Wouldn’t it be awful if all the snowboard companies were actually based in Southern California? Imagine that–if every person who had the dream of working in snowboarding or even just wanted to visit one of these companies had to fly into LA, San Diego, or Orange County, stepping off the plane into sweaty, violently irritating traffic situations and a general “Where the hell’s the snow at?” malaise hanging in the smoggy air. Well, I’m here to tell you that the world is not that cruel–ever heard of a town called Seattle?

Ride, K2, and Morrow are out on Vashon Island. Nitro has offices in Redmond. CAPiTA, Coal Headwear, and C3 Distribution are headquartered down on the waterfront–right across the street from Mervin Manufacturing (Lib Tech and Gnu). Oh man, a whole slew of brands are making it happen in an awesome town that is actually semi-near sweet shredding. Stevens Pass, Snowqualmie, and Crystal Mountain are just right up the road, and a couple hours will get you to the legendary Mt. Baker. Best of all, Seattle is nowhere near Tijuana. It’s crisp and cool in the fall–and on a clear morning after a storm, you can even see the frosty peak of Mt. Rainier reminding you of exactly what you’ll be doing in a short month or two.

So in celebration of all this–and also because there was a love/HATE, Afterlame movie premiere downtown involving a CAPiTA party and Corey Smith art showing, I went north to test the Seattle shred-scene waters. First stop: Mervin. Lib/Gnu co-mastermind Pete Saari toured me around the inner-workings of the Mervin mainframe. I saw real snowboards being made by real snowboarders. What looked like closet doors were actually portals into a maze of offices piping out Mervin creative brilliance. Then Pete had to run off and handle business, so I went across the street.

Second stop: CAPiTA/Coal/C3. A cool little family of people work out of this warehouse/office space. Blue Montgomery steers the CAPiTA wheel with both hands. Brad Scheuffele and the other Coal people put love into hats. The gentlemen behind C3, the company distributing aforementioned brands, hold it all together. Cold ones quench afternoon thirst straight from the office keg-o-rator. Good things happen here.

Third Stop: movie premiere blowout. Northwest legends were in attendance. Russell Winfield. Peter Line. Todd Schlosser. Wow, maybe Jamie Lynn was hanging out in a dark corner … maybe. Salt Lake City’s Form Of Rocket played rock-and-roll explosion after the movies, and love/HATE rider Andy Forgash stood front and center the whole time blasting his little eardrums to bits. Scotty Arnold, Darrell Mathes, Travis Parker, Charlie Morace, TJ Scheider, a gigantic list of fun snowboard people with affiliations to both movies came out for the celebration.

As for me? Not like anyone cares, but … I gawked at the view of downtown Seattle from the I-5. I had lunch on the waterfront. I got star-struck when I saw Todd Schlosser at the party. I watched all the movies for the fiftieth time. I drank too much. I dropped my camera. I tripped walking on flat pavement. I woke up with a hangover. I still had my wallet and cell phone on me. I still liked Seattle.