Friday, December 14, 2007

Taos will Allow Snowboarding starting March 19, 2008

For the first time in the 51-year history of Taos Ski Valley, the resort will welcome snowboarders.

by Lauren Traub Teton

This bold and unprecedented move takes a bit of wind out of the sails of the Burton campaign to poach, on film the 4 skier-only mountains left in the US. (see our last posting.)

We applaud this decision and look forward to riding Taos as soon as possible. It's a step for harmony and inclusiveness in the world instead of the "them and us" attitude that divides the people of the earth and leads to alienation, discord, and war.

Taos chalks up the decision to keeping families together, when so many families now contain snowboarders who would not have been welcomed at Taos. Surely economics were a consideration too, but since Taos is truly a family-owned and operated resort with four generations of Blakes in charge, we believe that they believe in family. Viva Taos, Viva the Family! The family that rides or skis together is a pretty healthy family!

Here is the ground-shaking quote from today on the Ride Taos website:

"For a long time the discussion has been more focused on when we would open, and we feel like now is the right time. Taos has a long-standing tradition of being family oriented, and now with so many young people snowboarding, we are turning away more and more families, particularly families that traditionally come to Taos. Opening to snowboarding allows us to refocus on being a family oriented mountain.

Additionally, as Taos Ski Valley, Inc. began to consider expansion and it's base area redevelopment plan, it was clear that the "snowboarding question" would have to be given real consideration. It was determined by the Blake family and administrative staff that snowboarding would become an intrical part of Taos Ski Valley's future. We look forward to sharing our storied resort with this brand new audience."

(from a letter to the media)
We are pleased to make you one of the first to be know that Taos Ski Valley will open to snowboarding beginning March 19, 2008.

There will be events and festivities to kick off this new era during the final 2 ½ weeks of the season (more details to come). We’ll plan to spend the summer addressing any issues that arise and continuing to prepare our facilities and staff to take care of both our new guests and our long time friends. We’re committed to attending to all of our guests in the personal manner that TSV is known for, and which the Blake family is committed to preserving.

Taos Ski Valley History Facts:

In the early 1950's Ernie and Rhoda Blake were living with their children in Santa Fe where Ernie was managing the brand new Santa Fe Ski Basin. As part of his job Ernie would fly his Cessna 170 into Southern Colorado to work at Santa Fe's sister ski area, Glenwood Springs. His dream was to have a ski resort of his own, so as he flew he searched for a place where he could begin building his vision. Eventually, he found an ideal spot, "the big snow basin north of Wheeler Peak in La Cal Basin. There was a tremendous snow basin...I thought it was an optical illusion." (Ernie Blake, Ski Pioneers)

After finding the perfect spot, Ernie moved his family to Taos Ski Valley in 1955. From a camper in the base area where they lived, the Blakes began to build what is now a world-class ski resort. The following are a few facts and stories about how TSV grew and about the people and experiences which give Taos Ski Valley its individual character.

Taos Ski Valley History Facts:

* The first lift was a Bridger-Boseman J-Bar which was installed in the fall of 1956 by Ernie, sixteen men from Taos Pueblo, and a mule named Lightening. After one day of dragging lift and tower parts through the snow up what is now Al's Run, Lightening quit.

* Rancher Chilton Anderson, after 37 years of service, retired from the Ernie Blake Ski School at the close of last season. Chilton, hired in 1956, is extremely tall and was in charge of lifting the cable back on to the towers when it would fall off, which it did regularly.

* The only run down the mountain in 1956 - 57 was what is now Snakedance.

* In fall of 1957 a Poma (platter) lift went up Al's Run and ended where Tower 8 of Lift One is now. The lift pulled passengers along the ground at twice the speed of a modern lift. People would ski down around the lift riders because the run was so narrow. Small people were lifted completely off the ground in certain spots and hung spinning in the air.

* The first rental fleet was purchased from the army at Camp Hale when the base there was closed. The skis sold for $1 per ski and had holes in the tips through which a rope could be strung so the skis could be used as a sled. Rhoda was in charge of mounting bindings on all the skis because Ernie wasn't handy with mechanical objects.

* Many of the original staff of Taos Ski Valley, from Jean Mayer (the technical director of the Ernie Blake Ski School who came to TSV in 1958) to Walter Ruegg (the head of lift maintenance since 1967), still work on the mountain. Look for them as well as four generations of Blakes working and playing on the slopes.

* TSV remains one of the few family owned and operated ski resorts in North America. To this day it is still run by the founders' children and grandchildren. Because of this long tradition of family, no other ski resort can make you feel as welcome.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Burton Encourages Poaching the 4 All-Ski Mountains

Burton Offers $5000 reward for Best DVD of Snowboarders Riding at Off-Limits Ski Mountains: Mad River Glen, Alta, Deer Valley, and Taos

by Lauren Traub Teton
Editor SnowboardSecrets,com

Burton is offering a $5000 reward for the best video of snowboarders poaching the 4 skier-only mountains in the US. There is a fun film with music, of poachers "doing tha thang" posted on their site and on YouTube.

Make no mistake, this particular film was not made and submitted by amateurs. Burton riders Luke Mitrani, Keegan Valaika, and Yale Cousino poach Mad River Glen in VT. Jeremy Jones of Utah stars in another seg. Check it out, the whole concept is causing quite a ruckus in the media and was written up in the Boston Globe, The Burlington Free Press, Vermont Public Radio, and undoubtedly more coverage will follow. What a great publicity coup!

Personally and frankly, why would I want to ride somewhere I'm not wanted when 99% of resorts are courting my business? But it is amusing to see these snowboarders poach and to see the ski patrol get all sputtery.

