Posts

November 2011 in a nutshell – MEGA POST

November dealt us quite a few storms early on, and then things dried out for a few weeks.  We had 3 feet or so come quick but with little to no base this still made for low tide conditions.  This time of year is rad because there are so many little features and bumps that normally just get covered up.  There is an extra challenge knowing that if you slam there isn’t much cushion in between you and the rocks, dirt and stumps under the shallow snow.  This just adds to the excitement.
Wackin’ weeds in early november.  
The first couple of rideable days this year we had about a foot to ride on.  12 inches of snow is pushing it for a base especially in light and dry snow, but the width of a powsurfer takes advantage of all 12 of those inches and makes for a pretty sick ride.  The snowboards were carving down into the dirt, the bi-deck snowskates and powderskates were sinking to the bottom like rocks in the light deep pow, scraping the dirt and rocks,s but the float of the powsurfer made these early days awesome.
Hiking in the stoney grove
One of the things I dig most about early November pow is that it is usually super cold and dry, and the angle of the sun gives very interesting light and long shadows… it makes for some cool shots.
Milking the slivers of late light

Backside 180 over the sliver of light

We’ve been hitting up the classic early season spots… the hits in the “stash park” have been hitting, the tree weaving has been a blast, and the mellow grassy fields are always rad for ripping switch and trying tricks. The steep shots have been dealing up early season face shots!  Now is the time for getting into those because the snowpack doesn’t really have slab layers yet.  It’s just rotten “loud powder” all the way to the ground.  Love that stuff, it rides really well and sounds rad when you slash it.

Jeremy – Kickflip in the powsurf “stash park”
KICKFLIPS!
Zach Shepherd poppin’ ollies
360 shuvit – Zach Shepherd
The upper fields are always holding
shooting tubes of cold smoke and rad light
Bobbing and weaving the tight trees is another familiar early season past time.  These pines are so thick that the snow stays super good and a layer of pine needles softens the ground and makes it possible to rip thru them in super shallow snowpack.  It’s rad how playful and agile the powsurf rides, you can weave trees like never before.. even without bindings I can get thru spots that my snowboard would get hung up on.  There are a couple of chutes/ditches running thru these groves of trees that really get the heart pumping.  Fallen logs, shallow snow, tight  walls and no exits make for a wild ride.
Zach shooting out the end of the gauntlet
Flying out the upper gauntlet – the blur in the shot tells the story.. a fast and wild ride!
MID NOVEMBER
The snow finally stacked up enough to close down the road so at this point the sled season begins, at least for the approach.  It’s not quite deep enough to climb anywhere on the sleds so a 7 mile road ride gets us to the base where the hiking begins. 30 minutes later we are on the top of some mellow grassy slopes, perfect for early season slashing.
Rolling up to the base camp packing a small quiver of powsurfs
A few minutes later we summit on foot, take a few minutes for our heads to adjust and the slashing begins
Roosting thru the upper fields
Another positive aspect of low snowpack is the amount of features that exist.  Under deep coverage these natural jumps and drops would just be buried, so now is prime time for hitting up all the features that will soon disappear. The landings can be a bit sketchy cause there is just a couple of feet to cover the dirt and rocks beneath but that is just more motivation to land on your feet and ride away.
Cliff drop/Bush Ollie bottom angle
Top Angle
FS air
Slashing in the November light
LATE NOVEMBER
Late november arrived and it still hadn’t really snowed for weeks.  We were basically shredding the same pow for 3 weeks and it was becoming harder to find good snow.  It had stayed cold so most aspects were still holding powder but with only 3 feet of coverage the options were pretty slim.  We became so desperate that we decided to brave the poor coverage and creep around on our sleds.  All it takes is one big rock to do serious damage to the suspension on our snowmobiles so we crept around treading as lightly as possible.  We managed to find some good fields to test out some of our new shapes and some fun features to bag some hammers on.
Creepin’ with with a quiver.  One on my back and 3 on the sled.

