Photos: Greg Furey
Video: Skyler Brent and Harry Hagan / Keep The Change
Words: Mike Rav
The first snow of the season is always an exciting one. In this case, it was somewhat bitter sweet. Yes, there was snow. But with that snow came huge devastation to vast parts of the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy. Our trip to West Virginia was a reality check on so many levels. It was an experience that we will never forget.
Tracking the weather for a few days it was certain that there would be snow in West Virginia. We didn’t necessarily know how much there would be and if it would even stick around, but we knew that there would be snow. After a few calls back and fourth during the day of the storm as it hit New England, a decision was made that Skylar Brent, Dylan Dragotta, Eugene Stancato, Harry Hagan and myself would send it down to West Virginia that night. Upon that decision, none of us knew what we were about to go through.
The first part of the trip consisted of getting to friend and photographer Greg Furey’s house in New Jersey. Luckily, Furey’s house wasn’t directly hit by the storm, but there was huge power outages surrounding him. Right when we got to his house he started showing us photos of the infamous Jersey Shore. This is when we realized that hurricane Sandy was no joke. The photos showed complete and utter destruction.
In the morning, we started our drive towards the snow. The further south we trekked, the worse conditions got. Telephone poles and power lines were down left and right. This is when things started to get interesting. Before we knew it, we started seeing snow, which was incredible. At one point we had to get out of the car and walk around and take everything in. Our original destination was to go to Elkins, West Virginia just because this is where the highest snowfall recordings were and it seemed like a decent place to find things to snowboard on. As we continued towards Elkins we passed through a town that hadn’t had power in two days, and right after, found out that the fastest road to Elkins was closed. We had to take an alternate route, which would end up being one of the sketchiest drives that any of us had ever encountered. What made this trip scary was the fact we were traveling to a town in which we knew didn’t even have power yet. It was looking like we were most likely going to have to sleep in cars for the night. But that wasn't the case. After driving for nearly 16 hours we finally reached Beckley, West Virginia where we got a hotel room and rested up for the next day.
After finding a few spots we settled on a kink rail to begin the day. Unfortunately we got kicked out before anything could happen. After that, we went to a zone right in the center of the city that was very promising. It was a spot where everyone was able to find something different and unique. Unfortunately the police came and were not pleased with what we were doing. After the classic ” why can’t you guys just go to the skatepark, and check out this hill for sledding,” we left in hopes to find another spot. Unfortunately, the rest of the trip was pretty slow. Even though we weren’t necessarily filming A grade shots, we stayed busy and were able to film a few cool things. Seeing as it was our first trip of the year in West Virginia, we knew that if we even came home with one shot it would be a success. After snowboarding, driving around, going to Hooters and losing our minds we decided to go home.
However, we weren’t giving up just yet. On the way into West Virginia right when we first saw snow, we noticed a cow, sitting on top of a cattle building with natural speed. Seeing as we just hit snow we decided to drop a pin and potentially return. On the way out we were determined to hit “the cow.” After getting onto the roof and setting up for an hour or so, it was ready. Luckily Eugene had a construction vest with him, so it just looked like I was shoveling snow off the roof as cops and many other drove by looking up at us. Eventually we were good to go, Skylar, Harry and Furey got into place and I started hitting the cow. After landing the drop a few times a car pulled in and obviously gave us a hard time. At the end of the conversation he said we were extremely lucky because there was “30-40 holes in that roof that are only covered by plastic, and it would be extremely easy to fall in.” Luckily we got what we needed and got on the road back home.
To end the trip off, we stopped at Geno’s Steaks, a staple in Philadelphia that serves one hell of cheesesteak. All in all, it was a great trip that none of us will ever forget. Our hearts go out to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy and we wish everyone a speedy recovery.
Check out Keep The Change’s new video, Holy Smokes, right HERE