Here's the YouTube link, the one on the Burton page was not working well for me when I tried.

This article is from the Snowboard Szine 12.13.2007, an occasional email szine about important and super fun things happening in snowboarding.
Here's the table of contents for the rest of this issue. You can sign up for your own free subscription on any page of in the top nav bar.
Read the szine here.

The Snowboard Szine (say "zeen)
Issue #54 12/13/07

In This Issue
(Read the szine here.)

1. Go Out Riding NOW!!!
2. I Was Teased Online for Being Safety Conscious
3. Winter Park, Colorado. Feb 6 - 10 Snowboard Trip. Join Us!
4. Dec.15 Big Rail Jam Quali at Mountain Creek, NJ
5. Burton Encourages Poaching the 4 All-Ski Mountains


Read this issue of the Snowboard Szine here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Snowboard Party Season Segues into Snow Season

Snowboard Party Season Wrap Up - shreddingbetty party, in Brooklyn, and the next night Boston Globe Ski and Snowboard Expo in Boston

shreddingbetty and hellz bellz threw a party in Brooklyn and
presented a private screening of
Jack Hill's 1975 movie SwitchBlade Sisters on
Nov. 15th. In this photo of "Kingpins of the NY Snowboard Industry," Kim Goldstein (l) and Jan Kodadek (r) flank Lauren of at the party. Also in attendance from the industry were Agatha Wasilewska: snowboard yoga teacher and business woman, Chris Yeaton, East Coast rep for Betty Rides, Michael A. Cohen, snowboard competition judge (see his profile at and Eric Shorter of Malbon Farms.

At the
the Boston Globe Ski & Snowboard Expo at the Bayside Expo Center, in Boston, MA November 15-18, Lauren and Chip Johnson each dropped and did 20 push-ups to win these handsome hoodies from Crotched Mountain.

Parties on Friday night were for TGR's film "Lost and Found" at the Roxy, The Main Event and Flow's party at The Place, and after-party at Good Life.

Hey, Cool Misfits Jacket at the Expo. We have the same one!!

Mike Murphy and his boys from Sportworks in
Duxbury, MA, whoop it up at the Snow Expo.

Scotty Lago's hometown boys and riding buds from Seabrooke, NH:
Shaun Martin (l.) and Andrew Bobolas race luggage carts at the Doubletree Hotel.

clockwise from top: Andrew Bobolas, Shaun Martin, Jake Zalutsky (in black) and Tim Humphreys in gray.

We bumped into Tim Humphreys in the lobby of the Doubletree in Boston. He's the 19 year old snowboarder from Basking Ridge, NJ, 2nd place winner of the recent Icer Air snowboard competition in San Francisco. He podiumed right behind the unstoppable Travis Rice.

Tim Humphreys is riding for the Flow Team and they are putting major support behind him. If you don't know his name now, by the end of this season you will!

We hung out for a while at the Smoke & Mirrors Ramp Design booth at the Expo where our friend from Waterville and Loon, Phil Matthews is now helping market ramps for skate and snow, backyard and big event. These custom ramps start at a very reasonable and underpriced $200. The stylish box with the brick face surface would be a fine addition to any set-up. Check 'em out. Visit or Call Chris Georgia at 603 369-1210.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Snowboard Film Premiere Party Season in New York and Beyond

Snowboard Film Premiere Season is upon us and has been full of parties!
We've been to 5 movie parties in the last 3 weeks. Three of those parties were ours, put on by and Snowboard Wrist Guards and Gloves, to premiere "Blurred" in high def by Next round of parties is in Boston during the Ski and Snowboard Show.
Check the to make sure you don't miss what's happening this season!

"Blurred" by film maker Tom Vayianos happens to be the ONLY East Coast snowboard flick this season, since Trash Attack II met an unfortunate technical fate when the hard drive with the only copy fell on the floor, or whatever.

The parties have been as different from each other as a freestyle snowboarder and an alpine racer. There was heavy rain associated with EACH of these parties, but the heavens cooperated and the skies cleared in time for the parties to go off. Thanks, Universe! Here's a recap.

The Grenade/Signal Snowboard Party at Gallery Bar on October 11 was a fun start to the season. Free Iceberg Vodka started off the party right and this small Alphabet City/Lower East Side art gallery/club on 2 floors was the right size for the crowd who included snowboard industry stalwarts like Dave Lee and Lisa Sagato, of Signal, Jeff Schorr of Grenade, Mike D and Jeff Boos representing Spacecraft and Freeville Art Project and a group from Snowboard Mag. Some Vermonters made the trip down, including rail rider Jamie Herbert and friends.
Oct. 19 in New Paltz was the first showing of "Blurred" on the Blur Tour. The party, put on with Sacred board shop and was at Cabaloosa right in the center of town, and 18 and over could get in, insuring a good crowd of the local SUNY college students. Friends from Plattsburgh and Long Island made the trip.

This party gets the prize for the best dance floor activities as the clock struck 12. New Paltz is a fun and easy party town. Cabaloosa has 2 clubs, upstairs and down.
Across the street the Greek restaurant "Yanni" had live music and dancing that spilled out onto the street. We had the best chicken parm of our lives at Fat Bob's, a few doors down the hill from Cabaloosa. There are other pubs within walking distance in New Paltz.

The big Blur Tour Party was Thursday, Oct. 25, in Tribeca, NYC. put on a fashion show for this party with Emilio's Ski (and Snowboard) Shop, which is one of the oldest ski shops in the city, and the ONLY snow gear shop in Queens.

