Shut Up And Snowskate

Mervin’s new all-snowskate contest tour taps into a brand-new scene.

Feeling jaded about snowboarding? A day on the hill getting kind of boring? Riding not “cool” enough? Too mainstream? Too easy? So five years ago? Whatever, sucker-shredding rules. But you just might need to mix it up a little at one of Mervin Manufacturing’s Shut Up And Snowskate events this winter. Originating as a local fun competition at The Summit At Snoqualmie, Washington several years ago, S.U.A.S. has evolved into a three-stop tour that hit The Summit; Sierra-at-Tahoe, California; and Loon Mountain, New Hampshire last season-becoming what some (namely, the event’s Web site) are calling “the future of snowskating.”

“The community vibe was like snowboarding fifteen years ago,” says Trevor Phillips, Mervin Web manager and Shut Up co-organizer. “We weren’t sure anybody would show up going into it. We knew there was a good scene up at The Summit, but not what to expect at Sierra-at-Tahoe or Loon. We brought out riders from Seattle, so we could at least have some cool sessions-but the turnout was great, and local skaters killed it at both places.”

Now, “What’s in it for Mervin?” you might ask. Well, just like everything that Pete Saari, Mike Olsen, and the rest of the crew do, the answer is: fun-their own personal fun, specifically. They’re all about finding new and different ways to enjoy the mountain, and of course, they’re about building stuff themselves (for example, Pete Saari’s knee-high son Paavo was allowed to do the graphics for his own set of custom mini-dude shaped skis made hot off the Mervin presses).

Says Phillips, “We all wanted sick snowskates to ride, and so we built them. Every other company’s snowskate is made to dork around in a backyard or mini park. We have a different vision of what snowskating can be. We want to ride the whole mountain and deal with terrain and features like a skateboarder or snowboarder does. This became a little engineering project for our design crew-getting a snowskate to hold an edge and ollie well is like inventing functional snowboards all over again. It pushed us to think of new ways to approach edge, hold flex, pop, and geometries in general. Actually, Magne-Traction-Mervin’s newest snowboard geometry-was originally conceived in the quest to improve snowskate-edge hold. We then modified it and applied it to snowboards.”

As a contest, a jam, and a giant gathering of sorts, Shut Up And Snowskate is really the first snowskate-only event of its time. Considering that it started off three years ago as a humble little shindig masterminded by The Summit’s Krush Kulesza, which, by the second year, people from Colorado, California, and the East Coast were coming out of the woodwork for, Shut Up only seems to be getting bigger, better, and yeah, more fun. “Snowskating is in its Dogtown days right now,” says Phillips. “Every day new limits are being crossed.” Okay, you’ve been warned-now if you miss out, it’s your own damn fault.-Jennifer Sherowski

This season’s Shut Up And Snowskate dates are January 21 at Sierra-at-Tahoe, February 18 at Loon Mountain, and March 25 at the Summit-at-Snoqualmie. For more information, go to shutupandsnowskate.com. To learn more about the latest Gnu snowskates, hit up gnu.com/snowskates/snowskates.htm.

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Jake Tomlinson kicks one out for the land pirates. Photo: Pat Kennedy