words: Brendan Hart
captions: Tyler Davis
photos: Brendan Hart, Nick Doucette, Tom Ryan and Tom Missert
New Hampshire's Gunstock Mountain is a haven for those bold, deranged souls who were born without a comfort zone. It’s the special kind of place where a chairlift conversation can be like:
"Hey, bet you won't launch a naked backy off the last jump."
"You won't tell, right, Dad?"
"What, you don't trust your own mother?"
"Will you buy me a beer after?"
"Sorry, son. Can't. Forgot my fake ID."
So the above dialogue may be a bit exaggerated, but spend a weekend at "The G-spot" and you'll begin to see that it's not completely outlandish. That being said, a double cork is more than atypical for the ski area. Well, on March 12, 2016 Gunstock Mountain saw a snowboarder stomp a two-flip maneuver.
And yes, it was on purpose.
On the second Saturday in March, East Coast riders rallied to Gunstock's stunning lakeside terrain for the Third Annual Tyler Davis Hip Jam. By 2PM there was a mob of talent circuiting the Pistol Park chair, beneath which sat the hip—a towering catapult of a kicker that puked you straight to the skyline. Rob Hallowell has been governing Gunstock's park for the past few years. He's a terrain park manager that is meticulous and creative. The behemoth was without divot or rumple and had three hand-carved takeoffs: one for backside leaps, another for frontside, and a third to send it over the top of the snowy Cerberus.
For those of you who don't know Tyler Davis, he might be the only English teacher who can do all four 720s. And he's a genuinely stand-up dude—and not just because he never falls. This past summer Tyler got me my internship with SNOWBOARDER. This winter when I broke my snowboard, he gave me a new deck for free. But more importantly, every weekday he goes to a high school and attempts to make the iPhone generation read—you won't believe this—books. Like with pages and words and everything. Can you imagine?
Three years ago Mr. Davis wanted to take his schooling sensibilities to the slopes. The Hip Jam, aside from being a contest, is New Hampshire's raddest learning resource. It's an opportunity for elder boarders to demonstrate proper riding and pass on the trade secrets to their younger peers. This year, local heroes like Danny Garrity, Shane Nassar, Seth Learned, Mike Azevedo, Dan Hartman, Tyler Davis himself, Tanner McCarty, Merrick Joyce, Parker Szumowski, Cole St. Martin, Nick Doucette, Brendon Rego, Jed Sky, and many more were riding alongside a battalion of young guns—some of whom, actually, may have been teaching the older guys a thing or two about amplitude.
Competitors took advantage of the multiple takeoffs. Ryan Hyrckiewicz boosted a brawny backside rodeo over the whole shebang, and was linking transfers from the middle takeoff to the hip landings. Jed Sky swung an underflip over the top. Merrick Joyce cruised an unreal frontside 180 tail grab to the flats. Gunstock local River Richer gave the hip a thorough spanking via many stomped tricks. Parker Szumowski was launching massive methods into the twilight. Tanner McCarty did the most imaginative stunt of the day, charging up the left landing of the hip, lofting a backside 360 onto the deck, and then popping a misty flip deep into the right side's tranny.
Just as the session was winding down, history was arguably made. Waterville Valley Academy student Tyler Vallieres roared into the hip, fakie stance. He did a flip. Then another. Stomping a cab double cork 900. After that the fat lady sung, and she was saying something to the effect of, "Free PBR in the lodge," which there was.
That pretty much clinched it.
Seth Learned – 1st
Shane Nassar – 2nd
Mike Azevedo – 3rd
Ryan Hryckiewicz – 1st
Tyler Vallieres – 2nd
Merrick Joyce – 3rd
Katie Kennedy – 1st
Athena – 2nd
Kaleb Shumway – 1st
Ethan Stoecklin -2nd
Kenny Houle – 3rd
Morris Gifford – 1st
Evan Lamprey – 2nd