The Phish shapes I had designed over the summer were riding pretty cool, not my favorite ride but interesting nonetheless.  I shaped a diamond tail, a square tail, and a couple of swallow tails, all with a variety of different waist widths.  The diamond tail 130 (pictured above) rode fast and straight.  It is a relatively narrow board with a flat tail so it was responsive but still seemed to turn more like a snowboard than I would prefer, not as agile and playful as some of my favorite shapes.  But it rode fast and had it’s own benefits in certain conditions.  The swallows were interesting but again, not what I’m really after… they would probably sell good to people who didn’t know any better… because they look cool.
The more testing we do the more we realize how much snowboarding has confused people when it comes to what makes a good shape for a powsurfer.  People think that a long board with a giant nose and a long swallow tail is going to be the ultimate powsurf shape.. this is so NOT the case!  It’s cool to have a board with a unique shape, but function always outweighs fashion if you want a good ride.  I’m not saying the swallow tail boards don’t perform, they just perform differently and the ride you get is much more snowboard-like feel and not very “surfy” if that makes any sense.  As far as Grassroots Powdersurfing is concerned, we are not trying to imitate snowboarding.  We are bringing something new to the game of snow-sliding and that is what keeps things fresh for us.  If we wanted a snowboard feel, we would ride a snowboard (with or without the bindings).  We want to make boards that offer a new and unique feel, without factors that limit the way you can ride and the tricks you can do.  That is what powdersurfing is all about.

Having a snowmobile doesn’t mean you don’t ever have to hike to get to the goods.
Almost there…

From the top we rally some open pow fields on the way down to some features we found to play on. Slashing the fields is rad but we always want a challenge so we try to get freestyle on the way down.  Kicktails!  I don’t know why you wouldn’t want one.  Crusing pow is great and all but who likes to be glued to the ground the whole time?  The ability to ollie is a priority in the design of our boards adding agility to the overall ride, allowing the rider to ride backwards and putting some pop under your feet.  Even on flat slopes you can get some air time without the help of a bump or jump.

FS air on the 120 “Slasher”
Pop shuvit over a hippie track on the 140 Twin Powder Skate
Hard to tell what the hell is going on here. I’ll give you a hint, its deep, sunny, and the pow is some high quality shit!
We arrive at our features and it’s game on.  Slam a few times, stomp a few times.. its all fun.  If you’re not slamming you’re probably not learning so there is no shame in eating shit once in a while… or a lot.  I really wanted to bag some good kickflips on both stills and video so I sought out some drops with good takeoffs and got to it.
powdersurf grassroots kickflip
I’d been wanting the nose angle of a kickflip for a while, makes for a sick shot on video as the world spins around and the rider stays upright… trip out… (see video below)

Ollies… the root of all freestyle
One last kickflip to cap off another fun day

November was great despite the lack of snowfall late in the month.  We had lots of sunny cold days in some unique and interesting terrain.  Although our options grew smaller every day, this just meant we had to get creative, and creativity always leads to progression.

Summer sweatshop

Production has been in high gear since the season finally came to an end. I’ve revamped and updated the website, processed hours and hours of footage and photos, and pressed as many boards as possible. I have a grip of new experimental shapes and sizes and I can’t wait to take them for a test drive.

We are involved in a bunch of new media about to hit the magazine stands, the television, and the interwebs this fall. It will be interesting to see how “the masses” react to this stuff. Maybe they love it, maybe they hate on it.. Either way, It won’t affect the amount of fun I have surfing the pow.

Grassroots Powdersurfing Sweatshop – Manville, USA
The “Red Rocket”… aka “The Bomb”
Given the MANY hours I spend building these boards, I get pretty attached to them. I have a hard time letting them go really. Hopefully they find find happy homes and live up to their full potential.

