A Glimpse into Snowboarder Magazine’s Superpark 21

Superpark is not for everyone. Side effects include, snowburn, sunburn, hangovers, beer shortages, body odor, Kodak courage, excessive branding, broken boards, trench foot, frontal flips, backward flips, grab and spins, double chucks, triple chucks, over energetic and over caffeinated 14-16 year olds who have been better at snowboarding than you since the day they were born. Snowboarder Magazine’s Superpark is now legal in its 21st year and for the second consecutive year at Mammoth Mountain a seeming perpetual winter wonderland, its damn sure bigger, better and girthier than it has ever been. I mean come on the features that are built have almost no business existing outside of your Xbox. 120+ foot jumps, hips the size of buildings and consequence that of the same as jumping off of one. That being said we came for the snowfield littered with large sculpted takeoffs, strewn with bent metal but stayed for the beauty Mammoth Lakes has to offer. While this event is extraordinary on-snow its also an excuse for friends to gather in masses and enjoy each others company.

A Visitor’s Guide from a Visitor: Yosemite National Park

A historic and unprecedented event isn’t occurring, the question of whether or not we’re alone in the universe hasn’t been answered. Bummer. I guess this isn’t the Independence Day where Will Smith throws a hissy fit in the middle of the desert, socks an alien in the face only to light up a cigar following a couple cheeky one-liners. One can still dream. What seems more likely is the earth continuing to revolve around the sun into our nation’s 241st birthday this upcoming Tuesday and what’s more American than hitting the road with a couple pals, a cooler chock-full of beverages and road tripping to a National Park to see some goddamn homegrown beauty. Hot diggity sounds like the most American activity I can think of short of Neil Armstrong planting a flag on the moon. Good luck topping that but trust me it’s a good idea to settle and hit a park this weekend and what better one than Yosemite National Park.

You live in Sacremento it’s close, you live in San Francisco it’s close. You live in LA it’s close enough. Spend the six hours in the car heading somewhere rad during the time you would normally spend sitting on the couch like some kind of sad sack. Now that I’ve justified making the drive just know you won’t be disappointed. Right now is no doubt, trust me, the B-E-S-T time to visit the park, the number one reason is the waterfalls, they’re absolutely firing. Some spots in the Sierra Mountain Range were gifted with around 700 total inches of snow this winter, 700 total inches that are melting, with the summer temps, and spilling over Yosemite’s various waterfalls including its tallest 2,425-foot Yosemite Falls…rafting not recommended while catching a refreshing mist shower at the bottom is.  

Here are some must hit spots for the weekend goer that are easily accessible with a pair of tennis shoes and your car. Don’t complain, yes you’ll have to spend a little more time in the car around the park but c’mon John Muir and gang barged through a couple thousand feet of un-pruned, uphill, bear-ridden forest to get to these locations.

Tunnel View 

This is most likely the spot you see first when googling Yosemite. The Wawona Tunnel spits out right at this picturesque view of the valley. Be wary of tourists who may as well have their camera’s Gorilla Glued to their faces when coming out of the tunnel, they walk into the road to stop and shoot photos like a possum blinded by a glimpse of the high beams.

Yosemite Valley

Sunken thousands of feet below Yosemite’s points lays the Yosemite Valley. It’s immediately recognizable as you drive in from the western entrances of the park. With its main feature, and arguably the Mt Everest for rock climbers, El Capitan looming high above it’s pines. Grab a chair or a hammock and some binoculars and watch them ascend to the top. Also once you find them it really puts in perspective how large the rock formation is. 

Yosemite Falls

This easy to spot landmark is the fourth tallest waterfall in the United States and now, as stated above, is the best time of the year to see the falls dumping millions of gallons of snow melt water from its lofty cliff tops. It’s a piece of cake to spot from Yosemite Valley and you can get pretty close to the bottom from the Yosemite Valley loop.

Taft Point 

My personal favorite spot nearby the valley to have a cold one is Taft Point. If you follow the 41 up to Glacier Point Rd and take a left on Glacier Point Rd. you’re on the right track. About 15ish miles up the road past the ski resort turn off on the only pull off with a bathroom, it will be on your left as you go up the road. From here grab your camera and a beverage and follow the tiny signs to Taft Point, which is less than a mile into the woods.

