Brandon Saunders getting low on his grassroots powsurfer.

It seems we had to wait longer than ever before to get a taste of powder this year but as always it’s well worth the wait.  It was mid November when finally a couple of feet blanketed our special zone that we have re-visited for the past 25 years. I learned to snowboard here nearly 25 years, I learned to powsurf here 14 years ago and it just never gets old.  So many nooks and crannies that hold special memories and continue to dish out great memories on every visit.  Welcome winter!!

Whippin’ through head high weeds!

Even 5 inches on dirt is enough to surf when you get the type of floatation that a Grassroots Powsurfer provides.  Weed Wackin’!

RC and I made multiple laps this day, making shallow slalom skateboard-like turns so we didn’t scrape bottom.  So fun watching weeds explode before our eyes and challenging to control speed without taking any speed scrub turns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riding 5″ on dirt was a bit of a tease but fun nonetheless.  2 weeks later we got a real dump with 2 new feet to fill things in so we could really slash the pow. Still a bit thin for coverage but it’s amazing how much fun you can squeeze out of just a little bit of snow.  That’s part of the magic of powsurfing.

Brandon and Jeremy soaking in the sun and taking in the familiar view.

14 years ago Brandon Saunders and I brought up an old Winterstick Round Tail plus to this very zone for some of our first big binding free runs.  We were amazed that it was possible to link turns and so full of stoke and thoughts about the future and how we could make a board that would work even better. It was great to re-unite with Brandon and get him back on snow again.  This time on powsurfers  designed and shaped for this very thing.. Brandon was so hyped and amazed with riding boards that were designed for this very purpose.  Welcome back Brandon!

This was Brandon’s first binding free powturn in 14 years. Welcome back brother.

Brandon getting pitted in the woods!

Dodging stumps, fallen trees, logs and rocks in the tight woods..scary but so much fun! That smile says it all.

 

What would an early season at the “sacred grove” be without a little fun in the campground?  We finished off hot pow laps with some pole jammin for desert.

Pole Jam on the Grassroots Phish Swallow tail.

Pole Jam Shuvit

Pole Jam kickflip.

 

 

Nicolas Muller and Jeremy Jensen

Grassroots Powdersurfing all over SIA

The Snowsports industry tradeshow is always a hoot. All your favorite super heroes are there, the latest and greatest technology is revealed (usually a re-packaged form of old technology under a new name) and the hype machines are running full steam.  All the big companies fight for attention using whatever gimmicks they can pull…  free beer, half naked chicks, DJs, free swag of all sorts, juggling clowns, …. anything to grab your attention so they can convince you that their company is hot shit or their technology is superior to all the other companies that are making the same product.   We didn’t have anything like that so we did things Grassroots Style.  We showed our product and let it speak for itself.  We are doing our own thing and we have been doing it for 7 years now. Powsurfing is the purest form of “snowboarding” in existence and is the most “free” form of any type of mountain riding.   So what’s not to love about it? I don’t think any snowsports enthusiast could hate on something that so purely defines what it is we are all after when we head out into the mountains.  In our eyes this is more powerful than any side-show gimmick that the mega corporations could ever dream up.

We were fortunate to have good friends who see the beauty in what we do and they believe in our product and what it stands for.  These friends came up huge in helping us show our product at SIA. We were able to showcase boards all around the show.  They were a perfect fit in the Mtn Approach booth, they are the perfect companion for that kit and they looked right at home in the booth that Cory made from old barn wood.  They fit beautifully in Dave Basterrechea’s Cheetah Factory Racing booth- CFR makes the perfect rack to haul your powsurfer around on the back of your snow machine.  Our boards found another home in the “Backcountry Experience” booth that housed many split boards and powder specific snowboards. Powsurfing is of course THE ultimate backcountry experience!

Our goods were looking tight with the Mtn Approach gear

At home in the “Backcountry Experience” Booth

Note to all the companies riding our coattails and copying our stuff- This is our new lawyer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grassroots was a big hit amongst the legends of snowboarding both young and old.  Shawn Farmer, Terry Kidwell, Nicolas Muller, JJ Thomas, Bjorn Leines, Danny Davis, Johnny Paxton, Lucas Magoon, and the list goes on and on… The most creative minds in snowboarding were naturally drawn in and clearly hyped on what we have created.  Our videos looped on a TV screen in the CFR booth and passers by were able to see the possibilities on these unique looking wooden toys.