Jeremy Jensen Powsurfing at Alta Ski Resort

Alta is for Powsurfing


Late season snowstorms and cold temps were back in full swing in late May. I was due to leave for Kauai on a surf filming mission this weekend so I decided to leave a day early in hopes of bagging some late season pow at the bird. It had been dumping hard for 3 days and snowbird was due to open up on friday with 30 new inches. I woke up stoked and I waited patiently for the road to open after the avy control had finished up. The road opened on schedule and just as I was about to race to the car the bad news hit… Snowbird was not going to open today because of too much snow! They have been running weekends only for the past few weeks so they had not kept up with their avalanche control work and they decided it was too dangerous to open that day. I was pretty pissed after driving all the way from Logan and getting my hopes up to slash 3 feet of pow in late May.
I settled down and got on the phone to everybody I knew in the area to try to find a buddy to go hike some powsurf lines with. I had brought a couple of extra powsurfers with me for friends to ride. Nobody was into it. Who could resist a waist deep pow day in late May?! So I went at it alone. Not the smartest thing to do given all the red flags of the day – snowbird choosing not to open, 3 feet of new snow in May, potential for major warming…etc. However, 20 years shredding the backcountry has taught me that safe travel is still possible if you’re smart about it.


Luckily, Alta had been running their snowcats and had been grooming throughout the week so I didn’t have to hike in waist deep snow. I marched up the groomer passing ski supremacist hippies left and right. (Alta is a “skier only” resort, snowboards are forbidden)
The groomer made the hike up a walk in the park.

I love hiking with the powsurfers becasue they are so light and minimalistic. Of course I get all the awkward looks from people muttering things like “what the hell is that?” and “how do you ride down without bindings”…. I reply with “it’s a powdersurfer” and “gravity”. Some people are intrigued and stoked at the concept and some people can’t quite fathom it (especially your average hippy at Alta). They get all sorts of confused when you blow by them on the ride down.


Balls deep at 10,000 feet

Top of Collins Chair – Strictly Forbidden area for snowboarders

Looks like I’m authorized

Visibility was pretty poor so I decided the trees beneath the Collins chair were a good bet for good pow and better vis. The wind was raging so I quickly gave praise and dropped in for a warm up run. I knew it was going to be pretty deep but I didn’t expect it to be nearly waist deep.


After a short warm up run it was on! Conditions were epic – even for mid winter. Now where to go?

Decisions decisions….

The signs were very helpful…
I ripped a bunch of lines down “sunspot” under the collins chair. Nicely spaced trees kept the pow safe from the wind and the visibility good. The snowpack was so high that I nearly hit my head on the chairs as I slashed by them.

Tree barrel

Almost hit my head on the chair

After 5 runs on the upper mountain I was spent. I headed for one of my favorite zones at Alta for my lower descent. The Wildcat zone holds some sick steep shots with tons of features to launch off of. I had to do some trailblazing in waist deep snow to get there but it was well worth the effort. The snow was pretty saturated on the lower mountain so I needed a good steep run. Although the snow was not as good down here, this was still the funnest run of the day. Super steep chutes with fun buttons left and right- all the way down to the parking lot.
Faceshots galore, fun bumps everywhere, I was in powsurf heaven. I left super stoked to get a nice deep pow day that could be the last of the season. 10 hrs later I hopped on a flight to Kauai and spent the next 10 days soaking in the sun, surfing, and chilling out in a tropical paradise. Pretty epic ender to another epic season.
Peep the footy below!


MayDaze

 

It has been 5 or 6 days since the last storm so I kept my hopes low for the day. We rode strapped for the morning and I scouted for deeper pow in the afternoon. Turned out we found some pow just deep enough to surf on the highest north facing slopes.
Earning my turns

I managed to grab a few good still shots with my remote trigger as the sun fell low into the sky. Too good to put on the blog… gonna have to stay tuned for those. My battery died in my remote as the light became just perfect so I was a bit let down. I managed to get some pretty nice video instead.

Slashing above the Mt. Naomi Wilderness


Aaron and I spent the morning snowboarding/skiing. There were some lines we had been waiting all year to hit. They were finally safe enough to shred, but the pow was not quite deep enough to powsurf.


