the edges. They're riding up the corners, like giant coping.
What has it been like watching the sessions go down the past three days?
I think there are a couple different takeaways from this build. One I think is important is how everyone has hung out. That is what it's about, like when you go to a real skaepark or you go anywhere you are doing something with your friends. It's funny, a lot of the features we have built, people will congregate in one area—just find these kittle hangouts. "Oh, there's a tree, let's go stand by the tree" We tried to make sure people could be in those areas and others could still ride around them. It's hilarious. When have you ever seen people standing in the middle of a set up and riders are still sessioning stuff. It's cool.
We've built at a handful of Superparks and we would say this is definitely one of the best ones that we have been a part of. Just to put the fun element into it. There are some heavy features in there, but also there is something for everyone to ride. We wanted to stop making people ride straight downhill and do something where everyone can ride with each other and hangout and have fun. To me, that's a park scene. We knew Joel and Seven Springs were going to build a great hip and a great jump and they have The Streets Here, too. Eric's awesome, his crew from Boreal would get weird and build an awesome jump feature, and we're like, "well, what element do we bring in?" What could we bring in that we've been working hard on at our hill and the answer was to make sure that everyone is riding a fun park with each other and that there's something for everybody. We tired to bring Bear Mountain to Springs and all we didn't do was a downrail because we wanted to mix it up. So to add that element into Superpark is making it fun for a lot of people. We’re stoked they’re enjoying it.