Words, Video, Photos:// Doug Bishop
Good Photos:// Ethan Stone
Snowsnakes take Colorado
Every year during the US Open time, our crew took a trip out to Colorado to take our go at competing. It always stressed everyone out so much, and really nobody ever did well. I mean a few people put down the occasional good result, but for the most part the stress just wasn’t worth it.
So this year, we had an idea. Seeing as I work for NS and there’s a couple of you guys out there who read our news, why not do a trip story? I mean we’ve got resources, good riders, fun times, and a website to post everything on...
We began to get the plans moving, we were going to make a statement against the Open, skip the whole thing and do our own trip! We would stay out in Colorado, travel around to all the various resorts in the area and just shoot. We would show the world what being a Snow Snake was all about….
As an aside, I realize that the name snow snakes is kind of silly, but it has a good story behind it. You see my brother Dave and I have always ridden together, and our Father Mr. Lloyd Bishop taught us everything we know about skiing. He had his own crew of skiers back in the ‘70s when freestyle was truly free, and skiing was probably mre fun than it is today. They used to steal ski jumping skis and sneak onto the Nordic jumps to catch a bit of extra thrills. So out of respect and as a homage to good times past, we adopted the same name as they used, and dubbed our crew the Snow Snakes, so that they could ride once again.
Anyways, I’m going to give you a bit of a forward of this story. You see our crew has always had the problem that we rarely roll with media people, and VERY rarely have the patience to wait to get the shot. You could even go so far as to pose the question of if the shot is really worth ruining your ski day, and maybe more people should just forget the shot and go skiing. I mean either way whatever floats your boat. Regardless, I’m going to warn you we had really, really big aspirations for this trip and damn was it fun, but boy does the media suck. Hah oh well here we go, hope you enjoy this tale of a couple of longtime friends on a Colorado Attack Mission.
Dan Kellar (didn’t come what a bitch)
Day 1 - So being the eldest of the group, and usually the official organizer, I ended up heading out first. I flew out to Echo Mountain, as NS was working with Echo to do the Colorado Conquest, and a hostile takeover event. I was picked up at the airport by Echo’s Event Co-Ordinator, Charlotte Raynor-Brown who took me up to the hill to check it out. I took the chance to gear up and rip a few laps to get myself warmed up. Always nice to get a few laps in at a new resort! Echo is a fun little mountain with one chairlift, 5 runs and all park. I skied for an hour or two, and then poached Echo’s wireless network for a few hours to do some much needed emailing. Charlotte and Mark (another employee at Echo) were nice enough to share their couch with me, so I had a place to rest my head for the evening.
Day 2 - Charlotte, Mark and I had a really weird mission in the morning. Charlotte and Mark were trying to shoot an ad for echo (which I can't for the life of me find to show you) and the concept was to have a few of their riders sleeping on their desks at school. Funny enough, but the weirdest part for me was that we had to go into an actual real-live highschool to shoot it. There were kids everywhere, and this is probably totally normal to you guys but for me being 28 and not having been in a highschool in like 9 years it was fucked. I just felt hundreds of pairs of eyes judging me for everything I am worth. I could just imagine being in that position thinking “Who’s the old guy?”
Funny getting older let me tell you.
Anyways, we shot the ad at the school, and made our way up to Echo. I did some much needed emailing once again (when you work on the internet you’re pretty much married to it) and headed out for some laps. I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Max, Charles and Andrew as they had left a few days earlier in a stuffed-to-the-gills Jetta from Collingwood. After only a few laps, I was delighted with the site of Max and the boys charging out on the hill to tackle me.
The boys were tired and we figured we should probably peace out and go check into the hotel. We moved into a little Travellodge in the town of evergreen that would be our home for the next few days. The place was tight, it had two beds a fridge and free breakfast with some super dope waffles.