We have been looking at these lines off of Mt. Magog, waiting for the right day. It could be years before they fill in good enough to ride. Hopefully we can nail this one in the next few weeks.


Mayday!

May 1st brought bluebird conditions and if you knew where to find it, there was cold dry pow to surf as well. It’s becoming harder to find people out there that are still in winter mode.. the backcountry up here is pretty much a ghost town right now. The past two sundays I haven’t seen or heard a soul up there other than my homies and I. More powder for us to slash I guess.
I knew it was supposed to cloud up this afternoon so I showed up early and sessioned solo for a couple of hours until Craig and Dewey showed up. I managed to find some nice pow up high in the N facing slopes.


slashes and photos: Jeremy Jensen

All it takes is a little bump in the slope and it’s party time. I found this bump and popped some tricks.

Pop shovit on the “140 powderskate”
Kickflip

I’ve been finding some pretty fun shots where I can ghost my sled and get some turns. I rigged my pov cam to my sled and powsurfed behind it as it ghosted down the hill.

Bomb drop off of my moving sled

Powder plumes where kicking up pretty big for a sunny day in May


One of the little less know benefits of shrednecking is hot food for lunch. My little cooker attaches to the pipe and heats up leftovers to perfection. The menu for today: Corned beef with roasted potatoes and carrots – served at 10,000 feet. Yum.


Craig and Dewey finally showed up around noon and with them came fast moving storm clouds and eventually, a full on blizzard. It went from sunny warm and bluebird to a january style blizzard within minutes. We were forced to surf the trees for a little while until the storm passed and the sun popped back out. This cycle would be the norm for the rest of the day. 15 minutes of blizzard, 15 minutes of sunshine. Gotta love spring weather in Utah.
We had numbers now so we were able to start taking runs. We sessioned a familiar spot where we used to ride snowboards back in the day.
Craig Stevenson kicking up some cold smoke

Jeremy… getting it


Our snowpack is so high this year that we were able to do a couple of entrances that had not been filled in for years. Pretty scary drop in. Tight and steep!

Dropping in


The first turn after the drop in – high speed!

A few turns later, a perfect roller to bust ollies off of

It was so much fun we had to do it again! Actually, the only good snow left was beneath the cliff bands so if we wanted the pow we had to brave the steep, skinny drop in again. It was way scarier this time with our old tracks and two bomb holes below where Dewey and Keneka had landed on their snowboards.
Craig – big slash beneath a skinny drop in
Jeremy – hauling ass thru chop beneath the skinny drop in
Craig and I tried a follow cam run.. not easy. Trying to stay close enough to keep him in the picture while getting blasted with his spray was pretty hard.



We have been pretty lucky this spring with some nice cool temps and plenty of moisture. Super stoked to be powsurfing this late in the season. Spoiled, but still hoping for more!

Big Waves and Cold smoke on April 27th

April just keeps on dealing up the goods. A foot and a half of cold smoke was on the menu for today. The toughest thing today was deciding where to shred. When EVERYTHING is good above 8000 ft (no sled tracks and nobody around) and so much to chose from, it is like overload on the senses. After driving all over the place trying to find the best situation possible for shooting and riding in good light, we finally settled on a zone.

I found a perfect little “Ghost ride” on the way to our zone. Bomb dropping from the seat of a moving sled, spraying it with my slashes on the way down, and jumping back on while it was still moving was a pretty entertaining warm up run.
Tandem powsurf/Ghost ride

“The Knob” offers around 2000 ft of N facing steep avalanche terrain. We were a bit nervous with a fresh 18 inches on the top so we eased into it, riding the “safer” lines first. I’m not sure if safer is the right word…. would you rather get flushed down over numerous cliffs and buried at the bottom or get shredded by trees and buried at the bottom should something break loose? Anyways, we picked what we felt was safer at the time and worked our way into the more gnarly terrain throughout the day.
Behold, “the Knob”
One of the first slashes made on this fine april afternoon.

