Superpark 22 At Crystal Mountain Presented By Oakley—Day 1 Photo Highlights
words: Mary Walsh/Mark Clavin
photos: Andy Wright, E-Stone, Mike Yoshida, Oli Gagnon, Mary Walsh, Mark Clavin, Chris Wellhausen
It is finally here! We have been counting down the hours and we are happy to announce… SUPERPARK 22 IS ON! Reuniting riders just a short two hour drive southeast of Seattle, day one of Superpark 22 kicked off at Crystal Mountain with blue skies and big jumps. As soon as the lifts opened, invited attendees took to the hill to get a feel for the features built just for them, and thanks to the expert teams brought on for the tall terrain park task, the riders had plenty to chew on.
The invited builder teams did an incredible job for Superpark 22. Tapping crews from three different mountains, the mix did not disappoint. Diamond Peak’s park builders put up four sections off of Crystal’s Forest Queen Express that can all be hit in a variety of ways. Crossovers, channel gaps, a creative step up, as well as a massive step down can all be seen within their zone. Seven Springs (Pennsylvania) took a different approach, consolidating their skills into one massive feature that boasts multiple options, including a 75ft+ kicker and 28ft+ Quarterpipe. Farther down the run, Carinthia Mt. Snow rounded out the building crews with a quality x quantity creation of their own blending a flow park with a few kickers, a tombstone hip on the riders right of the trail, and capping it off with a poppy jump that has already seen a decent amount of action. The sun shown bright all morning, as Valentino Guseli guinead a few hits, quickly joined by Charles Pratte, Grant Giller, Jack MacDougall, Madison Blackley, Tucker Brown, Alex Lockwood, Ron Forth and more for small sessions across a majority of the the builds.
But tucked away in the Cascades of Washington state, you never know what kind of weather you are going to get. And as the clock struck noon, a mix of snow and wind slowed down the progression of the day. Playing chess with the conditions, riders got their bearings on the builds and picked off features to enjoy in the changing conditions. Brendon Rego kicked off a session on the Seven Springs quarterpipe and he was quickly joined by Matt Shaffer, Milo Malkoski, Nate Haust, Tim Humphreys, Scotty Vine, Nial Romanek, Jack Wiley, Dylan Okurowski, Denver Orr, Miles Fallon, Justin Phipps, and more. A collection of riders kept pointing it at the QP until late in the day, but as the snow moved in, the action moved a bit farther downhill.
Jadyn Chomlack and a crew of young rippers aired out on the hip, while Valentino Guseli and Ryan Flaska got things going on the lower jump. Little did they know, they would be dropping in next to Rob Knab, who ditched the safety of straps on the 60ft+ kicker to hit it on his snowskate. More to come from that (wait for the video), but if it is any indication on how this week is going to go, we are in for quite the ride. To put a little perspective on the return of Superpark to the PNW, we caught up with Patrick McCarthy on his thoughts.
Patrick McCarthy a true Washington ripper, evident in the way he tackles steep and technical terrain, as well as through his stoke to share his favorite zones with friends who make their way to the Cascade Range. He’s also a Superpark veteran, having attended the end-of-season event for over a decade, first as a rider and now as the 686 Team Manager. At the end of first day of Superpark 22, as Pat and his crew closed down the park, dropping into the Diamond Peak lane and shaping out sidehits on the cat tracks, we checked in with this Northwest native about Superpark dropping into his own backyard.
What year was your first Superpark?
I wasn't at the early years of Superpark, but I want to say my first one was 2003 or 2004.
When you were coming up back then, what did coming to Superpark mean to you?
Superpark was just such a cool gathering of all the different riders from all different areas that were pushing their own cultures and styles. It was an opportunity where they could come together and everyone just gets to hang out at the end of the year, check out all the different styles and watch the progression happen. Now, seeing how this year's event is going so far is so cool—how Superpark comes in and creates this whole community for the community that it's in. Everyone today was commenting how all the shop riders and local kids that are down to send it on this stuff, they're all invited. Everyone [in Washington] feels really included, all the little subsets and cultures and shops and different things like that. I think that sense of remembering about the local community a little bit can be pretty powerful. Of course, some of the resorts in Washington have parks, but the majority of us don't get to ride park that much, so having Superpark here, everyone's looking at it as such a cool opportunity.
If you had to describe the snowboarding community in Washington in a nutshell?
In general in this area, I think the riders all have a mellow demeanor and are about putting tracks on the mountains—enjoying and taking it in. There's a little bit less of the scenes you might see at other places, but it's just progression in another way where people just are enjoying freeriding. There's all sorts of locals that push it and rip it up, but there's also lots of families around here that are enjoying the mountains too, which is what it should be: it is for everybody, all inclusive.
Riding around the set up today, what has your crew been hyped on so far?
I think everybody is feeling it out today a little bit, but I mean, feeling it out for some of these kids is hitting some of the biggest features here already and throwing like sevens and nines—it's so cool. I think it's just kind of fun for them to watch, too. Some guy will grease something and then his buddy will follow him in and then they're working together and everyone's just having fun, hitting stuff in different ways and mixing it up. In the beginning of the week, you like to go all over and see what Superpark has to offer, and then you hone in on certain areas. So, it's fun to just ride it all in general. I can see a lot of the shoots that are gonna go down when the light's right and Pat [Bridges] gets the crew there. I'm just stoked for them to do that, too.
Huge thanks again to Crystal for having us and remember to keep an eye out for more dropping right here all week from SUPERPARK 22!