On the Road Again

On The Road Again

Snowmoshredin’ with the Vans team.

By Chris Coyle

Photos By Shem Roose

There’s something about a road trip that is so damn good. Rounding up all the dudes, packing ’em in the car, and headin’ out on the open highway. Never knowing what lies ahead down that open, dusty stretch of pavement … This is starting to turn into a country song: “Oh, my baby left me, and my smell hound run away”—sorry, got caught up in the moment. Where was I? Road trip, right.

Okay, so the idea behind this here adventure was simple—load up some of the Vans team in a truck with some snowmobiles, drive around to wherever the snow is good, and kill it. Along the way we’d meet up with other teamriders at their home zones.

Of course things never work out like they’re planned, and thank god for that—’cause if it did, this shit would be boring as hell. Fact is, except for Salt Lake, we didn’t go one place we intended to, and the story still all worked out perfectly.

Jackson Hole

All right, I’m going to skip all the bullshit and get right to the meat and potatoes. Just to catch you up: Chris Coulter, Brandon Bybee, Erik “The Mule” Leines, and Kurt Wastell came with us. Shem Roose took photos, and (Team Manager) Brian Knox babysat. We’d just driven from Salt Lake City, Utah chasing a storm that dropped a ton of snow, and Bybee destroyed the front right ski on his snowmobile the day before while scouting for places to build a jump. Coulter, Brandon, and I took turns bashing our knuckles under the hood and making small talk with the lunatics in the snowmobile shop while trying to keep our core temperature above negative-30. Got it? Then let’s begin.

Our crew found a little hidden zone about ten minutes from where we’d been the day before. No one thought there’d be trouble with slednecks since the locale was so tucked away. But, sure as hell, right when Mule got ready to jump off a decent-sized rock—one appeared, ponytail flappin’ from under his helmet, totally oblivious to the four guys screaming bloody murder and waving their arms. Where did he go, you ask? Straight up the landing. Then back down it just for good measure. Now, I’d heard stories about Kurt’s temper before, but up until this point he was about the nicest guy I’d ever met. That all changed when snowmo-bro entered the picture—it was some Incredible Hulk shit. Mild-mannered, fun-loving dude one minute, ready to rip this guy’s arms off and beat him with ’em the next. The following is an edited version of Kurt’s chat with our new buddy:

Kurt: “What the f—k do you think you’re doing?”

Buddy: “Snowmachinin'” (said as if it were the dumbest question ever asked).

K: “Didn’t you see us waving you down?”

B: “I wasn’t really payin’ ‘tention.”

K: “If our friend had jumped off that cliff, you would have killed him!”

B: “Oh, yeah.” (Long pause.) “Huh.”

K: “You’d better get outta here before you get seriously hurt.”

B: “Okay.”

With that, it was time to leave. The next morning we said good-bye and thanks to our tour guide, Willie McMillon, and picked up Hana Beaman, who’d been hangin’ out at Travis Rice’s house. I’ll give you a second to grab a broom, that way you can sweep up all the names I just dropped. Anyway, we heard Montana had the goods, so we packed the truck, filled the tank, and burned rubber.

Montana

Let me start off by saying I have nothing against the great state of Montana or the people within its borders, but for some reason, the three days we spent in Butte were some of the weirde I’ve ever had.

First off, right after breakfast, Knox wings a snowball at Shem, who ducks just in time for it to nail a 90-year-old lady in a wheelchair leaving the tavern behind him—at 9:00 a.m., and she’s drunk as a skunk. Next, while we were trying to hit a handrail located at a church, a lady who lived in an abandoned high school across the street comes out screaming. From what I could make out, we’re all going to burn in a lake of fire—that’s no bueno. It was about this time that a couple local kids recognized a few of the boys and came out to watch. Then some of their buddies saw them chillin’ and came up to see what was up. It’s kind of hard to be inconspicuous with fifteen heads staring at a staircase, so of course, we got busted.

One of the kids invited everyone back to his house for a board-waxing party—don’t ask me. But Kurt and Coulter came out with freshly coated boards. You gotta give it to the people of Butte—they sure are gracious. Next our new friends gave us a tour of every handrail in town. In between stops they’d tell us little tidbits about their town. Turns out it used to be quite the mining town, but something happened to the mine. Now the shaft is just a big hole filled with water that is rumored to be so noxious, birds drop out of the sky when flying over it. Wow.

