The 8th Annual Big Mountain Festival Popped off in AK with All-Time Conditions
The eighth annual edition of Tailgate Alaska wrapped on Thompson Pass as one of the best overall events of the big mountain festival’s storied history. Jamie Lynn and Bryan Iguchi were among the riders that had the chance to slay the perfect pow Tailgate AK received this year. Read on for their thoughts on this legendary Alaskan event, and check out a sampling of this year’s highlights in the edit above.
Words: Tailgate Alaska
Photos: Josh Mandel
Tailgate Alaska 2015 wrapped up on Thompson Pass, completing the eight annual edition of the now legendary big mountain festival. The legend of Thompson Pass riding is not hype, according to snowboarding legend Jamie Lynn who rode in the area around base camp, “Itʼs like taking 100 powder days and combining them into one run.” Bryan Iguchi agreed, “I had the best turns of my life today.”
Riders from 16 countries descended on Valdez, Alaska on April 3rd for the ten day long event – and were greeted by the best snow conditions Alaska has seen in recent memory – and in the history of the event. In addition to direct access to the peaks that tower over base camp, Tailgate Alaska had free daily snow science classes, speakers, a FM radio station (The Weagle 90.7 FM), an 8 man rescue team, on site medics, special
parties and events.
According to event founder, Mark Sullivan, “ This year marked a new high point for the event in terms of snow conditions and access to snow safety education. On blue days, riders went out in 2-6′ of fresh snow and on down days they were treated to multiple daily classes, ensuring all participants went home having ridden the best peaks and snow conditions of their lives – but also a little bit smarter on how to responsibly access the backcountry.”
This year, Tailgate Alaska introduced a number of new events during the ten day festival. These included the Valdez Banked Slalom race, Knight Rider Racks Tandem Slalom Snowmobile race, a Wizard Stick Slalom, Alaska Vs. Canada Tandem Snowmobile race and Goal Zero and Traeger Grill Campsite Showdown. These events will be documented in future episodes of the In Short video series.
About Tailgate Alaska:
The event was formed in 2008 by Mark Sullivan (founder of Snowboard Magazine, and former editor of Snowboarder Magazine.) Held annually on Thompson Pass, located near Valdez, Alaska at the bush pilot airstrip. Tailgate Alaska is brought to you by Valdez, Alaska, Never Summer Industries, Goal Zero, Spark R&D, Homeschool Snowboarding, Unity Snowboards, Great Alaskan Holidays, Black Ops Valdez.