Day 3 we woke up, pounded some mad waffles and headed up to Echo to get on the mission of getting some sweet footage for our uber-dope trip story we were doing for Newchoolers (turn internet sarcasm meter up to 10 here). However, fate had a different plan for us... Three or four runs into the day, Max was attempting to butter the top of a small tabletop jump, hooked his tips and did a half-frontflip to back splat way past the landing. He proptly started to spit up copious amounts of blood and overall just seem not "super good". I think the quote was “Dude I’m spitting more blood than GWAR”
Charles also went down with a smashed knee a few runs later, which left only Andrew and I. We got a couple of shots, but really nothing much to speak of. I began to doubt my limited skills as a camerman, and wonder if we should have gotten someone professional... Anyways, we shot this little Mini-Shred video, which is just the boys playing around on a lot of the smaller features. Echo's big side was closed for building to prepare it for the upcoming Slopestyle.
That night Max had to take a trip to the hospital and do his best to run some sort of crazy insurance scam that he spent all day trying to cook up.
Max in high spirits... though it could have been the groovy painkillers.
Charles and I waited in the hotel for news, and were shoked with the news (from Andrew) that Max was dying and about to go into major surgery. We freaked out, contacted all of Max’s family informing them he was going in for major surgery, that he might not make it and that they should get immediately out to Colorado. Max and Andrew showed up about 20 minutes later with beer and cookies laughing about how they had fucked with us real good. Good joke if you ask me. Click here to check Max's telling of the story in a team update found on NS.
Day 4 was the slopestyle contest. It was cool, people went to the Open, and Max was stoked because he hadn’t signed up for the open and was pretty much relying on this to get in there. Click here to read about that contest.
Always wanting to make sure that there is some sort of an afterparty to every ski event, we raliled a big crew up at our hotel with hopes of taking over some local bar. We didn’t manage that and had to basically just run around the hotel which was kind of weird... We watched this show that was all about daring stunts, and they had this snowboarder on it who had a 110’ rollercoaster box made and was going to light it on fire and ride it. It was really funny because it wasn’t that much of a box, and sure it was hard but really its not that crazy. Who gives a shit if its on fire… but they were all like putting him through training for mental preparedness and hyping the shit out of it. Then when the guy got it it was a huge letdown. Funny part was that randomly like 30 minutes after we finish watching it the dude walks into the hotel and we’re like “Oh my god what a tool”
Bad story sorry, but damn was it funny at the time.
Day 5 was the part of the trip that I certainly was the most excited about. It was the hostile takeover, where we give out $1,000 in cash for whatever the hell I feel like.
Nothing like a big fan of bills to make you feel powerful...
Problem was that for some reason I woke up in an absolutely terrible mood just hating life and feeling really un-enthusiastic about doing it. I’ll tell you its hard to get crazy on the megaphone when you’re not excited… so I had to do something to rally myself... I decided to take what I guess is the worst route possible, and begin consumig gin and Gatorade at about 9:30am. We finally got ourselves in the car to start the 30 minute drive up to echo at about 10:30, well after when we told people we were going to arrive. Doesn’t really matter though, because I mean when you’re the guy with the money you can come whenever you want.
We drove up the hill to Echo blasting a little Rick Ross Hustlin’ and waving the bills out the window to prove we were real gangstas. I had this idea to roll into the parking lot with the Rick Ross blaring, bills hanging out the window and just generally ballin’ all over the place. (Sarcasm meter up to 11 now kids) We did it, but when nobody was there to think we were cool save an older couple I felt a little stupid. However, I was about 6 ounces of gin and 3 beers deep into the day, so the moderate alcoholism of that day had just put a warm, blurry blanket over everything. As I write this I kind of wonder if a Hostile takeover is actually fun, or if its annoying for most people, but at least you get paid so that’s got to count for something. At the very least, don't model yourslef off of this way of living... probably bad or something like that.
Sadly I think this is my favorite thing to do. I've been told I'm an attention whore, and they are probably quite right. I mean look at how many pictures I put of myself in here, isn't that supposed to be lame?
