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Hump Day Scouts Loveland with Peruvian Workhorse Italo C Valle

Ita lives the rake life. Photo: Teije Spratt 

Italo Valle is living his version of “the dream.” He grew up skateboarding in Lima, Peru, moved to the United States at 17, and eventually found his way to the mountains of Clear Creek County, Colorado. For winter 2017, the 28-year-old has chosen to make his snowboard home Loveland Ski Area, just as he has for the past 8 seasons. There, he earns a living building, raking and designing features as part of the park crew, and seeks out the most pristine pow on his days off. At the chance of regretting my own decision to move away from Colorado this season, I recently got a chance to catch up with Ita from my new/old home in Michigan. Read on to find out more about how he’s turned going snowboarding into his every day reality.

 FOLLOW ITA ON INSTA @italocvalle

PB: At the risk of sounding like a kid in the park… Are you sponsored? Who do you ride for?

I don’t ride for anybody, but I am supported by Sims Snowboards, La Familia, Vonzipper Rockies and BAFwax. It’s nice to have friends that support what you do. I’m lucky for that.

PB: Definitely! What are the expectations that come with that? Are you required to make ‘so-many’ social media posts per month or something?

No, I’m not required to do anything. I like to film for fun and to see my mistakes and learn from them. Sometimes they like what I have done and they will post it. I feel like I’m paying it back that way also, [but there are] no expectations. They know I spend over 200 days on the mountain a season, and I think that’s good publicity for them.

Last spring on Loveland Pass. Photo Levi Runsick

PB: Gotcha. You were a skater long before you were a snowboarder right?

Yes, I started skateboarding back in the late 90s. My grandpa bought me my first skateboard for Christmas and after that it was on. I used to live up on the hills in this really ghetto part of the city and would ride my skateboard down the hill bombing it kinda San Francisco style, but way sketchier. lol

PB: This was in Peru?

Yeah. Lima, the capital of Peru. Twenty minutes away from the beach.

PB: Nice. How long did you live there? Did you grow up surfing as well?

I lived [in Lima] till I was 17. Never learned how to surf. Wet suits and boards were way too expensive to even think about buying one. I was really into skateboarding and that’s all I wanted to do!

FSBS, or Frontside-backside as no one actually calls it. Photo: Dustin Schaefer

PB: Right on. And you moved to the States at 17? Didn’t you live in LA for a bit?

Yeah, I first moved to New York, then D.C. and then to Los Angeles. I eventually ended up in Colorado and fell in love with this place .

PB: What were you doing in those other places? Did you come to Loveland on a J-1 Visa, or were you working on citizenship at that point?

I had family in NY and D.C. and I met these kids in D.C. who were all from different places in South America. We had this little skate team called Sudcentral, and we would skate pretty much everyday. My dad lives in D.C. and he brought me to the States before I was 18. My dad is a citizen so he brought me as a resident. I’m still a resident now…but working on becoming an American citizen.

It’s LEGAL baby. Photo: Jess Johnson

PB: I remember there was some shit that went down a few years back where you almost got deported. What happened with that?

I had a warrant for weed possession 8 years ago, back in DC. I moved to Colorado so I never took care of it, (laughs) so when I came back from Peru it was on my background check. As a US resident, I can’t really get in any kind of trouble with the law because we don’t have as many rights here as American citizens do.

PB: Right, right. So did they turn you back to Peru for a bit? How did you get back in the States?

No, I spent 4 days in immigration till they finally figured it out that I’m not a criminal and they can’t kick me out of the States for smoking weed… (laughs)

Team work with Zak Gosney. Photo: Thom Paxton

PB: I know you’ve been at Loveland for a while. Did you start out on the park crew or do another job first?

I was a lifty for 3 years; then I started working as park crew. I’ve been at Loveland for 8 years now.

PB: Nice. Loveland is kind of an off-the-beaten-path spot in some ways. What do you think makes it special?

The mountains, the Continental Divide, the people, my friends. The snow is probably one of the best in Colorado. The long season, the sunsets and sunrises. There is some good big mountain riding. Those cornices up on Wild Child are incredible! You know all this; you used to live here. Don’t tell anyone. lol

PB: Hahaha…don’t worry, only cool people read Yobeat. Your secret is safe. Loveland’s park doesn’t have any jumps, or at least it didn’t when I last was there. Why is that? Are you guys still doing that interesting skate-influenced set up? 

