Jackson Hole Pow Wow 2015 Recap

Photos by Ryan Irvin

The third annual Jackson Hole Pow Wow went down this week, and all the freak shapes were in attendance. 30 brands showed up with over 250 powder-specific and freeride boards to swap with other industry folks, put them to the test on-hill, and give direct feedback to one another. Board design is progressing in an exciting way as shapes continue morphing into scoopier noses and swallowy tails with dramatic tapers, fat waist widths, and deep sidecuts.

The lack of snow left much pow float to be desired, but that didn't stop guys like Tim Eddy and Alex Yoder and Seth Wescott from carving the absolute shit out of Dick's Ditch and a few other banked squiggly runs.

Just about every board in the tent looked like a blast in powder, but railing these babies on frozen hardback and icy mogul fields definitely helped give riders a sense of how the boards will perform on mountains with inevitably variable terrain.

Local custom board shaper Mike Franco was voted the chief of the Pow Wow, not only for his consistently bubbly stoke, but also for bringing a gang of boards that charged the whole mountain harder than any other brand's quiver.

The evenings opened up to small hangout sessions in local spots like Asymbol gallery with vintage board displays and the work of high profile artists and photographers on the snowboard scene. The SHRED X presentation at Pink Garter Theatre featured slideshows from photographer Tim Zimmerman, Robert Garrett (the first ever snowboard instructor at Jackson Hole), and Alex Yoder.

Yoder described how his soul riding powder trips in Japan with the likes of Gentemstick's Taro Tamai have become so much more than just a way to ride snow—reflecting on both the fluid style and mental approach as more of a lifestyle and a state of mind. "For me, it's become more about what the board can do in the snow, rather than what the body attached to the board can do," he says. This reminder of how deeply a snowboard connects us with nature set a mindful tone for the rest of the event.