Anyways, I’ll let this video show you a few hijynx from the day.
The day ran on and we were throwing out cash like crazy, but around 1 or 2 everyone started to get really tired. We went in for lunch, but still had about $320 left. Charlotte had the smashing idea of just taking the money to a local bar and spending it all, and after putting it to a vote of everyone in the lunch room we decided to do it. You can laugh here with the following imagery: I had been drinking all day quite heavily. The lunchroom had about 35 people involved in the hostile takeover, and a bunch who weren’t. I stood up on one of the tables and yelled into the megaphone something like “Schhhhooooooo ehvehrybody…. <hic> schweeeve ghot a bhunch of monehy lefcht so whhhhoo wants to give it out and whoooo wants to go to the bar?”
Lots of cheers later, we had a line of about 15 cars heading down to a local restaurant for food for the kiddies and drinks for the older folk.
When we entered the place I walked up to the bar, slammed $320 down and said “Pitchers until its gone”.
What followed was a night of total insanity like no other. I’ll tell you $320 sure goes a long way (way too long) towards pitchers and food. There’s pictures of various things that happened that night, but sadly its quite a mystery to me as I think I KO’d a little early. We were aggressively thrown out at 8:30pm. Night well done.
I'm wearing the Orange Jacket. I woke up with a really sore jaw the next morning, because I am actually lifting my face off of that curb. Apparently it was a pretty gruesome site to onlookers, as the full weight of those people basically smashed my face into that concrete step. Glad I don't remember that one!
Day 6 had the worst start I could possibly imagine. I woke up really early in the morning, wondering what the weird sticky feeling in my hair was… only to find out that Mr. Witt Foster had thought it amusing to absolutely cover my hair in mustard and BBQ sauce as I was sleeping on the table at the bar. (Dammit… have to get him back one of these days…) I also had pretty much one of the worst hangovers I have ever even imagined, and to boot we were late as all hell.
You see we were supposed to go shooting at Winter Park today, and I had assured Ben that we were going to be there at 10:00am. Don’t really know what I was thinking with that one, but regardless, I think we got out of bed at 10:30. By the time we actually made it to Winter Park to meet up with their crew there it was something gnarly like 1:30 or 2pm. Brutal… here we are trying to have a trip of shooting around Colorado and we just blow it like crazy. At least a couple of the guys hit a few good runs… I just grabbed the camera and skied around with it. We hit some features with a bunch of their local guys, and big shoutout to Benjamin Reid Anderson who hooked it all up for us!
After that we got to the part of the trip that I was most excited about. VAIL! I love Vail… I don’t know why, I know so many people that don’t like it there, but I guess my family has just been going there for so long I actually know my way round. As well, Alex James and my wonderful brother Dave Bishop met us there in the pimp rental van they had picked up at the airport. Now it was on, and all the Snow Snakes were together. Its like Voltron... separately they're just a bunch of robot cats, but when they get together man are they one badass huge machine.
Day 7 we split up. Due to his inability to let go of the hype and scene of the skiing industry, (gotcha bitch!) Max decided that he was in fact going to go and do his training at the open. Andrew and Charles volunteerd to go with him, and they set out to hit it up. Dave Alex and I were like “Fuck that we’re goin to ride back bowls!” and just stayed at Vail. No scene, no hype and nobody who thinks they’re fuckin' cool. For me it was an incredible sense of freedom to be officially skipping the open. It was like I actually stood up and did something instead of just talking about it…. (those of you who know me will find that really funny) Regardless, Dave Alex and I had an amazing day, and Charles Max and Andrew arrived home super over the hype and the Scene.
Needing rest, we all just chilled out on some chairs and relaxed. (Cool story Hansel...)
I find that after a hard day's riding, the only solution is to sit in big chairs, watch TV and recourperate. As I'm writing this caption I'm kind of wondering why I'm bothering to put this picture in the story, but I think Andrew and Dave (left to right) look really funny.
