Words and photos by Justin Parkhurst
The Burton Knowbuddy program is relatively undefined. Illusive, if you will. The Knowbuddy’s aren’t a team or even a crew. They exist only as amateur riders that fucking rip. Based in different regions all over the country, we selected 3 Knowbuddy’s to explore Montana for 10 days because sometimes you just gotta go north if you want to find real winter. Jack Kyle came out from Breck, John Murphy from Tahoe, and Ezra Racine from Salt Lake City. The rest of the crew was Alex Andrews, acting as the stoke king, Zach Nigro from Burton, and myself. And oh yeah, we had Colt Morgan to film. So it was gonna be pretty hard to screw this up. First edit drops tomorrow.
Whitefish did not fail to deliver. We met up with a local guide and friend of ours, Jared Lynch, he took us directly to the goods and it was on. I was immediately blown away by the soft spoken Ezra who was literally in the air for half the day. He was buttering through pow, spinning, miller flipping, and stomping off of every feature. When I asked him about those acrobatic butters I wasn’t surprised when he told me, “Yea dude I’m all about those, Bridges is my favorite snowboarder.”
The terrain at Whitefish is endless. Whether you’re looking for 3 foot pillows in the trees, natural hips, or cliffs of any size, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Unless you’re a total kook, you can’t have a bad time at Whitefish. Jack Kyle has a style that silently glides through trees and has pop like Bennee. After landing, he would come within inches of so many trees until I either lost count or he disappeared behind a cloud of cold smoke and was gone. And John Murphy would basically mow over anything in his way and just surf the whole mountain. The days were long and filled with some of the most creative snowboarding I have ever witnessed. The fellas got real loose up there, half out of control at times resulting in either full tomahawks or just barely holding on. Either way, it was good to see young talent holding their own in deep chowder and heavy terrain.
We managed to go cat skiing on our last day in Whitefish with Great Northern Powder Guides, which was insane. Even a little overwhelming with how much available terrain there was but only one day to ride it. They basically took us 20 miles into the Montana backcountry and said, “okay, tell us where you want togo.” Gnarly. Backcountry pow laps in a heated 14 person cat, bumping Eazy-E. We were down. Lots of party waves and tomahawks ensued. Standard for our trip.
In modern snowboarding, everything is so perfectly packaged together with a rider, his or her sponsors, video project, and energy drink logo, etc. The Knowbuddy program isn’t defined. It just is. Which makes it cool. Nobody really knows what it is. And we think that snowboarding could use a little more mystery and a little bit more of the unknown.
Our next mission was further north to Fernie, BC. Unfortunately we would only make it as far as the border patrol offices. To be continued in part 2…