words: Mary Walsh
captions: T. Bird
photos: Ryan “Huggy” Hughes, Mike Yoshida, Aaron Blatt, and T. Bird
Amidst the challenges that up and down weather patterns can create when maintaining intricate park features as well as riding these park features, and beyond the massive level of stoke that has permeated the past week throughout periods of sun, rain, and clouds, the fact remains that the largest park gathering of snowboarders on the yearly calendar has now gone down on the soil of the Eastern Seaboard. A few hundred snowboarders made their way to western Pennsylvania for Superpark 19 presented by Nexen Tire and the collection of riders—Scott Blum, Mike Ravelson, Tim Humphreys, Jamie Nicholls, Riley Nickerson, Tommy Gesme, Nik Baden, Zack Normandin, Enni Rukajarvi, Desiree Melanon, Brendan Gerard, Spencer Whiting, Erik Leon, Mary Rand, Scotty Vine, Brady Lem, Ben and Gabe Ferguson, Ryland West, Jeremy Cloutier, Kyle Kennedy, Hans and Nils Mindnich, Taylor Gold, and many, many more—is proof positive that extensive vertical is not necessary for many of the world’s best riders to gather together for a week of riding unlike any other. To create a playground worthy of the level of talent, three build teams came together to erect not only an impressive and hefty set up, but one that prioritized creativity and fun and over the course of the week, as Superpark riders explored, addressed, and shut a wide variety of transitions, lines, take offs, and of course a healthy dose of welded steel.
On Thursday, the final day of Superpark 19, morning fog lifted and the sun broke through. Final laps were made through the Bear transition zone, jumps were hit and final shots were gathered. In fitting spring form, the closing ceremonies of this year’s event went down at the bottom of The Spot, near the Boreal zone as everyone gathered for an enormous pond skim. We will let the photos and video do the skim justice, as describing Brendan Gerard careening over a body of water wearing nothing but a ski mask and a well-placed sock doesn’t do the moment justice. Check out @snowboardervideo on Instagram for the GIF.
At the end of the night, everyone of age gathered one more time at the Foggy Goggle. Amidst clinking glasses and shared stories, this year’s Superpark Standout was announced. After five days of hard-charging snowboarding, in which he stacked standout tricks in every zone, Scotty Vine was awarded Superpark 19 Standout and for his efforts he took home a giant check worth $1,000 from Nexen Tire. Congrats, Scotty!
Here at SNOWBOARDER, we can not thank the dedicated and tireless park crew that made this endeavor successful. On the final day of Superpark 19, we spoke with Seven Springs Park Manager, Joe Genovese about how the event went for the hometown team.
How many Superparks have you been involved in?
Joe Genovese: This is number four for me. First one was Breckenridge Superpark 6, second one was Lake Louise Superpark 8, third one was Mount Hood Meadows Superpark 18 and then this year at Seven Springs.
What’s the difference between traveling to other resorts to build at Superpark and building here on your home terrain?
Hosting it is the biggest difference. We’re not on the road, we don’t have per diem, we’re not without our homes and families and stuff, it’s here. It’s nice to sleep in my own bed. That’s the biggest difference to me. Building here is the same as we do all year long. Constantly changing weather and snow conditions; it’s a constant uphill battle. Being at our home mountains, every once in a while when the radio stops blabbering at you, you can step back in and look at everything and say, “Holy shit, for everyone here, this is Superpark.”
How does having the event at Springs affect what you guys decided to build compared to traveling to other mountains?
As hosts we want to cater to the other teams; we want to give them the zones that they want. With Boreal in The Spot and Bear where they were, we built the hip on a trail we had no intention of even building on initially. And it’s cool, because our guest are Clayton Shoemaker and Matt Melilli and Eric Rosenwald–they’re friends.
You guys know the mountain so well and can adapt to whatever area you need to, so you want to provide advantages for the build teams that are coming in with no prior knowledge of the terrain.