The day started of with a couple of powsurf runs down “The Lawn Mower”. The conditions were simply unreal for this time of year (or anytime of year for that matter). 2000 ft of blower cold smoke pow.


In between the pow slashing you could find rollers and lips to pop ollies off of. Our boards are built the way they are so you can ollie them… if your current bindingless device does not allow you to pop an ollie you are pretty much blowing it – it’s time for you to upgrade to a Grassroots Powdersurfer and enter a new world of bliss and endless freestyle possibilities! 🙂


Ollies! One of the HUGE benefits of riding Grassroots Powdersurfers.

Backside 180’s are hard enough without a stupid pole in your hand

A view of “The Knob” from the bottom

After we’d had our way with “the Knob” we moved on to a new sector. We strapped into our snowboards and sessioned some jumps we had previously built a few days ago. I know some bindingless dudes out there hate on snowboarding… I am not one of them. Snowboarding is fun as hell and there is a time and place for it- there always will be. (like hitting giant kickers) I get bummed on the corporate blasphemies and the dorky trends of the snowboard industry, but that is easily ignored- especially when you’re shredding fresh pow in the backcountry and not paying attention to the fads and the bullshit. Enough about snowboarding – this is a powsurfing blog.

When the jumps were bombed out we bomb dropped a tree on our powsurfs, milked a couple of late afternoon powslash shots and bailed. Another epic day in an epic season.

Craig Stevenson bomb droppin’ – Photo Jeremy Jensen

Jeremy – droppin’ next! – Photo Craig Stevenson


Jeremy slashin – Photo Craig Stevenson

Craig slashin – Photo Jeremy Jensen

Easter Sunday Offerings

Waking up to bluebird skies again caught me by surprise. I had not got home until 10 pm last night. Yesterday’s 12 hour powsurf session worked me pretty good. I was too tired to call anyone that night and I just crashed. So I got busy this morning and called around to everyone I knew to find someone to go shred with- No luck. I couldn’t let a bluebird powder day in late april get away from me so I embarked on a solo mission.

Strapped with 3 powsurfs and my camera gear, I set off into the backcountry. It wasn’t long before I came across a zone I’d had my eyes on earlier this season. I found a perfect natural roller and some cold pow pow to land in. So the session began.
I sent the roller a couple of times and it was pretty sweet and bigger than I had anticipated. Made for some decent still and video shots.
The shadows from the trees were moving quick with the sun, so I let this dictate which features to hit. The roller was obscured by shadows so I milked a couple of pow runs nearby.

Another nearby mini roller was good for some slashes and some ollies

The sun had kinda gotten to this pow but it was still slashworthy

Backside 180 on the mini roller
I found a little diving board with a nice steep landing. Perfect set up for getting tricky off of. A did a couple of kickflips to pass the time.

Before I knew it my roller was back in the sun and ready to hit a couple more times.

This Easter was a memorable one. Riding solo for the day wasn’t so bad, it is hard to push yourself because there is no one there to stoke you up and you don’t want to get hurt up there. But I had plenty of time to get creative with framing shots and really think things thru. I’m stoked that I didn’t let this powder day get away from me.

Happy Easter!

Easter Weekend Offerings – Day 2

So much powder to slash – so little time

Day 2 of Easter weekend greeted us with blue skies and nice cool temps again. We rallied up to a familiar zone and bagged a few long north facing lines to start off the morning. Slashed a few lips, popped some ollies, shredded some ditches and dropped some rocks. So much fun. RC had to bail out early but I decided to stick around and grab a few shots I had been thinking about.

whip slash in the middle of “ditch fest” – one of my favorite low consequence powsurf runs


I sessioned this little wall hit for a few airs before moving on to a new zone. Good for a few ollies and a backside 180.


