I first heard about Maryhill in the parking lot of Tipsy's, a liquor store perched on top of a Colorado foothill. I was catching a thrill and a buzz after work, bombing down the commuter bikeway, when I bumped into this kid Spencer on an ultramarathon longboard setup.
He'd just come back from skating across the state of Florida, and I was just starting to dive into the world of big mountain snowskating. The kooks always seem to find each other.
I would see Spencer again at The 2021 Maryhill RVOD Fall Freeride, getting scraped off the asphalt after he bricked it into a rattlesnake while taking a butt-naked run down.
What in the fuck was I doing out there in the beatin' sun of the Columbia River Gorge, picking hay out of this guy's bloody buttcheeks talking 'bout, "Hey buddy, at least you didn't rip your dick off?"
Well a couple years ago, the local Breckenridge homeboy Harrison started rocking an aerolid helmet and doing a downhill longboarding tuck on his snowskate. Thus, a new niche sport of Downhill Snowskating was born and began to gain traction in Colorado, Russia, Germany, and Switzerland.
Wanting to get in on this hip new downhill snowskating action, I mustered a sponsorship from a flamethrower company called Scorched Steel, pieced together a downhill longboard, and booked it to Maryhill for a weekend of cross training.
Now I didn't really know too much about how to "properly" downhill longboard or whatever, but dammit I was gonna indulge my gear fetish, jump in the deep end, swim around in an ocean of boards, and try to force myself a revelation about snowskating.
I rolled in on Friday afternoon with my favorite companion @OregonDead , my friend from Salt Lake, and her two skater boyfriends.
Wanting to bag and tag me a Level 4 Lot Wook, we sniffed out the crunchiest corner of the event campground, popped our canopies up, flew a rainbow flag to attract hot lesbians, and dubbed our dirtbag paradise "Shakedown Street".
Our neighbor Tim came by to greet us. He was rambling some bullshit about how this dude, who didn't even register for the event, showed up with nothing but his dog, a shitty car, and a longboard that costs more than his shitty car. The guy was asking Tim if he could borrow everything like every five minutes cuz his girlfriend just kicked him out. "Yeah man, ya just gotta flick 'em off like a tick."
Me and @OregonDead wandered off for a bit to get some loose hay from the bales that didn't make it onto the course. Ya lay it under your tent for a nice soft bedding.
When we got back, everyone was chillin at camp. I cracked a beer and started chatting up some random kid from Provo, rocking himself in the fetal position and telling us a harrowing tale of lowering his rifle to a hissing yellow-eyed wendigo in Springville. It kind of harshed the mellow, so we went to bed.
@OregonDead kept on freaking out all night, getting in and out of the tent cuz he kept having wendigo dreams. I woke up Saturday morning covered in spiders. Adrenaline already going, I scurried off to the rider's meeting.
The mountain of gear was quite the sight to behold! I walked around introducing myself to everyone, furiously scribbling notes as they told me about what they think is trending right now in the longboarding scene:
Slalom trucks, Valkryie trucks, Rogue trucks, narrow trucks, Descent boards, chopping your deck, tiny decks, anything Venom, aerolids, Black Lab slide pucks, drones, overalls, coveralls, and yoga clothes.
Beyond the gear, people were buzzing about women getting stoked on each other, being super accommodating towards beginners, a new wave of street luging, gnarly e-skate speeds, and snowskating.
Before I knew it, it was time to load the uhauls and take some runs.
After getting a few in, this dude nicknamed 'Daisy' approached me because he thought my bushings looked dead. He took me over to the Venom tent to meet da boys. After hearing about how I was a Colorado brat learning to downhill because I wanted to be the baddest snowskate motherfucker alive, Team Venom pimped my ride and gave me a little masterclass. How nice of them, I really needed that.
These Maryhill organizers somehow didn't have a drink sponsor, so in lieu of my normal energy drink girl gig, I worked the afternoons as a Corner Marshall.
A longboarder collided with a street luger and caused a big pile up on the blind of my corner.
The rest of the Saturday runs were pretty much standard business. Although there was one rider who I couldn't keep my eyes off: an illegally hott blonde ripper chick that was bombing down at mach speed and stripping a piece of clothing with each run until she was wearing nothing but a chemise and a g-string. Goddamn! Why don't the spring skiers do that?
I wandered back to camp to find that my friend had rounded up nearly all the non-skating girlfriends at the event and bring them to our shade canopy. They were on one half of the campsite, mascara all over their damn faces, talking about some 10 month old skateboarding super baby, who I coincidentally met a couple weeks ago in Portland.
On the other half of camp, @OregonDead was munching a handful of jalapeños, chilling with this Hawaiian kid.
Not wanting to get so caught up in the debauchery, we loaded up the Hawaiian kid and went over to the Goldendale Observatory for a bit of star gazing. Perhaps I could draw my snowskating inspiration from the expanse of the heavens?
The Observatory itself was pretty neat. It's more or less the only one in the country that the public can just walk in for free, climb the ladder to the telescope, and peer through the eyepiece. I learned a lot about space, but the astronomer didn't know squat about snowskating.
Sunday at the event went pretty much the same as Saturday. More survival riding and eating shit. However, yo girl was going faster and making more corners. I'd met a lot more people at this point and was feeling more at ease.
My afternoon Corner Marshall shift rolled around, and one of the uhaul drivers confessed that he thought the sickest rider there was the guy chilling in dead fucking last, using his oversized aloha shirt as a cape to taper his speed.
He said that if someday, he was good enough to get sponsored, he would sew a leather cape to his race leathers and sail around like Batman. For now, he was too embarrassed.
There it was. So casual and sudden, my lightbulb moment: the key to being a sick downhill snowskater is not giving a fuck and going for it.
I'm just stoked that I'm stoked!
I'd found what I came for!
Rolling that wheel of stokage, I spent Sunday evening belting some Dragonforce and Vengaboys karaoke. I couldn't even sleep, so @OregonDead and I hopped out of the tent and walked up and down the 2.2 mile course at 2am.
Monday came around, and I was takin runs in the 100° heat like a champ. A little charging, a little back-steering carving, taking some time in the back of the pack, and overall just feeling awesome.
We packed our shit up, took a run with the skateboarding baby, got kicked out of the Maryhill winery, did Wim Hof breathing exercises with some Pleadian starseed people, and set off back to Mount Hood.
Maryhill RVOD 2021 Freeride freaking ruled!