Glacier Point 

One of the more iconic zones in the park is up the 41, left at Glacier Point Rd…. Obviously. Anyway follow that sucker all the way down as far as you can and you’ll end up at all 7,000ft of Glacier Point. From here you have another great view of the Valley and one of the best views of the famed Half Dome.

That’s all I’ve got, if you’re not happy with the advice tough, I’d bet someone else’s bank account you have an iPhone or a friend with an Iphone so google up something else to do and if you don’t have these things I’m truly sorry I’ve let you down. As a word of warning for this weekend get there early. With the National holiday the place is probably going to be mobbed so get your lazy ass out of bed before sunrise, drive in bring a hammock and knap in the valley for a couple hours. That’s the move. Anyway…peace, happy America and I’m out, see you knuckleheads in the next blog post I’m going to the Grand Canyon.

Highway to Beartooth

Wake up, drive, park, uber, fly… sleep… land, drive, camp… sleep… wake up, drive, camp… sleep… wake up, drive, destination reached… have a drink. An itinerary not for the faint of heart with nearly 48 hours of travel via trains, planes and automobiles spanning six states, two time zones, about twenty bathroom stops, a small fortune in packaged beef jerky, not enough extra socks and boxers and zero worries except for getting stranded in the middle of the desert out of gas with an unwalkable amount of miles to the nearest help in either direction. Pat McCarthy, Matt Belzile, Sammy Luebke, Matt Wainhouse, Forest Bailey, Ian Post and myself were led here on the word of Montana local, and newest 686 Global Team Skier, Parker White. Parker’s knowledge landed us a five-star, river front camping spot complete with an open field for activities at the foot of the Beartooth Mountains.

The Beartooth Pass dances and winds its way in and out of Wyoming and back into Montana. Slithering its way from the Northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park at 7,500 feet to a vertex of about 11,000 feet before it snakes back down to a valley of 5,500 feet in Red Lodge, Montana. The pass closes from October to May due to snowfall and intermittently throughout the summer when overnight snowfall is not uncommon. On top of the pass sits Beartooth Basin, home to a couple poma tows and varying terrain that sets up ripe for a good time with your crew. The surrounding area has about 3,000 vertical feet of hike-in terrain in addition to the 1,000 vertical feet of poma serviced terrain. 

Recommended On-Hill Activities: 

Lower Poma Terrain Park - A handful of features lappable via the Poma 2. The “park” changes daily with the rapid snowmelt. With a bit of intuition and a shovel you can build or rebuild whatever you please. 

Upper Poma Area - Poma 1 provides hiking access to moguls, fun corn snow fields, cornices and steeps and your only way out to the small dirt parking lot. 

Fallen Cornice Chunder Field - Under Nikky’s we found a super fun chunder field filled with chunks of a, ski patrol triggered, fallen cornice. Once the debris settled there is plenty of fun to be had flowing through the larger snow chunks. 

Road Laps - Pile your crew in the back of your pickup, rip up to the Forest Service sign at the Montana Wyoming border, unload, rip down, do it all again. Don’t forget to switch drivers and give everyone a chance. 

Recommended Off-Hill Activities: 

Polish Horseshoes - A go to after riding. Grab a couple empty tall cans and some trekking poles about 15 yards apart and have at it. Further your knowledge here. 

Muff - Another classic time waster. The crew stands around in a circle and passes a soccer ball from one to another all while keeping the ball from touching the ground. The person who touches the ball last before it hits the ground gets a letter (M,U,F or F). The first person to spell MUFF is the loser. He/she must walk a few paces away, turn around and let the entire crew kick the ball at them. Be careful of the Canadians, they seem mellow but Matt Belzile proved they can really aim for the head with precision. 

Wiffle Ball - The classic baseball game with a plastic bat and ball. It’s Montana there’s plenty of rocks around, toss them on the ground try not to trip over them and boom you have bases. 

River Bath - Not for the faint of heart, the river at the campsite was absolutely freezing. Those who wanted to clean up had to brave the dreaded glacier melt for a guaranteed brianfreeze. Note that the river bath is also a great alternative punishment for losing MUFF. 

Campfire - There’s plenty of fallen brush around to make a huge fire. Recommended pairings include a chair, brats, ribs and beers.

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