We made it up to Mountain High to check out the final day of "The High Project" from Krush Kulesza and Snowboy Productions. Consider this a little "Fly on the Wall-ride" version of what went down during only a few hours of the four day event. For more, check out the full length video from Snowboy on their YouTube page, and Mary's photos and words below!
Featuring Elias Lamm, Casey Pflipsen, Max Tokunaga, Nirvana Ortanez, Mike Skiba, Sammy Spiteri, Nolan Quinn, Pat Fava, Nate Haust, Gabby Maiden, Christine Savage, Mike McDaniel, Mike Liddle, Erik Leon.
Video: Ted Borland
Story and photos: Mary T. Walsh
January marked ten months since resorts abruptly shut down their lifts in adherence to pandemic regulations. Ten months since the familiar feeling of snowboarding with your friends had become something more uncommon. Yes, lifts were spinning and turns were being made, but it was, to put it so lightly, an unusual start to winter. As 2021 began, we were only a few months into a nascent season that—because of a lack of precipitation and for many, an excess of trepidation—hadn’t quite ramped up to cruising speed.
The High Project was exactly what was needed, a small and safe gathering at Mountain High in Southern California. Krush Kulesza, the head honcho of Snowboy Productions and longtime purveyor of seasonal stoke, launched his Road from Ruin tour in the San Bernardinos at this latest installment of The Projects. Collaborating with the ever-inventive Jesse Paul, who recently signed onto lead the marketing efforts at Mtn High, Krush and crew sculpted an inventive set up just off the Blue Ridge Express quad. The call went out to SoCal locals and a few denizens of Mammoth, Tahoe, and Minnesota. Just like the seasons before, Snowboy would bring together the community, albeit socially distanced this time.
The creativity of the collective is a theme that runs throughout each and every Snowboy event. The terrain, built purposely for multi-purpose, along with the non-competitive atmosphere, fosters a collaborative environment. Boarders build on the style and effort of those around them, hiking and dropping in until the bell each day. The gatherings are decidedly community-oriented, and while this has made Krush’s events beloved in any previous season, in January, it was even more of a respite from the majority of the year spent so isolated from friends and family.
But, of course, the riding. That’s what really shines from the collaborative effort of the assembled crew at any Project and The High Project was no different. The nucleus of the park was the Richter box, a Mountain High classic reimagined as a volcano launchpad. Sprinkled above, below, and all around that feature was a plethora of rails, from classic DFD and down tube to stall combinations, wallrides, hitching post, and back-to-back c’s. It was an oasis of opportunities built on top of the groomers of the always-firing Wedge.
From the start, the snowboarding was going. Mike Skiba, Jordan Small, Tony Wagner, Brandon Davis, Pat Fava, Eli Lamm, High local Dillyn, Ari Morrone, Christine Savage, Mike Liddle, Nick Stro, Michael McDaniel, Keoni Kaimuloa, and Erik Leon lead the charge. The High Project brought out a few of SoCal’s finest, like Kyle Lopiccolo, Gabby Maiden, Cornell Agee, and Johnny Miller, back into the mix, which was really rad. Jesse Paul was out of office and in the zone, decimating every feature he had helped to erect. Fellow riders-slash-office guys and gals, Dave Marx, Sammy Spiteri, Max Tokunaga, Dylan Trewin, and Nirvana Ortanez were holding it down, too. Nate Haust and Nial Romanek opened up doubles on the c rail and ticked off the technical on the other rails in the park. The Ikanik and Arbor teams were in full effect. Daniel Dabazar, Nolan Quinn, Cole Linzmeyer, Sean Monahan, Michelle Schlanger, Nick Guin, Garrett Warnick, and more all put their individual stamps on the set up throughout the week. The action is better watched than read, so make sure to check out The High Project video.
By the end of the week, both the elation and the exhaustion were maxed out. Photos had been snapped, clips had been logged, and The High Project park was ready to be opened to the public. Snow was creeping into the forecast in regions all over the US and the timing for this Snowboy project really hit the spot. See more photos by clicking over to @snowboyproductions on Instagram and checking out #TheHighProject, and follow along on the rest of Snowboy’s 2021 Road from Ruin Tour.
Big thanks to Krush, Jesse, all the diggers from Snowboy and Mountain High, Arbor Snowboards, 10 Barrel Brewing, Ikanik Farms, Die Cut Stickers, Val Surf, and Coal Headwear (thanks for the facemasks, Coal!).