Holy Oly. You can’t spell Olympics without OLY!
Story by Tom Naab
With the Olympics wrapping up we can look forward to another four years of peace and quiet. We can get back to minding our own business and doing what we love. Snowboarding. We won’t have to listen to the mainstream media fire cliché after cliché telling us who we are and what the Olympics mean to snowboarding. It may mean a lot to certain people who snowboard, but it doesn’t mean much to snowboarding. What would change if snowboarding wasn’t in the Olympics? Not much. Why? At the end of the day people who snowboard love to snowboard, pure and simple. It doesn’t matter if its lapping a park all day, riding backcountry, rolling groomers with friends, or chasing powder. Everyone who rides, rides for the love of doing so.
If the Olympics don’t mean much to snowboarding what does? Anti-contests. They aren’t interested in corporate sponsorships or huge paychecks, but rather celebrating snowboarding’s soul. The winner’s name will go down in snowboarding lore. Years from now people will speak their name as they look back and tell younger generations of snowboarders what it means to be a snowboarder. In no particular order, a short list of these events would be the US Open, The Legendary Banked Slalom, Log Masters, and the one and only Holy Oly.
Northwest Method Award: Danny Garrity, Photo: Annette Veihelmann
Under abnormally warm and sunny skies the 7th Annual Holy Oly Revival went down this past Saturday at Hyak. Also known as Summit at Snoqualmie East, Hyak has been closed since a massive landslide took out the main chairlift last winter. With the lifts still closed several hundred people hiked up the mountain to celebrate snowboarding alongside a 40-foot Olympia beer can and a 24-foot quarterpipe.
Krush Kulesza and his team from Summit at Snoqualmie built an outstanding setup featuring a hand dug sod topped 24-foot quarterpipe alongside an 8-foot quarterpipe filled with giant tubes, aptly named Tube City. Decorating the top of setup were pink flamingos, lifeguard chairs, a 20-foot tall inflatable Summit beer can, MC/Think Thank frontman Jesse Burtner, and tons of bananas.
Bananas! Photo: Annette Veihelmann
The day of 1,000 methods started around noon on the quarterpipe. From the start riders were going off. Everyone from legends like Peter Line to unknown locals destroyed it. There were more bananas flying than tomatoes, and the crowd was not disappointed in the least. Two hours later the action moved to Tube City allowing the crew to do maintenance on the quarterpipe. After an hour or so at Tube City the riders went back to the quarterpipe for the rest of the afternoon.
The day of 1,000 methods, Jason Robinson, Photo Tim Zimmerman
There were too many people killing it to mention everyone, but some of the highlights were: Austin Hironaka sending double overhead airs while his little brother charged right behind him. Dustin Craven and Pat Bridges’ synchronized handplants while cranking heaters. Danny Garrity showed us that he loves metal and going huge. Nate Farrel channeled his inner Ian Spiro and threw huge tricks and then did them again, switch. Forest Bailey did what someone named Forest would do and that was everything really well. Tucker Andrews laid out a backflip that looked more fun than just about everything else. Patrick McCarthy, Justin Heath, and Manuel Dias displayed that the Michalchuk can only be done well by those with the brass to go big. Austen Sweetin and a kid with a red jacket explained that you don’t need to be old to boost. Blair Habenicht and Matt Edgers proved there is always a creative line that nobody else sees. Jess Kimura displayed that not only is she willing to charge, she isn’t going to take no for an answer. Jason Robinson rode over everything and did a ridiculous handplant 50-50 disaster revert. Dustin Anderson and Bryce Neibuhr had no problem doing really big methods with really big smiles. Peter Line did what a legend does, everything with impeccable style and making it look all too easy. A 4-foot grom dropped in unaware or unafraid that the quarterpipe was six times his size. The crowd fueled by free bananas, Cobra Dogs, and Red Bull stayed for over four hours as the riders laid it down.
Banana and Cobra Sauce, Photo: Annette Veihelmann
The 7th Annual Holy Oly was a celebration of snowboarding, bananas, and Northwest pride. Everyone there understood why someone would frequently ride in the rain, without sunlight, and truly enjoy it. When Krush read the awards off an empty 12 pack of Olympia nobody questioned it. They understood this is a celebration. Here are the awards starting with the “points of interest:”
Points of Interest/Honorable Mention:
Longest Rock to Fakie- Jake Kelly.
Biggest Alley Oop- Johnny Malanga
Where Have You Been?-Josh Charles
1st Annual Billy Goat’s Gruff Award for Creative Line- Blair Habenicht
We Don’t Need No Stinking Binders Award for Best Snow Skater AKA Jake Tomlinson Award-Jake Tomlinson
Mayor of Tube City Award for Best at Tube City-Forest Bailey
Y Chromosome Award/Best Crash Award- Jess Kimura
Random Snowboarder From The Past That Nobody Knew Was Coming Award AKA Jeff Brushie Award- Russel Winfield
Hardest Charging Industry Guy/Girl Award- Sean Teodore
Highest Air/Best Face Award- Bryce Neibuhr
Best Trick Award-Devin Elliot for his Switch McTwist 720
Berzerker Award for All Around Excellence/2nd Place- Nate Farrel
Making It Happen/ Keeping The Spirit Alive Award-Cory Grove from Cobra Dogs
Northwest Method Award- Danny Garrity
Holiest of the Holy Award for Overall Winner-Austin Hironaka
At 7pm an after party was held at the Summit West Base Lodge. People gathered, drank beer, and listened to three great bands featuring two snowboarding legends. Wes Makepeace (solo) and Todd Schlosser’s The Senate Arcade both performed acoustic sets and got the room ready for Krush Kulesza’s grunge heroes Sweet Water. All in all it was an amazing day among friends and fellow shredders.
As snowboarding gains popularity and ventures further down Mainstream Avenue, grassroots events like the Holy Oly will preserve our sport’s soul. These anti-contests remind us no matter where snowboarding may go; it’s really about having fun. No one would snowboard or even get to the Olympics on one if they didn’t have fun doing it. Every four years when people discuss snowboarding’s place in the Olympics, remember you can’t spell Olympics without spelling OLY.