The latest snowboard outerwear from Burton, Bonfire and other companies was modeled by REAL snowboarders, including Amber Rood, Agatha Wasilewski, Erin & Stephanie from NY Pipe Dreams, Lauren Traub Teton, Diego Currier, and Brian Curran. Legendary snowboarder and Blurred star Yale Cousino and the filmmaker Tom Vayianos both agreed to walk the runway in their hot cold weather fashions at the last minute, adding even more juice to the show. Big thanks to Karen De Turris, for modeling, and Paul Pearlman for coordinating the show and narrating onstage.

A free hat raffle was courtesy of Livity, and we thank Launch Snowboard for the men's and women's board that were given away. Free lift tickets were given to guests from Whiteface, and Windham Mountains in NY, and Mountain Creek in NJ. DJ Probiotic kept the tunes spinning.

Chris Yeaton, East Coast rep for Betty Rides, jumped in to help with the raffle when an expert was needed. Folks who stayed late enough were treated to the fantasy come true in the back room, where hunky "cop" Jason ripped off his uniform to show biceps, triceps, quadriceps, buttceps, and more, to help celebrate Lauren's birthday which happened to fall on the day of the party.

Eastern Boarder in Natick, Massachusetts (almost in Framingham) was the site for the last stop on the Blur Tour, Friday Nov. 2. EB is glorying in their fantastically handsome new space, with many of the display cases handmade by resident snow/skate/and furniture expert Jay Roche. This party was an intimate low key affair where it was easy to schmooze with the shop kids and their friends enjoying the movie, pizza, beer, and free lift ticket deals from Crotched Mountain and Ragged Mountain. It was hard for manager Steve Ryan to get everybody out of the store to finally close up.

The tailfeathers of Hurricane Noel brushed MA right after the Eastern Boarder party, and we raced back to NY, successfully evading the storm in time to make it to the Bonfire Film Premiere Party in Brooklyn the next night.

Galapagos Art Space in hip Williamsburg was the site for the Nov. 3 Bonfire party. Super snowboarder Leanne Pelosi made and rode in the film "La La Land" which shows off many of our most famous snowboard girlz. She and Jamie Anderson, 2007 US Open Slopestyle winner were in the house at this party that featured 7 djs and 2 free Monster happy hours in additon to a live snowboard art contest.

We always like to see young Spencer O'Brien's stylish rail riding, but if you blinked this time you missed her. Last year's Bonfire film "Ro Sham Bo" had her in a bigger part, and also featured a great dance choreography at the end that was so synchronized and terrific that I'm still trying to figure if it was the snowboarders or professional dancers busting the moves.

La La Land has more star power. In fact almost EVERY famous female freestyle rider is in it (Kelly and Hanna, where r u ?) and really does show off some of our best female riders like Hana Beaman, Victoria Jealouse, Marie-France Roy, Tara Dakides and Amber Stackhouse to great advantage.

German Snowboarder David Benedek's film "In Short" was shown after La La Land. I saw his film "The Gap Sessions" last year at the party in Boston right after Ro Sham Bo, and it was a hard transition from the girls, music and action. TGS was a brainy snowboard film about building a jump, and frankly I enjoyed it a lot more when I watched the DVD at home, because it benefited from some quiet concentration.

By the way, while the Bonfire party was going down in Brooklyn, the Burning Man Decompression Party was raving out at the Queens Museum of Art, over by the Unisphere. We heard some first hand reports that this was THE BEST PARTY EVER IN THE WORLD. Hard to imagine since the snowboarders weren't there, but I guess anything's possible.

See more pictures of these parties and the Snowboard Fashion Spread parties at

Saturday, October 13, 2007


BLURRED by Huckfest Productions is the EAST COAST snowboard film of the season. Catch it at one of these parties.

Miss Knock Out will rap at
the NYC party

Oct. 19
Friday New Paltz, NY at Cabaloosa's, put on by, and Sacred board shop of New Paltz. We're expecting a crowd from all over and this will be a banging party. 18 and over.

Oct. 25 Thursday New York City, at M1-5 in Tribeca. The party of the season. Athletes including Yale and Chris and director of the film Tom Vayianos will be there. Snowboard outerwear fashion show. Goody bags with lift ticket deals. Snowboard raffle, And MORE.
DON'T MISS IT. $5 cover, 21 and over.
Put on by, snowboard and skate wrist guards.

Nov. 2 Friday Framingham/Natick MA at Eastern Boarder. All ages, join us for this laid back showing of the movie in the shop and check out the latest gear. We'll go out for a drink after.
Brought to you by, snowboard and skate wrist guards.

Grenade/Signal NYC Party Oct. 11, 2007

The Grenade / Signal Snowboards Movie Premiere Party was 2 nights ago in NY and I'm still reeling, and I don't even drink. Fun crazy time on the Loisada at Gallery Bar on Orchard St. by Delancey. Signal's flick "For Love or Money" premiered on the screen.

Vermont, NJ and NY including New Paltz were IN THE HOUSE in force. It was the hardcore mountain crowd meeeting up with the NY Snowboard Meetup group and more. Vodka was poured by Iceberg Vodka for a free 2 Happy Hours. The bar was the right size for the 200 or so person crowd on 2 floors. DJ's kept the music spinning. Snowboard Mag laid out free mags for all. Dave Lee of Signal took his life in his hands by sporting his Boston Red Sox cap in this crowd. Turns out he's a homey of mine from Plymouth MA and we're both Sox fans.

