words: Mike Yoshida
photos: Mike Yoshida and Stephan Jende

Last season amidst an uncertain mid-winter covid spike, Krush Kulesza of Snowboy Productions asked if I would come up to shoot The High Project up at Mt. High just outside of LA. With mask in hand and armed with a bottle of hand sanitizer, I agreed to break the seal on my season and after an easy two-hour drive from my house, I was transported to the quaint, snow-covered resort of Mt. High. Mt. High doesn’t get as much media coverage as say, Bear Mountain, but over the years I see that changing with the help of Krush and Snowboy Productions. The High Project kicked off without a hitch and it was a pleasant surprise to see a creative park where transition met steel with perfect flow and endless options.

To follow up the previous year, Mt. High and Snowboy brought us Pipelines this January. The name has a double meaning, as the run the park was built on is called Pipelines and essentially, all the rails that are in the park are round tubes. The set up opened with two down bar options, one was a down flat and the other was a mashup of waterfall rails. The marquee feature in the middle of the zone was a large, square rainbow rail with transition built on either side. The right side had a series of quarterpipes with tubes on top among several volcanoes with metal bonks positioned on top. The park ended with a double-sided pyramid wall, colorfully decorated with Liquid Death graffiti.

Pipelines, similar to The High Project, is a flash mob-style event that was not promoted, but hit hard as the footage clogged the feeds of the internet daily–creating hype and froth for the local crowds and beyond is what this event is all about. After a three-day private session and photo/video shoot, the course opened to the public.

After day 1 everyone started to coordinate hitting the features according to where the sun would go.  Through the afternoon, the top features would become engulfed in shade and the herd would gather lower and lower, essentially harvesting the light for optimal footage and the hopes of finding the softest snow possible. Every day would end with a massive session on the Liquid Death wall that was user-friendly and a great way to cap off a fun day.

Riders from all over the US traveled to participate. Standouts were Skiba, who flawlessly flowed from feature to feature with effortless style. Jesse Paul and Casey Pflipsen were going in hard, linking lines from top to bottom–no bit of steel was safe from these two. Nolan Johnson could be seen spinning on and off virtually everything. He casually back 180’d, then oppo switch 540’d out that he did off the down-flat tube. Matt Chase got into a high-speed hand drag back 180 over the big rainbow, as well as going boardslide backflip out off the flat down. Mike Liddle was the silent killer, smoothly hitting every feature that was placed in front of him. Alexis Roland was putting on a clinic on the down-flat rail with a switch frontboard and a frontboard sameway. Ari Morrone was nosepressing her way through the park, also tailgrabbing the hip and alley-ooping the volcano in a line. 

Laura Rogoski was making the rounds, frontboarding the rainbow, and systematically hitting every feature in the event. Laura is a digger for Snowboy events and promotes her Mental Meet Ups alongside each event. Furthering the discussion of checking in on our mental status is a narrative that Laura has been pushing and she offers a safe space for discussion and encouragement through her own experiences. The We’re All Fucking Mental zine is also available for free and offers certain tools to cope and check in on your own mental health. Kudos to Laura for being vocal about the tough topics and helping the snowboard community, as a whole.

Krush and the whole Snowboy crew did an impeccable job building a wildly entertaining setup for the Southern California snowboard scene. It’s gatherings like this that help everyone involved feel closer to the snowboard community, and getting to ride and photograph some of the world’s best jibbers is icing on the cake. I also can’t thank Mt. High and all of its staff for hosting and making us all feel so welcome. Now that you’ve gotten a taste for how amazing this park setup is, get up to Mt High because the course is now open to the public!