Words: Chris Marks
Photos: Russ Hurlburt
In a sport whose year-to-year (even day-to-day!) growth can be conservatively described as explosive, it is sometimes difficult to zoom out, take a look, and pick out defining moments or pivotal seasons. But consider the 2006-2007 season – Tom Wallisch takes down SuperUnknown IV and captivates the NS community on a global scale; a few Vermonters move West to attend college in Utah and end up finding some homies with similar interests (ie: 40’s, Blunts, Ice, and...Nine’s?) and put out their first film Look It Up; and an inspired group of 100+ park shredders shake a pleasant, family-oriented East Coast Stratton Mountain to its core with a Train that could not-so-far-fetchedly be equated to this culture’s very own Woodstock... as in, “remember that train at VTO??? I was there, man!”
Steve, Speed Pizza, LJ
Well, contrary to popular rumor, VT Open was NOT laid to rest as a result of that train, nor is Stratton Mountain abhorred to the idea of embracing the sport of freeskiing. They proved that this past week by inviting the entirety of the 4BI9 Crew to the Sunbowl, where they put their cats to work reshaping the Burton USO course into a truly epic East Coast freeski playground and film shoot venue.
Flying out/showing up for the shoot were Tom Wallisch, Tim Maney, Dave Euler, Ryan Wyble, Andrew Holson, Dale Talkington, Matt Hauser, LJ Strenio, Graham Bunt, Steve Stepp, Tim McChesney, and Nicky Keefer. Posted up, getting the shot, and pretty much killing it hard behind the camera were 4BI9‘s AJ Dakoulas, New Intelligent Group’s Evan Williams, and mastermind of the Gold Project, Galin Foley.
Andrew ‘Hurricane’ Holson
Dakoulas and his crew felt that Gunnie Season would not be complete without a legit East Coast shoot. What better place than the site of the late (RIP) Vermont Freeskiing Open? After some summer of ’09 talks between 4BI9 and Stratton, the plan moved ahead in force, dates were set to allow for JOSS competitors to still attend the shoot, key industry players such as Monster, EC Headwear, and Jiberish signed on to foot the bill, and plane tickets were booked.
Just as March wound to a close, Stratton’s Head of Parks Eric Langman worked tirelessly in his machine through two days of soaking East Coast rain to build a stunningly dope, poppy, 75-foot stepover amidst the remains of the US Open course, which provided for a pretty sick in-run to the film-shoot booter. To add to the fun, the run down to the VIP 6-pack was chocked full of backflip kickers, dirt-gaps, a cannon box, and rotten halfpipe boosting.
The point of the shoot, like any, was obvious – get shots. But the vibe that was felt over those two bluebird days at Stratton’s Sunbowl spoke to something greater – here were 15 friends, once again reunited at the end of a busy season, doing the one thing they love most in life; progressing, shredding, stomping, laughing, chilling, and grilling. It may sound like any other shoot, or even just a day at your home mountain...and maybe it is. But as things evolve, progress, and change, it can often take time and distance to realize when a truly important moment in skiing has taken place. Perhaps in three years people may see the 2010 season as one that fostered a few of those...I guess there’s plenty of time to think about that.
Matt ‘Hustla’ Hauser
Eric Langman, builder
A little fun for the way down
In the meantime, though, look forward to seeing some BANGERS from this event in 4BI9 Media’s Gunnie Season.
Special shout-outs go to Matty B at EC Headwear heal up, my man! Eric Langman (Head of Stratton parks and cat operator who knows what’s UP), Stratton Mountain, Monster Energy Drink, Jiberish, Mark V. behind the grill, Horse-Brain Brian, Penguin-Brain, Dr. Seuss, Speed Pizza, Bob Dylan, Brady Lee, Bruno, Cane, DT, g-humps, Hustla’, Mark Cromwell for that crazy ride, Rusty and a whole bunch of other lunatics.