Jeremy Jensen, Dave Smellie and Mike Kerkman riding some of the early Grassroots Powsurfing hand painted powsurfers.

Powdersurfing saved my sanity – Nov-Dec 2009

Jeremy Jensen, Kevin Hornerbrook, and Mike “Cookie” Kerkman getting ready to slash some pow.


The winter season so far has been pretty dismal. It is January 12th and in here in northern Utah we are at about 45% of normal snowpack. This hasn’t stopped me from having a hell of a fun winter. Thanks to the powdersurf boards that I have been making in my garage, the season has been awesome. I have been snowboarding three times so far this year and it was fun- but with limited coverage, high avalanche danger and limited shreddable terrain it kind of puts a limit on the snowboarding potential. So losing the bindings was a great decision to pass the time.
Powdersurfing is so much fun and it honestly makes me feel like a 15 year old kid again. Going out every day and doing tricks that have never been done before just makes you giddy inside. Reminds me of landing my first kickflips on a skateboard 20 years ago. Just riding away with a giant grin and looking around and thinking “holy shit! I’m still on my feet!!”
Powdersurfing excites me because there is so much potential. The freestyle and skatestyle influence can truly be taken advantage of on these boards. Over the past couple of months we have been hitting jumps, dropping cliffs, slashing pow, and riding rails and logs. Pop shovits off cliffs, 360 shovits, kickflips, bigspins, log jams, 180s, cabs, etc…..
So many “first evers” have gone down in past 40 days. Super exciting.
There is so much potential with this sport that I fear it is only a matter of time before someone with money rips off our idea and leaves us in the dust. Our construction process is lengthy and expensive (for us poor folk) so it is tough to mass produce- But i am gonna give it my best shot with the resources I do have.
Being able to take advantage of terrain that would feel mediocre on a snowboard is a huge advantage. So much new terrain opens itself up and you begin to see the mountain in a whole new light.

Very little snow this season has forced us to shred the lower angle grassy fields for the first couple of months of the season. Brandon, Dave, and RC hiking up in the cold smoke.



Did I mention these things slash the pow REALLY well?

Jeremy catching a pop- shovit off a kicker that some skiers had built for us.

Text Color Dave getting some tail.
Jeremy Jensen – 360 shovit



Jeremy Jensen – Testing a couple of new boards.

Storm is always stoked to get out and shred.

October 4th Surf Session

FIRST POW DAY OF THE SEASON OCTOBER 4th – TONY GROVE!!!

There was just barely enough snow on the ground to make it surfable. Not quite ready for the snowboard in my opinion. I figure if youre gonna be riding mellow slopes with no drops or kickers to chuck off of then you might as well be riding bindingless.
CHECK THE VIDEO BELOW FOR A RECAP OF THE GOODS. Not bad for October!

Getting ready to get some near the “G-spot”

Pow surfing with Storm Dog @ St’Bump

With High avalanche danger and numerous fatalities over the past week in Utah the Storm Dog and I kept it safe over at Stump Hollow. The pow was deep and light- perfect for the pow-surf. Luckily Youngblood had blazed a trail for us to walk up or it would have been hell hiking to the top. Youngblood, Hornerbrook and Bill were most likely riding their bindingless decks here as well. They love this zone. It was pretty fun and there were pillows and tight trees to keep it interesting.

Storm – Enjoying the deep pow.

Pow surfing with Storm Dog @ St’Bump

With High avalanche danger and numerous fatalities over the past week in Utah the Storm Dog and I kept it safe over at Stump Hollow. The pow was deep and light- perfect for the pow-surf. Luckily Youngblood had blazed a trail for us to walk up or it would have been hell hiking to the top. Youngblood, Hornerbrook and Bill were most likely riding their bindingless decks here as well. They love this zone. It was pretty fun and there were pillows and tight trees to keep it interesting.

Storm – Enjoying the deep pow.

2008-2009 First PowSurf session of the season.

The Storm Dog and myself made it out for a few runs in our favorite early season spot. This marks the 18th straight year that I have been coming to this spot for early season powdies. It just doesn’t ever seem to get old. Especially when you ride without bindings.


Storm and PowSurf.
Brock getting his surf on.


Still a few weeds poking up.

2008-2009 First PowSurf session of the season.

The Storm Dog and myself made it out for a few runs in our favorite early season spot. This marks the 18th straight year that I have been coming to this spot for early season powdies. It just doesn’t ever seem to get old. Especially when you ride without bindings.


Storm and PowSurf.
Brock getting his surf on.


Still a few weeds poking up.

May Surf Session





So it dumped a foot and a half of pow-pow- and I had nobody to go tow laps with. I wasn’t gonna let fresh pow in May go to waste so I saddled up solo with my snowboard, surfboard, and camera and headed west (of the parking lot). I arrived to light dry pow that was dificult to snowmobile in and not super stable sitting on a solid melt/freeze crust. So i decided not to try hiking up anything or snowboarding any of the usual stuff since I was by myself and didn’t feel like dying in an avalanche. Instead I would ghost ride my sled to get up to the tops and surf my way down. I found a bunch of pretty cool features- a baby step-up, some windlip slashers, a hip style booter, and a cornice to drop.