Right. We didn’t want to build in The Spot, the area where Boreal built, because we’ve built that thirty times. We know the grade, we know where the snow is. We gave it to them to do something completely different. We wanted to see what someobody else would do with that trail
What is it like seeing what they’re creating on terrain you guys are so familiar with and seeing someone else’s take on your mountain?
Well, it was different because they were able to us the entire 22-foot pie for one jump. We don’t generally have that luxury usually to stack a pile of snow that big. It was different too familiarizing them with the roll of the land and the grade and stuff. They have no idea what’s underneath the snow. The nice thing about being here on the East Coast is we keep our trails looking like fairways, so there’s no boulders, stumps, or big rock formations to worry about. You have snow and then you have dirt. There’s no in between. Boring. (laughs)
Let’s talk about the hip. Last year we saw absolutely huge hip airs and this year, you guys built a hip that’s sending people even higher than at Superpark 18. What did you and your crew do to make that possible?
The idea was to send them to the moon. We didn’t channel it, we didn’t do anything cute, we just had a simple mission: send ‘em to the moon. That means steeper takeoff angle which means taller transition to get to that angle, and it worked out well. Once you cut a channel into a hip, you have this commitment on how far you need to travel down the hill, if you leave it without one, you can build the transition to the sky.
Springs made a big commitment to making snow for Superpark.
The second we hit snowmaking temps we crank. We make as much snow as possible.
Do you know how much you guys made?
(laughs) No, I don’t…I mean, we made all of it. The advantage we have is the ability to pound one or two areas of the hill and bury them beyond belief. We got really lucky because we were hurting with weather four days before we started building and then we had a couple of nights of signal digits. We turned off snowmaking the first day of building at noon. It was six degrees that night and our crew was on call, watching the weather. Our park staff and snowmaking were all laid off until we first heard that we might be hosting Superpark, 26 days before it the first build day. We called everybody, “Hey, remember when we laid you off? Nevermind, we need you again!” and they were on a bare bones crew while we all watched the weather. As soon as they saw the temperatures drop, they would kill our build zones and just bury them.
Speaking of staff, when you travel to Superpark, you have only four to six guys, and here you have your whole park crew. There’s plenty of younger members of the crew who likely aren’t as familiar with Superpark or Springs’ roll in it. What was it like for them to be involved?
Considering many of the kids were born after Superpark 1 it was kind of crazy; they’re all little groms. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of them didn’t know what Superpark was coming into this, but we wanted to include everybody. We tried really hard to get everyone in for shifts and to help with handwork and everything, as well helping the other teams. The days leading up to the event, we had guys up there helping the Bear team with their rails. We had a lot of crew on early to help with logistics and the idea was to have plenty of staff here so Clayton and those guys wouldn’t have to throw all their salt themselves. We would have guys out there helping them and helping Boreal.
Of course, this is the first time Superpark has been on the East coast, what do you think that means for Superpark, for snowboarding, for the East Coast?
Well for snowboarding, we hosted the biggest event on the East Coast this year. The East Coast has been abandoned—nobody believes in the weather or believes anyone can pull this off. And we all pulled it off. We got so lucky that our good weather days were at the beginning. We didn’t get a lot of natural snow this season, but we had temps and we were able to crank all year long. I can’t say enough good things about our snowmaking and our support from upper management. The second we mentioned Superpark, our CEO said, “Why aren’t the guns running? It’s twelve degrees. Let’s do it.” I love it. It’s my favorite event. I’m from Virginia, three hours from here. It’s amazing that we can host an event like this here only three hours from there, in Pennsylvania. It says a lot for what Joel’s done, for what people have done at this resort before me. Pat Bridges and SNOWBOARDER have a lot of trust in our crew that we will be able to pull it off.
Thank you to everyone at Seven Springs, the Boreal and Bear crews, and of course, all of the riders that came out to strap in and point it down hill every day, regardless of weather. Stay tuned next week for three more videos dropping right here on Snowboarder.com and see you next year.
Read the full Superpark 19 presented by Nexen Tire – Day 5 Photos and Recap article on Snowboarder Magazine.