It it has to do with lawyers, lawsuits and blab blah blah… all the BS that comes with it.

PB: So still no jumps? Any banks and waves like a few years ago?

Yes, we’re still keeping it creative, trying to make the best we can with what we have. The transitions are always fun. Lots of options for surfy style.

The early season set ups a Love park, through the lens of ITA.

PB: Never Summer sales-guy “Gags” has described the terrain at Loveland as if “someone designed a skatepark high on LSD”….would you agree?

Oh yeah, I could see that. The whole mountain is a playground. Loveland has so much potential, and the wind makes wonderful things. The mountain changes everyday and it’s really awesome to be there to see and be part of it.

PB: What about Loveland’s natural terrain. What’s a pow day like there?

Oh a loveland powder day….It sucks!! Haha, jk. When I have to work on a powder day it’s pretty much just shoveling all day, but to get to work you have to ride a few lifts up to get to the park so we definitely get first tracks early in the morning. I can’t complain about that, but powder days on my days off normally I like to hike to Porcupine Saddle, Wild Child, 1310, and Mine Dumps sometimes. Try to stay away from people as much as I can.

The rumors are true… Colorado does get snow. Photo Jess Johnson

PB: What boards are you riding right now? Which is your favorite?

I’m riding a 155X Dealers Choice, and was lucky enough to get my hands on one with the Zombie Graphic. They only made so many of them. I’m also riding a 153 Juice. I have no favorites; I like them both. The other day I got to ride the Tom Sims Pro Model…that thing was hungry!!! It can destroy anything on the way.

PB: Who are some of your biggest influences in snowboarding?

Tom, Noah, Kidwell, Palmer, Bode, Hellgasons, Gooner, MFM and Terje.

PB: What do you think snowboarding could to do to get more people riding?

I think most people in snowboarding are too self centered. Instead of making fun of people and calling them names, lift them up and help them out. We all started from nothing.

PB: Hell yeah man. I think you hit the nail on the head and I think we’re slowly starting to see that change a bit for sure. That said, any final thoughts or thank you’s before we wrap this up?

Thanks to my lady, my family and everybody that believed and believes in me and makes this journey possible.

PB: Thanks for taking the time, Ita. Say hello to Loveland for me.

Will shred some for you. Come visit sometime!

FOLLOW ITA ON INSTA @italocvalle

 

Love Games 2015 Video

Colorado is putting on some of the coolest events in snowboarding now? Looks like things have officially come full circle.

Edit: Drew Herder

Love Games 2015

Colorado is easy to make fun of, but in reality it is so much more than Spring Breakers from the south and Area-51. Colorado has a deep history in snowboarding and in the mid and late 90s was home to an impressive list of pros including Mark Frank Montoya and Jason Rasmus. Long before the X Games, Dew Tour and other more well known competitions descended on the Rockies, locals and pros alike would gather at places like Loveland and Vail Passes to hold DIY contests and have a good time. Hell, even the Volcom classic, ‘The Garden’ has a Loveland pass section. The point is, there is more to Colorado than what the Vail Resorts marketing team wants you to believe.

Tired of the growing exclusivity of some of the more marquee events along the I-70 corridor, Satellite boardshop owners Raul Pinto and JG Mazzotta decided it would be way more fun to hold their own event, open to anyone who just wants to ride with good people and get stoked on the atmosphere of a bunch of snowboarders taking ownership of their sport. Each year sponsorship of the event has grown and in true DIY fashion, riders gather on Loveland Pass the day before the event to hand build and shape features for the jam. With three distinct zones offering riders different challenges, the Love Games has something for everyone, including a massive hip as well as classic Colorado style log jibs. Every year the Love Games has grown, and it’s quickly becoming a not-to-miss event among Colorado snowboarders.

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Zone 1 consisted of a massive hip/quarter pipe combo giving riders some options provided they could hold it together on the firm in-run. Those that survived the drop zone were putting down some memorable tricks including rodeos from Flow Snowboards Jordan Zdanek and Satellite rider Austin Gregory. Ryan Cruz contributed a method so tweaked a Clear Creek County meth head would be proud.

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Sean Murphy flips out! 