Test droppin the cornice.
My landing kept avalanching away- after each drop I had to go bigger to make it to the pow.

Pop-shovit.

By the time I got to this slasher the sun had taken the “lightNdry” out of the pow-pow.


After slamming like 6 times trying to kickflip this step up I finally settled for the fs air.

1st Kickflip on surfboard.

I almost knocked my teeth out trying to get this 360 shovit.


So it turned out to be a pretty fun day for riding by myself. I managed to take some really hard slams but that is the nature of our new little sport. It ain’t stuck to your feet! I vowed to return and pull a 360 shovit before the season is up. Hopefully we get another powder day before its all done this year. Pray for Snow!

Blooming Yurt – 2008 Surf Trip

The yurt and surrrounding areas- pretty good shredding up hear- tough tow arounds though.


This yurt is the mother of all yurts if you ask me. It’s at least twice the size of any other yurt I have yurted in and you can ride your sleds to it. The Crow’s Nest is a huge plus adding light and a lovely little place to chill out. They had moved it to a new location since we were here last so it was a bitch to find. It took brock/craig and crew 4-5 hours to get from the parking log to the yurt. It was the middle of the night and they were prolly wasted by this point so that made things that much more complicated.

Bloomington parking lot- gettin ready to yurt
I rolled up a day late (which only turned out to be about 5 hours behind my homies who had spent all night searching for it). I got there just in time to watch the thermometer break 55+ degrees. This pretty much destroyed all powdies at all elevations. So we were forced to improvise- I tried one run on the snowboard and it was just plain hateful. So we went to plan B- Surfing, and screwing around. We rolled giant snowballs down sunny faces to try to get avalanches to break and looked at every possibility we could find to shred. It just wasnt happening so I busted out the surf board and started jibbing down some cornice line. It was pretty tough to get control without bindings in this kind of snow but I managed to get a couple good lines. I found a little double line where I could catch some air and get all tech. I did a few shovits and the first ever half cab off a cornice (it was super weak).
We burned down- and I got to thinking about trying a kickflip. The dudes egged me on so I went up and tried it. I came pretty close on the first try to my surprise so I tried it again and nailed it. Before I knew it I was riding away stoked. So I guess I can claim the first ever kickflip on a powder-surf board. I guess I’m gonna be famous some day.
So the day of riding wasn’t a complete loss. I pulled a half cab- some good shovits, and a kickflip and we got most of it on film. Not bad for a slushy day in the backcountry.
Brock, Gonz, and I put our soaking wet boots back on and headed up high to catch the sunset. It was fully worth it- it feels pretty rad to soak in the pinkish orange light for a few minutes.
I think I have like a hundred pictures of my sled in the sunset- it never gets old for me. It just looks like its ready to go to battle- just ready to slash everything in sight. Damn.
Jeremy- photo
Jeremy- photo
Jeremy- photo
This was my track from the first and only snowboard run of the trip. It was actually good for this turn and then one more before it went sour. -photo: Brock Bitton
The next day looked like more of the same. We found a fresh line of cornices that was actually really fun. Landed my first frontside shovit and almost got a fs big spin! It makes you feel young again when you learn new tricks every other day- reminds me of the good ol days learning to skateboard. We had two boards break free of their leashes and go shooting down hill into trees- luckily nobody lost their decks or saw them break into pieces. This whole surfing thing could really catch fire.

Mica Creek Heli trip 2008

MICA HELI

We drove till the road ended (30hrs later) and were picked up by a shiny red helicopter. -photo Will Wissman

 
Bird’s eye view- photo Will Wissman
I was a helicopter virgin until this point. 10 days later I considered my self a helicopter slut.
Coming in for a landing at Mica Lodge. -photo Darren
Big Perm Big pimping. -photo Jeremy Jensen
MICA HELI