Pro (or ex-pro) Lukas Huffman came downtown to the party from Columbia University where he is now a student of film theory and brought some school friends. He is finding his studies lots more stimulating than just being a pro-snowboarder. Shout out to Lisa Sagato of Signal and Jeff Schorr of Grenade for putting on this successful party. Photos will be posted soon I hope.

Now that the party season is warming up, don't miss the premieres of Huckfest Productions' latest issue - "Blurred." dates below.

Oct. 19 Friday New Paltz, NY at Cabaloosa's, put on by, and Sacred board shop of New Paltz. We're expecting a crowd from all over and this will be a banging party. 18 and over.

Oct. 25 Thursday New York City, at M1-5 in Tribeca. The party of the season. Athletes including Yale and Chris and director of the film Tom Vayianos will be there. Snowboard outerwear fashion show. Goody bags with lift ticket deals. Snowboard raffle, And MORE.
DON'T MISS IT. $5 cover, 21 and over.
Put on by, snowboard and skate wrist guards.

Nov. 2 Friday Framingham/Natick MA at Eastern Boarder. All ages, join us for this laid back showing of the movie in the shop and check out the latest gear. We'll go out for a drink after.
Brought to you by, snowboard and skate wrist guards.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Rome Snowboards' Londonderry Pop Festival

and " Any Means" Snowboard Film Premiere Party

Ever go to a rail jam when the thermometer said 95 degrees?

We did. That's me and the other 297 or so people who went to Rome Snowboards Londonderry Pop Festival August 25, 2007 at former ski slope and now occasional private party spot Timber Ridge, on the back side of Magic Mountain, close to Londonderry, in Windham, VT.

The snow did not arrive as planned. The hockey rinks just weren't scraping nearby. So fish ice cubes saved the day for the rail jammers. That's ice cubes, like the kind that come out of an ice machine in a hotel corridor. Small smooth ice cubes that you could put in a glass of soda. The run-in and run-out were spread with the cubes. After the jam started, we asked rider Will Bateman how the conditions were. "Icy" was his answer.

But this gnarly bunch of chomping-at-the-bit rail riders ate it up. The jam lasted 60 or 90 minutes, but riders kept at the long straight blue rail and the box until dark. We might be onto something with those ice cubes because they held up for 4 hours in the heat. These Vermont riders have their pre-season jibs already in their bag of tricks, and it's not even September.

When all was said and done, Forest Bailey took top honors for the males, and Monique Hyman, for the females. Also notable and always stylish were Will Batemen, and brothers Zack and Ben Harmon. After the awards ceremony, action moved to the beautiful smooth skate halfpipe from Waterville Valley, where Forest Bailey, dressed in a smashing forest green tie dye ensemble took his turns and ripped up the dry ramp too.

Musical accompaniment was provided by the Hostiles, a young but experienced 3-piece rock band who have studied their music history and who play originals flavored with Sex Pistols, Clash, Misfits, Ramones, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and more. This band got me dancing, and the lead singer/guitarist Joey Russo and bass player Steve Shanahan entertained with their stage antics. Ryan Rice was resplendent in his turquoise pegged jeans and held the songs together with his driving beats.

Their helpers and moms sold cool screen printed Hostilez t-shirts and the band's 4 song demo, as Joey urged people to buy from his spot on the stage. They played original songs like "Memory Loss," "Unity" and "Don't Make Me Go to School" which had its hooks in me so hard I was still singing it 3 days later. Remember you heard about the Hostiles here first. You will undoubtedly hear of them again. And did I mention these guys are all of 15 years old! Plenty of upside here!

Lightning flashed continously all over the sky as it got dark. Rome's snowboard movie "By
Any Means" started up on the big screen outdoors, drive-in style but without the cars, and the natural lightning, and fireworks from the Hayes Brothers tent competed for attention. Finally the lightning teamed up with gusty wind and a brief downpour, just to show who was boss. Brave souls sat it out and the movie continued as the rain cleared and the temperature became PERFECT nighttime t-shirt and shorts weather.

The movie "By Any Means" seemed much better than the average snowboard movie. I might have been influenced since I was seeing it at an epic party, but in reading about how the team got together and made the movie on the road without a lot of money, you can see there is real heart here. Can you say "flop house?"

I rarely utter "OMG!" while watching a snowboard movie. But LNP (Laurent-Nicolas Paquin) from Quebec rode the top of chain link fences, and then (OMG!) jumped from his board onto a picnic table seat, slid the seat, and then jumped back onto his board. LNP doesn't compete so you probably haven't seen him except live or on film. When this guy rides handrails it's like he's got a high power magnet in his board, he is that solid. Transworld Snowboarding says in the September 2007 issue that "This movie might have arguably the best rail riding of any movie this year." I believe it.

After the movie, The Hayes Brothers band played, respelendent and Devo-like in their matching white rain sacks. Then after the formal entertainment, beer became the main event. Leave too many snowboarders for too long with nothing to do but drink beer on somewhat empty stomachs, and trouble can ensue (as our wise friend Kevin C. once said.) We cut out as people started to push each other around for fun. We heard some stuff went into the bonfire that shouldn't have, including a human or two. And by early morn the New Hampshire vs. Vermont faction wanted to fight. Camping was available on site.

The party site was littered with bottles and paper after the party, but by noon the next day the site was immaculate. Props to Chris and the crew at Timber Ridge, for taking such good care. And the guys from Essex with the sauna. And Aaron and the crew from Drastic t-shirts. And Rome Snowboards for throwing a great party on a perfect night.

