Last winter, Dylan Okurowski was on a tear in Steel City, Pennsylvania. We put together some raw clips alongside some of his heaviest footage from a few days in Pittsburgh (and a few other places just because). He wrote some words about his appreciation for street snowboarding and a little back story on the yellow rail he finally conquered.
Words by Dylan himself:
I like driving around. It’s a part of jibbin’. Just drinking coffee, and driving around looking for spots to snowboard on. For me it’s how I find the stuff I like the most. Some people are good at “earthing”, but I’m not. I try? I find some stuff that way but talking to people and having boots on the ground is how I like to snowboard. I’m looking for spots that traditional jib tricks can be done on but the spots themselves have a little spice to them. Or, I’ll really appreciate finding a “perfect spot”. I try not to put too much thought into something before I hit it. Usually I just see something that catches my eye and we stop and do it. If it’s a bigger spot, we’ll set up the night before to not waste energy when it's ready to be hit. Spots with hills are better. I don’t winch or bungee. I just don’t like it. Never have, never will. So that means it’s a hill or a drop in for speed. I also prefer calm environments when I’m trying something. I get a little skittish when you feel like you’re gonna get kicked out every try. But it does feel good when you get away with something. Usually I’ll only try something once and if it works cool, if not whatever. The yellow rail was one of the only times that I’ve revisited a spot that I didn’t get the first time.
But the yellow rail… I didn’t really wanna try it again. The first time (during the filming for “How Dark Blue Feels”) there wasn’t enough snow. At that point, we had been in Pittsburgh for a month already and we were kinda burnt. We found the rail at the beginning of the trip, so the picture I had of it had lots of snow but when it came time to jump on it that wasn’t the case. There really just wasn’t enough and it kept melting. I tried it for a while but the snow on the stairs just kept melting. The stairs are terrible. Like sandpaper. They just ate my board. That's why I ended up slamming. I couldn’t go fast enough.
A year-ish later Ted, Jeff, Martyn, and I end up back in the city of steel. Ted brings up the idea of going back for it and I just brush it off. But in the back of my head I kinda wanna do it. This rail sums up the city. It’s yellow like the Steelers, it’s got these big, round pipe connector knobs that are prevalent on many of the rails in Pittsburgh. The rail is across the street from Blue Slide park. I don’t listen to Mac Miller but I guess that's important too. Anyway we’re driving around on one of the days, just Ted and I. It’s the end of the day, and the rest of the crew is tired and chilling at the air bnb. Without saying anything to each other, Ted just drives there. Nothing is really said when we pull up, but we get out to give it another look. This time around Ted has an idea that can only be conceived from years of experience jibbing - Ice the stairs. We set it up like we normally would, but then spend some extra time to ice everything down as it’s getting dark. That way, when I ride down the stairs I’d have less chance of gripping and flipping like the first time. We leave, go home, chill, whatever. The next morning we go there, everything goes pretty smooth and I got a 5050 on it. Martyn films the top angle on an iPhone while Ted films bottom and takes the picture. It actually didn’t take too long. Something around 15 tries I think. Ted thought I would do it faster. (Edit from Ted - “Ted just hoped I did it quick because it was scary to watch”). People talk about clip high and feeling good after a trick but for that one I was numb for a couple hours.
Photos and Video: Ted Borland