Boreal Butter Ball 2018—Highlights and Recap
words: Kennan Cawley
photos: Jake Pollock
Something spectacular happened at Boreal this past Saturday, March 3rd. A few things coincided with this date that really made it a standout for the 2018 season. What's insane is that the build up for such a special day began in the early summer of 2017. Nial Romanek had a dream about a snowboard park that was designed in its entirety for doing butters. He reached out to none other than Krush Kulesza of Snowboy Productions. Yes, the same Krush who's responsible for such legendary events as the Holy Bowly and the Loon, Troll, and Bogus Projects. What conspired, through the inclusion of Chris Roach and Boreal, was the Butter Ball. Roach, Krush, Nial, and Boreal. You're already drooling.
The next thing that happened to add wonder to this occasion was meteorological. Tahoe got dumped on; Boreal was hit with 60" in two days. This actually posed as a problem as it didn't stop snowing until hours before the scheduled Ball. The whole park staff and a few extra hands, including Nial and Chris, under the gifted eye and tutelage of Mizzle, combined with Krush's dedication to excellence, defeated the odds and put up one of the most unique courses in snowboarding to date. A couple intricate hips with endless step-up, step-over, butter-here, butter-there variations to start. Gap-in-gap-out butter pads. There were only three actual rails present and you'll be able to tell that they were far from any run-of-the-mill jibs you've seen. These were all fathomable, excitable features; new takes on classic structures. And then there was the checker board. In a 50'x50' square, there were elevated and depressed pads staggered about in the fashion of a checker board. This was something that no one had ever seen, much less thought of. No one, that is, save for Nial. Perhaps the highlight of the entire event lay in its untouched beauty.
But obviously there were more highlights. And this would be a great place to tie in the last little bit that made for such a marvelous day. Though the weather deterred a large part of the guest list from attending, those who did certainly made their respective trip's worth it. Justus Hines made the trip down from Washington to lay some backside nose blunt butters on the hip and play around with the drop-down butter pads to downrail. Blake Geis, traveling under Krush's wing with shovel in hand, made exceptional work of the course, lining 270 butters and high speed powerslides into switch front boards. Traveling perhaps the furthest was none other than Minnesota's beloved beard toting, board-control boosting, and boy-scout, Boody. He made very acute use of the checker board, hitting it from all angles. One minute, he was buttering 360's on the elevated pads, making his way diagonally across the board, and then the next, he would nollie from depressed pad to depressed pad, making his way through the board going the opposite direction. It was surely nice to watch Boody play checkers out there. That's not to say that he was alone in playing the game: locals Zander Blackmon and Mikey Burton both had fun on the board, and made it look fun at the same time. Tucker Andrews had fashioned a little booter at the entrance to the course, and throughout the day, he and the likes of Tim Eddy, Curtis Woodman, Andrew Brewer, Jackson Fowler, and Roach himself, could be seen blasting phat air in what bystanders were calling "a legendary lineup." I wouldn't argue with that.
Other notables include the Gremlinz own Tyler Lynch, who brought his unmistakably smooth style back from Japan, Shane Sayers, who was going for broke (or a broken knee) on a very much overlooked tree/hip, and Jesse Gomez, who essentially shivered down the entire course. Up-and-comers Denver Orr and Caleb Kinnear also garnered some much deserved attention, as their unique lines were both evident of a buttery future.
While Roach stands as King of the Butter, there will be no argument nor more appropriate successor than Nial. Although he nearly out-buttered himself, his approach to it is beyond any trick names or gimmicks. It is true freestyle snowboarding. And I believe that was the purpose of the event. There is so much progression and content of progression in our ethos that bogs down what initially drew us to love snowboarding. This event acted as a solution to stale boarding. Nobody was out there trying to snake or one-up anyone. We were all simply boarding and reaping the inherent benefits of laughter and cheer. I also believe that was why partnering with Chris and Monty Roach's Revert Foundation was the perfect match. All proceeds from the event went to the organization that helps show kids who might not have the chance just how magical snowboarding can be.
We forget sometimes, and snowboarding becomes not unlike a plain piece of bread. But then Krush used Boreal as a toaster and heated the bread up, got it golden. Then Nial and Roach took that toast and let a full of stick of butter melt atop. We licked our lips. I know everyone in attendance needs a napkin to clean up. That was delicious.
A big shout to Boreal, Snowboy Productions, 10 Barrel Brewing, Smokin' Snowboards, the Revert Foundation, Nial, Roach and everyone that was a part of the #ButterBallAtBoreal.