The build up and recap of the Mt. Baker Bowl: Benefit that took place on 3/21/15 at Chair 9 in Glacier, WA. Words by: Ryan Davis
What a weekend! We saw over 400 attendee’s from : The Howat family to Jason Bas to Jeff Fulton to Wes Makepeace to every local in Glacier…
This concept was started at the “Coal Pad” in Glacier; a meeting point in the rainforest and a launching pad for trail seekers. Slowly Quick Crete formations started to pop up on a flat area to allow a very rustic skate spot. Built by dedicated local skaters the Coal Pad gained momentum and small fund raisers formed. Being on private land, things got complicated and the vision fell soft as weather, money and red tape created too many road blocks for it to reach its final dreamed up state. The “Coal Pad” sat, half finished and barely skate-able.
Years pass and myself and the Lib Tech skate team start a summer skate tour, hitting the road with my restored Silver Streak and our band of NW rippers. The first trip is all time and we realize we have created something that will be an annual event as well as spawn into the Lib Stumps and Leg tours. Another winter passes and Spring nears to new road trip plans for the skate crew. During the winter the Moonshine Cabin became a landing pad and creative outlet for Wes Makepeace and Jamie Lynn. Welcomed guests for life these guys, painted, played music, snowboarded and relaxed. Jamie met my left hand man and Lib skater Mikey Swearingen and connected somewhere in a concrete park…Jamie was inspired with an old fire smoldering, Mikey threw gas on it and Jamie’s skate bonfire grew big. Spring has sprung and I text Jamie just before we embark on skate trip 2… a 15 day trip from Seattle to Portland to Astoria, to Lincoln City to Eugene, back to Seattle and we are off Leavenworth, then Spokane to Missoula, up to St. Ignatius MT and back across Hwy 20 to Sedro Wooly and then finally to Glacier where we all decompress and heal the wounds of a 15 day trip of skating and camping. We had connected with Tex on this trip and the idea of a bowl build in Glacier is the talk around the fire. Jamie and Tex are devoted and they declare that we’ll build a bowl in Glacier by next summer, come hell or high water… We decide a fundraiser / artshow during the Mt. Baker LBS weekend will be the time to launch this idea. We shoot guns and go rafting with Tex and Paul down the Nooksack River with a band of skaters.
It was a special weekend for the community of Glacier and the Mt. Baker Ski Area. It’s been a slow start to the season and with no snow in the forecast, the LBS was postponed and rescheduled, then rescheduled again and finally canceled. With very little snow and likely no LBS, can you have a successful fundraiser, create a draw, get a band or two…? Will enough people want to support this? The first band we booked was Brett Netson and the Snakes, but with the date change, they were off to tour and couldn’t attend. I didn’t want to put the headliner duty on Titty Fish, so I asked myself what the perfect band would be… Drag the River would be all time. I looked up the bands website and clicked “bookings”… a day later after writing a quick explanation of what the LBS is and what kind of a special event it is, I get an email back from Jon Snodgrass. He’s into it and rallies the band for a mission to Glacier WA via Fort Collins CO. They book their tickets on the spot. The band is committed and I have a party to plan with just 4 weeks until the LBS… (still on at this point). A week later rain events and a dismal forecast leads to a notification of a possible canceling of the LBS and social media follows with notes of the poor snow season in the NW and the pending cancelation of the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom… only once in its 29 prior seasons has it been canceled. The draw of the 30th Annual LBS, fades to the 29.5th and then to a “maybe we’ll be able to do something at the resort”. This was not the way I wanted to create momentum for an event we were looking to raise $17,000 for. Sponsors were reluctant and close friends start to murmur that it may be best to wait until next year… Another year with the Coal Pad sitting without progress and Drag the River booked and planning on a show at this amazing event that I sold them on… I literally was dreading calling Jon and telling him it was off and I hope they can get their flight $ back and weren’t going to be bummed…
In the mean time I had planned an event for Mervin retailer Evo’s staff, called the Glacier Games. We just created a 25 year anniversary MC Blank by Lib Tech. The Glacier Games is the idea of being posted up at the Moonshine Cabin, cutting out the blanks and going to ride them in Baker powder… a near sure thing in March. I figured I’d invite 8 employees that would gain from this experience, plan good meals, build a throwing block, have a tone of art supplies and turn my waxing shed into a mini shaping shack for the Lib MC Blanks. Easy right…? I also figured I’d invite Jamie Lynn to join us. Here is a LINK to show how that all went.
In the mean time on my mind is how to deal with this fundraiser / artshow while it’s looking like there will not be enough snow to run the rescheduled Mt. Baker 29.5th LBS.
Halfway through the first full day of the Glacier Games while some are cutting out boards and others are honing in their knife throwing skills…, Jamie and Lib artist Schoph walk through the woods armed with a guitar, a fist full of paint pens, a doobie, a bowie knife and a machete. All nonchalant, Jamie says hi to the crew who look at them like the Vikings just landed and he wings the machete into the throwing block, sticking it first try. He lights his doobie and introduces me to Schoph. A genuine, “nice to meet you” in an English accent comes out and within that moment I can tell Schoph is a solid human and from that time forward he feels like a guy I’ve known for years. Jamie plucks the machete from the block and hands it to Schoph who hucks it a few times before he figures out the right distance. The rest of the day and night turn into one of the most creative experiences I’ve witnessed. 10 boards were shaped, finished, painted on , all as we drink, eat and chat naturally with no signs of unease from the eclectic mix of 13 different people all working on collabs, and creations through the night.
