As seen in Issue 1.2. Subscribe to Volume 2 here!
Words by Jeff Richards
Photos by Bob Plumb
IT ALL STARTED OUT PRETTY SELFISHLY… I got in touch with Four Wheel Campers after doing a little skate commercial with them at the Freedom Frontier last spring. I was talking with them in hopes to get my personal camper repaired after driving it into a low clearance underground parking structure and damaging the roof. After a brief back-and-forth, we began discussing a possible Nitro x Four Wheel Camper trip. This really isn’t my wheelhouse at Nitro, so I got Bob [Plumb] involved in the conversation to work out and plan a team trip. For me it was a win-win, they were going to help me get my camper repaired and in the meantime, they were going to lend us three fully kitted trucks with campers to use for our team road trip that I managed to invite myself on.
It was one day before we were set to leave on the trip. We had the campers in our possession, and still didn’t have a clue where we actually wanted to go. Bob and I kept joking around about how the beauty of the campers was that you didn’t really have to plan where you were going with flights, Airbnbs etc...You could just follow the snow or good weather and pop up wherever you wanted to sleep. Which is true, but there was still plenty of planning that needed to be done.
We ended up with a Dodge Ram, a turbo diesel Ford F350, and a fully loaded Toyota Tacoma. The nicest one was definitely the big white Dodge Ram. It was easy to decide that the media crew would stay in there—obviously the softest/oldest members of the trip. They were going to need the luxuries of the nice rig to put up with the rest of us over the next ten days. The next rig was the Ford. It was a nice one, but you could tell it was the most worn-in of the three we got. It had been around the block a few times. The kids (Sam and Jare) were too scared to bunk up with Bryan, so Griff and I took the honors. Then there was the “Safe Haven” aka the “Kids’ Rig,” which was Jared and Sam’s joint— the Tacoma.
Worrying about people breaking shit in the RVs. Trying to get people not to bail on the squad for Bryan’s random hot spring adventures.
Snowbird/Superior. Little Cottonwood, Utah
With storms lining up for us in the Wasatch, we decided it was best to stick around Salt Lake City for a couple of extra days to get some splitboarding in. After all, we had the “King of the Satch” (Griffin Siebert) in our crew, so we had to take advantage of his expertise. Thanks to Sam’s parents and the marketing crew up at Snowbird, we locked in a couple rooms at the cliff lodge in hopes to score a dawn patrol mission up Superior with a big storm moving in.
The alarms began going off at 4 AM that next morning. It was brick and still fully dark outside. The type of morning where you breathe in through your nose and you feel hairs inside freeze up. We all geared up quickly and made our way to the parking lot where we would begin our skin up to superior. When we arrived at the parking lot it was 5:15 AM and there were 15+ headlamps spotted skinning up already. Regardless, the crew was still hyped with all of the new snow, and everyone knew it was about to be a psycho run down. The run fell nothing short of expectations, and I think everyone in the crew got epic photos of textbook turns in a couple feet of Utah’s signature “Greatest Snow on Earth.”
Now that we checked the splitboarding off the list, we ditched the heavy gear and loaded in park boards in search of some warm spring weather park laps.
San Rafael Swell. Colorado Plateau, Utah
The first night on the road was definitely one to remember. Griff chose the camping spot. It was probably the coolest campsite we had all trip, but it came with a price. It was nearly four hours out of the way. Tucker Andrews met up with us for a guest appearance, I nearly got blown up by a mortar shell thrown under my camping chair, and Sam truly met the demons of the desert. You can ask him to share the details on your own. The drive out the next day was beautiful, but it was a grind to get back on track. The camping and the views were definitely worth it, but I think the crew was ready for sunny park laps.
