There's a couple of yearly milestones with shred that I set my sights on: Baker Banked Slalom, Baldface, the Launch an CAMPiTA.
Well last week we checked off number 3 of 4 from the list as we went down to sunny California to Snow Summit for Snowboarder Magazine and Oakley's the Launch. Last year we were at Big Bear and the dudes decided to move it over from the heavily cool guy trafficked Big Bear to old bro zone of Snow Summit, which was brilliant for two reasons. It created an exclusive environment for the kids invited and gave the dads in denial that came access to one of the best old man parks in the country.
The Launch set up was insane. They Zaugg'd everything possible to make a multitude of hips thru out the run as well as built a couple of unique booters for the kids to chuck their meet off of. Minimal rail set ups were there for the mid west contingent but for the most part, those kids are jumping everything these days and that didn't seem to be a factor.
In the Westridge public park it was game on for not only the kids, but the dudes in denial as well. Every jump was cheese wedged, but doable and they had a series of consequent-less hips that anyone could hit. I haven't jumped anything in the last couple of seasons because of the shit I went thru with the big C and all but after hooking up with Dave Appel from DC and his co-workers Jeff and Shawn I knew I needed to get my shit in gear.
We were only at the Launch for 3 of the 4 days as I had to get back to Stevens Pass and help orchestrate the SlayRide banked slalom that we were putting on and that threw a wrench in our usual Launch routine as we were cutting out the most important day for the Malkoski boys, the last day. The last day of the Launch usually has a 1/3 of the attendees and its the day that Mac and Milo seem to come alive. Not this year though, with a full pep talk before the trip of "I don't want to get on the plane coming home and here any of this I should have bullshit. If you see something you want to do, do it. Time is of the essence." And for the most part, Milo, Mac and Matteo took that advice to heart and used the features to their benefit which resulted in getting a shot of two in the Launch recaps. I followed my own advice and on the last day, last run, hit every jump in the Westridge park in suck-session with an array of scared indys, Tina's and missed grabs thrown to show the kids whats up. Griff, you were sorely missed from this solid throw down of aerial acrobatics.
Once again the team at Snowboarder Magazine pulled off an incredible event and I can't thank them enough for the invite. The Launch may be and 18 and under event, but it certainly put miles of smiles on all the old balls that went there to chaperone their kids. Thanks Pat, Bird, Stone, Mary, Huggy, Cavan, Cole and everyone else.