Welcome to the Midwest, where the winters are cold, resorts are slightly above sea level, and powder is a foreign word. This past season brought a typically scant amount of snowfall to the region, closing many resorts in early March. But it takes more than a dry season of riding to stifle the optimism of Midwestern mentality.

Jayson Mahn of Ohio Surf & Skate in Dayton, enthusiastically announced that their region had enough snow to ride this year at local resort Mad River Mountain. Mahn added they even had some natural stuff.

Despite lousy conditions, retailers maintained strong sales. Doug Anderson of St. Cloud, Minnesota reported that their first-year shop, The Sticks, had a very good response in the area and was able to sponsor a contest at Powder Ridge. No judges were named; instead each competitor (approximately 100) was given a ballot to vote for the halfpipe and slopestyle victor.

Jason Blair from Basement Boards of Milwaukee, Wisconsin plans on sponsoring shop riders for the upcoming season. But for the off-season, Jason is busy pushing their summer line¿patio furniture.

Doug Seeley of B-Xtreme in Traverse City, Michigan stated that riders suffered due to the short season; however, the shop sold through on hardgoods and 80 percent of their clothing. They were also able to sponsor halfpipe competitions at Schuss and Crystal Mountains. Seeley, who witnessed his first Vegas show this year, added: “Vegas was far-out. I saw more skin and body piercing than anything.”

In other trade-show news, the MRA (Midwest Representatives Association) sponsored the Michigan Ski/Snowboard show in Lansing. Steve Durant, manager of Cheapskates in Riverview, Michigan stated, “It’s like Vegas, except smaller and minus the girls and the bikinis.”

Ted Steymiest of Adventure Sport, Rapid City, South Dakota reported that shop riders Mike Peterson and Nel Boshoff fled failing conditions, with the help of Burton, and did some traveling and work for famed ski filmmaker Warren Miller.

In other team news, The Shred Shop of Skokie, Illinois is apparently wooing Paige Warner. Fourteen-year-old Warner placed first in halfpipe and slopestyle at the USASA Nationals in Minnesota at Giant Ridge.

Matt Karban, national team member and shop rider for Flying Fish in Madison, Wisconsin, was named halfpipe winner of a spring peer-judged competition held at Tyrol Basin. However, Karban was disqualified from the contest because he was kicked off of Tyrol Basin earlier in the season for executing inverted aerials.

Finally, Minnesotians are excited about the arrival of a new skatepark. The city of Duluth is building the park with design assistance from Freestyle of Duluth. Pocket Park will be located downtown and open to skateboarders, as well as in-line skaters. Best of all, it’s free!

– By Meredith Ammons

Meredith Ammons was the director of snowboarding at Marquette Mountain in Minnesota last year.