October 18, 2017

Sun Cups & Double Jump – Mt Hood from Wes Coughlin.

This year, like the last five, I planned on spending a week early in May riding the parks at Timberline for West Coast Session. In years prior, I have had amazing times lapping the Paintbrush park and got my first chances at proving my grit on the mega jumps, the biggest of which was a lofty 125′ to the knuckle. As fun as all that is, my plans changed and my ass never saw the restful sight of a chairlift.

Tommy had called me a few days prior, beyond stoked to tell me that he and Josh Larkin had started manly excavation on two different features right next to each other; one a quarter pipe with a trajectory clearly pointed to the moon, and the other a step-up with a similar feel. His plan was to be blasting simultaneous tricks in the backcountry. So, I said au revois to the wife and dog and hitched a ride up to Mt. Hood and started shoveling. It was three full days of digging in the melting sun, until the features were ready to hit. Every day after that was a mandatory 3+ hours of building to replace what the ruthless sun had melted away overnight.

On day five Wes Coughlin of Wild Lookout joined us for a sunset shoot, and in just a few hours had captured enough beautiful light and skiing that he was able to create such a great video; Sun Cups & Double Jumps. Check out Wildlookout.com for more magic from Wes.

We knew that with these jumps, we would never make it over to the resort to participate in our beloved West Coast Session. But on day six Ethan Stone, park build guru and WCS coordinator, brought the entire WCS crew out to our spot for the inagural Tommy Ellingson Invitational. Armed with spliffs and shovels, about a dozen riders and Ethan shared our daily task of rebuilding and reshaping the lips, slipping the landings, and salting the in-run. The spectators were gathering and the features were primed. Josh got it started on the QP with a floaty alley-oop 270 and I took the opportunity to blast a cork7 blunt on what looked to everyone else as my first hit. Tommy, Josh and I showed what was possible with good timing on the features, while the big names showed what was possible solo. Alex Bellieu-Marchand wowed everyone with a giant dub cork 810 Safety on the QP, while Tim McChesney tried some spinny 1260s on the step-up. Taylor Seaton did perfect blunt cork9s like he was in the groomed halfpipe, stomping his park skis deep into the slushy landing. Reed Lewis chucked a couple tripple bcakflip attempts and John Spriggs did his classic double underflip on the QP. It was amazing to see everyone stoked on our features and to get that infectious Tommy E stoke that I have been lucky enough to know for some time now.

Next year’s TEI is gonna be crazy! 5 invited teams of 2, coming out to build huge features that they will ride together! Judging will be made on creativity, cooperation with your partner and digging performance! Get stoked!

Ari is a professional athlete, author and filmmaker living in Bend Oregon. He and his wife organize adventure travel trips around the globe.

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