The call was made and it was on to zone 2, ‘the ironing board’ where a massive hip that is a Colorado classic resides. After a short lunch, and what seemed like a safety meeting for nearly everyone in attendance, riders started sending this deceptively challenging feature. The tricky part of this feature is that the sweet spot of the landing is very small and if you miss it, you’re gonna land pretty fucking flat and may even tomahawk once or twice. It wouldn’t be a DIY event if there weren’t at least a little sketch factor right? Standout riders on the hip included: Hunter Wood with a frontside air that he sent to the west suburbs of Denver, a stylish back-flip from Nightmare’s Sean Murphy, and a method from 14-year-old Luke Winklemann, which earned him what might be his first set of tits and the best method award.

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The final zone for the day reminded some of the infamous Bone Zone and consisted of three different features. The far riders left option was made up of a small table top into a 10ft death gap which flowed nicely into a hand shaped banked turn that directed riders into a hip with log coping. The center line was a 25-30ft table top and last but not least was a tree jib that allowed riders to spin off the larger pine tree providing support of the entire feature. I watched 12-year-old Satellite team rider Justin Phipps do a one-footer over the table and decided conclusively that I won’t ever be that good, raised my beer to him and began to mingle with friends and soak in the scene.

The day came to a close in the lower parking lot where awards and swag alike were given out. Never Summer rep and all around good guy Mike ‘Gags’ Gagliardi walked away with the legends award for giving ‘er in all three zones despite being one of the oldest guys there. Good show Gags!!! The smell of hotdogs and legal weed wafted through the air and smiles were abundant. The Love Games are snowboarding the way you remember it growing up: Just a bunch of kids hyped to be out on the hill together sharing the stoke. It’s a great thing to see and we will no doubt be back next year.

Results:

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Men
1.Nate Cordero
2.Hunter Frutchy
3.Kit Hendrickson

Method
Luke Winkelmann

Women
1. Francesca Deitreich

Grom
Justin Phipps

The Northface Legend award
Mike “Gags” Gagliardi

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Froth Puppy awards (most stoked riders) Sponsored by Burton

1.Ryan Cruz
2.Ethan ‘Maverick’ Campbell
3.Tyler DeWitt

Ham City Slammers’ Colorado Summer Boarding

Multiple Colorado videos worth watching in one week? This has gotta be some sort of record.

featuring:
Ben Shipowitz
Graham Goodwin
Steve Dimmit
Matt Nighbert
Dave Satterfield

Yobeat’s Ultimate Guide to Summer Boarding: Colorado Part 1

Coryout

Cory Arola, Jones Pass, CO

Words: Paul Bourdon

Colorado gets a bad rap, and perhaps deservedly so. Winters here are long, cold, and windy; and while it does snow here, there are places along the west coast that’ll see more snow in six weeks than Colorado can get all season. That being said, something special tends to happen from mid-February through the end of May. It warms up….a little, the winds relax….a bit, and it starts to snow….a lot. Just about the time that all the kooks Colorado is known for trade in their NeverSummers for flat brimmed caps and tank tops, the riding starts to get really good. If you’re motivated and willing a lifetime of amazing summer riding awaits costing you only a little sweat and the gas money to get to the trail head.

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Loveland pass. Photo:  Italo Carn  

Live: If you wanna chase the white wave through the summer in Colorado, you’d be wise to live in Clear Creek County, Summit County, Leadville, Buena Vista, Aspen,or Gunnison/Crested Butte. From any of these areas stout alpine lines can be accessed with as little as 20-40mins of driving in some instances.

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Colin Walters at Woodward Copper. Photo: Chad Otterstrom

Work: While riding big lines all summer is cheap compared to a session at Woodward, you’ll still have some expenses, so you’re gonna have to get a job ya dirtbag. White water rafting is big business in Colorado, if you’re already a certified raft guide, you can pull down some serious coin by dumping Texans into the drink. If you’re not a card carrying river rat many operations will train you for around $3000. If being stuck on an oversized innertube with a bunch of southerners doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, there’s always the service or labor industries that’ll get you by while you bag lines.