Farmers is down

Farmer knows what’s up! The Powderskate Twin is a clear choice for this guy.

Nicolas Muller – Of course the most creative riders in snowboarding are down for powsurfing.

Terry Kidwell is the Godfather of freestyle snowboarding. Hyped to chat with this man!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When JJ isn’t boosting 30 feet out of a super pipe he can be found powsurfing.

Bjorn Leines and Dave Basterechea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retailers were hyped, industry legends were hyped, pro snowboarders/skiers/snowmobilers were hyped…. so of course we were hyped that our first real SIA show was a success. After being involved with snowboarding for 25 years it’s easy to get burnt out on an industry that creates so many cliques and fads to try to keep their product fresh in the eyes of the buyer. It feels good to be doing what we love without having to put a spin on our product to sell it to people. The fun and freedom will always speak for itself.

HOMEWARD BOUND!  When the show was over and packed up we were stoked to get the hell out of Denver.  We had left Utah just as 3 feet + of pow had fallen, so we were eager to get back to where the goods were at.  We let the rest of the industry go do their on-snow demos (more like on-man-made-ice demos) at Winterpark and we went home and surfed pow with “the Daves” from Cheetah Factory Racing.  I was stoked to show Dave B some of our backyard goods since he showed us such a good time up in Canada last month.  Both Daves took their first powsurf runs ever and were blown away.  They were both naturals, slaying the steep tree chutes and popping ollies on the fun buttons.  Tall Dave called it the funnest time he’d ever had and the best road trip of his life.  Cheers to that!

Kanika, Dave B, Tall Dave, & Jeremy loving Utah powder.

Dave B crushed it right out the gate.

Tall Dave showing his skateboarding roots!

Breaking all the rules.. Jeremy popping a shuvit on the Powder Shark 140cm

Jeremy Jensen Ollies his Grassroots Powsurfer in the Utah Backcountry.

While some of the world hunkered down to prepare for armageddon, the Grassroots crew headed into the hills to celebrate the solstice the best we know how, by enjoying life to the fullest.  A fresh couple of feet had fallen over the past couple of days and the skies turned blue for us.  The shortest day of the year brings seriously epic light on a bluebird day.. long shadows and cold smoke conditions made this one extra special.

The new Powsurf Compatible Cheetah Racks are absolutely bomber. So hyped on this setup!

Mike Lane, a good friend from back in the day was in town from Santa Cruz.  Lane has been surfing non-stop out there for a few years now and he was back to test his skills on the snow.  Lane slayed the steeps and threw in a few good ollies in the process.

Clack! Mike Lane popping ollies in the Utah duff.

 

Lane with a pow-eating grin.

Powsurf Slash

Lane only had a couple of powsurfing days under his belt but he ripped it like a veteran.  There was no second guessing or hesitation when we hit the steeper slopes, just fearless charging and big smiles at the bottom.  While the snowpack was relatively shallow, there is no complaining about fresh cold smoke on a bluebird day.  We seized the day and made the most of what we had to work with, slashing every slash in sight, and popping every fun button.  We milked every last bit of sunlight and left stoked.   So hyped on a new season of exploring possibilities and celebrating a new take on a familiar past time. Happy Solstice!

Jeremy Jensen lining up a couple of ollies.

Powder 8’s on the sled are always fun.

Jeremy Jensen, JJ Thomas, and Scotty Arnold about to surf some powder.

Jeremy Jensen, JJ Thomas, and Scotty Arnold ready for action in the PC neighborhood backcountry

After a few big hammer pow days in the backcountry it was time for a mellow day.  I linked up with Scotty Arnold and JJ Thomas in Park City to check out a rad little surf zone that JJ’s girl had found for us. Beth Anne has a good eye for powsurf zones!  The snow was shallow but we made the most of it and had a killer time slashing the gauntlet for a few runs and seshing the mini catwalk hits.

