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Facefulls of fun

The Powsurf Chronicles Episode 5 – Facefulls of Fun

The Powsurf Chronicles Episode 5 – Facefulls Of Fun

Kickback, watch the snow ripple and feel the powder blast you in the face.  Here’s a quick episode from an early season day in the Utah Backcountry. Enjoy it… we sure did.

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The Powsurf Chronicles Episode 2 – Goods in the Woods

The Powsurf Chronicles Episode 2 – Goods in the Woods

The 2011 La Nina winter was a memorable one, powder days were plentiful but we didn’t see the sun shine for months. We all know the trees are where you want to be in times like this so we took shelter in the woods, where the visibility was good and the powder was epic.

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The Powsurf Chronicles Episode 1 – Low Tide

The Powsurf Chronicles Episode 1 – Low Tide

Early season riding and times of low snowpack have had a major influence on why and how we surf the pow. This season has been particularly dry in many areas across the globe and people are jonzing for decent riding conditions. Getting creative, finding new ways to look at terrain and taking advantage of what you DO have is what it’s all about.

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The Powsurf Chronicles Teaser

The Powsurf Chronicles Teaser

Grassroots Powdersurfing presents the official teaser for “The Powsurf Chronicles”, an upcoming series of short films about Powdersurfing. No bindings, no handles, no ropes or gimmicks. Simply the purest form of binding-free riding.  A perfect blend of skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding.

Freeriding has never felt so free.

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120cm Grassroots “Powder Skate” in the DEEP Pow

A quick run on the 120 cm “Powder Skate” model. I keep getting requests from people for longer boards… trust me, you don’t need the giant board that you think you might want! Our boards are designed to be much shorter than snowboards for a number of reasons and as you can see even the shortest board we make dominates the deep & light pow.

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Alta is for Powsurfers

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.

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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.