Day 1 12/27/07
30 + hrs of driving and a quick heli lift and we are finally here at Mica Lodge. This place is pimp. Food is plentiful, beds are big and soft, and the pow appears to be deep and of the highest quality. I cant think too well right now- I havent slept more than a half hour or so on the trip and I am fading quick. We moved into our rooms, had a welcome shot of Crown, and a beer, and we are feeling better now. I figured out Nico’s camera issues so we should be good to go tomorrow.
I got the “honeymoon suite” Top floor of the main lodge with a hell of a view. -photo Jeremy Jensen
Day 2 12/28/07 – HARVEY CANYON
Ate a quick breakfast of bacon and eggs and took a quick course on helicopter safety and avy safety. DId a couple of scenerios and found some hidden beacons. We decided to do some fun runs and peep out the terrain. We are planning on hitting up “Crispy Critters” tomorrow it looks like.just got back from three big fun runs- the pow is bottomless and fast. The terrain here is insane. Pillow lines galore. We rode a run called “repeater” twice and then flew by “pillow talk” and took a run down the side of that. So this was the best pillow line of my life so far. The pillows were so soft I could hardly even feel them. The only way I knew I was hittin them was from the face shots they were sending me. SIIICK!
Looking down Harvey Canyon at the end of a long day of pow slashing. -photo Jeremy Jensen
Stoney- to say the least. -photo Jeremy Jensen
The heli is so smooth- I cant beleive it. So rad. I have just been giggling since that last run. Stoked for tomorrow. I am truly in heaven here. If only Candice was up here- I would never leave. Well I guess i would also need a heli, a pilot, and a shitloat of gas and food.
I seriously cant believe how sick it is rollin around in the heli. All sorts of gitty inside. I could leave now and it would be worth the 30 hour drive. I am a bumbling idiot right now.
Chillin atop “Crispy Critters” on our second heli day. -photo Jeremy Jensen
Early morning departure. 5 minutes to powpow. -Photo Darren
Day 4 12/30/07 Down-Day
Today was fuckin sick for a down- day! Did some of the sickest powsurfing ever today. Really wishing I had my Grassroots Powdersurfer, but the only thing I could sneak in my bag was the old Sims blade with stomp pads. Better than not having a surfer! Busted down a million pillows and slashed deep sick pow nearby the lodges. Blew my mind. Scored a couple of snowcat rides on the blade and then I hiked one more cause i couldnt get enough.
Snowcat rides to the goods! You don’t need bindings here to have a good time. -photo Jeremy Jensen
My 1980’s model sims blade 130 (used to be a 171 til the tail broke off) and my private snowcat. The snow surfing is epic here in Canada. They call it “noboarding” here. Silly Canadians. -photo Jeremy Jensen
Early morning bluebird timelapse setup. I also ran my still camera intervalometer as well as the HVX to get some pretty sick timelapses of the sun rising. -photo Darren
The sun rises above the new Mica Chalet. -photo Jeremy Jensen
 
A still shot from one of the timelapses I got with the help of the Cannon G5. -photo Jeremy Jensen
 
I managed to get a couple still shots of the sun hitting the peaks. -photo Jeremy Jensen
-photo Jeremy Jensen
I wish all of my sunrises had helicopters in them. -photo Jeremy Jensen
 
 
It’s pretty up here. -photo Jeremy Jensen
The pow here is epic. -photo Jeremy Jensen
Day 6 1/1/08 Happy New Year!
It was tough getting out of bed this morning but I managed. I don’t know how the team is gonna fair today- we got pretty smashed lastnight and danced the night away. Cosmos on the house, whiskey shots, wine, beers, and champagne… pretty good recipe for a hangover. I can’t let myself waste a day here. I am basically good to go. We got some drunken footy and pics with Darren’s fishey lense of our boys only dance party (darrens’ wife was there too but it was mostly sausage.) I hope we get out and shred today. I could use some free runs.
Twiskey anyone???
With guys like this pouring drinks you know its on.
Here’s to big mountains, deep pow, and helicopters!
The fishey lense on Darren’s camera was a big hit.
 
Darren is the marketing Director for Mica Heli and on the left is Jack.
 
There is no shortage of gnar up here. -photo Jeremy Jensen
Jeremy getting “the shot” of crew #1 headed up to Harvey Canyon. This is hard work. -photo Darren

Surf’s Up!

Over the past few of years I have been doing more and more snowboarding without the binding thing. I started off back in ’99 just surfing my split-board since it had grip (the pieces holding the board together, some stomp pads and the teleporters). Then came the snowskate which is absolute genius – except you cant ride more than a few inches of pow. So around 2001-02 Saunders and I broke out the Winterstick roundtail that had nubbies all over the top, a huge fish nose and a skinny round tail- this thing works perfect as a powsurf board. I didn’t have a Winterstick of my own, so I did the next best thing. I brought the cut down Sims Blade out of retirement and have been surfing that alot in the past few years. Not the best solution, but it works way better than a regular snowboard.

“The Blade”, myself, and the Storm-dog on the first surf mission of 2007. I made some improvements since last season- Leash, and stomppads- grip is everything.
Blade’s-eye view

The blade and I enjoyed many deep pow runs via the snowcat at Mica Creek Lodge -Interior B.C.

It was pretty fun and fairly functional given the right snow conditions- but It didn’t feel quite right.. it felt like I was forcing it to turn and it seemed too skinny.. dragging toes and heels, etc.. A while back my friend Brock Bitton showed up with a board he had made at his house out of wood, foam, and wax. I took one run on it and and it mad me realize I needed to ditch the whole makeshift snowboard thing and work on shaping a proper board that was designed to work with  no bindings. If I made my own, I could experiment with shape, rocker, profiles, etc..  So I got to work.
I wanted it to look bad-ass…. so I got all crafty and painted a graphic

After the paint job dried I pressed it, cut it out, and cherried up the sidewalls. Then gave it a custom diecut grip job. This thing rides like a dream.

Brock – running the press – in the a……..factory- yeah our factory.
 
Shred ready.

Nuking as hard as possible at the grove- the surfing was as epic as it gets today- super light and dry pow
This is pretty much the crew- we are all working together on R&D to make the best board we can.

note all the surfboards strapped to the front of our sleds.
My board rode so well!  Way beyond the snowboard hack jobs we had all been trying. This could be the beginning of something amazing. The seed has been planted for Grassroots Powdersurfing!