A couple weeks back I saw Travis Rice at European X Games who told me all about Nick Perata and Mark Sullivan organizing the King of the Hill again after 10 years off. He told me I should show up. A couple days later I contacted Perata and a week later, I was arriving in Valdez in an RV to shred those amazing mountains!
I had heard about that event quite a bit, especially since Axel Pauporte had won the last sword. And I have to admit I was a bit anxious on what to expect as far as terrain goes. I had never participated in a freeride event before and the mountains in Valdez are knowing for never ending very steep slopes. But really the event was just a very good excuse for me to go shred those amazing mountains.
David and I landed in Anchorage and stocked our RV with tons of organic food. We got to Valdez 7 hours later in the evening. And of course we started our trip with getting stuck on the parking lot straight away! And that’s were you see who your friends are – the ones that help out and push! Haha! That was such a classic move! Luckily we got saved by generous locals and Eric Themel pushing the RV with the help of a 4 wheel drive!
The weather is unpredictable in Alaska and for most of it I was expecting long down days. But the next morning I open my eyes to discover bright bluebird! Time to screw some bindings on my board and I was standing on top of that mountain wondering how the snow was going to feel like. I had a blast on my second run, where I took Travis’line with a bs 360 on a fun hit. The atmosphere of the event was super cool! After shredding our lines everyone was staying all together at the bottom checking out everyone else’s run and cheering! The 3rd run was on the golly to death in sun baked and windpacked crap snow. The kind of run which makes you appreciate good ones. I heard a lot of noise on Travis and Scotty Lago’s runs. But they were dropping in before and I couldn’t see their lines. But looking at their lines, they definitely killed it. The stand out line I have seen that day was Mike Basich dropping that impressive double cliff.
We had a great party after the sword giving… Of course Travis was the new king and I was pretty stoked to hear I finished second… Shaun Farmer lost tied 6th place arm wrestling against Mark Landvik but took revenge freestyle rapping later on that night! The dance party was awesome and I can tell you that Mike Basich’s got moves!
Luckily we had a couple bad weather days to chill before the sun came out again for 4 days in a row heliboarding! We were staying in our RV on the pass with lots of other fun shredders. That was the whole concept of Tailgate Alaska! A big camping party up in the mountains and it was great! We shared heli time with Martin Cernik and his crew which was pretty sweet. They were 5 big dudes sharing an RV, and it was nice to realize that ours didn’t smell bad at all compared to theirs! Haha! The mountains are sik in Valdez and the people are really cool! Can’t wait to be back next year!