Artist: Gabe Schray // Song: When All the Labyrinths Open
Video: Mark Wiitanen
Photos: Aaron Blatt
“It’s a freakin’ Wintah Wundahland up heah!”
Being a pro snowboarder can suck sometimes. Early mornings, frozen limbs, cracked bones, and constant travel can leave thee guys looking and feeling pretty haggard. But when you get to call days like we had last week at Brighton Resort, Utah “work”? Damn good day at the office (ya whiny b*tches…).
Photographer Aaron Blatt, Filmer Mark Wiitanen and I had just finished covering the final stop of the 2011 Winter Dew Tour as Snowbasin Resort, Utah, and saw the storm coming in. After a few weeks on the contest circuit, we couldn’t wait to get into the pow, setting up a unique crew in minutes. Vermonter and Dew Tour slopestyle rider Yale Cousino had spent the entire season hopping flights from contest to contest, so when we approached him with the weather report, homeboy was beyond hyped. Not many guys out there can send back twelves over 80-footers one day, and then drop cliffs and spin pow the next--styling every cliff and jump without pause, Yale was killing it all session. And he dates Miss Vermont (bastard…).
It wouldn’t be right to visit Salt Lake City without taking out a member of the SFK/Masshole crew (Club Boya, anyone?), so after a tour of his epic playground of a house (video coming soon--hilarious), Chris Grenier hopped in the car, as well. The pow day would be his first of the year, and Chris was stoked to finally be switching out the 151 Salomon Salomonder for the 159 Man Board and getting after it. With Grenier, Blatt, and our good friend and owner of Boston’s Rhythm Snowboards, Matt Griffin (quick story here: Griffin literally quit his financial desk job on Friday, hopped a flight to Utah Saturday, and has been riding every single day since. Attaboy, Matty!), it was essentially Massholes in Pow-land. With born-and-bred Brighton local Jake Welch at the the helm, a couple of East Coasters got it good.
Speaking of Jake… Oh, yeah--Brighton loc Jake Welch was our guide. Hometown hero since day one, Jake knows Brighton the same way Charlie Sheen knows Tijuana (well, maybe not), and yes--he’s really, really good at snowboarding there. The same feeling as looking on in awe while Nicolas Müller rips apart Laax, Switzerland, Jake Blauvelt darts through the trees at Stowe, Vermont, or Devun Walsh sends crevasses at Whistler, B.C., watching Jake Welch drop cliffs at Brighton--even on his “mellow day”--is a sight to behold. Not only did he take the man-route on each hit, the man Grendys calls “the nicest dude, ever” was happy to drop the local knowledge for the entire crew, picking out lines and well, admittedly, probably saving a few lives (guilty…) each time we stopped to set up a shot. Always sending first try and not falling once the entire day, Jake’s a boss in the pow of Brighton.
Special thanks to Jared Winkler and Brandon Dodge from Brighton Resort for one helluva memorable day.
For more info on how to get yours in Utah, check out the Brighton Spot Check in the November 2010 issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding. Local legend Seth Huot breaks down the lines of the Milly lift.