It’s the first weekend of July and there isn’t a cloud in the sky above Government Camp, OR. With my trusty pup Milo at my side, I drive through town before making my routine stop at the Trillium Lake Airstrip. From here I’ve got one of my favorite views of one of my favorite mountains: Mt. Hood. I’ve been coming here every summer since I was 16 years old—half of my life now—but this time is extra special. I’m headed to my first Snowboy Productions event, Halo-Halo, a two-day soiree for BIPOC snowboarders, terrain park builders, photographers, videographers and more.
With temps in the high 80s, an actual halo-halo would be nice right now. Halo-halo is a refreshing Filipino desert typically made with sweets and fruits layered on top of shaved ice. Recipes vary widely based on location and taste preferences. The dessert serves as a fitting metaphor for this diverse, flavorful group of snowboarders coming together to shred melting snow under the hot summer sun. Before the course even opens, we know this session will be just as sweet as the dish it’s named after.
The dig crew, led by Krush but otherwise consisting entirely of BIPOC park builders, constructed the course the night before the event. Despite their time crunch, the features are proper. There’re a few tubes to jib, hips to jump, one of Snowboy’s classic volcanos, and a quarterpipe at the end of the run. Over 100 people have showed up to ride, including some heavy hitters like Zeb Powell, Stevie Bell and Miles Fallon, and cameramen like Mike Yoshida and Luis Medearis. Despite their claims to fame, no one is on their high horse. Everyone has come in high spirits and remain down to Earth. We’re all just happy to be here, ride, and represent.
We’re here to create a space that will elevate representation of BIPOC individuals in the mountains. Perhaps through seeing an event like this, a greater number of BIPOC folks could see themselves as the type of person who could get involved with snow sports.
When a young Black kid sees Zeb Powell at the top of his game, throwing big front flips in tribute to guys like Ben Hinkley, they’ll be able to see themselves filling those boots one day. Being half-Vietnamese myself, it’s empowering to help open this space up and hopefully bring more people who look like me into snowboarding, too. This is one of the coolest experiences that I’ve ever had in snowboarding and is inspiring me to become more involved with things that could allow even more young BIPOC kids get into snow sports. Because it’s a beautiful thing to see people of all different races and walks of life get to experience this activity that we all know and love: just sliding down the mountain. That shared, magical feeling.