Trust me it’s 100 times better then snowboarding! I’m so hooked! It feels like surfing on pow.. you take full control of your body’s impact on your board through your toes and your heels. It’s such a great adrenaline rush, all the way, all the time!
The GT memorial is the one event I wouldn’t miss for the world. It’s a No board race organized in the dead end of the Kootenays to commemorate Greg Todds who died in an avalanche 5 years ago. He, Cholo and their crew had decided to get rid of bindings in deep pow and developed that pad which allows you to surf and skate on powder.
Vanessa and I started the adventure with a bit of trouble because of bad rental car service in castlegar, where everything closes at 4.30 PM apparently, we got stuck there for the night hoping to get a car early enough to drive all the way to the race in time.. the rental car thing didn’t get any better when we realized they didn’t have any 4 wheel drive or any proper mountain car at all. we over packed the small car they gave us and then realized the car had summer tires. that was super sketchy knowing we ‘d have to drive on quite small snowy slippery mountain roads.. but it was that or hanging out in that ugly town doing nothing for the whole weekend.. so we jumped in the car and somehow just made it in time.
Our luck came back as soon as we arrived in Noboard land for the 5th annual GT memorial.. We showed up at the same time then Gigi and Shandi Campos, who took us straight to the sledding spot.. of course we didn’t have any sled but there again we got instantly picked up and doubled up all the way to the race field. It was soo cool to show up and find Romain, Jussi, Benjie, Shin, Rube, Mikey.. etc.. and of course the local legends Scott Penner, Cholo Burns and Jenna Lowe. I met Scott years back and he got me in love with Noboarding, and looking at what he can do without bindings, he is my hero!
I had missed the women’s race but I got a run with the last guy’s heat.. and the place was tracked already! It was my first run in 2 years and still I had so much fun riding down that field of pillows and trees! A good part of the fun is knowing you are definitely gonna crash at some point! Of course guys like Gigi and Terje killed it but the locals rule at that game, we are in their backyard and it’s Young Dave who won the race.. I had never seen a contest winner holding on so much to his cup, he probably spooned with it after partying with it all night! We all went down and an auction was organized to raize money for Greg’s kids. I couldn’t believe how much stuff was sold.. and then we danced all night on DJ Solomon’s tunes! The weekend was a blast, there was such a great vibe!
We stayed some extra days with Cholo and Jenna to shoot a couple thing. We went up and spent the first day doing no board runs in heavy but super fun no roping snow. It was a bit sketchy with snow conditions and what can happen when the conditions are not right happened. At the bottom of a run, Cholo set a small avalanche off. It wasn’t big nor deep.. and what appeared to be just a small slide, was enough to fully burry him. Luckily this happened right before our eyes. So we all ran and got him out in no time at all and he was fine. That was a serious wake up call.
A couple days later we went back up and the conditions were even more dangerous..
we set 2 avalanches off and decided go home. That day I had that weird feeling.. we were not welcome in the mountains and I was relieved only when we got back to the cars. Happy and lucky to be safe and alive. The highway was closed because of avalanche danger and we had to drive all around the mountains on small roads.. it took us 15 hours to get to Vancouver.
Some days the mountain is a fun playground, and some others it’s a giant monster ready to eat you up.. It’s crucial to listen to your surroundings and hold back when the conditions are not right. The few days we spent with Cholo and Jenna were amazing, I won’t forget their extra ordinary hospitality. Long life to Noboarding! My favorite thing ever! Be safe.