We all awake slowly, Jamie sleeping on the floor under my dining room table, 3/4 finished and near finished Lib Blanks strewn about. I make coffee and start breakfast with the help of Ben and Joe. The Evo crew proves to be great house guests. Everyone gets up and is on a task of cooking, cleaning or resetting the living room. Jamie awakes and I can’t not think about talking to him about the upcoming artshow we had discussed and clue him in on the challenges. We only a week and a half before the rescheduled date and the LBS is all but fully canceled. I ask him what he thinks and if he feels like we can still get the sponsors to commit, knowing that their is no snow and likely no LBS…? With a quick deep thought, Jamie looks at me and says, “at any cost, I’ll help light the fire, let’s do this”. With that it was like the torch was lit and we talked vague logistics. I ask him what he can help with and how much art is he willing to donate. Schoph chimes in and offers one of his incredible pieces, Jon from Evo sees the energy and says, “we’re in”. I fire a quick text to Alex from Asymbol and let him know it’s on and what can they offer… within a week, all the pieces fall in place and the best party Glacier has seen in a long time takes flight.
The whole weekend was amazing.
~ Friday March 20th
The band had settled into their cabin the night before. Around noon we stop by and get aquatinted. “We are in need of a drum kit and a place to practice” Jon says and I start to brainstorm. That morning while walking my dog Austin, we run into local skier Adam U and in casual conversation he lets us know he was in a band and has a jam room. Casually he offers up his jam room to the band at his place that just so happens to be right behind where Drag the River is staying. I tell the band about Adam’s offer and they say that will work just fine.
Jamie and a band of helpers have converged on Glacier and we link up at Chair 9 and set up for the party. It’s all made into quick work with all the help and by 8pm, we can relax and head back to the Moonshine Cabin. Mike Corvin comes by and lets us know that Drag the River is practicing their set at Adam’s. Most are just chilling and drinking beer at Moonshine, so only a few of us go to check out the sound check. Here is a link to a song in their practice session.
~ Saturday March 21st : Mt. Baker Bowl : Benefit
Jamie, Schoph and Matt French create through the night and are all asleep less Matt. The set-up crew head to the bar and work with Mike to get the sound set-up. Jamie, Schoph and Matt show up soon after and the show takes form within hours. From an empty bar and restaurant to a packed house at Chair 9, familiar faces flood in the doors and the question of “will enough people come” goes out the door. It’s kind of controlled chaos as the details of a silent auction, a door charge, raffle tickets, new pieces showing up, and all the logistics fall into place and the fun begins… Nervously, I take the stage with Jamie, Wes and Tex to thank everyone for coming and introduce Tittyfish, who at the last minute decide to play a short set. The night ignites with smiles, dancing, bidding on art and old friends reconnecting in a highlight of a lackluster winter. For a few hours no one is concerned with snow, or no snow. The focus is fun and making a place in Glacier to skate, rain or shine. Drag the River takes stages and rocks the house. Too much fun is being had and the party spills into the beer garden. A bonfire is lit while Jon and Wes play acoustic and we all drink cold PBR’s
~ Sunday March 22nd : Milano’s and Graham’s
Everyone sleeps in past noon. It’s not until we schedule dinner at Milano’s in Glacier do we get the crew to reunite over their famous Italian food. Tex’s Navy buddies band Wyld Sky get to town and set up to treat the locals to some live music at Graham’s. They are happy to open the night with a long set of feet stomping classics paired with some originals. By 11:30, the locals are on fire and Drag the River takes the small stage and closes down the bar. Close friends stayed behind and the party spills to the Moonshine Cabin where locals, the Boise Boys and close friends smash nearly all the booze in our bar and create the most epic of hangovers.
This was all a blur of community, magic, music, art with the end goal of a Bowl in Glacier. Born from a road trip and the desire to light something that was burning out, the snow community, the NW and Glacier raised over $21,000. Their is still much work to do, establishing permits and such, but this dream is going to be reality. Thank you again to all that touched this event! More to come….
Major thanks to the title sponsors :
Mt. Baker Ski Area
Huge thanks to the people who made the music happen in such a special way :
Drag the River : Jon, Chad, Kyle and Paul
Titty Fish : Wes Makepeace and Jamie Lynn
Wyld Sky : For playing Sun night for all the locals
Mike Corvin : QSC : For donating and running all of the sound
Adam U and Tess : For donating their jam space in Glacier
The Cook family for opening their doors at Chair 9 and Graham’s
There was a silent auction with amazing items donated :
Jamie Lynn rare originals
Schoph’s amazing piece that brought in $2,200
Mt Baker Ski Area donated a one time, lifetime entry to the Baker LBS : $1,575
Matt French originals
Local Artist “Woods” donated a wooden sculpture
Lib Tech : Waterboard, Cruisers, and snowboards… and Jamie Lynn 20year lighters