Do You Like Snowboard Film Premiere Parties?
Don't miss "The Blur Tour" -
"Blurred, showcasing the latest greatest East Coast Talent.
3-stop tour.
Oct. 19 New Paltz, NY with Sacred Snowboard Shop
Oct. 25 PARTY OF THE SEASON! nyc -
fashion show, dancing, auction, goody bags, athletes, more!
Nov. 2 Framingham/Natick, MA with Eastern Boarder.
Details here
Presented by and Snowboard & Skate Wrist Guards.

Snowboard Movie Review - The Empire: White Knuckle Extreme

The Empire: White Knuckle Extreme by Xodus Productions and Torey Piro

It’s all about progression, and if you want to see how far snowboarding has progressed, rent this old skool gem from 2001, apparently the year the 720 degree spin was invented.

Rahm Klampert starts out the film. See him spin, and work the nunchucks.
See Danny Kass as a 17-year old in a small part. So long ago it was before he became a fashion icon; he wears a simple gray hoodie. Back then Grenade was just a glove company on the sponsor list, instead of a clothing empire.

Andreas Wiig has a part, back before he won gold at the X Games and generally blew up. The cast of almost hundreds includes parts by: Boris Benedek, Kyle Clancy, Matt Hammer, Lance Pitman, Bobi Rey, Aleksi Vanninen, DCP (David Carrier-Porcheron, James Ledford, Scotty Arnold, John Jackson, Tommy Czeschin, Mark Reilly, Floe Mausser (catch his 100 foot cliff jump, where he seems to jump UP the cliff!) Aaron Bishop, Marius Sommer, Travis Robison, David Scaffiti.

There is a gap jump over a river where riders are towed up by a speeding car on the adjacent road. You’ll see it again and again in the film, everybody takes a shot at it. The blooper reel has shots of the gap attempts, naturally. (The missed trick footy is NOT at the end where you might expect it in this film.)

Guy Deschenes throws a big air in the pipe, and was that an early 1080 he just did? Matt Downey, Darin Short Chris Nelson, Danny Wheeler. Matt Kass has a 5 second part, back when he spent more time on the slopes than behind the Grenbade desk. Eddie Wall has the starring role and final part, and he rode with distinction and style even back in 2000.

There are a few others whose names were too long for me to catch. Keir Dillon, Abe Teter, and Travis Rice showed up in the credits but had untitled parts way back then or ended up on the cutting room floor. All 3 have gone bigtime onto great competition results since then. And so many of the names listed above have seemingly disappeared. Extensive music credits are properly given.

This light-hearted low-budget (compared to today) sunny romp is a fun way to see some of today’s most famous snowboarders, before they were all that! You can rent it from Netflix.

Need an idea for a good movie to rent? For you or the family?

Check out our snowboard and other fave movie reviews here. We've reviewed "Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi"m and "MXP: Most Extreme Primate" to name just a couple.

Visit for good reading, photos of your fave riders, and FUN!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Terrain Park Rangers Keeping Guests Safe

by Thomas Vendittelli

The sun rises over Wachusett Mountain State Reservation and guests arrive early for a taste of the fresh snow on the mountain. From the summit of Wachusett Mountain Ski Resort the view is majestic, providing misty glimpses of forest as far as the eye can see. Within seconds of opening the park gates, snowboarders and skiers alike are showing up to try their skills against Wachusett’s very intense terrain.

“Hey Buddy,” yells terrain park ranger Brendan Grierto the first boarder to arrive at the terrain park. “…Where’s your pass?”

Wachusett’s terrain park managers spend a lot of time on their skis and boards, listening to classic rock music and watching people wipe out. But there’s more going on there than meets the eye. There is a constant effort to keep every guest safe on the slope.

A ranger’s most important task is monitoring everyone who enters the terrain park to make sure they possess a park pass. A pass can be attained only after watching a videotaped program hosted by world-class freestyle snowboarder, Sean White. The rangers make sure that anyone who wants a pass understands the content of the video, which focuses on safety and responsibility.

Grierto quizzes the viewers to make sure they paid attention. “Guys, what are the 3 main points of smart style?” he asks a group of boarders when the tape ends. Only when the guests correctly answer the quiz questions are they allowed to purchase a pass.

While issuing and checking passes takes up a lot of a park ranger’s time, watching out for guests who may be an injury-risk is another huge responsibility. To prevent accidents, rangers must make sure the people who purchase a pass are at the appropriate skill and maturity level. “We see at least four to five bad injuries a day out here,” Grierto said, highlighting the importance of watching the guests carefully.

The busiest time for terrain park managers is the beginning of the season. They are charged with setting up the entire park when the resort is ready to open. It is a time consuming and genuinely tough job, yet they are allowed only one day to get it all done!

“The best part is when we get all the rails up on that first day,” said “Teddy” Straight, another terrain park ranger at Wachusett. “When the kids are all stoked about it – that’s a really good feeling.”

That is what a ranger finds most gratifying, Grier said. While he enjoys spending his workday on the mountain, fixing jumps and listening to good music all day, the most rewarding part of his job is “making sure everybody’s safe, and just making sure everybody has a good time.”

Thomas Vendittelli is a student at Wagner College in Staten Island. He wrote this article as an assignment for an internship with the Eastern Ski Writers Association, under the guidance of Janet Franz.

Snowboard Instructors at Wachusett Mountain

The Coolest Kids on the Mountain

By Lisa Perosi

Skiing down the mountain at Wachusett Ski Resort, I hear loud voices and laughter. I look up to see a girl, about 15 years old, flying over my head on her snowboard. She lands a perfect nose grab and rides past me with her friends. Who is she? She is Missy Wiitala, snowboard instructor.

