Through the darkness, illuminated by an approaching snow cat, a blue hitching post rail emerges from the night. I had hopped in the passenger seat for a few hour joy ride with Chris Perks, HoliMont’s park manager. As the rail became visible through the void, our banter about whatever we were going on about ceased, and the words “You know, Zeb Powell hit that rail,” were muttered. It was a joke, but it also came with this euphoric surrealism that THAT had actually just happened.

Rewind 24 hours, and a crew of lifelong friends are sitting around a pizza from the local pizzeria, taking a break from a skate session at the town’s indoor skate park. Messages start coming through to a cell phone. On the other end, the correspondence is pointing to the fact that snow conditions aren’t holding up in Michigan. On the receiving end, is Pat Morgan, a Western New York native with a 20-year career in producing get-togethers for Red Bull, Mountain Creek, Holiday Valley, HoliMont, and Big boulder Park. It just so happens that Pat had moved back home to Ellicottville six days prior. It had also happened that I had made the same move two months prior.

Up the street from this nook in the small town of Ellicottville, NY, about 30 miles south of Buffalo are two resorts, Holiday Valley, and HoliMont. Holiday Valley has become known for its numerous pitches and seemingly endless groomers, and mid-season lineups of snowmaking whales that are truly something to behold. HoliMont has been on a mission to define themselves as a terrain park destination, and the driver of the Pisten Bully 600 I’m currently the passenger in, has been pushing (literally and figuratively) to craft a park offering for everyone.

Turns out, thanks to this chain of communication back and forth with our network here in our little bubble in Western New York, that the fruits of decades of passion landed us a visit from Zeb Powell and the crew on his Slide In Tour to HoliMont and The Boardroom snowboard shop right down the street for a few aprés beers and to spread the stoke.

So, on a rainy Wednesday, Zeb Powell, Brantley Mullins, Holden Barth, Jesse Augustinus, and Will Mayo hiked this particular blue rail for a few hours. There was no crowd. There were few eyes on them. They were just snowboarding, for the pure enjoyment of it. In a way, it resembled our local snowboarding culture here, nestled in the hills of rural New York State. No crowds, and very little attention from outside eyes, but you know what? We do it because we love it.

This isn’t exclusive to our local scene. It’s so many local scenes, and it’s what makes the aftertaste of things like the Slide In Tour so sweet to snowboarding hamlets. Most days, we’re motivating and inspiring each other, but then that one fabled day, thanks to a collective local snowboarding community working together toward the greater good, for a few hours, something magical can happen, and those two hours will go down in local lore, inspiring snowboarding’s culture even more. 

March 6th, 2024. What a day…