I showed up to the Empire Collective’s Picnic in the Park at Devils Head Resort a few hours after it got under way for two reasons. The first being that despite this being a spring jam and the past two weeks’ temperatures ranging between 40 and 70 degrees, the days weather had taken a turn for the worse. By the time I arrived at 1pm the temperatures were pushing 30 degrees and I was less than thrilled about the conditions. The second reason for my tardiness has something to do with Margarita’s by the pitcher, cheap smokes, and Dolomite on television.
Despite my shaky condition I made the drive to the Merrimac, Wisconsin. For those of you keeping up with this, that is in the south-central part of the middle of nowhere. The sudden cold snap had put a nice layer of traditional Midwest ice over the terrain park that made skateboarding seem forgiving. Despite the conditions the crews got together a few good features. A sofa, a piÃ±ata hip and monster tire gave everyone something to ride on for the day.
I was greeted with beers and barbeque that made the day seem somewhat more Spring-like. Eventually I was even talked into strapping on my board and taking a few runs. For the final run I was even feeling good enough to be riding with 16oz of Coors in my hand. It turns out this is completely acceptable in Wisconsin, so long as I’m not also carrying a firearm.
Hell yeah Wisconsin snowboarding
By late afternoon the ice was busted up over the small pond that had formed at the base of the hill during the previous two weeks. To keep the ice from reforming the puddle was cut with mud, full of decaying plant matter, which through basic composting produced enough heat to keep the ice off. A rainbow rail was dragged to the edge of it and Red Bull inflated their arch ahead of it to make the rainbow-to-slush slide a bit more appealing. Personally I thought it would be way more badass to throw a couple of alligators in the puddle, but it’s not my party so who am I to complain.
Anyone who made the slide into the puddle was showered with product from the MODA3 crew and sponsors 686, Elm Company, Comune, and Cilla. Being it was specifically not a contest everyone got something and the spectators had had a blast watching the riders give it a go one last time for the year.
That night Milwaukee’s Kid Cut-up came to throw the best party Merrimac had seen since those French explorers Marquette and Jolliet rocked the shit out the place in 1673. At some point in started snowing, some guy name Smoke Machine was tearing up the dance floor with another man, some suburban kids were spitting Biggie lyrics to each other over cigarettes, and I fell asleep on the floor of a hotel room.
I awoke the next morning luckily still dressed and unmolested. I packed up my gear, grabbed my three remaining tallboys and jumped in the car. From Devil’s Head I drove to Tyrol Basin for their end of the season party. Tyrol definitely got the better day for weather–it was actually spring like and the previous night’s snow made it for a great day.
Or so I can only assume. I rolled in tossed on my gear took one run and called it. They also had a bunch of mini contests going on and I really couldn’t be bothered with that mess. I jumped back in my car and called the winter over, at least in the Midwest. And in anyone gets really hard up Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Minnesota is hosting Damage revisited on May 9th.