Thirteen hours. That’s how long Matt Wainhouse spent shoveling and shaping snow to create the jump for this year’s Mt. Baker Seshup, the annual spring sendoff session held at the end of Washington’s Highway 542. With the help of a few other dedicated snowboarders the slushy kicker came to life, ready to take on 500-plus hits throughout the day that lay ahead.
“It’s been a pleasure to help lead the charge in building the Seshup jump, and to build one that doesn’t crumble,” Matt says. “My confidence in building jumps has grown over the years, from building backcountry jumps during winter and from helping out at Seshups. So, building one this weekend for nearly 300 people to come play on or just watch, it kind of feels like a way of giving back.”
Nearly 300 people is a good turnout for any hand-dug, hike accessed snowboard event, let alone one happening in June. It speaks to the diehard attitude of Washington’s mountain dwellers when it comes to strapping up and sliding snow. But the Seshup wasn’t always such a big gathering. What started as a small get together of snowboarders for a jump session known as “Grandma’s Last Call” evolved into the “Mt. Baker Step-Up Session,” and then into the staple season ender, open to both snowboarders and skiers, that we know as the Seshup today.
Now in its 14th year, the Seshup continues to bring together snowboarders who have been hitting this jump for over a decade—Jason Speer, Russell Winfield, Leif Jones, Robin Foster, Nick Ennen, Steven Goodell, photographer Brad Andrew and more—with riders and photographers that they’ve inspired to follow in their boot-pack. And by looking at some of the up-and-coming groms in attendance this year, it’s safe to say this cycle will carry on for seasons to come.
Due to the forgiving nature of the jump, it saw a lot of action from riders you wouldn’t normally see sending such a feature—another reoccurring theme at this oftentimes hilarious event. “I think people see that you can come up short on the jump and not get really hurt like you would with some crazy gap,” Matt says. “All skill levels are hitting that jump, and it is not an easy jump to hit. Clearing the jump is actually really hard, because you have to be mach-ing into it—classic Baker.”
Six hours. That’s how long everyone hiked and hit the kicker, until knees wobbled and the sun started to fade. The masses make their ways back to the parking lot of the Mt. Baker Ski Area to either set up camp or to head down the hill. Matt is standing next to his white pickup truck, tired but content with the outcome of this year’s Seshup. “A bunch of happy people here,” he says, looking around the lot. “Everyone’s stoked. I only wish it could last longer.”
A special thanks to Matt Wainhouse, Max Dre and anyone who helped shovel the jump, Brad Andrew for dealing with the permits and paperwork, and Jackson Blackburn and Brad Peterson for snowmobiling supplies in and out of the event area. Thanks also to anyone who helped pick up and pack out trash at the end of the event–an integral factor in keeping the mountain clean and this gathering going strong.