Summer Snow-fest ’99 at Tyrol Basin

Summer Snow-fest '99 at Tyrol Basin

By Dave Sypniewski

Photos: Shem Roose


“Have you ever heard frogs and crickets, when you were hiking a

halfpipe?”–Bjorn Lienes

We arrived around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and the first pipe session was already in full swing. Wait a second, what the hell is going on here? We're in Wisconsin; it's the fifth of June, it's 91 degrees Fahrenhiet, and about 85-percent relative humidity. We're going snowboarding?

When we boarded a red-eye flight out of Los Angeles twelve hours earlier, I had an idea of what we were in for–Shem Roose had been to the Summer Snow-fest a few years prior, and the shot by Jeff Curtes of Bryan Iguchi backside lipsliding the bed is forever etched in my brain. It was, however, still so surreal, I had to keep rubbing my eyes and pinching myself to make sure it wasn't a flashback from an earlier snowboarding experience in the Midwest.

Once again the airline lost my luggage, so I had to hustle to get a setup going. The pipe was looking good, and I wanted to get some runs in before they shut it down to recut. Borrowing the setup was easy with all the demo tents at the bottom of the hill. After running 300 feet to the bottom of the pipe, I realized how hot is was. I was drenched in sweat before I made it there and felt faint. I felt weird; I wondered if I would soon wake up in the ski-patrol shack at Squaw Valley and find out I'd hit my head on a rock. My excitement to ride was enough to power me to the top of the pipe, and the general stoke of everyone riding was enough to keep me going until the pro contest.

A fresh pipe was cut for the pro contest. The trannies were perfect, but despite all the salting efforts, the heat and humidity were making the snow slow–four hits were the average. Was I dreaming this? Bjorn and Erik Lienes, Chad Otterstrom, Joe Curtes, Pat Abramson, David Aubry all entered the event along with a bunch of ripping locals. Joe Curtes ended up winning, followed by another session open to everyone.

All during the day local “punk” bands like The Ungoverned and Dead Led played in the lodge. There was a skate street course in the top parking lot where local skaters were showing their stuff, too. There was a barbeque going and the lodge was open to feed you or quench that special thirst.

Tyrol Basin repeated everything on Sunday, but unfortunately Shem and I had to split Saturday night–or did I just wake up.

Thanks to Don and Sue McKay, and all their staff for putting on an unbelievable event.