The vague plan was to head to the saddle between the Middle and the South Teton, scoping out conditions of possible lines along the way. The immediate plan was to enjoy rare December sun somewhere in the Teton Range. We made our way carefully into the south fork of Garnet and cut up towards the Southwest Couloir of the Middle Teton.
After two days of relentless snowfall, we awoke to clear skies over the Cerro Catedral Mountain Range in Bariloche, Argentina. The crew consisted of guide Andrew Berns, Cam FitzPatrick, Chase Josey, Chris Poe, Galen Knowles, my brothers Jack Hessler and Brolin Mawejje, and me. Our mission in South America was to capture the highest level of snowboarding possible for our upcoming documentary Far From Home.
It was one of those rare bluebird powder days in Las Lenas, Argentina. But on this day most of my riding buddies had scored invites on a free snowcat ride to a coveted backcountry zone. Too shy to ask for a spot on the snowcat, and feeling unworthy of an invite, I headed out for a solo mission.
This past winter Lucas Debari set out to make a one-of-a-kind snowboard video. Something that broke loose from normal procedure, something that would shed a new light on freeride snowboard films. He invited Alex Yoder, Kael Martin, and me as riders, Sam Tuor as director, and we all set out on a new trajectory. Following in the footsteps of Craig Kelly and the Mt. Baker Hard Core,
I never want to see another hard-boot snowboarder. I never want to duct tape and zip-tie my bindings back together every third run. I never want to go back to trying every trick in the book to make my boots not feel like miniature iron maidens. I certainly don’t want to go back to the days of Grateful Dead jams in every tram ride… wait… I guess that one still happens. Anyway, I say let’s move on to the future. Join me and let’s embrace this new culture of twerking, obnoxiously colored outfits, fast lifts, stash parks, and hot babes. Your “back in the day,” can stay that way.
Something strange was in the air during the pro-women’s portion of Dick’s Ditch last winter. The women competitors just weren’t acting like, well, competitors. High fives were gleefully thrown around, sincere words of encouragement were spoken and copious smiles exchanged. Some of the contestants might tell you first place winner Halina Boyd helped brighten the scene. The aspiring pro-snowboarder, often spotted sending it in a maniacal fashion off Kicker Cliffs, possesses none of the traits that have stigmatized more than a few JH women riders. Ladies, I know you know the type.
Last winter I organized the inaugural JH PowWow — an invite only freeride and powder board test held at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for one week in March. My intention was not only to do a “test,” but to create a legacy event that activates the entire Jackson Hole shred community in a celebration of snowboarding.
In today’s state of snowboarding it takes a certain combination of hard work, personality and balls to stand out from the crowd. Especially in Jackson Hole, home turf for riders like Rice, Iguchi, Kingwill, Carter, Rodosky, Yoder, Paul, FitzPatrick and Hessler. Tricks once reserved for well-maintained park kickers are finding homes in the most unexpected backcountry and urban locales. Lines once considered unrideable are bagged regularly. For the up-and-coming shredder, the path to greatness is an increasingly insane pursuit. Creativity and style coupled with a massive amount of dedication now play a bigger role than ever in getting recognized, and this is exactly why Jack “Wildcat” Wiley is dropping next.
Thanks to some very productive mid-season backcountry trips in Jackson Hole with Volcom team rider Bryan Iguchi by my side, I’m on-call whenever JH condition line up. Once I get the report from The Guch, I get in my vehicle and blast up same day from SLC, ready for an early start the following morning. This formula was standard last winter.
It was a cold, snowless morning when I missed a call from a mysterious California phone number. My mouth dropped to the floor. The one and only Disney Channel had called and they wanted me to be a stunt double in their new snowboard movie, Cloud 9.