Words by Ben Amburgey. Photos from Black Mountain's Facebook Page and Ben's Edit
Cover Photo Skier: Quinn Fogarty
This past Saturday the Maine freeskiing and snowboarding community gathered at Black Mountain in Rumford for the first stop of the Park Shark Challenge. Hosted by The Riders Club and the University of Maine Farmington Freeride team, the goal was to bring accessible, cheap, and fun freeskiing competition to the isolated Maine Ski and Snowboard scene.
An old sign hung on a building at the bottom of the park
If there's one stop on the tour that is especially isolated from the freeski scene it is Black Mountain. Located in Rumford and often overshadowed by Sunday River just to the South, Black Mountain has not had a terrain park for several years. Rolling into the parking lot Thursday to build the course 4 of us from Farmington weren’t sure what to expect. Much to our surprise however there were several old features scattered around the hill such as a decent flat box, a big corrugated tube, a rainbow box, an old oil tank, and a massive wallride made entirely from wood and pvc. With the help of John McElrath, who is a groomer and the head of Ski Patrol as well as an all around awesome guy we were able to construct a fun and fairly creative park for the event on Saturday.
Isaac Wright sending a 5
The weather on the day of the comp was great. Although it was a little cloudy temperatures got close to 40 degrees making the snow nice and soft. There was a decent turnout of about 30 competitors of all ages, and the jam format slopestyle went very well. There was live music performed by local hip hop artists from Portland who kept the vibes going and the park was full of people all day. Some notable tricks included a front flip from Chris Marshall which got the crowd hyped, a hand drag cork 3 from Rowan Stamp, a 450 on from Isaac Wright, a massive FS cork 3 from Jasper Tripp, and young JC Mccabe snowboarding through the corrugated stall At the end of the day awards were given out in several categories such as under 14, 14+, and open. Perhaps the biggest victory of the day however was for the park itself. Due to the involvement of the Riders Club, UMF, and the enthusiasm and support of John, Black Mountain intends to keep a park running for the rest of the season and into the future.
An edit from the day
I think this is a great lesson for the ski community as a whole. Supporting the core of the sport is not something you do because its cool, its not buying things because of where they are manufactured, it means getting involved with the ski scene around you. Whether it’s cutting glades like a local group at Black has done to transform the mountainside into a playground, volunteering your time to make a great park for everybody to enjoy, filming edits to get people hyped, or hosting competitions like the Riders Club and other groups like Tell a Friend Tour have been promoting. The rewards are priceless, like seeing the excitement of the local young freeskiers that never had a terrain park to practice in, or getting to explore a brand new mountain you had never ridden before that was right under your nose.
Because without people putting in the time, things disappear much like the terrain park at Black did several years ago.
The Park Shark Challenge continues this Saturday with a stop at another community run Mountain; Titcomb in Farmington. Registration starts at 3, come by for a fun time!