Lee Canyon. Las Vegas, Nevada
The next stop was Lee Canyon, Las Vegas. It’s one of those things that as a snowboarder, you should do once. You get a crazy drive in from Vegas with a desert cactus landscape that quickly turns into a mountain landscape with snow and a super steep sketchy road straight up to a ski resort—it’s wild. Once you’re there, you’ll see maybe some of the most entertaining people watching you’ve ever experienced. The park was incredibly fun and all the people there were ecstatic to watch the crew rip through run after run. The parking lot was also a perfect spot for post shred beers and a quick game of muff before hitting the road again.
Tecopa Hot Spring. Tecopa, California
Fun fact about Bryan Fox, he’s a huge hot spring fan. While Bob was busy planning a snowboarding trip, Bryan was busy planning a hot spring tour all the way up the coast of California and back to Utah. Unlike Lee Canyon, if you have never been to Tecopa Hot Springs... You should probably keep it that way. After we pissed off half the township by ripping around in our ridiculous big rigs, we found a lukewarm pond with a foot of odd feeling muck/mud caking the whole floor. Obviously, we still soaked and enjoyed it. Despite the minor let down on the “hot” spring, the overall adventure through the town was hilarious, and made the stop worth it.
Dumont Dunes. Mojave Desert, California
The next morning, we stumbled upon the Dumont Dunes by luck. We were already running behind schedule, but we felt like sand dunes couldn’t be passed up. I managed to get our truck stuck in the sand within the first ten minutes we were there, and Bob managed to total his drone by flying it right into the backside of the highest dune around us. We also witnessed a wild ATV crash. The guy launched a sand wind lip, landed so flat that his suspension completely bottomed out and he front flipped down the dune. Following close behind him was his ATV, just tomahawking down the mountain. We watched in complete awe as his ATV totally smashed him. We all start to run up the huge mountain of sand yelling asking if he was alright and he just raised his arm. We then waved down the rest of his crew that missed the whole thing and had them go check on him. They reported back 15 minutes later after helping him out and let us know that, “He’ll be all good, he’s an old dog, he just got a little bunged up.” From that point on, “bunged up,” became a signature trip phrase. The dunes ruled. A couple of things to take away from it: the bigger the board doesn’t mean faster on sand (the 203 cm cannon is not ideal), and if your drone goes out of signal and out of sight, don’t panic and press “return home.”
Bear Mountain. Big Bear Lake, California
The whole crew got pretty fired up when we made it to Big Bear. Springtime is an ideal time to be up there, and everyone was hyped to ride the park. On the first chair up, Sam and Jare caught eyes on the famous 100ft Bear rail. Straight from the start, bets were on the table for the first one to make it to the end of the rail. We got up there a bit later than we had planned, so the speed into the jumps was already a bit slow. The original plan was just one day at Bear. By the end of the day, nobody got the 100ft rail, so the decision was secured—we were staying at Big Bear for one more day. The next morning, we got a dope surprise when Josh Mills (former Nitro pro) rolled up to our campsite at 7 AM. I might be wrong, but I think Mills hadn’t snowboarded in like five years. We geared him up and got an early start. The jumps were fire and the 100ft rail was still taking names. Mills was ripping around like he had just strapped in yesterday and graced us with a couple dope back 1s on the last jump of the line. At the end of day two, Sam took home the crown and collected the dough after being the only one to ride away from the 100ft rail. There’s always next year Jare.
Mammoth Mountain. Mammoth Lakes, California
When we arrived in Mammoth, everyone was pretty hyped to ride some jumps. The weather was prime, with a nice cold breeze rolling through to keep the warm day from getting too slushy or slow. We wasted no time and went straight over to Forest Trail & Main Park. Nitro rider Hunter Goulet met us there, which was a great addition to the crew. We needed young energy. The jump line into the mini pipe in Forest Trail was popping off . It was just what the crew was looking for. Nicely manicured jumps to link some fun lines. We had a hell of an afternoon, taking nice spring laps and filming some fun lines.
