The North Face House Party kicks off in Plymouth, New Hampshire—Recap and Photos

words: Mary Walsh
photos: Thomas Missert and Mary Walsh

If you grew up on the icy trails of New England, it's almost certain that you've spent some amount of time at Plymouth State. The Northern New Hampshire university, nestled at the foot of the White Mountains, appears from the outside to belong to the fraternity of classic, ivy-covered East Coast arenas of higher learning. And so it does—there's definitely a library somewhere and each year, classes of adept snowboarders earn their diplomas while logging ample laps at nearby Loon and Waterville—but beneath the shiny pages of brochures aimed at incoming freshman, Plymouth posseses a cherished legacy within snowboarding of welcoming the East's most talented rippers into its hallowed walls, whether to study or as passers-by who gravitate toward the town of Plymouth because of their pursuit of park laps (and at times, powder turns). The slew of professional snowboarders, industry veterans, photographers, movie makers, and magazine employees that have passed through the campus on the way to Hong Kong Garden and eventual esteem is innumerable and while there are many notorious individuals, events, and evenings that have roots in this small East Coast hamlet, there are few, if any, institutions more infamous than the Blue Lodge. Nearly twenty years ago, the slopeside chalet and former pint-sized ski hill known originally as Frontenac housed a grip of undergrads who left a storied snowboarding legacy that resonated far beyond PSU.

So, it was fitting and with a fair amount of anticipation that the doors were opened to the former Blue Lodge on Friday, December 7th, when The North Face paid homage to Plymouth's heritage by rekindling the flame at Frontenac. 17 years after the heyday of this notorious flop house, the inaugural TNF House Party kicked off at 8 and within minutes, every room of the Frontenac was filled. The North Face's new team movie, PULP was set to premiere and with the recent snowfall in New Hampshire, winter was off to a strong start—the perfect time for PULP to drop. Puffy-coated groups relaxed outside around bonfires, undeterred by the steadily dropping December temps. Inside, speakers pulsated with the chords of Yawnmower, rattling baseboards as the wooden floor literally shook with the weight of the dancing crowd. East Coasters of all stripes had turned out for the evening: the PSU snowboard club, of course, Plymouth alum, Loon and Waterville locals, up-and-coming ams, the Lahouts crew, and many more. Beers were cracked. Ping pong balls flew across tables in the back room. Some kids started sledding down the hill out front. And around 10pm, Spencer Schubert took the mic to introduce the film. The crowd roared for him and teammate Cole Navin and swarmed to the screens, quieted for just a brief moment as the movie began to play.

For the duration of the video, everyone was glued to the screens. PULP is an effort that deftly showcases not only the breadth of talent possessed by Blake Paul, Jess Kimura, Spencer Schubert, Marion Haerty, Cole Navin, Amanda Hankison, Austin Smith and Mark Carter, but also the diversity of their snowboarding styles and sensibilities. It's a collective showcase of how these individuals snowboard that serves to remind us of why we snowboard. No spoilers here, you've got to watch it for yourself. But to sum it up succinctly, this crew of riders rips.

As the credits rolled, the band began to play again and the House Party continued to rage into the night. The era of the Blue Lodge may have happened some time ago, but Friday night at Frontenac made clear that the proclivity for cold temps, resort laps, and they camaraderie that winter brings are just as alive and well as ever in the White Mountains. Not that there was ever any doubt, but the reminder is always welcome. Thanks Spencer, Cole, Sandra, Stan, and the entire crew at The North Face, Michael and everyone at Frontenac, Ashley, Anthony, Chuck, and Lahouts, and Jed and the Plymouth Snowboard Club for a heck of a House Party.

PULP will be premiering two more times, Wednesday, 12.12.18 in Portland and Wednesday, 12.19.18 in Denver. Snag a key to snag a spot and find out the location by visition evo Portland and evo Denver, respectively.