Season send-off: Mt. Baker SeshUp 2014
The snowboarding industry is an ever changing and ever progressing living organism. It goes where it wants to go and does what it wants to do. One day its black and the next it’s whack and then suddenly it’s back. The great old Pacific Northwest however has always seemed to stand alone, unaffected from the fads (with the exclusion of Portland). It’s like the land before time. It’s where people go to get lost and yet at the same time find themselves. It’s where you find out why you are doing what you are doing. You remember you are snowboarding not because it’s cool and the thing to do; you are doing it because it’s so RAD.
Every spring, like clockwork, the snow lines slowly recede and the bull wheels stop spinning at resorts around the Northwest. People start to look forward to the changing of the seasons and welcome in spring and summer. The strong and devout push on however, doing all they can to combat the rising temperature and budding foliage. They push further into the backcountry and venture further north, afraid to let winter die.
Last weekend the entire PNW shred scene descended on Mt. Baker, WA for one sole purpose. They gathered to celebrate the passing of another winter and send it out with a bang. They gathered to get RAD and remember why we all snow shred. They gathered to have a shit ton of fun.
One of the last somewhat hidden gems that Mt. Baker locals have is The Mt. Baker step-up. It’s a jump that’s been built for decades but has only recently slowly risen into the media limelight. It’s also the spot where the locals gather to send out winter in style and bury it dead. It’s the site of the Mt. Baker SeshUp.
The Mt. Baker SeshUp is grassroots as an event can get. It was the brainchild of Mt. Baker local and all-around good guy, Brittney (Jason) Speer back in 2003. It started as a small local end of season gathering/contest where all riders pitched in $5 or $10 and sessioned the step-up jump all day. At the end of the session the riders would write the name of the rider they thought rode the best on a piece of paper and put it in Jesse Burtner’s hat. Jesse for some reason was exempt from being nominated but it was probably because he could do every trick in the book and it would have been similar to taking candy from a baby. Jesse would then tally the votes and announce the best shred whom which would claim the pot. The first year the pot was like $150 and went to a then prepubescent and squeaky voiced Matt Edgers.
From that year it slowly gained momentum and with it the crowd in attendance grew. It was pretty cool to see the growth but it was also the proverbial nail in the coffin. With the growing crowds came lack organization and this lead to serious problems with the USFS and them policing their land for “building unauthorized structures” and having “non permitted gatherings larger than 20 individuals.” It all came to a spearhead in 2005 or 2006 when they popped off a ticket for $750 for not having the proper permits to have such a large gathering on public land. Luckily that year the rider’s pot paid most if not all of that whopper from the copper. It seemed that would put an end to it, however it didn’t. People still gathered and still shredded. The jump would get built and sessioned and built and sessioned with a loosely formed gathering every spring solely formed on word of mouth.
Fast forward to 2014 and my how times have changed. Former Mt. Baker local and lifetime Washington resident, Steven Goodell has stepped up and taken the bull by the horns. For the past several years he has taken the time to procure the proper paperwork to organize the event legally and legitimately. He has sought out sponsors to help pay for the necessities required to obtain a permit for a gathering of such size. And with his guidance the crowd has returned and grown and the party has keeps going on.
The Mt. Baker SeshUp 2014 was no exception and was one for the books. The jump was all time thanks to the block stacking efforts of Joe Bosler and Matt Wainhouse. The run in was primed and smooth. It had the mandatory 10 foot tree gap step down half way through it which always adds to the fun and the carnage for spectators. Hammers where thrown and kegs were emptied. Free gear was tossed and high fives were thrown. Todd Schlosser even showed up. Some of the highlights of the session were Pat McCarthy’s strait over backies, Joe Bosler’s uber smooth spins, Jackson Blackburn’s beer-drinking backflip, Nate Lind’s timeless backside rodeo 7’s, and Matt Wainhouse shredding his face off. Matt is relentless. He was one of the first on the hill and one of the last off. He went hard and went bigger then all in attendance. His style is polished and as good as it gets. He is leading the changing of the guard in the PNW. If you don’t know his name yet take note, it will be commonplace very soon.
Thanks to K2 Snowboards, Pow Gloves, Casual, SnoCon, Coal, 686, Dinosaurs Will Die, and Aslan Brewing for pitching in on a great grassroots event. If you want to get in on the Mt. Baker SeshUp hit ‘em up with a follow on Facebook and find out when next year’s event comes around so you can check it out for yourself. This is one you do not want to miss.