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Paul at y-rag couloir Mt. Evans. Photo: David Gidley  

Ride: Everyone already knows about Woodward at Copper; but you might not know they offer some weekly public access sessions through the summer. (as of press date prices were not posted on the Woodward site for this summer). Abasin is generally a safe bet through early June, and in the best years will keep em turning until early July. If you wanna get away from the lift served scene, places like Loveland Pass can have you standing on top of classic summer lines like Daves Wave or Marjorie Bowl with only about an hour or two of walking. Closer to Aspen, Independence pass also hosts a cadre of impressive lines a short distance from the lot situated at 12,000ft. If that sounds like too much walking for you, check out the Mt. Evans Highway. Topping out at 14,264ft the Mount Evans highway is not only the highest paved road in North America, but it will leave you standing on top of one of Colorado’s fifty-four 14,000ft peaks. Below you await several 1000+ft couloirs that’ll put your balls in your throat. If you’re not Jeremy Jones, St. Marys glacier is a great call. Just watch for the sun cups that transition into death bowls as the summer wears on. Still, the unique surface texture of the dirty death bowls of St. Marys in late summer is one that I think any snowboarder should experience, if only for the laughter that will ensue. With 11,150 square miles of land over 10,000ft the options are literally endless if you’re willing to work a bit. Besides it’s summer, what better excuse do you need to throw on a back pack, camp, and shred? It doesn’t get much better.

 

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Loveland Pass in June

Party: Winter is the true party season here, since that’s when everyone is around; but summer is a great time for a little day drinking in the lot at Abasin. Mother’s Saloon in Georgetown and the West Winds aka the Meth Winds in Idaho Springs are great places to go have a couple beers, shoot some pool, and not feel a strong urge to punch someone in the face. These spots have that upper midwest vibe going for them with big beer mirrors on the walls, patrons who talk mostly into their own drinks, and a pool table that is just level enough to work. In Summit, Ollie’s is also rad for many of the same reasons. Plus, you can’t beat the $5 loaded potato skins during happy hour.

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Local Knowledge: As a general rule of thumb, you want to have a night or two of as close to freezing (ideally below) temps as you can get. Wet slides are a very real possibility this time of year and you want that shit locked up if you’re going to be in heavy terrain. It’s also a good idea to be done for the day by noon which often means starting your day with the sunrise. Be sure to check with CAIC (through the end of May) for regular avy conditions updates.

Five Killed in Loveland Pass Avalanche

DEADLY AVALANCHE IN COLORADO KILLS 5 SNOWBOARDERS

On Saturday April 20th, a tragic slide took the lives of five snowboarders on Loveland Pass. Sunday the names of the victims were released, and according to the Denver Post the riders were out celebrating backcountry snowboarding as part of a fundraiser for the Colorado Avalanche Center. According to the article, those who lost their lives were:

* Chris Peters, 32, from Lakewood.

* Joe Timlin, a 32-year-old sales representative with Jones Snowboards from Gypsum and an organizer of the backcountry gathering.

* Ryan Novack, 33, of Boulder.

* Ian Lamphere, a 36-year-old skier from Crested Butte with an infant and fiancé. Lamphere founded the company Gecko Skins, which makes innovative climbing skins.

* Rick Gaukel, a 33-year-old American Mountain Guides Association-certified climbing guide with extensive avalanche education from Estes Park.

Avalanches are no laughing matter and taking things seriously is not really our specialty, but it’s always hard to hear about this stuff. As the backcountry gets seemingly closer and more accessible every year, please remember that it’s dangerous out there. The victims of Saturday’s slide we’re experienced and taking necessary precautions. Our hearts go out to their family, friends and the entire Colorado snowboard community.

Read the entire article: Denverpost.com

It’s Snowing at Mt. Hood!

The white ribbon of death is alive and well with Loveland and Sunday River opening up this past weekend (Sunday River won the race by a day, if you’re counting.) But potentially more exciting to us snobby Northwesterners is the news that 9 inches of snow fell TODAY at Mt. Hood Meadows, which means real snowboarding is right around the corner. Here’s the official word from Meadows, with a not-so-subtle reminder to get your damn seasons pass already.

Mt. Hood Meadows has received 9 inches of new snow since this early season storm arrived Sunday morning. Accumulations of an inch an hour with white out conditions showed the intensity of this major La Nina storm which is forecast to dump 2 to 3 feet by Wednesday.

Mt. Hood Meadows will post storm updates at its web site, www.skihood.com. Resort officials say more snow would be needed to open than what this storm is forecast to bring, but note that the resort was able to operate in October once in the past 16 seasons. So an opening this early isn’t without precedent.

Season passes are on sale on the resort’s web site, which is experiencing triple the amount of traffic it normally receives as winter recreation enthusiasts check in to get the latest “scoop” on the storm.