With Bryan steering the ship, you guessed it—we ended up camping at the Mammoth Hot Springs. He took us to the best one and we lucked out with a camping spot right next to it. We were all really hyped to not have to drive to another destination that night. We set up cornhole (sidenote brag: Bryan and I went undefeated the whole trip), made some bevs, chef ’d up some dinner, and hung out until the hot spring cleared out. We took the late night shift on the dip and it definitely felt nice to soak. You forget how sore you get from riding park six days straight.
The next morning we met up with legendary photographer and Mammoth local, Andrew Miller. He came to join the crew and get some second angles on the jumps in South Park. It’s worth noting that Jared was in the final round of The Nitro Riders Cup—an Instagram contest by Nitro that put Nitro riders head-tohead with certain tricks, with followers voting on their favorite. Jared actually ended up beating Torgeir in the finals with the tricks he filmed that day in South Park. I have to say it was one of the most impressive days I have personally witnessed while snowboarding in the park. Bryan was busting too, it’s easy to pin the Bry man to smooth pow turns and big mountain lines, but you can’t forget the skills homie has in the park. He’s got a helluva front 7. This was the day the whole squad needed. When it comes to park riding, Mammoth spring days are tough to rival. After a long hang in the Mammoth park including 30 minutes of Sam on some “Mammy swag” impersonations from the Grenade/Mammoth glory days, we were back on the road and heading to the next stop.
Buckeye Hot Spring. Bridgeport, California
We had made a pact to never break crew, but here the road zigged and zagged up a mountain side and down the backside, and we all quickly realized we were getting a little bit more than we bargained for. When we pulled up to the hot spring, it was pretty packed. The main spring had no room for us to join, but there was some room in the upper tubs that didn’t look as nice.
Sam and Jare decided to break rule number one (never break crew) and they bailed. Meyer and Bob weren’t far behind them and then it was just our truck. Grif, Bry, and I enjoyed a nice lukewarm soak and took it all in for a bit before hitting the road again. We reconvened with Tucker Andrews and popped up the campers outside his house for the evening.
Boreal Mountain. Soda Springs, California
The weather seemed a little iffy going into our Boreal day. It was pretty cold for springtime. Coming off of Big Bear and Mammoth, and we were definitely a little spoiled with the sunny park laps, and it took us a bit to get into the groove. Then, Sam and Jared as usual were busting on the big jump and it got everyone pretty fired up and ready to rip. We had a hell of a day with a bunch of Tahoe friends, but ten days on the road and riding park had the crew pretty spent and we were ready to hit the road home.
Twelve Mile Hot Spring. Wells, Nevada
We quickly learned why it was called 12 Mile Hot Spring. It’s 12 miles off I-80, and the last 5-6 miles were probably top-three gnarliest roads I’ve ever driven on. Fortunately we were in huge lifted trucks, but I can’t even imagine trying to drive a normal car back there. It must have taken 45 min to go that five miles. The first car we saw when we got back there was a minivan. The van was in pretty bad shape, probably from the rough drive in. Painted on the side of the van was something along the lines of, “Stand back, do not approach vehicle, mean dog in car.” It was super sketchy looking. We thought for sure that the van was abandoned, however when we approached it, we noticed all the interior radio lights were illuminated. We were all pretty shook, especially Jared. We decided to mash further down the road until we felt safe enough to camp. Sam, Jared, and I kind of ripped it up in their camper that night. It was the last night, so we shot the shit and crushed some cans into the morning. After a quick soak in the alleged “Olympic sized” hot spring, we bagged the remaining hours back to Salt Lake. Looking back on the trip, everything really worked out smoothly. There were no car issues, no injuries, and no run-ins with the cops. Not a bad turn out for 50-some odd hours, 2,000 miles in three trucks over ten days with seven close friends. I will say, one of the coolest parts of being involved with Nitro is the crew. It’s a real family vibe within the brand and I think you’ll see that when you watch the edit that’s going to come out about this trip. Huge thanks to: Knut, Four Wheel Campers, Snowbird, Lee Canyon, Big Bear, Mammoth, Boreal, and everyone on the trip that made this happen. It was definitely one for the books.