Most of the snowboard instructors at Wachusett are under age 21. They report to Matt Leland, their manager and mentor. Leland, a father of four children, has been snowboarding for 27 years. He larned Princeton, Mass. “Snowboarding is part of who you are, once the snow is on the mountain I need to ride, its infectious, and the other instructors share my passion for riding,” he said.

I shared that passion when I went into the terrain park with some instructors. I shadowed Wiitala for a beginner’s lesson by the bunny hill and got some pointers from instructor Nicky Fitzgerald.

“I know this park like I know my own bedroom!” Fitzgerald said to me while we shared a ride up the lift. At 16 years old, she showed incredible confidence and skill and was a great teacher in the park. With her guidance, I learned to go off several low jumps and ride in the half pipe.


Leland describes snowboard lessons as “ed-u-tainment” because the student will be educated but also entertained by the lesson. Also according to Leland, “…it’s best to learn from a snowboard instructor and not from a friend or family member”


The instructors’ snowboarding skills range from intermediate to expert, but they all must attend the Wachusett Instructor Training Course (ITC) prior to teaching.

Wiitala started snow boarding when she was 11, and has been an instructor at Wachusett for about one year. She and remains close friends with the people who attended ITC with her and enjoys spending time on the mountain with them.

“When I don’t have school I will arrive at Wachusett Mountain at around 8 a.m. and I will stay there until 10 or 11. When we have school I arrive at 3 p.m. and leave at around 10 or 11pm.”

Lesson times are 10:30 am; 1:00pm; 5:30pm; and first time lessons only at 7:30pm. Weekend and holiday lessons begin at 9:00am, conditions permitting. Group lessons cost $30 and a one-hour private lesson costs $65. The instructors often receive monetary tips from their students, but they agree that the best tip they can receive is a successful lesson.

Teaching someone to snow board is “…the coolest thing to teach, because you can give this sport to someone in one hour,” Leland said. “You can teach them to stop and how to ride heal and toe side in the first lesson.”

Snow boarding has been passed down from generations since the 1940’s, “when snow boarding began in the 1940’s it was called ‘Snurfing’ and the sport progressed from there.”

Leland finds riding the mountain to be peaceful and therapeutic. “It’s like my therapy, and it’s a great escape from stress.”

I expected snowboarders to be very Zen-like and hip, so I was not surprised that the kids that gave the lessons were as cool as can be. While leaving the cool snowboard instructors I reflected on what I had learned from them: I must keep my knees bent while landing a jump and try not to be afraid of catching air or of “clearing the landing” (over shooting the jump). Wilson was good enough to give my novice skier friend some tips for his first time out as well. I was impressed with how much these kids knew not only about snowboarding but about other snow sports, too.


Lisa Perosi is a student at Wagner College in Staten Island. She wrote this article as an assignment for an internship with the Eastern Ski Writers Association, under the guidance of Janet Franz.

Interview with Halfpipe Judge Michael A. Cohen

interviewed by Lauren Traub Teton

Find out what is going on in the judges' minds while you are flinging yourself around in the air in a competition.

"I judge a little differently than other judges because of my skateboard background. In halfpipe and slopestyle, I¹m looking for a resurgence of skateboard moves and style."

We first met Michael Cohen on the chairlift at Killington last Spring where he was judging at
Spring Loaded and then caught up with him in New York City for an interview.

Is there an association for snowboard judges?
The IJC - ­ International Judges Committee.
In my region (Southern VT) there are 10-15 judges.
Every big halfpipe competition has 4 judges. Some major events like the US Open have 8 judges, a front line and a back line.
We¹re all 4 either at the top of the pipe or the bottom.

Certificates and training
Through IJC, you get a certificate. Requirements to be a judge include 5 ­ to 10 years snowboarding experience, a month of rigorous training, watching videos, reading manuals. Home study and clinics.

What events do you judge?
Slopestyle, rail jams, quarterpipe, halfpipe, and big air. In Boardercross there are no judges, just watching the gates to make sure riders go around them properly. That¹s a volunteer job which sometimes I do.

What is the rule if one misses a gate in Snowboardcross. Can you go back?
As long as you make the gate at some point, it¹s fine. If you don't you're DQ¹d (disqualified).

How are events judged - Amateur and pro, or lower level and advanced?
USASA is considered an amateur contest series, and we judge that differently than a pro event. We want to score riders by criteria that will help improve their contest careers.
At USASA we say at the riders meeting what we¹re judging on.

In USASA halfpipe for example, there are 4 judges, each assigned a criteria: amplitude, standard maneuvers, rotation, and overall impression. Scale of 1-10.
EG. Amplitude, riding to the top of the pipe is 5

For pro events, the riders don¹t need that feedback, and are judged by one standard of overall impression.

I judge a little differently than other judges because of my skateboard background. In halfpipe and slopestyle, I¹m looking for a resurgence of skateboard moves and style. [I look for] Backside lipslides if they¹re boned out and held longer, when they stay on the rail longer. I look for a run to be real clean and flowing, at the same speed. I don¹t like to see them slow up before the rails. Speed is your friend, it helps keep the run solid and fluid. And when it comes down to it, it¹s all about how you look.

Who's hot now?
Lucas Magoon, Scotty Arnold, KP, the entire Mitrani clan(Luke, Jack and Liza).
Trevor Andrew portrays an amazing skateboard style on the snow like no other.
Also, Peter Line, Mike Micahelchuk, Forest Bailey, Coleen Quigly, Tricia Byrnes, Louie Vito.

