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“Welcome to the best contest in the history of the world,” says Maxx Von Marbod, addressing a crowd of neon-clad warriors in front of the Stevens Pass Winter Resort day lodge. Behind him, a decrepit, six-foot-tall and under-vert stunt ditch is beginning to melt. Even though it’s only 10:30 am, temperatures are creeping into the 50s under a blazing sun. Perfect. Welcome to Retro Fools Day 3, what I might call the best contest in the history of this spring.
As the crew in Sun Valley, ID put it recently, old’s cool. Even the young bucks are down to bust out the jester hat and blunt-tailed artifacts of snowboarding past and rip gates these days. So 100-or-so competitors (and I use that term loosely) make their way to the top of a sketchy-by-design race course and rip a Chinese downhill, before lining up for their two burns through the course. The stylings and demographics run the gamut—from 60-year-old telemarkers to 30-somethings reliving the glory days on their old Brushie to Russell Winfield riding his very own Fat Albert pro model, snowskaters, and even a pre-teen contingent, there is room on course for all.
When the slush turns slushier, the stunt ditch proves a highlight—Stevens Pass legends like Brian Schaefer and Monty Hayes seem right at home ripping snake lines through entry hips and chunder blocks, while Jesse Burtner and Von Marbod heckle from a shady spot adjacent the Bull’s Tooth patio. And everybody rides for hours, hiking a sketchy little ditch that might be best categorized as a 1/3-pipe until a snake run of 30-or-so riders shuts it down for the day. It is strangely reminiscent of the early 90s scene—not just in dress, but the vibe. Nobody’s fronting, vibing, or putting on their contest face. The dude chuking backies is treated the same as the dude laying down hardboot carves, the same as the kid dropping in for her first ever cruise through some semblance of transition.
As the sun dips low in the sky and we move the party to the RV lot for après and a barbeque, it occurs to me: perhaps old school is the great equalizer. At Retro Fools Day 3, this certainly seems to be the case.
A huge thanks to Maxx Von Marbod, Dave Billinghurst, Nate Escalona, Jules and the rest of the crew at Stevens Pass. Long live the old school.
Main Photo: Josh Thompson.
1st – Mathieu Crepel #64 38.22 (time deduction -5sec)
2nd – Chad Frost #29 41.25 (time deduction -4sec)
3rd – Kyle Phillips #008 42.00 (time deduction -5sec)
1st – Karter Riach #10 35.00 (time deduction -3.5sec)
2nd – Bryce James #14 35.53 (time deduction -5sec)
3rd –Matt Broze #18 37.53 (time deduction 10-sec)
1st – Steve Frink #74 35.00 (time deduction -10sec)
2nd – Steve Kerr #42 35.53 (time deduction -8sec)
3rd – Pete #2000 146.91 (time deduction -10sec)
1st – Ryan Waiste
2nd – Garret Read
3rd – Bob Carvasis
Chris Rudolph Radical Award – Bryce James
Best Method – Sebatian Garber
Ski Best Dressed – Teague O’keefe
Snowboard Best Dressed – Mike Hattrup