Ms. Superpark 2019: Day 1 Photos, Recap and Madison Blackley interview
words: Mary Walsh
photos: Mike Yoshida, Mary Walsh, Mark Clavin, and Ashley Rosemeyer
Big Boulder, Pennsylvania has long been a stronghold of snowboarding talent on the Eastern Seaboard. The mountains trails are covered in jumps, jibs, transition, and sidehits. Boulder boasts five parks with over 100 features and a top-to-bottom turnaround that allows for a dizzying amount of laps in a day. Snowboarders that call Big Boulder Park home have sizable trick catalogs and an enviable ease on steel. All of these reasons, as well as Boulder's continuing support of women's park events geared toward all levels of riders, made it the perfect place for Ms. Superpark to return after a five-year hiatus.
Just two weeks prior to the start of Ms., the call went out to the ranks of women's snowboarding. Established pros, contest prodigies, rising stars, and promising up-and-comers pointed it to Pennsylvania for a gathering of women's snowboarding. True to form of snowboarders in general, female riders especially have always been hell bent on making it happen, whether "it" is a movie project, video part, snow chasing road trip, or grassroots event—and when Ms. emerged as a way to come together for a week of park laps, the stoked was high. Over the past few seasons, women have gathered at only a few events designed specifically for them, Snowboy Productions' IT'S TITS! at Boreal, Kimmy Fasani's Amusement MTN, Nine Queens, and park camps, backcountry clinics, and ride weeks around the world. There was momentum and anticipation to add Ms. Superpark back into the fray as another opportunity for the community to come together, rider together, and push one another to showcase the creativity and talent within the collective group.
So on Monday, February 11th, as blue skies and bright sun blanketed the Poconos, riders from all over the world descended on Big Boulder for the 11th edition of Ms. Superpark supported by Nikita Clothing, Monster Energy, and Prinoth. Maria Thomsen, Desiree Melancon, Madison Blackley, Ari Morrone, Taylor Elliot, Laura Rogoski, Lily Calabrese, Alexis Rolland, Christine Savage, Summer Fenton, Emma Crosby, Taylor Davies, Kailey and Ashley Bogart, Nora Beck, Kelsey Boyer, Jacque Lammert, Britt Horowitze, Naima Antolin, Marjorie Couturier and more started lapping as soon as the parks opened at 10am.
Far on rider's left, Boulder's Freedom park is a haven for jibbers. It's loaded with different features and it was the first place that crew of ladies started warming up and throwing down. The Rude Girls arrived all the way from Banff and started getting clips on the rails. Maria Thomsen immediately started putting on a clinic and Jenaya Jenkins, Lexi Rolland, Taylor Elliot, Taylor Davis, Savannah Shinske and more went from 0 to 60 right away. Soon the minipipe was being lapped, as Desiree and Bridges went plant-for-plant in the perfectly-cut pipe. A loaded crew including Savannah Golden, Nelly Steinhoff, Summer Fenton, Alice Gong, Kelsey Boyer, Christine Savage, and were hotlapping side hits and the minipipe.
Over on the rider's right side of Boulder, Madison Blackley was casually charging as soon as the lifts started to turn. The Salt Lake Native is best known for her tenacity in the streets, but she has heavy jumping chops, as well. Just before lunchtime, when the Boulder park crew had put the finishing touches on the Ms. Lane in Boulder Park and the sun had softened the snow just enough, Mads kicked off the first session of Ms. on the hi. Setting the line with her was Desiree Melancon, who was sending methods high over the horizon. Nelly Steinhoff, Emma Crosby, Kailey Bogart, Ty Schnorrbusch, and more were warming up for the week with a serious hip session.
As the sun started to fall behind the trees, Madison, Nora Beck, Ashley Giangregorio, and Boulder locals Ari Morrone and Abby Ronca started to feel out the lower jib plaza (mostly with squared up boardslides and frontboards on the DFD). They rode until the light was nearly gone. Without missing a step, Laura Rogoski provided an ender for the day with a proper frontboard through the donkey.