Ian Kurt,Stratton Mountain School's Scott Johnston, and Brent Johnston. Phoebe Mills was Danny Kass¹ coach. And she was the 1988 bronze medallist in gymnastics in the Olympics. She¹s a judge, on the committee. She might someday be the first US American Olympic Snowboard Judge. We don't have one yet.

Hot Amateurs?
Chris Maseresi, the Shaw Family (Brooke and Spencer), Ellery Hollingsworth, Molina Cera, and Eric Cera. Tyler Leach. And Eddie Wall Sr.

How do you dress when you are judging snowboard comps?
I always dress up to judge. ­ I wear dress shirts, nice sweaters. I dress up "casal nice" for judging, like for a date. I feel the way you look has a lot to do with the way you perform and act.

Do you get cold?
No! I¹m one of the few judges who sometimes doesn¹t wear a glove when I judge. I¹m naturally warm, and I dress right.

How many layers?
On a cold day, first layers, then 2 or 3 more.
I¹m also the only judge that drives 250 one way to many events.

Michael, thank you for us some insight into the life of a snowboard competition judge.

See Michael A Cohen's profile on

Flat-Spin 360’s

By Rob Pirog

Doing 360’s doesn’t have to be what you see in all the videos and magazines. This is a simple progression that will get you doing spins and having fun, without having to leave the ground!

All you need to be able to do is turn in both directions, keep your head and shoulders moving in one direction, and feel comfortable with changing your edges (toe to heel and vice-versa).

Before performing your first flat spin, you need to be comfortable with turning (forward) on your toes and heels.


ˆ Be sure to find a piece of hill that has enough pitch to slide at least at a slow pace, but not so steep where you have to tip your board up with a high edge angle.


ˆ Starting with your board across the hill (nose and tail oriented to either side of the trail) and on your toe edge, make one forward turn on to your heel edge. You should try to do this in the shortest time distance possible, and when you end that turn, the nose and tail of your board should be oriented back across the hill (opposite direction from what they were before) and you should be balancing on your heel edge.


ˆ Repeat the same process, turning off of your heels on to your toes, with your board oriented across the hill. You have just done two 180’s. It is also important (as a frame of reference) to remember that in doing those 180’s, it was the nose of your snowboard that turned down the hill. In the next steps, you will be experimenting with the nose of your board turning up the hill (or, for reference, the tail of your board will turn down the hill). In each 360, the nose of your board will turn down the hill and up the hill.


ˆ The next steps are where you must be sure you can make relatively quick and comfortable transitions from one edge to the next.


ˆ Starting on your toe edge again, with your board across the hill, make another forward turn, and stop with your board across the hill and standing on your heel edge. If you are a regular footed rider (left foot forward), that turn was counter-clockwise.


ˆ From that point, your are going to continue the counter-clockwise turn. You will need to turn your head and shoulders in that direction. It is also important to keep your weight evenly distributed on both legs and your stance stay centered over the center of your board.


ˆ In this turn, the nose of your board will turn up the hill and the tail of the board will turn down the hill. Once both are oriented across the hill again, you should find yourself standing on your toe edge again.


ˆ Congratulations: you just did your first 360!


ˆ To repeat this in a clockwise direction, start things off on your heel edge. Make a forward turn on to your toe edge, with the board back across the hill. Then, continue the clockwise rotation by turning your head and shoulders in that direction.


ˆ Remember to keep you weight centered and even, and don’t try to change edges unless the board is oriented into the fall line (straight up and down the hill).


ˆ Don’t worry if one direction seems easier to do than another. It’s perfectly natural for people to favor one direction over another. If you find yourself having some difficulty completing the spins, try flexing your knees and ankles a little more, as that will help with stability and edging.


ˆ As always, don’t forget to wear your protective gear, and have fun. We’ll see you on the hill!

Rob Pirog has been snowboarding for years and is the director of the Smugglers' Notch Snow Sport University.

Easy Progressions for Flatland Fun

by Rob Pirog

Snowboarding isn’t just about riding down the hill. It’s about riding down the hill and having as much fun as you possibly can. Here are some easy and fun freestyle moves, that you can take just about anywhere on the hill.

Static Nose/Tail Presses

Starting off on a flat piece of hill (where you can stand with your board flat without sliding away strap both feet in.

ˆ Stick your front hand out over the nose of your board.

ˆ Balance the majority of your weight over your front foot.

ˆ Keeping your front foot flat on the board, bend your front knee (while keeping your back leg straight), and see how low you can get yourself while remaining balanced.

ˆ Take your front hand, and grab the nose of your board. This helps provide support for the next step.

ˆ Slowly shift your weight out past the outside of your front foot, towards the nose of the board. If it hasn’t happened already, your back leg should be pulling the tail of the board off of the snow. This is a static nose manual.

ˆ If you are feeling comfortable and balanced over the nose of your board, try taking your hand off the nose and balancing without hanging on.

ˆ For the tail manual, repeat all of these steps using your back hand, leg and foot over the tail of your board.

ˆ Don’t be afraid to experiment with balancing on your toe or heel edge, bouncing around a little, or seeing how far out over the nose your tail you can get, as these will prepare you for taking this move out on to the hill

Turning Those Into Manuals (doing a press while moving)

ˆ Find yourself a piece of hill (usually on the flatter side of things, but not totally flat) where you feel comfortable balancing over the nose or tail.

ˆ Use the steps listed above. You can start these either with the board oriented across the hill, or down the hill.

