Words by Tucker Zink
Photos by Josh Bogardus
Erik Leon’s “CORENation” tour kicked off with Stop #1 at Woodward Killington last weekend. Unlike a classic rail jam competition, the goal of CORE events is to bring the snowboard community together for a laid back jam session with all entry fees going as a donation to a local non-profit organization. All proceeds from the event at Killington went to Vermont Adaptive, which according to their website, is a “nationally recognized organization that empowers people of all abilities through inclusive sports and recreational programming regardless of ability to pay.” Choosing Vermont Adaptive as the beneficiary was an easy decision, as their mission lines up perfectly with what Erik has been doing with CORE Snowboarding the past few years.
Leading up to the event, it was no secret that Mother Nature wasn’t going to play nice, as the 10-day forecast held a 100% chance of rain for Saturday. Erik arrived to a quintessential Vermont landscape on Friday; a week of constant snow had coated everything in white and the mountain in prime condition. This was a far cry from the monsoon conditions that rolled through on Saturday. One thing a downpour is good for, however, is softening the snow to absolute perfection. Despite the weather, the Woodward crew had the park dialed and the hardy events teams of Killington and Arbor New England had the stage set for the 25 boarders who showed up.
The session kicked off with Erik letting the group know there would be no divisions or podiums but the “judges'' would be looking for riders who were having the most fun while encouraging others to do the same. Riders moved from the flat box up top to the middle down rail where Michael Throckmorton and Michelle Schlanger stole the show. Michael’s back blunt pretzel got everyone’s attention while Michelle pressed her way through a couple of 5-0s, getting a thumbs up from the press police. Young gun Rocco Jones battled a few 270s on while getting pointers and words of encouragement from the rest of the crew. Nick Schram stepped in and pulled a few of his signature “how’d he do dat” hardway and one-foot tricks, all while wearing the biggest smile on the hill.
In addition to the three main features set by the Woodward Crew, an executive decision was made to create a traffic cone slalom to take advantage of the soft snow. This is where the energy truly picked up as creativity flowed and everyone got down with carving or ollieing the cones. By the time the session shifted to the last feature, a metal Jersey barrier to a down tube, thoughts of competition and time limits had gone out the window. The rain had stopped and the clouds were starting to break. Erik put on a handplant clinic while others took turns stalling, sliding and slashing the Jersey barrier and gapping to the tube. Reality set in as the events crew wrapped up the course branding and announced, “Awards in 15!”
While there were no official “winners” of the event, six riders—Michael Throckmorton, Michelle Schlanger, Nick Schram, Courtney Walton, Rocco Jones and Jess Perlmutter—stood out and walked away with brand new Arbor Snowboards as well as a ton of gear from The North Face, Evo, Smith Optics, Flux Bindings and Slush Mag.
Make sure to catch the CORENation Tour as it travels west with stops in Trollhaugen and Bear Mountain this month.