Each day of Ms. Superpark, we'll be checking in with a rider who has left their mark—and continues to do so—this event and also on snowboarding as a whole (we'll also be highlighting up and comers to check out and add to your Instagram feed—stay tuned for that). First up is day one airtime instigator, Madison Blackley.
You rode at the most recent Ms. Superpark at Mammoth Mountain and then the event took a five-year hiatus. What was your reaction to the Ms. Superpark coming back?
I was super excited. It's been so long and I feel like a lot of girls hadn't really gotten to have that experience that Ms. Superpark always provided—when you get to ride at one place all together and you're inspired by everybody and you get to see all the new up and coming riders. I feel like people get lost in this bubble that was always popped during Superpark so now we got to pop that bubble again.
Like a regional bubble?
Yeah, exactly. There's so many people you don't hear about ever because they're not riding at your local hill or you're not following them on Instagram or whatever the case may be. Then when you get here, you get to see all these other peope ethat you either have only seen on Instagram or that you've never even heard of before.
How many Ms. Superparks have you been to? What number is this for you?
Um, I think this is my eighth. I've been to every one since June Mountain. That was a while ago.
What's it like being here so far?
Well, it's not often that you get to hit a really big hip with a big gap. Ms. Superpark's always known for the big hips, the big gaps. So, seeing that is this cool, like nostalgic feeling.
Have you been to Boulder before?
Never. I like that they don't open until 3pm, so we've had the it all to ourselves during the day. And other people seem really stoked when they get here around 3 to watch everybody.
What do you think about the park set up?
Boulder is really sick. There's a lot of creative features here, lots of good warm up features, and then obviously the big photo features. Everything so far has been shaped really nice. They just did a really good job with the park. It's comfortable.
So, you kicked off the first session of Ms. went today on the hip.
Correct. I actually had hit up Mia [SNOWBOADER Senior Videographer] and I said, "Hey, this jib zone at the bottom of the jumps look really cool, we should go there." So, I grabbed Mia and then we got o the very top of the jumps and the hip. The hip just looked really cool. It's on the rider's left of the trail and behind it is this sweeping view of the lake. So I was like, "Hey, maybe I'll just kind of hit this on the way down. Nobody's hit it yet." I asked everyone, "Does anyone else want to go first?" Nobody was interested, so I just dropped in. After I hit it once I was like, "Wow this was really nice." And the session just kind of started.
Any other features that you're stoked on so far? I know it's only the first day.
The first jump looks really, really nice. It's definitely bigger than I've hit in a long time, but it looks like it's built very well. And then the jib plaza at the bottom. The rails are nice and there are some unique features that are really fun. Plus, the quarterpipe built into the gap jump looks really sick. You can't really have a Ms. Superpark without a quarterpipe.
When you started coming to Ms., you were just starting out in your career, and I imagine you looked up to many of the riders that you were riding alongside. Now, you're in that veteran position and there are girls here that look up to you. What's it like to be in that role?
I never thought about it that way, it's pretty cool. It's super cool. It was really awesome to set the line for the hip. Getting to help new girls set the line good because so they don't get hurt and so it helps them go bigger—it helps everybody all around. Ashley Bogart, she's twelve years old, she got an invite to Ms. I was riding with her on the chair lift and she asked me how I met all the girls that I ride with today. I told her I met them doing contests and at Superparks when I was younger and that I'm still friends I with them today. She seemed really excited about it, to meet some new people and try to make some lifelong friends here.
Was there anyone in particular that you saw riding that you were stoked on?
Ashley and her sister Kailey. Ashley was tiding with me hitting some of the bigger features. She had some gnarly bails and then she got up and would hit it again. Her sister Kailey was going huge on the hip with a great line. Also, Nelly Steinhoff was really killing it today. Definitely one of the people going biggest on the hip. I don't know, I mean, it's day one, so there's a lot of people I haven't seen ride yet, too!