What’s in a name? Here on Newschoolers, many of us know each other by our usernames, sometimes never actually learning what we go by in the non-internet world. Some names are obvious while others show pride towards companies or stalker-level love for their favorite riders. For me, it’s simple. Two favorite things that both began entangled within each other have grown to become very important parts of who I am.

pho[tog]rapher depicts me and my hobby, along with a clever call-out to my home mountain embedded in it. The weekend of the 25th, I was able to pause this ridiculous thing called college life, and go back to both of these things for the 2008 installment of Hay Bales & Grind Rails.

As I asked friends to go to New York with me for a rail jam, they shook their heads and asked if I was serious. I go to school in Vermont, and there’s always a session going on within a 30minute radius, so why was I trying to entice people to come to NY? Many of you just read Rogge’s killer article featuring Will Wesson, Andy Parry, and Ahmet Dadali, all people who clearly know what it’s like to Hate NY. What would possess us to leave Vermont for Syracuse?

Spending most of my life in the state, I can see why my friends didn’t understand why we’d go to Togg for a rail jam. Go big or go home they say. Sometimes you just want to go home.

Getting to New York from Vermont isn’t as easy as you might think. The giant detour known as Lake Champlain makes a seemingly easy trip take 5-6 hours, depending how many Red Bulls the driver has consumed. Within a half hour of my trusty sidekick, sugarloaf, and I leaving our dorm, I knew that no number of Red Bulls could help us in the disaster known as our drive.

Colleen and I looked at each other. We were in a general store parking lot while I mumbled at my mom on my cell phone about her directions that might as well have been written in another language. Colleen let her eyes wander as I continued to bicker. I furiously talked when I was interrupted. “Mom, what the f…” “NS STICKER!” Colleen breaks her silence as we stare down a Saab with a perfectly applied logo of love. The trip was already delayed but as we turned to look at each other, we both knew we had to wait.

A guy in his twenties walked out of the door while Colleen and I pondered his possible username. We decide that this man is in no way jeatastic enough to be part of the elite, so we let him walk away and turned our eyes back to the door. Not long after a teenage boy appears and I immediately say “HIM.” Without hesitation, Coll asks him if he’s on NS (We were too stoked to remember to ask where Chad’s was.) Before we knew it we had met Camo_Chameleon. INSERT SICK SHOUT OUT HERE!

Stoked on making a new e-friend, we continued driving. We, like our gas tank, started out full, ready to deal with the other bumps in the road, and definitely enjoyed ourselves along the way. We rocked to our skiing playlists and found some interesting ways to make 5 hours go by quicker.

Jealous, cos I don't even own a car. Making a new friend.

I somehow don't pay her to be my friend.

Trekking Colly’s car through the New York/Vermont border became stressful at times. While my mom’s directions never got better, my leadership skills earned an F for the day. After taking wrong turns and going 30minutes in the wrong direction, my karma level was at an all time low. We finally made it to my house, only to turn around and go out to some rasta-crap-ian show in Syracuse.

Trying to make sure Coll didn’t drive the car off the Crown Point Bridge by bribing her with the best snack ever

Waking up on Saturday, I was so stoked and yet worried. It was raining and gray which is typical of Syracuse but not what I was hoping for. We rolled into Toggenburg where I got to see old friends. I’m notorious for bringing extra food to the hill because I know people will hit me up for it. In true ToggMom fashion, I whipped out the Oreos as we waited for the rain to pass.

Strolling around during some of the films, we talked to the local kids. This is one of my favorite parts about Togg. While it’s plotted somewhere between a mud bog and a farm, it is a refuge for many during the winter months. The riders here appreciate the snow because they know it’s never a promised thing. As friends texted me from A-Bay, I looked up at my hill and saw kids running around the rails, stoked at the idea that they could collectively jam in October. The kids here have powder days that mean a few inches of ungroomed, BC that is ducking rope and riding thorough the adjacent private property, and exchange the thought of a tram or gondola ride for the chance to see kids beef on the T-bar. This is not your West Coast paradise, it is not the hop-skip-jump to Chile, and it’s never going to be a heli trip to Alaska, but for this group, it’s a seasonal oasis of shredding unforgiving conditions for the sole chance to progress, be with friends, and forget the world.

Togg park crew, thanks for everything!

To each their own...

sugarloaf hitting up NY, 2nd year running.

When the snow that was collected for hours from area rinks finally faded, the participants rode hard on our tag-lined feature of hay, but even after time that begins to pack and be unsuitable. After a hard session of jibbing, failing, prizes, and maybe an attempted Hippie Killer or two, the masses headed in for more great movies.

The crowd watching Head for the Hills.

