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Knowbuddy’s Up North- Whitefish Gallery

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…

 

Huge thanks to local ripper Jared Lynch. Riley Polumbus, Jessica Downing, and Jason Forrest at Whitefish Resort. And Jay Sandelin and Abby Stanford at Great Northern Powder Guides.

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The 2013 ARob Smash Life Banked Slalom

Words: Brooke Geery. Above Main Gallery: Jared Souney.

starter air

Usually when you say, hey, will you do an air out of the start gate in a race people ignore you. Eric was down though.

People in Montana are rugged. Dare I say gnarly, even. The ride steep shit, hard shit, rocky shit, and even traverse endlessly with ease, so they don’t think about the mountain the same way people from other places do. And when you let a crew from Montana build their dream Banked Slalom course, those that come from elsewhere better watch the fuck out. Now don’t read that as a complaint, or even an excuse, it’s just the only way I could begin to describe the course at the 2nd ARob Smash Life Banked slalom on January 5th in Bozeman, MT.

stan
Stan negotiates the first few turns on his way to the BRONZE medal.

So about that course. This thing started slow with some big old banks, but quickly turned into a super g where the only option was to pin in. There was a last-minute gate addition placed in an attempt to slow people down, but it caught almost everyone by surprise. This was not a race for the feint of heart so when making predictions on the results, you can count out all the people who came from Baker, Oregon, Colorado or even as far away as Michigan. Park rats need not apply. Honestly, you can even count out Lucas Debari, who rolled up in the Go Boarding Subaru with Alex Yoder.

homeys
Jon Overson with that photo bomb and all the other guys who couldn’t beat Todd Kirby.

Really, the ones to watch when it came to results were the locals, or more specifically, Todd Kirby. He was referred to as the golden boy, the pace setter, and various other glowing names by his friends — who may or may not have been being sarcastic — and sure enough, when the seconds were counted, Todd topped Arob’s brother Jason Robinson by a solid hundredth of a second. To make everyone feel better though, even he fell on his second run.

cheeringsquad
This dude was STOKED.

The truth is though, the results don’t matter. The event — brain child of all of the late, great Aaron Robinson’s friends and family, and man-powered by Shane Stalling — is a benefit for the A Rob Plant a Seed foundation, with all the proceeds going to help more kids get out and board in ARob’s honor. It’s put on by homeys, and aside from scaring the shit out of us flatlanders, they did an amazing job making the day nothing but fun. Even the awards

Which in the end, is all that really matters. After all, ARob would have wanted it that way.

sheep
Oh yeah, and there were sheep.

RESULTS

Men 17-37

Todd Kirby 35.42
Jason Robinson 35.43
Chad Dalman 36.18
Reed Schneider 36.33
Lucas Debari 36.49
Micah Hoogeveen 36.52
Alex Yoder 36.62
Tyrel Bacon (Paid) 36.64
Eric Morrison 37.25
Chad Cremers 37.27
Brand Browning 37.29
Mitchell Kirby 37.47
Shane Stalling 37.66
Cody Lewis 37.68
Mark Thieszen 37.82
Kameron Joahnson 37.93
Nathaniel Murphy 37.96
Shane Knowles 38.2
Kyle Cremers 38.22
Erik Overson 38.25
Jon Oversor 38.54
Kevin Fischer 38.67
Mike Brearey 38.67
Rand Stearns 38.94
Joe Pope 38.94

winners
Jason Schutz and Todd Kirby. Smash life.

Masters 38+

1. Jason Schutz 35.83
2. Chad Zeigler 38.25
3. T bos 40.05
4. Jeff Wexall 40.05
5. Jay Moore (P) 40.5
6. Chad Peterson 43.45
7. Bird Morris 43.73

babes

Women

1. Sarris McComb 37.86
2. Tanya Simonson (P) 39.17
3. Galen Bridgewater 40.7
4. Audra Bintz 41.05
5. Amy Balbier 42.65
6. Carly Miron 44.64
7. Brooke Geery 46.01
8. Maggie Heerdt 46.45
9. Kate Lindsay 53.06
10. Victoria Baughman 60.87

The Yobeat Cup

The winner receives one weapon from the 50,000 Silver Dollar store.

1. RC Cone 42.54
2. Tim Breault 42.66
3. Justin Leveille 44.09
4. Brooke Geery 46.01

Thanks to Big Sky, all the event sponsors, the Robinson Family, Shane Stalling and everyone else who made this event possible. We’ll be back next year, when I will stay on my feet and be on top of the Yobeat cup!