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.
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.
Like most of us, you probably never heard of it – but this place is amazing. It’s a nonprofit ski hill with a long, wide, medium-grade park, a crazy fast rope tow, lots of trees to cut the wind, and a constant whisp of woodsmoke. It absolutely made our day.