About twenty minutes into a session on a rail behind Montana Tech, a very official-looking vehicle rolled up. Instinctively, the crew started packing it up. To our surprise, it was our new friend Keegan’s dad. He’s head of PR at the school and wanted to drop us tickets to the big basketball game going on that night and fill us in on the security guard’s schedule to keep us from getting hassled.

That night, while patronizing a local waterin’ hole, a young lady informed us we were “snobs.” Why? Maybe it was because she had a shirt on, with a picture of her on it straddling a handrail, and the words “grind this” printed below it, and yet, she still couldn’t figure out what we thought was so funny. Oh yeah, another thing, she ended every sentence with, “I don’t need you, my dad’s got money.” Alrighty.

It seems that extracurricular actives are pretty limited in ol’ Butte. The reason I bring it up is, while eating breakfast, a young man approached Wastell yelling, “You’re Kurt Wastell! I heard you were in town. We’ve been driving around all night trying to find your hotel.” As the story unfolded, we learned that he and a few pals drove around to all the hotels in town looking for us. Exhausted from their search, they pulled in and got a room at the very establishment we happened to be in. Boy, what a surprise when there Kurt and the boys were, eating a Moons Over My Hammy. Small world, huh?

Word had spread fast concerning our plans. By the time we arrived at the university for a second go at the rails, half a dozen kids were scurrying around with shovels. “This is the greatest day in the history of Butte,” one informed us. Okay then.

No sooner was the last nose pressed than our caravan of trucks towing sleds headed down the road to Idaho. When taking a dump draws a crowd, it’s a sign to move on.

Idaho

You know what’s weird about Idaho? Most of us might remember the sheet of black ice that was supposed to be I-15 or numerous semis as well as snow plows that had skidded into the ditch. Some would look back at an amazing moonlit snowmobile adventure with five close friends.

First thing that comes to mind when I think of Idaho is a mid-30s lady in a Motel Six hot tub. Not because she was exceptionally hot, but because she had a steady stream of froth pouring out between her cleavage, making it look as if her boobs where blowin’ bubbles in milk. Don’t even try and call me sexist, either, ’cause the 48-year-old lady sitting next to us was the first to bring it up once “Bubbles” left. It was unavoidable.

Whew, maybe now that I shared that, the nightmares will stop.

Truth is—the weather wasn’t cooperating with us, so our tenure in Idaho was short-lived. In layman’s terms—not much went down, so we got the hell out.

Salt Lake (Again)

With the weather taking the big crapola, everybody wanted to go home, which for 90 percent of the posse was SLC. It only took a few minutes of The Weather Channel to come to the conclusion that the story was over. Rain ain’t too fun for boardin’.

As the plane taxied the runway, I thought of the past ten days: near-death driving experiences, stomachs full of jerky, meeting interesting folk, dude-a-rific snowboarding, and good company to enjoy it with—all the bases were covered. But the one thing I couldn’t get out of my head was the Montana girl who called us “snobs”—she musta been pissed that she wasn’t cool enough to hang out with us or something. Wait … damn, she was right.

to bring it up once “Bubbles” left. It was unavoidable.

Whew, maybe now that I shared that, the nightmares will stop.

Truth is—the weather wasn’t cooperating with us, so our tenure in Idaho was short-lived. In layman’s terms—not much went down, so we got the hell out.

Salt Lake (Again)

With the weather taking the big crapola, everybody wanted to go home, which for 90 percent of the posse was SLC. It only took a few minutes of The Weather Channel to come to the conclusion that the story was over. Rain ain’t too fun for boardin’.

As the plane taxied the runway, I thought of the past ten days: near-death driving experiences, stomachs full of jerky, meeting interesting folk, dude-a-rific snowboarding, and good company to enjoy it with—all the bases were covered. But the one thing I couldn’t get out of my head was the Montana girl who called us “snobs”—she musta been pissed that she wasn’t cool enough to hang out with us or something. Wait … damn, she was right.