As the movies played one after another, the shwag was tossed, and the Monsters were guzzled. A beat-boxing competition occurred, which showed the best and the worst that the ToggFamily had to offer. Although snowboarding movies were featured, Head for the Hills and Turbo definitely stole the show. After seeing the looks of shock after viewing some certain segments in these movies, I can promise that the In-saanen Park (now with its own pass) that Nick Mir and the Park Crew set-up this year, will be endlessly slayed.

Thanks, Monster!

Also making the journey from the 802 was two great crews. Moving Mixtapes’ man Matt Milewski, along with an&’s Matt McGinnis swung by the event to ride, watch, and show the Togg kid’s some great product of the 08/09 season. Reigning from New York like myself, McGinnis rolled in with the newest prints of an&’s line of shirts, making the crowd more baller and more successful with the ladies than when they walked in. Our other Matt, more easily known as mski, hit up New York and showed off his volumes of Moving Mixtapes. For those of you who haven’t already peeped the project in the video section, it’s a great series of not only riding, but riders, taking the roadtrip-esque effect to a new level as each session, character, and moment is hysterically captured.

mski repping moving mixtapes!

Dan and Matt sitting and selling mad an& t's

Coming home that night, we knew we needed to end the weekend in true skier fashion. What’s a movie showing without an after party? Mimicking the great event known as IF3, we hauled in some beverages, skiers, and biddies for a night to relax after a great sesh, applaud those who threw everything together, and celebrate the season to come. (All of that is true, minus the biddies.)

Aware that people would be coming over, my mom, Coll, and I made a cupcake. We knew everyone would be hungry, so why not make a sugary concoction to mow on while we exercised our social skills. They say everything’s bigger in Texas, but that’s only if you’ve never been to New York.

Attack of the Jack.

With good jamming, and good movies, also comes good friends. Forgiving Jack for eating the cupcake was hard, especially when he got ticked and wanted me to leave him and his new love alone. I would’ve been mad at him, until he kindly asked me to “Make like Enron, and lay off.”


Jack did manage to entertain us throughout the night, but so did the antics of everyone who came over. Bringing some of the food outside seemed to be a good idea until all of the M&Ms became ammo for destruction. As the food was thrown and the laughs were had, I can’t thank Coll, Nick, Jack, Erich, Pierce, Matt, Mski, Dan and Joe enough for putting me through an awkward Q&A period with my mom over breakfast. It’s just hard to explain the life of a skier to someone who rode a full day without her boots buckled. (I still love you anyway!)

Waking up in the morning was like a freeskiing bomb went off; there were riders laying everywhere. Eventually everyone cleared out and Coll and I packed the car for the trek back to Vermont. Equipped with bags of candy and homemade chex mix, we figured we’d make it home alright this time- being very careful whenever we got ready to get on or off the thru-way. Luckily for Colleen, she had me as free entertainment for the whole ride.

Sums up the weekend. Roadtrip, skis, friends, energy.

Going home is a feeling that is hard to explain. Each person gets the same feeling, but we all are attached to a different place. While I was not born amongst the flakes at Togg, I eventually found myself there, growing up, whether I knew it then or not. As the season gets closer and air becomes cooler, I fall asleep excited at the idea of waking up before classes and going to Stowe. Making plans to spend my season at Stowe, I also hope to get out to Boulder and SLC. Telling fellow riders about my plans, they pause and ask “where’s that?” when I put Toggenburg Mountain at the end of my list. I just smirk and say, “Oh, it’s the number one winter sports area in North America,” as they quizzically look at me. Your home mountain will always remain on your top-5 list of favorite places to ride, solely because of what it stands for, the people, and the memories. Some say home is where the heart is. I say it’s where you made your first tracks.


Hay Bales & Grind Rails is held annually at Toggenburg Mountain in Fabius, New York and without a doubt has one of the best parks and crews in the CNY area. Hit up http://www.skitog.com for more info about the season to come!

The epic movies shown at HBGR08 were: Rome SDS- No Correct Way Sandbox Films- All Day, Every Day Think Thank Productions- Stack Footy Meathead Films- Head for the Hills and Level 1's Turbo. Be sure to check out all their sites!

MANY THANKS TO: Toggenburg Staff and Crew, especially the God himself, Nick Mir. Our Sponsors: Catalyst Design, FUR, Robbie T's Pizza, eesa, Lifted Board Shop of Rome, NY, Eastern Mountain Sports, AN&, Moment Skis, Monster, and our friends at Newschoolers!

More fun things to check out!

http://www.matthewmilewskidotcom.com/ http://www.newschoolers.com/web/content/videos/id/220782/member_id/43543/