As Jordan and I laced up our boots, the vibe was already in place– April 2nd was going to be a really good day at Mount Seymour. It was hot, even in the lingering bits of 9:25 AM shade, and the skies were blue but for the texture of altocirrus patches. There was no question of whether the snow would be soft– the heat would soon prime even north aspects of Seymour’s 3D terrain for blank-canvas freestyle dissection. And we were with our people; all around us shredders were rolling up and out of pick-ups, kicking off skate shoes, and looking around with smiles at the day that lay before them.

It had been a long time since event registration had been on my radar, but with the inaugural Baked Salmon banked slalom setting the stage for the day there was a very good reason for us to think about it. In fact, there was good reason for us to be all over it. The event, which was planned for 150 riders at the high end, was overfilled with boarders who had come from as near as eight minutes down the road and as far as New Zealand. Unfortunately we didn’t realize until it was too late, until the moment when rumor and recognition passed through the 300ish riders in the parking lot, the gathering and communion of pros, kooks, undergrounders and weekenders. The rumor was that registration was cut off. The recognition was that it didn’t matter; that the race was not exhaustive of the importance of the day.

“Should we go check out the course?” Jordan asked, already over our failure to claim bibs for the race. I replied in the affirmative, wrapped up conversation with a few old friends by doing so. I was already wondering about the possibility of snaking, and was about ready to ride something, anyway, as my Parkgate coffee got me back to functional. I was stoked to see Jordan ride the board he’d chosen for the race. We’ve been friends since high school, Jordan and I, since he was on his come-up getting check outs in the mag and boxes of shirts from the homies (I think a lot of those old-days sponsors were on the hill with us, actually). I’d watched him focus in on boarding in the streets as he started out a string of video parts that always impressed me, and it had been a while since I saw him on a bigger, stiffer board. The one he’d chosen had some pretty mega speed stripes, but he didn’t seem concerned. We headed for the chairlift throwing waves to homies as we went.

The course was steep and tight, it’s low points looked shallow and what we could see of its forest section looked fast. Stoke was high. It looked like one or two waves of boarders was already on the mountain, and we’d seen enough shredding from the chair to know that morning speed was good and that the tide was still right for side hits. We popped by the event tent for a hello with Jeff from Dinosaurs Will Die, who was busy in the throes of hosting Party Mountain, and strapped in. We’d linked up with Jesse, a homie of mine who I’d met in Fernie and lived with in Whistler, but it was clear already that the three of us weren’t just riding together. Strangers felt like friends, and even on our first run we were riding with everybody.

We alternated between laps and sessions chilling at the top of the course, and as the race began its first heats we shared pops with Dave from DOPE, Nic from Salmon Arms, Leanne from Full Moon, and a host of other rippers. Leanne told us about her spring plans. She was leaving for AK the next day, and our chat reminded her that her travel partner Robin’s truck was being towed as we spoke. Still, she was enjoying the day– she’s seen enough to know that the pilgrimage always comes with complications, and she had faith that they would get there. I saw friends from different times in my life, and met new people who I knew were having similar experiences. Salmon burgers sizzled on the grill, though we couldn’t hear them over Heneghan’s mix, which at that point was grooving nicely around ’93. Later in the day we would have a tour through the psychedelic fringes of metal, a few slow jams and a DWD salute with the Jurassic Park theme.

I was happy, because even though I didn’t know everybody there or see any of them often, kicking back with all those boarders took me to moments like the AfterLame premier and the ’08 Word of Mouth Jam, moments I’d shared with a lot of the people who had come out for the race. And even though I’d travelled pretty far from Mount Seymour in the time separating those days from the Baked Salmon, there was warmth to those memories that was amplified incredibly by the day’s energy. Everyone was home, and we were a community.

We snaked a couple of laps on the lower section of the course, and sessioned the park for hours. The snow got hot, increasing in its choppiness and inconsistency as the day went on. Rippers took advantage, carving ruts for corner transfers and practice banks around the hill. We shared laps with ManBoys and Turners/Burners, and swapped t-shirt respect with Seymour locs. We made predictions as to who might win the race. Jesse told a story about a date and Jordan made a case for the thought that the Ambleside skate park feels like Venice Beach. We talked, we relaxed, and when the chairlift spun us off we charged with clear heads and an unburdened zest for shreddin’.

Jordan found a race bib on the ground and a new friend, Azian, offered his to me after deciding to take a soul day rather than wait in line to run the course. After the giant favour of a rider list rejig, we were in the race.  Riding the course top to bottom was fiercely fun; the thing both invited and punished aggression. I skipped out and butt-checked on my first run, but Jordan was fast. We compared notes at the end gate and turned back to lapping the mountain.
We finished our second runs as the day wound down, and there was palpable exhaustion shared between those who’d taken more laps than breaks and a healthy buzz about the folks who’d been more social. Still, respect for Jeff kept everyone attentive as he called us all together for the award ceremony. He reminded us of Seymour’s history, of the crews and legends that had rallied to create events like this one in the past, and dedicated the day to Travis Hilliard. And as he announced winners, the pride that the gathering felt for being part of something so genuinely snowboard came out in droves of applause, cheers, and celebratory sprays of mayonnaise from Heneghan. Results are below, and the right people won. More important, though, is that we all reminded each other of what we have in snowboarding: a medium for creating and developing both on our own and with each other, a way to live that has as its foundation the best feeling in the world. The Baked Salmon took a lot of work, and all of us owe thanks to Jeff Keenan, Nic Heringa, Dave Bernie, and all of the other who put in countless hours organizing, digging out the course, and volunteering on the day. But that work was happily done, and I think that anyone involved would tell you it was worth it. So please, try this at home and please, invite me when you do!

-Dave

Bragging rights for:

Boys 16 – 

Dexter Noris 57.98

Nic Corazzin 58.54

Noah Eccles 63.08

Men 17 + 

David Joncas 50.01

Will Jackwaze 50.02

Alex Stathis 50.25

Imanuel Anderson 50.39

Lucas Ovellete 50.59

Myrosha Daley 50.71

Beau Bishop 50.85

Ian Keay 51.25

Nicolas Bertrand 51.26

Tyler Quarles 51.46

Women

Spencer Obrian 54

Gillian Andero 55.16

Laura ( Park Staff) 57.72

Darrah Redi-Mclea 58.08

Chloe Woodroff 58.69

Hana Beaman 59.02

Leanne Pelosi 61.46

Varvara Krasneva 61.77

Jessie Broster 61.91

Mutisimi 65.86

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