It took a surfer named Bob McKnight to take me on the best snowboarding trip I’ve ever had. Well, McKnight is not your ordinary surfer. He happens to be the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Quiksilver. And each year he takes a special snowboard trip to Tyax Lodge in British Columbia, Canada, and flies in the TLH Heliskiing program. He also invites about 30 friends to come along each year, an elite invite indeed. And it was a truly magical experience, getting to know some very special people, hanging out in a beautiful lodge with no phones, faxes, or e-mails, and ripping incredible powder for four days straight.
This year’s group was a mix of Quiksilver employees ranging from Bill Bussiere, senior vp of the Quiksilver winter sports division, to Peter Saari, who oversees marketing for Quiksilver affiliates Mervin Manufacturing. He brought several Gnu and Lib Tech boards for people to demo if they wanted.
From Quiksilver Europe came Bernie Crepel, Bernard Mariette, and Peter Skelton. Gregg Solomon, who oversees the Quiksilver Boardrider’s Clubs was also along, as was Casey Sutherland, who runs the Park City, Utah Boardrider’s Club and is working with several others now. Other Quik employees and team riders attending included Matt White, Strider Wasilewski, Summer Salvador, Matt Patterson, Veronica Kay, Barry Kanaiaupuni, and Nathan Fletcher.
Jay Twitty, Rich Woolcott, and Troy Eckert from Volcom also got the invite, as did Jon Roseman and Terry Stewart who work at the Tavarua resort, and Matt Biolos, legendary shaper for Lost Surfboards. Charlie Anderson, Liam Ferguson, and myself from TransWorld were also blessed to be invited along, and took full advantage of the situation.
For four days, the program was pretty much the same: get up, eat a great breakfast, stretch, load up the helis if the weather is good and go snowboarding. Despite some clouds and a little snow, some in the group flew every day, and most logged in more than 50,000 vertical feet, with some reaching almost 100,000. And that’s completely fresh powder, never having to cross over another person’s tracks. Don’t make any more excuses. If you like to ride powder, get on the phone and book a heli trip now. It’s the most incredible riding experience you’ll ever have.
Some other highlights of the trip included ice fishing on the frozen lake in front of the plush log cabin lodge, with impromptu 100-mph snowmobile rides supplied by a mangy local and raging in the lodge’s bar until closing time almost every night. There was one small group that held a private, late-night party on the heli pad during snow showers. Apparently the heli mechanics were in on that one, but no one said anything the next day and there were no problems with the helicopters.
Riding on day two included a run called Quiksilver that has several windlips perfect for launching anything from small to huge airs depending on approach speed. That was one run where the group begged to do it again. That same day, Biolos dropped early on a blind cornice and instead of hitting the ten-foot section, fell almost 30 feet to fresh powder. He was a little stiff from the landing compression, but was okay overall.
Bringing along a bunch of Aloha spirit and several ukuleles, Kanaiaupuni and fellow Hawaiian Jimmy Kincaid entertained everyone with some traditional island music each afternoon and evening.
In all, the trip was an amazing experience in spectacular lodge, with incredible people. Thanks again to McKnight and Quiksilver for the great time and we’ll see you next year.