words and photos: T. Bird
Loon Mountain, New Hampshire has become a bastion of freestyle snowboarding in the last ten years, and much of that can be attributed to the Eastern Boarder crew and the longest-running snowboard event on the right coast, Last Call. Every year, hundreds of hungry up-and-comers as well as some of snowboarding’s elite flock to Lincoln, New Hampshire and load up on Loon’s infamous gondola to see what Brian Norton and the Loon Mountain park crew have pushed up for Last Call.
The role that Last Call has played for the New Hampshire snowboard scene is that of a lighthouse sitting atop a rocky point signaling oncoming ships. Last Call lets the snowboard world know that the East Coast scene is not only alive and well, but thriving, and producing some of the best talent in our industry. The New Hampshire snowboard scene is small, but it’s tight-knit, and they’re not especially interested in broadcasting what it truly is, mainly because they want to keep it close to the vest. However, Last Call is the one event that casts light on how special this area truly is and how much fun it is to come here, and lap, laugh, drink some beers and spend quality time with great people.
This year was no exception, and under great weather, the event kicked off at about 11:00. The Loon crew pushed up the best course I’ve ever seen at Last Call, with three separate zones being judged individually. The first being a volcano-style kicker that could be sessioned straight on or from the sides of the perfectly cut feature. Dozens of riders transferred over to the landing from the side but most opted to hit it straight on and guys like Alex Andrews, Rob Hallowell, Reid Smith, Tucker Andrews, Ralph Kucharek, Parker Szumowski, Zach Normandin, Tim Humphreys, Tim Sullivan and others stood out, boosting for the large and rather rowdy crowd.
The second zone was the rail section and it was a proverbial labyrinth of metal. There were technically no correct ways to hit any feature and it was all out mayhem. The brothers Warbington (Max and Gus) were killing the GNU metal letters alongside Dylan Dragotta, who was slaughtering the Red Bull curved rail sitting stop the GNU feature, and Ben Bogart, who was going absolutely nuts on everything. A few kids attempted a gargantuan gap over one section of the rail zone to a down bar, and judging by the look on the park crew’s faces, it was not necessarily meant to be hit that way, which is why Last Call is so rad. It’s absolute mayhem but somehow controlled in every way. I guess that’s what New Hampshire does best. Controlled chaos. The rail zone lasted for about forty minutes before the entire collective on the hill moved down to the big show.
The third session went down on a huge reguler footer’s backside hip adjacent to Loon’s signature wallride that stands two stories tall. The first part of the jam went down on the hip as Scotty Lago and Brandon Reis kicked things off by sending it to the moon. Riders like Tim Humphreys, Andrew Mutty, Mike Rav and Alex Andrews followed suit but it was Tim Sullivan that stole the show. They say that every Last Call needs a hero and today, Tim Sullivan saved the day by pointing it from three hundred yards above the run-in and sending the entire hip, over the judges and the wallride, to the icy boulderfield below He rode away unscathed and the crowd went absolutely batshit crazy. On the wallride, Humpy planted it properly while Merrick Joyce was finding new and innovative ways to transfer in and around the area. Zach Normandin stepped up and transferred from the takeoff of the hip into the wall and that pretty much ended the day as the onlookers applauded and headed down to the Bunyan Room for some suds.
Last Call is special. It’s intimate, it’s progressive and it’s loose. New Hampshire produces some incredible riders but what Last Call has done over the years is open the doors to snowboarders from other areas to come show off their skillset, and that is what Last Call has done so much for. It’s opened the floodgates and let people see how rad the east coast scene is. If you’ve never witnessed it firsthand, you really should. There’s a camaraderie in New Hampshire and all about the east that’s unspoken and hard to put into words. It’s something that you have to experience to understand, so as you’re reading this, remember that around this time next year that you should come here and see it for yourself rather than sitting behind your computer and reading about it. Trust me. You won’t regret it.
1. Zach Normandin
2. Rob Hallowell
3. Merrick Joyce
1. Danika Duffy
2. Nora Healey
3. Nirvana Ortanez
Read the full Eastern Boarder’s 15th Annual Last Call at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire article on Snowboarder Magazine.