12.21.2009

the Burton Backhill bringing back memories...

the Burton Backhill bringing back memories...
some memories of Summit County Colorado
other memories of Battery Kimble Park and Congressional Country Club

Last Friday night after the kids went to sleep I started to get things ready
there was a confident prediction of a snow storm that would be significant accumulation
even if there was only moderate accumulation I had to be ready
even if I did not know what a "nor-easter" was I was going to get out the kid's sledding gear
I was confident that such preparation would not jinx things such that it did not snow at all

the boys have been asking when it would snow so they could go sledding
if there would be snow... there would be sledding...

as I buzzed about I started to get excited myself

there were sleds, kids snowboards, and adult cross country skies that needed to be located

helmets, gloves, and goggles would also be part of this annual winter season scavenger hunt
it was not it easy
it involved a serious amount of digging, climbing, and shuffling boxes
some stuff was in the basement... other stuff was in the garage... there was even some stuff that was stored under the front porch
lots of this stuff needed to be cleaned up

after a decent amount of time devoted to the task I felt that we had all the snow gear and snow equipment that the kids would need for the weekend's adventure

while in the garage I stumbled upon a stack of old snowboards
there was Lisa's old Morrow board set up goofy which was sitting on top of a Blair Board which was hiding a few antique Burton Boards
waiting for ebay were two boards; a Burton Backhill and Burton Woody both of which were acquired shortly after their introduction to the world of winter sport
yet in the scheme of things early in the development of the snowboard just the same


in my twenty years of life I had never been skiing
I had never been on a chairlift or a snow covered ski run
in my life
I had only seen ski resorts during non winter season for mountain bike races and the sport of snowboarding? well... snowboarding only existed for me a few times a year
those adventures were on golf courses and small rolling suburban hills
I had seen others with actual snowboards with snowboard boots... but most of the users were not doing anything that me and my friends could not do on our outdated gear

so when I moved out to Colorado in the early 1990's I was not sure what people were talking about when they said that my snowboard needed a metal edge
having never skied I did not understand the difference between a board with or without a metal edge
part of me took the stand of the retro grouch... as I had still not gone the way of front suspension on the mountain bike and I was not sure if I needed to
yet, I assured them that I would get the latest technology and whatever it took me to get on the ski slope
but until then... I would have to deal with what I had


the resorts may not have opened yet but their was plenty of early snow falling
there was some solid coverage which had me hiking some non-hills to try and get a sense of what everyone was talking about
then I got invited for a shuttle run session at Loveland Pass aka "The Pass"

"the Pass" would be a baptism of full immersion

these were friends of friends it was an awkward and exciting opportunity
I was shy about the whole thing but went along to give it a try
so I climbed into an old Volkswagen bus and got introduced to snowboarding
at a different level

OH MY FUCKING GOD!

IT WAS AWESOME!

IT WAS INSANE!

looking back I realize that it was also attempted suicide!

there I was jamming down these unmarked out of bounds shoots
it was steep and deep and I did not have a clue
tight shoots off the continental divide on a Burton Woody... absurd... completely absurd
I was riding down out of bounds black diamond and double black diamond style runs on a snowboard with no metal edge... which means I was on a board that had no effective brake
looking back I realize it was beyond absurd... perhaps just plain stupid

these friends of friends gave me the low down on SUMMIT COUNTY 101
a basic survival guide
they explained Summit County
we were on our way to "the Pass" which would aid in my understanding why the county was also known as Thumb It County!
then there was a discussion about Summit County Complex which has various theories about the ratio of men to woman and how this imbalance made things such that chubby chicks strutted around like super models
then onto the notion of how to find a job and how to get a ski pass
there was so much to learn
even some lessons in hygene and how a little chap stick or sun screen should be applied to avoid risk of chap lips that are so bad that it is as if your lips get slip in half, that being The Summit County Split
I learned about hitch hiking the pass and surviving off free food at the various happy hours around town
I was a "green horn" in the greenest of fashion
this advice would all prove to very useful

on this trip we packed the van tight with people
each person took a turn driving the VW bus on day packed with excitement
I was totally over my head
I was totally under geared
it was awesome

