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march 2008 articles

wednesday 5th march

Our Australian friend Tom on the Motherlode chairlift up Granite MountainIn a change of plan - we spent the last week building kickers instead of streetboarding...

Our friends Tom & Mick, Australian brothers living up the road, had spotted a great location for kickers - perfect for a range of hits, and hidden from general view.

We constructed 3 kickers on 2 different hills: the original Gap Kicker on one, the Huge Kicker and Under Kicker on the other.

Dom layin' down a corked 540 off the Under Kicker, above the Black Bear mine.

The Museum building at the entrance to the Black Bear mineshaft, owned by the Le Roi companyThe "hills" were actually 2 gigantic manmade slag heaps, sited above the entrance to the now-defunct Black Bear mineshaft.

This was originally owned by the "Le Roi" mining company - back in the days when Rossland was a Gold Rush town...

The Gap Kicker was constructed and bombed out during our first day - a 20ft gap on the side of the hill. The snow was perfect that day, great for building but even better for landing, so we spent about 4 hours hitting it in the spring conditions.

Dom hiking up the Gap Kicker - the landing is beyond the ridge just above his head Logan flies overhead, off the Gap kicker Dom, backflip over the gap.

Over the next couple of days we constructed and rode the other 2 kickers, situated one-under-another on the other hill.

The piece-de-resistance was the "Huge Kicker" - a vast construction about 15ft high from base to lip with a deep gap below, before the slope continued - providing our landing spot...

With a depth (from lip to bottom of gap) of about 35ft, this was not a kicker to fall short of, or mess-up a take-off from...

Photo of the Huge Kicker, taken from the bottom of the gap with Dom and Mick for scale..! Jon blasting off the Huge Kicker over Logan and board Dom spinning overhead as Mike drops in to a second kicker below...
Dom pulling an indy grab off the Huge Kicker... Logans clean indy off the Huge Kicker L-R: Mike, Mick and Jon taking a lunch break!

This picture sums up Toms flightpath when he guinea-pigged the Huge Kicker... How he survived is still a mystery :oOIt is worth mentioning that Tom took first hit on the Huge Kicker, with the result that he somersaulted 60ft through the air before landing on his chest, just missing his head...

Unbelieveably, he walked away with only a stiff back and severe winding to show for it!

The 3rd kicker was the "Under Kicker" which ran across the fall-line, with the drop-in situated in the gap under the Huge Kicker, and the landing in a natural halfpipe depression which opened out into a face. This was the smallest kicker, but also the one with the least chance of injury in the event of an accident...

Throwing a boned indy-backside180out off the Under Kicker Jon coming off the Under Kicker with a tidy melon grab Dom getting sideways on this 720 corkscrew off the Under Kicker.

So we used up all the fresh snow after 3 days, and the landings became unuseable.

The elements have combined to make fantastic spring snow conditions over the last few days, with a perfect slushy texture - although in the afternoons it can be a little "grabby" and slow...

The view from the Motherlode chair, ascending the main face of Granite Mountain...

Hopefully I will be heading over to Nelson skatepark in the next week for some streetboarding action, so I will have news from there - and hopefully some more snow will fall..?

Until then - keep it tight...


New snowboarding movie edit out now - the Black Bear Kickers!

3 kickers, 3 days - our crew descended on the Rossland location and built and hit these kickers, built on the slag piles left from mining operations in the hillside below...

Click the player below to watch the movie!

Also - the Flipside "I Know..." streetboarding collection in embedded format, again, click to play:

Enjoy ;o)

monday 31st march

Late powder dumps at Red meant I wound up heading out to Nelson alone, taking my streetboard to check out the park and get riding again - expecting to find the usual bustle of people all competing for lines.

Internal pan view of Nelson skatepark - excuse the dodgy photoshopping...

Instead I found a huge empty warehouse, with no one around to ride apart from me and a couple of people playing pool...

Nelson is a great park, with all the benefits associated with the biggest UK ventures, nestled out of the way in the BC interior - situated in a town of barely a few thousand people..!

I set about hitting up the 10ft quarterpipe and trying to bust out as much air as possible, but unfortunately as I was alone I didn't get any footage, nor go as big as I would have wished in case of injury :o( C'est la vie.

Tim Andrews, our housemate from Wanaka '05, stayed with us for a weekOur housemate from Wanaka '05, Tim Andrews, came to stay with us for a week.

Tim is a telemark skier of considerable ability, and joined us en route in the middle of a 2 month backcountry tour of British Columbia.

An unexpected 3-day snow dump prompted our crew to make a spontaneous roadtrip to Revelstoke - the newest resort in BC and destined to become the largest vertical drop in north America.

So aussie brothers Tom and Mike, housemate Jon, Pat the local, CJ and me piled in 3 cars and drove convoy - at one point using a free ferry crossing to bridge the Upper Arrow Lake upon which Revelstoke is located.

Our convoy, starting out the journey at Trail smelter Making tea while waiting for the Galena Bay ferry The Galena Bay ferry, the services of which are funded through BC road taxes.
The view across Galena Bay over the lake, from the ferry The summit of Revelstoke - an easy hike from the chair 1st thing we encountered at Revelstoke was this 4-leaf clover - well it was St.Patricks Day...

Revelstoke resort is situated on a high mountain, remeniscent of european alpine terrain - although there are currently only 2 lifts (a gondola and a high-speed chair), the resort already has a vertical drop of 1440m (4724ft) - about to be increased to 1829 (6000ft), making it the 4th highest vertical drop of any resort in the world.

The terrain is fantastic, mixing up long tree runs with the huge North Bowl powder face, and with an expansion programme taking the number of lifts from 2 to 20 and opening up the cat-skiing bowls - of an unbelieveably large scale.

The top of the Revelstoke chair... CJ ripping through the powder in the North Bowl Tim and CJ in the trees, somewhere in Revelstoke!
Pat looking across the North Bowl panorama

I had the fortune to bump into another friend from Wanaka '05 by complete chance - Greg Seiffert was staying at the "Mountain View" hostel with the rest of us, and it was great to catch up with him for a beer - although he was unfortunately only over on a day trip from Banff/Lake Louise and not staying. It was great to see him though - nice one mate ;o)

We had, a great 3 days ripping up fantastic powder and all experienced "the stoke" - completed by a trip to the Halcyon Hot Springs thermal spa.

Halcyon thermal springs terrace and view. Photo © Halcyon Hot SpringsWOW - this place left me speechless.

That was the most amazing place, floating around outside in natually heated thermal spas on the outdoor terrace, overlooking the Upper Arrows Lake with the air chilly around you as the sun goes down... Stunning.

Wild-west facade in a Colville side street, hiding amongst other things a great restaurant. Cool!On one of our short trips over the border into the U.S., CJ and I visited the town of Colville.

A small town, the pace of life seemed slower here, and we found genuine wild-west facades down a side street - nice!

Hydro-electric power station on the Waneta border crossing, close to RosslandBoth on this journey and the trip to Nelson, we passed spectacular dams and hydro-electric power stations.

The very scale of these has to be seen to be believed, it beggars belief that THAT much water can be held back... :o0

Well it's snowing hard at the moment, but we've only a week or so left of the season in Rossland, so we're now looking at the possibility of extending our snowboarding with a spring pass at Whistler - as the season the runs into June ;o)

The issue with Whistler is the abject lack of accommodation - which was beyond ridiculous when we visited back in January - heres hoping we have more luck this time...

Wish us luck..!