words and photos: Seth Hill
What can I say about snowboarding indoors? Up until now, not much. If you’re like me, you’ve either never ridden an indoor facility, nor seen one before. But, I have finally ticked it off my checklist and I must say I completely understand the allure: not only are the riders so stoked to be there, but the two-minute hot laps make for some solid learning and trick progression. Let’s just say it’s very worth checking it out, and seeing it for yourself. This May, I headed across the pond to meet Jamie Nicholls at Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre outside of London. I was there to take part in the second go of this top-to-bottom, outdoor-to-indoor-to-outdoor-again one shot run. If you haven’t seen the top-to-bottom run that Jamie did a year ago, take a second and watch it now. In Comparison this year's #HemelRun2 is way bigger, way better, and there's even more going on then in last year's run.
Compared to Jamie Nicholls' 2015 version of the Hemel run, named after the region of London where The Snow Centre is located, this year's Hemel run is simply a bigger, better and even more progressive version of last year’s top-to-bottom run. It was hard to really get a grasp on how much work and what a feat this Hemel run was until I was on site and could see it in person.
From beginning to end, the Hemel Run 2 was jam packed with unique features. The run consisted of a full mix of street, park and all around fun, including (but far from limited to) a fence wallride, container quarterpipe, and elbow railing. Features were quick back-to-back yet each with allowed its own highlight of style. Jamie started his run outside, down the length of the 160 meter Snow Centre, around a hard corner and finally through the bottom doors out to the parking lot.
I watched, helped, filmed and took photographs as the entire crew worked hour after hour to get things dialed. Literally as soon as the Snow Centre closed on Saturday at 5pm, the crew got to work and continued through the night. As the sun rose, or even before, Jamie was testing things out and seeing what tricks worked on what features. Everything had to be dialed and wrapped up before the Snowcentre opened up Sunday at noon. Luckily for both the media and Jamie, we took a quick stop at the Travel Lodge to rest our eyes. When we arrived back around 5am, it was obvious the park crew had killed it, but things were far from perfect. As anything goes, we ran into our fair share of bumps in the road: cable-cams catching on fire, in-runs not having enough speed and features being a bit too sticky. In the end, the Hemel Run 2 was an amazing feat, including seven features, four corks, a Red Bull winch and 150 tons of manmade snow. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but even after being a part of the show I can’t wait to see it come together on the screen. Hats off to the amazing Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre staff, all the media, and especially the park shapers and Jamie Nicholls who came together to produce a ridiculous run, literally all within 24 hours: build, filmed and torn down.
Stay tuned this fall to watch the video of Hemel Run 2.