It’s really a vacation, a mellow trip where work is left behind for a week. Invited as a guest, my reporter skills were supposed to be turned off (or at least turned down). But it was such a cool experience that I feel compelled to briefly tell you about it.
Every year, Quiksilver Chairman and CEO Bob McKnight invites a group of employees and friends to visit Tyax Lodge and TLH Heliboarding in British Columbia, Canada for a snowboarding adventure that involves riding in helicopters and cruising deep powder.
This year’s trip was extra special, with an all-star cast of characters that could only be assembled by Quiksilver. Top pros attending included Todd Richards and Jamie Lynn, and both hadn’t taken a mellow heli trip like this in years.
Richards was amazed at how cool riding fresh powder was, but swore he wasn’t going to turn into a backcountry wizard like Craig Kelly. Lynn, who had been recovering from a knee injury for the last year, was just stoked to get back in fresh powder, and was spinning off of any jump he saw. Newcomer award went to Quik/Gnu rider Mathieu Crepel, who stomped every jump he launched off of.
In addition to McKnight, other Quiksilver management heavies were also in attendance including Bill Bussiere and Randy Hild, plus Bernard Mariette, Peter Skelton, and Maritxu Darrigrand from the European office.
The Quiksilver wintersports division including Team Manager Brian Craighill, Sales Manager Dave Rosenberger, and Outerwear Designer Natalie Murphy put in valuable product-testing time of the new Gore-Tex jackets Quiksilver’s coming out with next season.
With the surf flat in SoCal, Quik surfers Todd Morcom and Strider Wasilewski decided the biggest waves they’d find were in the mountains. The two ripped up huge bottom turns and off-the-top slashes on every bank they could find.
And the Quiksilver marketing department including Taylor Whisenand, Kristin Barone, Danielle Beck, Cheryl Myers, and Kenna Bertell not only held their own on the slopes, but did a great job holding court over the cozy bar every evening.
The Mervin (Gnu and Lib Tech) crew was well represented by Mike Olson and his wife, who made a two-day appearance and celebrated Mike’s birthday with a few powder slashes. Pete Saari and Chris Crittenden were product testing new powder boards the whole time. I’d tell you more, but they’d have to kill me.
Crittenden got the bone-head award for losing his board at the bottom of one run. After stepping out of his bindings, the board got away from him, slid down a bank, and went straight into a streambed. Our guide actually had to repel down into the stream to retrieve the board, and the whole ordeal took about 45 minutes. At one point, the heli pilot Ian actually whipped off his pants and offered to jump in the freezing water naked. We urged him to put his pants on as quickly as possible, not wanting to witness his banana hammock any longer than we needed to.
Unfortunately, my digi camera broke the first day, so the video was only from the first few runs, before the sun broke through. But I realized I was technically on vacation, and didn’t really need to worry about taking pictures or video.
All in all, four days of deep, fresh powder, blue-bird sunny days, great friends, and smooth-flying helicopters was enough to put an exclamation point on the ending of anyone’s snowboard season. Thanks Bob and Quiksilver for again inviting us along on the best trip of the season.