ˆ If you start with the board across the hill, you will need to remember that you’ll have to balance on your uphill edge instead of with the base of the board flat in the snow. As soon as you make the movements for the press, your board will probably start moving on you. Whichever end is up in the air, will swing down the hill and into the fall line. Be brave and let this happen. Once the nose/tail points straight down the hill, you can let the base run flat. If you start to feel uncomfortable, just let go and stand up.

ˆ If you start with the nose or tail already down the hill, you should be moving. All the same movements apply, you’ll just be able to let the board run with its’ base flat in the snow, right from the start.

ˆ Eventually, you will become comfortable enough with these, that you can balance over the nose or tail, while riding, without holding on to the nose or tail with your hands.

Nose/Tail Rolls

ˆ While riding, you can use the balancing movements for manuals, combined with some board and body rotation, to roll over the nose or tail and change from forward to switch and vice-versa. You should be comfortable performing flat-spin 360’s before working on these.

ˆ Let’s take the nose roll as an example:

o Lean out over your front foot, as though you were going to do a nose manual.

o As you are moving into that lean, rotate your shoulders and back leg in the direction you wish to roll. (As you do this, be sure to keep your weight balanced on whichever edge remains uphill during the spin.) Start with 180 degrees of rotation, and then let the board go totally flat again.

o Don’t let the base of the board go totally flat until the nose/tail are oriented up/down the hill. Doing that will likely = fall-down-go-boom…and nobody wants that.

ˆ These moves can be rotated in either direction, over either the nose or the tail of the board. It’s just a matter of practice to get comfortable balancing and moving in all those ways.


ˆ Butters are basically half of a nose or tail roll. Rather than moving your shoulders and leg around for the full 180 degrees, start the spin and hold your movement once the board is oriented across the hill. (You might remember that position from starting manuals with your board across the hill.)

ˆ Whichever way you choose to butter, remember to keep yourself balanced on your uphill edge. If the base of the board goes flat while it is oriented across the hill, the downhill edge will catch, and once again…nobody wants that.

ˆ To recover from/complete this move, you can either let your suspended foot down and sideslip out, or you can pull the butter back from 90 degrees to 0, or do the full 180 roll.


As always, safety comes first. Practice these things on easy terrain and work your way up. Furthermore, protective gear is definitely recommended (if you’re not already wearing it)! Helmets, knee/elbow pads, wrist guards and impact shorts will help ease blows if you do fall, and offer piece of mind if you don’t.

Rob Pirog has been snowboarding for years and is the director of the Smugglers' Notch Snow Sport University.

Waxing Your Snowboard

"I wax my board everyday that I ride."
by Jeff Boos

tools needed:

all temp wax
heat gun/iron

Want to prolong the life of your snowboard? Have problems with speed? Like to ride rock, jibs and urban street style? Then listen up because waxing will help you out bigtime.

I wax with a universal all temperature wax from One Ball Jay wax company. Most people know of only waxing with an iron that cost hundreds of dollars. I use a heat gun that you can buy for about $20-$30. Check to make sure the heat gun has 2 setting high/low.

Now with your One Ball Jay all temp wax and heat gun on low (until you get use to using this method only use low setting) start warming up a small area on your base and applying the wax until the wax starts melting and you can lay a thin layer of wax on the entire base by moving the puck of wax around (hold the heat gun 2 1/2"-3 1/2" away from the base) melting the wax till it looks fluid like.

Let the wax set up until cool to touch. Now its time for scraping. Most anything will work for a scraper as long as it has a straight edge on it and won't destroy your base. Scrape as much of the wax off as possible as excess wax will slow you down. (the idea with waxing is that you want the wax to penetrate into the pores of your base)so the wax that's most useful to the board is in the base.

Now its time for a brushing. Use a scrub brush and polish the wax until it looks shiny. You are ready to hit the hill, have fun!

I wax my board everyday that I ride. For me it makes a huge differnce in my speed, and most of all protects my base when riding rock jibs,rails and urban street. So don't think that waxing is only for racers, waxing is for everyone and can be done by eveyone.

jeff boos


Magne-Traction from Lib Technologies
by Jeff Boos

Magne-traction from Lib Tech is the most innovative idea to be introduced to the snow industry in decades. Magne-traction refers to the edges on LTN snowboards, snowskates and N.A.S.(narrow ass snowboards) or as some call them skis! Magne-traction is 7 specialized bumps strategically sized and placed along each side of your sidecut. MT is from the mind of Steven Cobb technormous bro-knowlogist at Lib Tech.

MT has many advantages over the dull and ordinary edges of yesteryear, especially here in the "ICY" east coast. Some of the advantages of MT are better control, better edgehold, better turns, better jibbing, freestyle, less catchty/sensitive tip/tail and generally more responsive/easier to ride. One of the best things about MT is that the extra edgehold you get allows you to ride your board de-tuned for the park/rails and still make killer turns on the mountain.

Magne-traction on the contest scene just stepped up the game with LT ripper Travis Rice who has won on the Magne-traction, THE 2007 US OPEN slopestyle, 2006 x-trail in Japan, 2006 icer air, as well as Silver at the x -games 2007,and 2cd at the 2006 nokia air style in Germany. Other Magne-traction rippers include Sammy Luebke, Eric Jackson, Mark Landvik, Mike DeStasio, JamieLynn, Jeff Boos, Curtis Ciszek and more.

Magne-traction has been out for 3 years now and I have been on the Traction since its start, for me its the only choice. So what are you waiting for get out there and check out online and demand Magne-traction at your favorite local shop and choose to become part of the Magne-traction movement..Hey while your on the Lib Tech website check out the newest innnovation from the technormous bro-knowlogist called the Skate Banana..... Enjoy
jeff boos