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On the Turtle’s Back

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.

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Lutsen Project

Lutsen Mountains, a ski area in northern Minnesota, is home to 95 runs across 4 beautiful mountains with a vertical drop of 825 feet.

Rider: Steven Berg
Filmer: Sam Mick (Earllll)
Photo Credit: Karl Bekkala

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.

Not worth waiting on the lift for this park.
Photo Credit: Steph Keenan

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.

And we’ll be back.

Looking for content? Check out link below

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1S9TpJ7goFTi7Tq5bEhR3a_TXoRSTzgiW?usp=sharing

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Don’t Worry, Park Crew. Your Problem’s are Nation-Wide. . .

I’ve had to start telling my friends to stop asking questions lately: Why isn’t the park open yet? Why in December, do we only have three runs open? For God-sakes just blow some f**king snow!, Have they finally fixed 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.

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HEARTLAND: a video series by Austin Sam


As you grow up a snowboarder in Minnesota, you quickly realize your tremendous and unfortunate situation: the scene is small, and your hills are smaller. Little did I know that we were playing by fire rather than candlelight and it wasn’t until I left my home hill in northern Minnesota that it occurred to me. What we have here is a condensed meal of talent and outright creative fearlessness. The scene in Minnesota has become an incredible landscape for great riders and talent that reaches the peripheries of the sport. This is to include riders, film and edit crews, writers, graphic designers, and salty park crews (many a times being a combination of all of these things). 

As I was fumbling with my summer job, I had an optimistic feeling that the upcoming season would be one of the best, mainly because of the incredible friends I’ve made working with Colab. During the season of 2018-2019, I had the opportunity to build some parks with Austin Sam, an Afton Alps local and aspiring polymath of the talents listed above. This season, he’s partnered with FYVE to complete an online video series (link below) called HEARTLAND that delves into the beating heart of Midwest snowboarding. Here’s what he had to say.

HEARTLAND.

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Stimulating the Retrograde: Morgan Anderson

Growing speculation as the sun is setting, an uneasiness unique to the individual. Sometimes the things we desire are often things that we need. If it is a form of expression, the individual can only lament the sun, but also feels, at their very core, the need to express themselves before it goes. And so it must be the same in snowboarding.

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