Dorthy was not in Kansas any more
it still amazes me that I would not know more about the equipment of the day
this is more than the difference between a fiber glass kayak and a plastic molded
or in bicycle terms since I know nothing about kayaks
the Burton Woody was already old when I took it out to Colorado
the metal edge had been part of the snowboard design for years
the bicycle equivalent of the Burton Woody at Loveland Pass would be like.... well it would be something like trying to tackle the rocks of Michaux State Forrest on an old British Mary Poppins Bike with 27 1/4 tires

it was a Burton Woody... the technology may have been five or ten years old
the bindings were nothing to speak of
my boots... my boots were basic Sorrels
primitive... yes... primitive and perhaps a little ignorant


snowboards and snowboard boots were expensive and honestly... I did not know much better
part ignorance and another part was because I was poor
it was the early 1990's snowboarding was on my radar.... but I really did not follow it
I thought I knew what it was about... when really... I did not have a clue

soon after I scrapped together enough money I got a Nitro Fusion... an all mountain board
for a decent amount of time I rode in the Sorrels until I replaced those boots with some second hand Burton boots that were at least a size too small
I accepted the smaller boot in an effort to limit my "toe drag"

but before I was able to get a new board with the marvel of a metal edge I waited out a million false promises from ski reps and ski bums that claimed that they would hook me up
I was forced to hit the hill old school
I can not recall how many times I did shuttle runs at Loveland Pass on the Burton Woody... but I do recall that it was wild
dangerously wild.... if not just plain dangerous

there is some memory that my diminutive board lacking modern technology was a sales hook for thumbing my way back up the hill
it gathered some attention that I was still too "green" to understand
it seemed that the only thing that got more free rides up the hill was being female or havi
ng a cute dog by your side
I hit the hill and nearly hit a few trees

and this... well... this was long before the dawn of the ski helmet

shortly after getting a snowboard with the technology of the time I got a job and a plac
e in Breckenridge which involved a ski pass and a life that did not bring me back to Loveland Pass
except for road trips to Boulder or some late spring rides where it was more about big kickers in
there are some memories of my convertible Rabbit with the top down and snowboards and snowboarders packed in a car that had an excess of personality accented by its lack of muffler

after I got the sleds and snow gear together
I took the dog for a walk across the street
the snow was just starting to fall
I went to a path where the kids like to sled and I removed a dozen or so fallen limbs that obstructed the kids' would be path
the logs had caught some leaves and debrie it was not an entirely effective effort for slowing the erosion
after removing the larg
e logs and limbs from the path and broke down the piles of leaves and debris
after I cleared the path of this very subtle grade hill which is perfect for youngsters on sleds I walked the short path up and back a few times
then without bothering to turn the petzel headlamp I had strapped to my head I did a short loop with my black dog Brutus

in the woods the snow fell and a steady rate
after a short loop with the dog I walked the would be snow path a few times more
as the snow stared to collect visualizing the flow of the sled ride

morning came and a solid amount of snow had collected
the ground was covered in a blanket of white
the snow continued to fall at the same steady rate which allowed for the afternoon session on the sled to be as good if not better than the morning
fresh tracks in the for both sessions

the boys experimented with a variety of sleds
Dean took a number of runs with grand success on the old Burton Backhill
it was an "epic" weekend
well... an epic weekend until I threw out my back shoveling out my wife's car

History of the Snowboard
www.snowboardinghistory.com/
and this http://en.wikipedia.org

History of Burton Snowboards
www.fundinguniverse.com


SKI LOVELAND PASS
www.allsummitcounty.com

GWADZILLA plus LOVELAND, Blair Boards, and Colorado

this on history
http://snowboarding.transworld.net
and a timeline
http://expn.go.com

1 comment:

Jonathan H said...

Looks like it was a blast. I'm just learning to snowboard and I like it when I read these awesome posts about snowboarding.