By week’s end, perma-grins were on just about everyone’s faces due to great snow, great people, awesome food, and incredible parties each night. The many hangovers and lack of sleep couldn’t take anything away from people’s perception that K2 had thrown the greatest party ever.
As part festival and total spectacle, the K2 staff converted the upper parking lot at Mt. Baker in to a tent city/RV park where everyone spent four nights and three days drinking, partying, hanging out, rocking to bands, soaking in hot tubs, skating a mini ramp, howling at the moon and stars, and just getting to know each other better. Three large tents were brought in to house the main festivities. One was party central, with a stage for bands and DJs, fooz ball and air hockey tables, bar, skate ramp, and pizza guy in the corner for late night munchie attacks (he ran out every night).
The second and third tents were sleeping areas for attendees–one co-ed and the other women’s only. The co-ed tent turned into an international cultural center with a large group of Italians and Japanese in the house. It also became quite the stink center after each day of riding with wet boots, socks, and clothing hanging all over the place. No one at K2 ever said it was going to be a cushy trip.
Holding the event at Mt. Baker in mid April, K2 hoped for good weather, but cautioned all attendees that anything could happen–as it did. Clear skies quickly turned black the first night as a front pulled it and the winds shook campers and tents with gusts of 52 mile-per-hour winds and a mix of rain and snow. But no one complained about the situation and everyone went about their business like it was just another day in the mountains. K2 rep Ted Irwin was overheard saying, “Drink up, we’ve only got four nights left!” What a way to start the event.
Much to the delight of everyone in attendance, the storm brought more than a foot of snow, which turned out to provide incredible powder for all three days of riding. By day three when the storm passed, the crew got incredible views the mountain and surrounding peaks, plus also got to head into the legendary backcountry. Several retailers said it they had the best runs of their lives coming down the epic Hemispheres area.
Besides the usual schmoozing, K2 did take advantage of the captivated crowd by hosting a series of afternoon focus groups with the retailers, and rep meetings with product managers to help plan next year’s lines. K2 also brought in most of its team riders for a photo shoot and also to meet the retailers (a big autograph session went down one night). Although there was a $250 dollar charge to retailers who attended the event, each attendee got a brand new K2 jacket featuring Sympatex fabric. With the cold, wet conditions, everyone got to demo the product in totally adverse conditions, and it came through with flying colors. In addition to the jacket, the retailers got three day’s of lift tickets, all meals, booze, and pretty much anything else they wanted.
After the epic last day of riding, the event culminated with a concert by the band Spearhead that had everyone bouncing and sweating the final night away as circus performers roamed the tent in outrageous costumes. The next morning new friends were hugging each other, exchanging addresses to stay in contact, and sad that they had to return to the real world, but swearing they’d be back again next year no matter what.