Photos: Jack Martin
The Ski Sundown stop of Andy Parry’s Tell a Friend Tour got off to a bit of a slow start because I broke the Traveling Circus van key trying to open a beer.
But let’s put that aside for the time being. Because Saturday, which kicked off the second weekend of the tour, wasn’t about some idiot breaking something, it was about a rad day of skiing.
We – that is, Line team riders Bobby Sullivan, Kevin Merchant, Charlie Dayton, Cole Drexler, Ross Imburgia and Andy Parry – arrived at the hill a little after 10 o’clock. A crew quickly assembled at the base and once a dozen or so kids had shyly joined up, Andy hollered that it was time to go skiing. A mass of bright colors and stickered helmets mobbed toward the terrain park lane as more skiers of all ages and sizes fell in with the group.
Cole Drexler on the lift tower
Andy is a pro, and you can’t deny the kind of pull he has with skiers. One kid called out, demanding to know when the last time Andy wore deodorant was, in reference to a recent episode of Traveling Circus. Whether or not anyone really feels like acknowledging the fact, TC's wild popularity stems from the guys' ability to relate with kids. Andy is goofy and funny, and happy to oblige his fans with answers about how the van smells or where Ian Compton is, or whatever. The thing that makes a tour like this so special is that rarely do you get to ask your personal heroes questions about their hygiene and have them answer you in person, with a grin.
Or again later, another asked “hey man, can I ride up with you this chair?” and the necessary shuffles were made to ensure the kid got to ride up with Andy. Who knows what they talked about, but I can guarantee that kid will remember that chairlift ride for the rest of his life.
Bobby, Tall T Dan and a local shred on the ride up
Sundown park manager and NS mod Brendan Walmer sets to spin out of the flat tube
At noon we assembled at the top of the park. “Okay!” yells Andy. “First K-Fed gets a t-shirt.”
The session continued, and kids shed their self-consciousness. The K-Fed competition transitioned into a slowest grind contest, and some Traveling Circus trivia to hand out the rest of the gear. Then Andy announced we’d meet at the base at 3:00 for pizza and a raffle, and the group pushed off again, riding through the park in a blur of spins and limbs flying every direction.
Andy leads the way in the afternoon session
A mad dash for gear being the best way to end a day on the hill
It was difficult for me to fully enjoy the day on account of the yawning black hole of fear and guilt that was eating away at my insides. But Doug – who had spent the day chaperoning the van around the greater Hartford area - asked me, amidst the Pizza Pete’s and raffle at the end of the day, “well, so was it awesome?” Oh yeah dude, I replied. That was fucking awesome.
Click here for more info on the rest of the stops on the tour