Day 8 - The next morning we decided to hit up Breckenridge, and let me tell you wow is that place fucking sick. Breck has one of the best parks I’ve seen in a while. Ethan Stone, NS' own news guy showed up to help us get a few photos from the day. This was our most successful day (not saying much) so I'll let the pics and vid tell the story.
I mean come on... this park is so sick. I don't know why more eastern resorts just don't get off their lazy ass, its not like they couldn't do it.
McIver has great style, especially because he's so big. Ever noticed that so many skiers are short? Here's Andrew lacing a tip grab.
McIver layin down the 540 Truck.
Max Grabs for blunt like Tanner in the early days...
Max certainly had his gameface on this day. Here he is laying down the zero shifty like its his job. You can clearly see Doug being a pussy and skipping the jump for the follow, thereby getting pussy bitch shots.
Day 9 Max was determined to do his run in the Open. Well that isn’t entirely true, we all convinced him to go as he was over it, but really it’s a great opportunity. We figured we should convince his ass to get out there and go with him, and that it would be fun to see what was going on at the open.
Max didn’t do that well, but he put down some alright runs. I managed to do some of the worst followcam work you could possibly imagine, check out the cameraman dying…
After one of the Open days, we decided to drop in on the rest of the Newschoolers crew at the Open to watch the big air. Copper had hooked up the boys with a pretty dope condo, check the amount of camera people on the deck!
Wow that is a lot of cameras.
Dave Pondering what it all means...
You can check the full story of the big air there.
Day 10 and 11 the open was finished and it was time to just go enjoy Vail.
Our days at Vail were epic. The shots certainly aren't something that you guys are going to go crazy over, as a matter of fact you'll probably hate on them. But we found something that is better than any day of shooting which is the simple art of the ski vacation with your friends. Its something that we've all done with our famalies and something that we will all do in the later years of life with wives and real jobs...but sometimes lost in pursuit of the fleeting dream of skiing fame. Just going to a hill away from home and simply riding with your friends for the sake of riding is the best feeling ever. Maybe the rest of you are thinking "Of course Doug" but for me working in the industry its been so long since I had done just a skiing vacation.
We start most of our days at Vail by heading directly as far back into the bowls as we can. Seeing as were all transplanted Ontario boys everything the mountain has to offer is a blast. Nothing beats the sensation of riding around in a group of your buddies searching for a stash off snow or a fun little thing to play on. We had many little drops, bonks, lines and whatnot that we all enjoyed, and I really didn't take the camera out at all. By this point I had basically just given up on doing a shoot, and was enjoying myself. As I write this I wonder if we should try to do a shoot again, and make it a yearly thing, but this time do it right, or just forget the shoot part and go skiing.
One of my favorite places to ski at Vail is Blue Sky Basin. Maybe the locals think its Ghey, but I sure love it. Plenty of little drops, and lots of trees to ride in. Those two things alone pretty much make for a perfect day in my mind.
We also found this silly little jump, and someone decided that it was going to be the official flip session jump, and the meyhem proceeded.
This jump has a sketchy inrun, isn't that big, but Dave and Alex sure were determined to send it.
I remember the first time that Alex tried a misty he broke his arm. I convinced him to to it, and felt really bad. This is Alex sending 'er. Not too sure how it turned out.
Alex busting out a wicked frontflip. I don't think there's much better than a frontflip.
Dave going way too big on a way too small jump, but locking down a wicked front.
Max with some equipment problems holding up the group.
Dave, Alex and I taking the mountaintop group picture.
Overall this trip wasn’t about the story. I really, really wanted it to be, and I wanted to showcase just how sick of skiers our little crew is, but hey we fucked it up and what can you say. The most important thing to me is being with the guys that I’ve skied with for so many eyars, and just having a good time on the hill. Skiing should always be about one and only one thing, and that is having fun.
Until next time, take ‘er easy.