Picnic in the Park: Alpine Valley

Interview by Steve Rose, Scott Ladwig and Will Redd

A few years ago in 2003 a new Picnic In The Park event concept was started by Scott Ladwig and The Empire Collective in the heart of the Midwest with the idea of bringing one thing back to snowboarding--fun.

The Empire Collective in collaboration with 686, Nomis Design, Stepchild Snowboards, Airblaster, Bluebird Wax, and Elm Company headwear once again raised the bar of progressive snowboarding in the Midwest with Picnic in the Park 2007. An epic afternoon of shredding, an after party with special guests Neglected Poetry and DJ Mighty Thor (those guys are blowing up!), a raging product toss, and of course an ensuing long night of Smoov Jizzle sightings and security guard encounters made the whole even quite memorable.

There was too much action from the weekend to summarize in a paragraph so a bunch of questions were asked of visiting pro shred guests Derek Dennison, Joey Sexton and friends, to help describe the events of the weekend with the locals.

Here are the best answers ...

Well of course the obvious question first, did you have fun at Picnic in the Park?
Chris Wenzler: The event set up was so dope, I lost $80 bucks and still had a blast.

What do you think of the Midwest scene in general?
Derek Dennison: Lots of cows, fields, and tractors. But the craving for quality snowboarding in the Midwest is what always amazes me.

Speaking of tractors, how many tractors could you count from the top of the chairlift in the surrounding area?
Steve Rose: I have a photo where I think I can count at least 50 tractors at the nearby farm

There’s a rumor a new word was invented this weekend that is posed to take over the industry, can you explain to us the definition of “Twock”.
Derek Dennison: Why call it a bonk, that sounds some lame, so jock-ish. Oh I’m gonna go bonk this thing bra. Nope, that sounds stupid, I am gonna go “twock some shiz.
Joey Sexton: A tweak so hard you hear a pop
Chris Wenzler: Its like a tweak done by a jock...WRONG ANSWER
Scott Ladwig: Twock; (1) A manuvuer one performs while shredding, exceeding the most gnarly tweaks, pokes, grabs, taps, and jibs

The Security Guard: The sound of my nightstick on an underage drinker
John Pape: When your getting cheerty and you poke out your horn and tap our on a log or something

Ok, so now on to the event itself, what was your overall impression of Picnic in the Park
Joey Sexton: A really fun vibe, super fun features and lots of bros and brahs
Chris Wenzler: It was like no other contest I have ever seen, a smorgusborg of jibs, twocks, donks, airs, stares, tings, tangs, wacks, and even a hand shaped QP. That’s how we do it where I’m from, where I’m from.

Favorite trick you saw all day?
Derek Dennison: One kid was killing it and learned handplants for the first time ever, so stoked on him! I didn’t see it but I heard a 50-50 to backside rodeo off the 686 log jam went down.
Smoov Jizzle: The kid that won my board after doing the pond skim
Scott Ladwig: The security guard’s big ass backflips off the side of the quarterpipe!
John Pape: The kid that boosted to grab the bandana on the stick and belly flopped to the flat bottom

Craziest scorpion of the day?
Derek Dennison: Without a doubt that kid who gapped the spine straight into the barrel half buried at the end of it. I think the lil homie ended up being ok though
Joey Sexton: My buddy John Hodges trying to turn around after a perfect switch nosepress

Now on to the after party, how about you describe the product toss that went down at the after party?
Will Redd: Silly little rabbits will do just about anything for a hat and a sticker. I actually saw kids fighting over an empty Moda 3 bag. Oh, and don’t ask kids in the Midwest to breakdance battle for free denim...trust me, just don’t do it.

Speaking of after party, we heard the hhip hop group, Neglected Poetry, that perfomed there was amazing, do you agree?
John Pape: Oh believe it, I was up on stage straight chilin with the homies throughout the whole show while Bemis hit kids with jeans. Big ups to those dudes, they got something going.

Did you see Smoov Jizzles artwork?
Joey Sexton: Yup, he’s really talented. I even have an original piece of artwork on my board

And what is this term made up this weekend about a thizz face, can you describe?
Chris Wenzler: Its when you take your grandpa’s bed pan that’s a month old and put it in a bucket and let it sit in the sun. Then you open it up and smell... THIZZZ!

What the best memory from the trip?
Derek Dennison and Steve Rose: Chillin with John Pape’s parents during the contest, after party, and the following day. They are the most rad people ever!
Joey Sexton: The after party product toss where Nomis shoeslaces got tossed into the chandelier and kids almost ripped the light down trying to get them.

Well, until next year thanks to those who helped make this year,s event a success:

The Empire Collective, Steve Rose @ Nomis, Will Redd @ 686, Derek Dennison, Joey Sexton, John Pape, Chirs Wenzler, Justin Bemis, Jamie Thomas, Corrie and Shelly, Coulter, Jim, Scott, Kevin and the rest of the Picnic Park Crew, The Security guards, Alpine Valley Staff, Keef @ Moda3.com, and last but not least all the riders!