Wild Moments in Lawless Country (art by Nick Lipton)
Death threats from a changing town filled with mountain folk and Redbull addicted mini-shreds, my god Mt. Hood is changing. This was my first trip to Government Camp this summer, but that is not to say it was my first trip ever. In fact I have experienced, witnessed, and dealt with some of the stranger nights in the past few years. I feel out of place there now though, the “wild in the streets” mentality has been replaced with something eerie: authority. Big changes are taking place up there, money is coming in, camps are getting bigger and more obnoxious, and worse yet, the lone soldiers of dirt bag snowboarding are becoming increasingly pathetic as each summer passes.
In the time I’ve spent in the summer scene I’ve had a grown drug addict attempt to strangle me, I’ve looked down the long dark barrel of a gun, fireworks have blown faces off, and I’ve seen enough shit, puke, and blood for one lifetime. Summer snowboarding is the reason I saw my first strippers, and why sleeping in a car still doesn’t bother me. Watching the pro’s rally go carts and busses around town was normal, and when some guys broke into the Ski Bowl death ride, it was business as usual.
This trip was different though. The violence was toned down, but the aggression was amped up. Worse, it was town vs. snowboarder, something I had never witnessed before. It all started with kids selling gear in front of a bar. The next thing you know a water tanker is driving by blasting these poor bastards with a cannon. The tidal wave ruined clothes, boots, goggles, and whatever else was in its reach. Now this could have been an amazing prank, but sadly Ashton Kutcher was not there to scream, “Punk’d!” The local watering hole had hired these water thugs to spray down the kids simply because verbal arguments had gotten to the lonely bar keeps head.
As if my first town vs. migrant boarder altercation wasn’t enough for one day the same group, plus a few, were later engaged by some local kooks. That night some of the bar crowd pissed on the snowboarders cars, again something that could be seen as funny, but apparently wasn’t. This caused more drama, more yelling, and a lot of chest puffing. Snowboarders say they aren’t jocks, but I’m going to blow the whistle and say jocks are a commanding majority in the snowboard community.
The fight continued, and after a while a knife even joined the party. A few kicks were given, a punch was thrown, and then the most unholy event occurred. A snowboarder called the cops in Government Camp, Oregon. Why God frowns on calling the cops in Government Camp is because it is one of the last vestiges of lawlessness left in this crazy country. Thankfully the kids involved were taught a lesson by the officers that they dragged 40 miles up a mountain to deal with a harmless knife fight. The coppers made it clear that they don’t want to come to Government Camp, and likewise we shouldn’t want them there.
The heroic days of past summers are over. The once rowdy and dangerous crowd as been replaced by a group of kids who grew up swimming in kiddy pools with water wings. Summer snowboarding will obviously never be as exciting as it once was, but hey, this summer has more snow then I’ve ever seen, so you might want to make the trip anyway.