Words and photos by Keenan Cawley
Goon Jam Tour
Brighton, UT - Feb. 5th, 2022
Onward we branched from America’s blustery belly westward. Our little leaves called for a thaw. The Midwest did wonders for the soul, but it was time to move out of the woods. We watched the mounds grow; elevation escalated and we found our caravan in Salt Lake City.
Rich snowboarding history here. In the city no less than the engulfing mountains. Unlike our previous locales, SLC heads are defined by shredding. Whereas most people’s lives are amplified by riding — as in the act of it is almost like an escape — it seems that here life is the escape from riding. You can see how they use it, damn-near trying to shake it off at their jobs or the studio. Attempts at detaching the monkey from their backs. What I’m saying is that this is the opposite issue most boarders have; the masses labor at work all day yearning to lure the metaphorical monkey towards them, to keep him close by. These Utahns have to practice neglect just to carry-on a seemingly ~normal~ life. But at the end of the day we are all the same: we’re all chained to the board.
And it was that very same chain that pulled us up to Big Cottonwood Canyon bright and early on Saturday. We realized immediately that our other stops were done “homestyle.” Upon entering the breakfast buffet - I mean: parking lot, we squished into a spot and squeezed through countless tailgaters sizzling eggs and sausages on their propane-fed hot plates. I even watched one tip over and let loose a 10-foot stretch of eager flame across the pavement. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a photo, given my distance from the arson-attempt and the swarm of patrons that flocked to the fire, either trying to record it themselves or just to warm their morning-hardened hands. Regardless it assured me that Goon Jam Brighton was going to be one for the books.
Coffee was drunk, waivers got signed, boots became tied, a crew amassed, and we hit the hill. Luckily this jam would not be run on a rope tow. I say that out of respect to Treyson Allen, Joey Fava, Maddie Alleva, and the rest of the park crew, because the set-up they built for us was best viewed from the chairlift overhead. Of the plethora of kink rails, transfer rails, wavy boxes, and wall rides, the highlight feature was a giant volcano adorned with two bonk-balls and a c-rail along the coping, bearing an uncanny semblance to the Goon Gear smiley-face logo. And as if that wasn’t a blaring enough message of warm-welcoming, the amount of boarders that made their way to lower Majestic, from lil’ groms to OGs, Slush’s own cover-boys to Gooner fans clad in ancient Technine relics, let us know that the Universe had put us in the right place.
The event bore first a light session of tailblocks and hand plants on a bank with choice snow conditions. Then youngin’ Henry Hawkins came in hot with an attempted double-backflip air-out and the switch flipped. Lucas’ enthusiasm, magnified exponentially by the megaphone, got everyone hiking a little faster and before we knew it the rails were getting demolished. Every slide-smack and tap variation, which has become par for the Goon Jam course across the country thus far, was done in speedy succession. But that’s not to say the more orthodox tricks were absent; the 270 tornado struck down and us on-lookers were sent in a dizzying tizzy. Local and notable hurricane hero, Michael Rav, was in the mix doing his best Tasmanian Devil impression to electrify and encourage the field. Similarly motivating yet more subtle in trick selection, was Chris Grenier, whose mere presence, not to mention his staple switch backside 180s on, got the crowd juiced to strut their stuff. And yet who was he watching most eagerly? None other than Rutland-turned-Tahoe’s smoothest: Tyler Lynch.
In the same realm of finesse, yet compounded with the new-age gusto, was Dylan Okurowski, Naima Antolin, Pat Fava, Jed Sky, Maggie Leon, and the Sims squad’s finest Nik Baden and Cody Warble. These heads in the crowd did their job of showing up and showing out. The day’s happenings would’ve been great without them, I’m sure, but their inclusion—the fact that they hiked and rode their hearts out all day—really pushed the energy of the event to an exceptional level. Add Deadlung to the mix and it’s a wrap; no excuses to have a bad time.
After what seemed like an entire season’s worth of shredding, all of the riders gathered on course. Miss Winter Magoon sat patiently in the trees with the prize packs for her father’s favorite rippers. Lucas got on the megaphone and called them out:
For the women, it was Maureen Wick in third. She had a certain way of riding—lots of slashes and a knack for making noise—that caught our attention. Second went to Naima Antolin. She started the day off learning proper tailblocks and was actually still hiking when we called her name. That left us with our winner, Veda Hallen. It seemed like every time she dropped she landed a different trick with ease and a gigantic grin on her face.
As for the men, Aidan Hascall stood out from the jump, hurling huge 270s on and off, and even let the back foot breathe on several features. His approach found him in third place as well as best trick, the latter earning him a $500 voucher for a tattoo by the talented Brian Henry. We’re excited to see what his first tattoo is! Second place went to Josef Attwood. My notes on Joe said this: “Busch tee-shirt; he is very sick.” Yup. And first place went to Rodney McDaniel. The man’s backside 180s on just looked too damn good not to win.
Despite the still-smiling sea of shredders sharing congratulations and handshakes, the sun set. The event simmered down. The crowd dispersed, boots were shed. Brighton turned into Sakura hibachi back in the city. The coffee turned into a Scorpio Bowl. The smiley-face volcano turned into an onion volcano. Snowboards turned into a pink scooter for Winter. We couldn’t stop cheering, couldn’t stop chanting. Couldn’t stop laughing, couldn’t stop romanticizing how special the day was. How snowboarding, specifically, has to be the most spectacular thing on the planet.
Special thanks go out to Jared Winkler, Mike Harrington, Treyson Allen and the Brighton Diggers, the Blind Miner for coffee, Taylor Elliott and Brandon Cocard, TK Frantz, Jovvany Villalobos, Cameron Perry, and everyone who showed up with a smile on their face. Also, a major shout to our sponsors: Sims, Slush, Liquid Death, Baker Street, Tall Truck, Nothing Limited, Dang Shades, Stinky, Union, Splinters, Hah Feelz, Sticky Brand, Vans, The Bomb Hole, Prosser’s, Third Eye Co., Snow White, Wild Mike’s Pizza, Rad Gloves, VermontLocs, Bauer’s Brew, Pseudo Corp., Park Party, CND, Dank Donuts, Always Boardshop, Moodmats, GoPro, MDiSpagna Jewelry, and Gama Printing Co.