This area is well known for its numerous caves and sink holes. There are 3 huge sink holes and a big cave near this area. I got brave and didn’t bother to wear a leash or anything for a few jumps.. This resulted in the near loss (forever) of one of my boards. I slammed, the board went flying down the mountain and literally rode the wall of a bottomless sink hole a few hundred feet down the mountain. Note to self… wear your leash.

My runaway board literally rode the bowl around this sink hole. You can see it’s track at the bottom of the pic. I threw some stuff down this hole and I could not hear it hit the bottom… I was super lucky not to lose my board for good.

The weather warmed up a bit so I moved on to another zone a few miles away and a bit higher up to find some colder snow to ride. The light was fading fast so my options were pretty limited but I found this hump that was begging to be slashed. Notice the gloveless right hand – I snapped this with a remote shutter controller.

I took a nice break on the upper peaks, looking around for some features and making some plans for the late afternoon light. This is one of my favorite spots in the world to chill. I’ve been coming to this spot for over 20 years and it never gets old. It really makes me appreciate the beautiful area I am so lucky to live in.


As golden hour approached pieces of sunshine became more difficult to find. I managed to find a decent NW facing slope where I could ghostride my sled down and make some late evening turns.

High powered slash


Head plant… from trying to slash too hard.

The sun got even lower until I was limited to the very tops of the ridges for sunlight. I set up a few shots hoping to catch some golden light. (these are NOT the shots) these are frame grabs from the video I was shooting…. of me shooting the shots – if that makes sense. The light didn’t pop much in these frame grabs.

Here’s a shot of me getting a shot of me
As the sun dropped farther into the western skyline I scrambled to find a zone where the “golden light” would be shining. My options were limited this late in the evening but I managed to find a few features that were surfable before the sun set. It was a dark and cold trip home, I was pretty beat down from the 12+ hour powsurf session.

Easter Weekend Offerings – Day 1

Fresh snow and cooler temps kept the powdersurfing conditions epic throughout the Easter weekend. We actually had 3 bluebird days in a row! I think that is a first for this season. (it’s been snowy as hell this winter)

A few powsurf first descents went down on friday on some bigger and more exposed lines. “The Knob” was our first zone to kick off the weekend. “Check your pants” and one of the “Triplets” were my choice of lines to start off the day. 1500 vertical foot runs of deep cold smoke… it doesn’t get much better than this.
Behold “The Knob”
Lines from Left to right : “Check your pants”, “The Lawn Mower”, “The Triplets”, “The Flux”, and “The Skinny”


Choking on pow turns on the upper section of “Check Your Pants”.

Poppin ollies over trees
After checking my pants I moved over to the first of the “Triplets” and gutted it proper from the top. There was some old slide debris in the chute that made things pretty challenging but there was just enough fresh on top to make it doable.


Power slash in the hanging snow field just above the choke in #1 of “The Triplets”


I feel funny complaining this time of year that the snow is too deep… but this was the case today. 16-18 inches made blazing trail on the sleds pretty difficult, so we had to change our plans up a bit. As soon as we arrived to our zone my sled decided to die… the key quit working and I was pretty much stranded. We made do with just one sled for the day and managed to score pretty well considering our situation.
Chalk up another epic day of powsurfing in the Utah Backcountry

Spring Waves

This season just keeps dishing up the goods and of course we keep on slashing away at them.

April has brought us a steady flow of fresh powder with very few breaks in the clouds. This means less bluebird days but at least the quality of powder remains light and dry. We have been forced into the thicker woods for visibility’s sake but I have no complaints. The goods are in the woods.
I apologize for all the GoPro shots in advance… The snowy weather has kept my nicer cameras in their bags for much of the season. I try to at least mix it up with some unseen angles.
Laying out some g-turns on the powsurf


Catching a breath in between facefulls of pow


Getting barreled

I love spring time in Northern Utah. Most resorts are closed and the masses have moved on to riding bikes and golfing. The storms keep rolling thru, raining in the valley and dumping snow in the mountains, leaving tons of fresh pow for me and my homies to track up.