This handbook/blog is a mix of what we’ve learned with our friends from various park crews. Plenty of managers are stuck with a small quiver of rusty junk and don’t have the time, help, or money to build anything new, much less buy an entire feature.
If you have input, or if I goofed, leave a comment or email [email protected]. We’re trying to help park crews make better rails so people have more fun, more safe.
We had some awful steps across that frozen lake. Snow above the knee, snow shoes not present, something about a below zero forecast. Minnesota has more ice than a Botswana diamond mine and we had a group of seven. Some pushed ahead of the group and some took their time. Even a snail can pursue at an invaders pace. Banshees of the night. Two of us had headlamps but that was over by the time we reached the island, only a mile from our cabin, as the crow flies. With the snow it felt like five miles of semi-submerged mud atop a bogged-down wetland and that black silhouette in the distance looked like a silk dress wrapped around a pretty women. So someone said, there it is and we were nearly there to the island. It looked like a turtle, to me. We collapsed under a relic stone still, probably used for cooking, but I couldn’t tell. It may have been fifty–make that sixty–years old. It just applied for artifactship; a young relic. The snow was deep enough to burrow like dogs and so we did burrow in like dogs; enough to juke the wind and above the stars were far enough away to spy on. We turned our headlamps off but only out of respect to those dyeing suns. It was here we passed the moonshine and tried to find the dipper. We breathed like Nords. All hail the northern winter.
My week started like most. Work, tired from the Powder Ridge Cookout, and a planned too not be as fat. Karl and I were heading to Detroit Mountain Friday night the 31st of January, to build for the Cookout on Saturday. Come 3:00 PM Monday afternoon Detroit Mountain had reached out checking in our upcoming plans. I was told they were planning on building on Wednesday and checking to see if we would want them to handle it. Until Tuesday I was holding on to hope that we could still do some of the build. Put the Colab Brand signature spin into the park. My hopes were squashed when the rod arms bent on my truck (frick). I was out of transportation and needed every minute at work I could get. So, we accepted the offer to let them fully control the build because Karl was also extremely busy with his job. Besides we only changed a couple lips and set 4 features last year. They can handle it. If you curious how it went check it out Earllllll‘s article HERE. Also check out some of the content from last year.
My name is Kael Luberts. I am the parks, event, and team manager for Colab Brand. Much of my work happens behind-the-scenes, mostly because Karl has a more handsome face. Some of you might have met me before or spotted the yellow coat.
Andes Tower hills is a small hill near Alexandria, MN. I imagine a lot of people haven’t been there or even heard of it. But like Matt Guf of The House I also got my start here. I rode here a couple times in high school during “Incentive Days” I later found my love for snowboard at Spirit Mountain in my college years.
This Cookout wasn’t originally on the schedule. Karl, Sean, Caleb, and I decided one Saturday it would be fun to go to Andes. Karl also had a prototype Knurly he wanted to give to the park crew. We couldn’t sell it because it had a few issues but would be perfect for a spare. So, when we got there we met with Tom (Manager), Gary (former park Manager), and Justice (new park manager). After a quick talk and gift exchange we’re off to play in their temporary park. After a couple hours we’ve explored what they had open and decided to call it a day. We made the trek back to my truck. While slowly loading up Justice comes by and asks if we would have any interest in helping with an event this year. Andes use to hold one or two events a season but Faction Board shop and Tow up Throw down both ended up dropping all events. A couple weeks after our visit to Andes we came up with one of our only open weekends in the next couple months.
Lutsen Mountains, a ski area in northern Minnesota, is home to 95 runs across 4 beautiful mountains with a vertical drop of 825 feet.
It’s certainly hard to lie to yourself when everything goes right. It helps to be surrounded by some beauty; beautiful friends, beautiful place. Everything just went beautifully. Lutsen Mountains had the feeling of cool grass in the first of Autumn. Only we had lots of powder.
You’ve heard of this place before. The mountain held tightly on the hands of our rugged north shore. So we tried something new here. Something fresh. A park placed smack dab in the middle of that forest where heal-toe turns through the trees can be just as fun as surfing kinked rails and jumps. Imagine a park sprinkled with trees and knee-deep snow with an ancient forest background and the semi-frozen waters of Lake Superior holding your hand. A place like this, a place like Lutsen Mountains, is certainly unique to Minnesota. However terrain parks are not. So we married the two.
Our park was tranny oriented. No funny business. Just old school rollers and bowls coupled with elbow-kinks and down bars. Something out of an old surfing film came to mind. What was supposed to be a laid back, mellow competition quickly turned into a competitive session between new friends and old. It may have been the energy of the place that did it. I can’t really say for sure, but Lutsen Mountain was made to have a park where young kids could spend that energy. It was apparent to everyone that the youth there is very in touch with their roots.
I’ve had to start telling my friends to stop asking questions lately: Why isn’t the park open yet? Whyin December, do we only have three runs open? For God-sakes just blow some f**king snow!, Have they finallyfixed that groomer? Well why not!?
You’d better just stop asking any questions that have to do with efficiency at a ski hill. You’ll never be able to come to a logical conclusion. I promise you’ll wind up with a headache, too. There are, however, some people on the inside who know exactly why things are sometimes bad. What a great resource they would be if their behavior wasn’t so occult. And forget about the young people. They’ve expressed all their greivances in the form of demands placed strategically in the comments of ski-resort’s social media; you are very far from the heart of the beast, kids.