 

The 6 inch crusty “base” and 5 inches of fluf on top was pretty challenging but that’s all part of the fun of powsurfing.  JJ and I rode the Powder Sluts and Scotty tried out the Bullet 140, a great board for riding shallow pow. We burned a couple quick laps and that pretty much tracked up the skinny guantlet run.  Stoked for that thing to fill in so we can give it a proper slashing another time.

JJ had to roll out and take care of his lady…birthday celebrations the previous night were taking their toll on the poor girl.  She was a trooper, guiding us to the zone and snapping some pics along the way. Big thanks Beth Anne!

Scotty and I poked around for some bumps to pop off of. We found a little catwalk trail that kept us busy for a couple of hours.  Simple pleasures!!

Shuvits were popped, and kickflips were kicked and stomped.

It was so much fun riding with these boys. So rad to see people just pick up powsurfing and start killing it..even in sketchy conditions.  Big smiles and big fun.  Thats what it’s all about.

Kickfliping into shallow tracked up pow is not easy. Somehow I rode away clean on this one.

Scotty finding a deep (relatively) spot!

Turns out JJ snowboards goofy footed and powsurfs regular footed. The man has skills!

Scotty popped a big ollie and stomped a solid pop shuv after just a few tries.  The kickflip was next and he was determined to ride out clean.  He landed bolts numerous times and rode a couple out for a few feet.  Landing on ice and dirt is not easy.  The skills and determination that this guy has are gonna continue to blow minds for years in both snowboarding and powsurfing.  So stoked to have Scotty on board.

This kids’ got pop!

Bryan Iguchi on Grassroots Powsurfer

Bryan Iguchi can hold his own on any board.  He kills it when it comes to snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing, and of course… powdersurfing.  The man is a straight up legend on so many fronts.  We are stoked to have Bryan backing our boards!  Peep this quick run in the JH backcountry with The Guch and check his blog post here.

pow surf 20122912 from bryan iguchi on Vimeo.

Alta is for Powsurfers!

Pre-Rapture powsurfing at my favorite “skiers only” resort.
Alta, Utah May 20th 2011

Since some religious wacko has forecasted the world’s end on the 21st of May, I figured I’d better go snag some “forbidden fruit” on the slopes of Alta. Waist deep pow in late May!?… Perhaps the world has already ended and I am in heaven.

Watch on Vimeo or Youtube

My dog and I celebrating the first winter snowfall. Bindingless powdersurfing in the snow and weeds in the Northern Utah backcountry.

Technical difficulties have created a bit of a delay on the release of our Chronicles Episodes but with the purchase of a new computer combined with severe sleep deprivation and blood shot eyes.. we are getting things back on track.

“Goods in the Woods” is a flashback to last years epic la nina winter season.  We didn’t see many sunny days for a few months there but the snow stacked up like never before.  Stormy days forced us into the woods where the visibility improved and the snow was epic.  Enjoy a few minutes of virtual faceshots on us!

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.

It’s super rare to get such brilliant colors frosted in white. Beautiful drive.

The first early season tease of snow fell on October 7th 2011. We rallied up to the “sacred grove” to check the depth and were delighted to find enough pow to snowskate the campground and powsurf the upper fields.

Check the video!

These early season sessions are what motivated us to start riding bindingless over a decade ago. We were always super excited to ride some pow, but we were bored with riding the mellow grassy slopes while strapped into our snowboards. After a decade of evolution, we are having more fun than ever surfing and skating the snow up here. Ditching the bindings has made it so much more challenging and rewarding.
Here’s to another winter season!!
Bindingless, gloveless, hatless, careless, reckless, fearless, blissfulness..
Mowin’ down them weeds!!!

Kickflip on that same ol bump in the earth I hit every year around this time.

Dave Smellie and I tested out some new shapes.. Look out for the “Phish”, our newest directional shape. Super fun ride, flat swallowed tail… makes for some nice drawn out turns. (and of course it makes a really cool looking track)

Where would board sports be without the ollie? So crucial.

Looks can be deceiving.. I rolled up a couple days later to bluebird conditions, only to find the white stuff was crusted solid. Can’t wait for the next storm!