The sun is burning brightly above “Grandma’s” in the Mt. Baker Ski Area backcountry as Hana Beaman readies to drop. She cinches the drawstring of her straw hat beneath her chin and places an inflatable blue stingray atop a steep, slippery slope. Then Hana is barreling downhill on her butt towards a 10-foot-tall kicker, aiming to clear the 20-foot gap that lay ahead. But she loses balance, crashing across the ground well short of takeoff. The crowd goes wild, and another notable moment is added to the list of hilarious fails at the 2017 Mt. Baker Seshup.
Now in its 13th year, the Seshup is an annual gathering of snowboarders and skiers amassing on Grandma’s for a final no-holds-barred jump jam of the spring. And on May 21, hundreds came out to send off an already epic Mt. Baker snow season in an explosive spray of slush and sunshine. Eliah Drake, Matt Wainhouse and a small group of dedicated builders led the charge in creating one of the loftier jumps the Seshup has seen in a few years—a step-up offering ample hangtime with forgiving landings, and a skillfully slide-slipped inrun to match. Mother Nature prevailed on all fronts, coming in with a few inches of fresh snow just a few days prior to the event, and warm blue skies on the day of. It allowed things to get a little rowdy.
Take for instance Jackson Blackburn’s miller flip attempt over a snowmobile, in which he haphazardly javelined his board into the side of the machine’s hood. Or the swath of double-flips chucked by nearly a dozen people who have never in their lives tried the trick before. At one point, someone walked by bragging to their friend about having just gone skiing naked. It’s hard to put a finger on why, but Seshup has a way of bringing out the wild in people. Hopefully that never changes.
While there were no official winners, event organizer Steven Goodell publicly recognized Colin D. Watt, Matt Wainhouse and Jackson Blackburn for the hard-charging, fun-loving energy they brought to this year’s event. Everyone saluted the “Sarge,” Pat McCarthy, for his contributions to snowboarding in the Pacific Northwest and, as someone who’s helped set up and shut down this jump for over a decade, to the Seshup especially. And as the light waned and sunburns formed, hundreds made their way back towards the parking lot with boards in hand and friends in tow. A few stuck around to polish off the keg and session under the sunset, with Wainhouse and D. Watt sending shirtless methods side-by-side to wrap everything up. It was time to call it.
But it won’t be long ‘til the snow starts falling and those lifts are spinning again. Until then, there’s plenty of snow up high. All you’ve got to do is dig.