The story behind the snowboarding photo— Mining manure

It was a real pleasure to open up the fun of off-piste riding for James Langston last winter. As a self confessed rail junky I thought it might be a tall order in expanding his horizons beyond the park, but as it turned out, his skills developed really well over the week and resulted in some banging shots and some great riding sessions. I especially liked this shot I managed to get from him. The wood of the barn gives it a real pop and adds that extra feel of an urban setting, even though we’re in the middle of nowhere. Plus, even though it is just an acid drop, the grab makes all the difference in adding that extra bit of style and substance to it.

Tom making the most of the freshies

Tom making the most of the freshies

As with many of these sessions, it came about by chance. We’d been hitting one of my easy access off-piste sections. You end up coming out of a collection of trees and you have a easy traverse through a barbed wire fence (not as bad as it sounds) and over a river bed to access a snow covered mountain path that gets you back to a lift. If you’re enjoying the snow a bit too much you can end up too low. James and Tom got sucked in by some other riders, not with our group and ended up having a small hike out.

James finding his way back

James finding his way back

Whilst the guys were making their way out of the valley the rest of the team chilled out at a barn. I started wondering around the barn and looking at the concrete ledges of the outside of it. I was initially hoping we might be able to use it as some kind of rail feature. A short ride in, a little 50/50 to a drop. Sadly the line in was a bit too tough.

I then got thinking about an acid drop. Something relatively straight forward, but would produce a nice result for the guys. The lefthand side looked a bit too flat on the landing, so we decided on the right side.

James scoping the drop

James scoping the drop

The team got to work. We had to pile up a load of snow on the landing to cushion the blow. Clear off the concrete ledge and prep some kind of stable platform for takeoff.

As we started digging for the landing snow, we found out that our storage bay was actually a massive pile of manure. Nice! We had to be a bit careful then as we were really not keen on shovelling crap into the landing. The snow base was not too bad. So we had plenty of snow for the landing.

Getting prepped for the acid drop did take some help. It was tough to strap in on the ledge, so we had someone hold the board for each rider. When they were ready they would back away and the fun would commence.

It did take a few attempts by each rider to get something solid as you need to throw yourself away from the ledge as well as try and grab the board. This little sessions turned out really well. Something simple with a bit of team work helped great something golden from mining a pile of manure. Not bad at all.