TransWorld’s 12th Annual Snowboarding Industry Conference and Powder Quest concluded last week at the Alyeska Prince Hotel in Girdwood, Alaska. Between days filled with riding and competitions and nights full of speakers, parties and movie premieres, the conference brought the snowboarding industry together again as one big happy family.
The keynote speakers each evening extensively covered the integration of marketing within the snowboarding industry. Panels during the day also discussed the future and present economics of the snowboarding industry. Moderated by Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson, “The Future of Terrain Parks” encouraged the audience to increase the use of the universal terrain park symbol to avoid legal claims from injuries.
The Alyeska Man Challenge proved to any non-believer, especially to winner Brian Knox, that Alaska can kick your butt without much of a problem. Participants ran the freestyle course twice without stopping, courtesy of a “snow machine” tow-in. The same night, the dogsled races made Sessions’ Joel Gomez and Todd Roberts from ZJ Boarding House in Santa Monica the proud owners of a free cat trip. The clincher didn’t come until the final contest, when Jay “Butter Your Muffin” Liska proclaimed TW editor Cody Dresser the new King of the Industry. Things really began to get rowdy when Brian Knox and Enich Harris won hands-down the “nighttime antics” title by ravaging a defenseless polar bear statue in the lobby of the hotel. Use your imagination. We’ll spare you the details…Stacy Peralta’s much anticipated film, Dogtown and Z-Boys, also premiered, bringing everyone back to early roots of skating and surfing in the 70’s and letting them revel in memories.
The final night, the Tranny Awards honored four-time World Champion Craig Kelly for not only being one of the most talented riders in the world but also for being a pioneer and proving the athletic worth of snowboarding to a disbelieving world. Jake Burton-Carpenter presented the award, and words of appreciation were heard from Billy Anderson before Craig graciously accepted the award.
Most conference-goers finished up with Chugach heli-trips that ranged in descent from 16,000-22,000 feet. Many hit up faces that had not been ridden all season, including the newly named chute “Lil’ Bitch”, which was conquered and maimed by Billy Anderson, Rich Woolcot and John West. Don’t you wish you would have gone? Well, there’s always next year…