Digger’s Update: The Word From The Hood

“I no longer measure stuff in pounds, I measure it in salt bags.” Scotty Whitlake, digger extraordinaire

The summer of 2000 was my fifth summer at Mount Hood. I began at High Cascade as a digger and this year went back to my roots and decided to dig again. Kids are cool and all and I sure enjoyed coaching, but there is something about being a part of the dig crew that I am drawn to. It may be getting to roll in the digger van which is painted with skulls and quotes such as “born to lose live to sin” and ” hold on to your children.” Or, it may be that I enjoy kickin it with a group who truly loves riding and is all about spending their summers snowboarding for themselves and remembering what this sport we love is all about. 

HCSC Digger’s Van, Photo: Larry Nunez

Since the diggers are not exactly the high rollers that one may think, they have set up a mini 7-11 on hill to help subsidize their hourly wage of $1. Hot Dogs, sodas and candy are sold daily much to the campers delight. Occasionally when we were to bagged to ride someone would come up with something to entertain us. Once Scotty Whitlake managed to fit his whole body in one of the tent bags and was rolled down the pipe at high speed. Louie Fountain created the rake tossing game and of course mastered it within a matter of days.

Being on the hill everyday (and this summer I really mean everyday not one rain day all summer) you get to see a lot of things and this summer was all about rock stars and the evolution of style.

Scotty Whitlake’s sunburn to bandanna to ninja mask was one of the evolutions of style. It’s funny because Scotty just started rollin’ the bandana over his face because he was sick of buying sunscreen and the next day there must have been 10 people rockin his style. I don’t think Scotty ever new he would be a fashion forward type of guy. Roberta and JP had everyone sporting du- rags. The dig crew dressed in all black and left designers to question the brights and neon’s that were put into next winter’s lines. Jason Brown won the most danglers contest with far more stuff hanging off him than anyone else even attempted.

The Shred fest was on. Not a day went by where the pros weren’t out filming or pushing each other. The entire Forum crew was out with the exception of Devun Walsh. They were looking to set the quarterpipe big air record trying for a mere 38 feet. Blaise Rosenthal stayed the duration of the summer just leaving for enough time to get married. The 418 was in town riding strong as usual and keeping everyone wondering what the heck they are putting in the water up there in Quebec. The ladies came to play with BarrettRoberta RodgerLeslee OlsonNatazsa ZurekNicola ThostShannon Dunn, and Janna Meyen all giving a new meaning to girl power. 

Mark Frank Montoya and Kurt Wastell Photo: Larry Nunez

Josh Dirksen came to give a back flip clinic to all the campers. He has become one of the fly fishing crew to add big bass to the nose of his board along with Markus Egge and Kevin Jones.

Shawn White came and made everyone else look silly going just as big as pro shreds twice his size and showed that his bag of tricks is twice as big as he is tall. Tara Dakides was 1/2 cab-to-backside boardsliding the huge tabletop rail that all the boys were scared of even sliding. Jason Brown took some time to come hang out and rule after he had finished painting all of his Burton 7 pro models by hand. Mike Michealchuck is back on snow to everyone’s delight as is Eric Leines after a bizarre season of injuries.

The Master Blaster
“I have a hand grenade in my butt and I am about to pull the pin” “I am a pressure cooker and I am about to blow.” Tonino Copene referring to the lack of accessibility to restrooms on the hill after 1:30.

Mark Frank Montoya came to rule the new Vans bowls and ramps and spin some records for the campers. Tara Dakides and Kurt Wastell were also killing it in the skate area as were Todd Richards and Josh Dirksen. The later two seemed to spend as much time on the ramps as on the snow claiming that the new stuff is just too damn fun.

In sponsorship news…. the X-sims team is looking for new homes. The first to land a place was Luke Omand on Santa Cruz. The new Sims team is rocking the house with style and much needed new hype. Wille Yll-Luoma was looking comfortable on his new K2 ride and Roberta Rodger is ruling on Forum boards after making the switch from Salomon. Nicola Thost was busting as big as the boys on her new Burton boards. Burton also recently made some cuts leaving more than 5 talented riders in search of a new army. In eyewear news it seems there has been quite the shuffle with new companies ElectricVon Zipper and Velvet/Version recruiting new troops. Pete left Dragon to begin a new revolution with Electric and CB Burnside, Shannon Dunn and Roberta Rodger are on the Velvet program. The influx of new web sites have also led to other sponsorship fields to explore and Pro shreds are jumping on the wagon left and right.

Jeff Jewitt long time Smith team manager has left to pursue a new venture and will be dearly missed. Noah Brandon has left his position as Nitro team manager.

Chris Owen has become the super team manager taking on not only LIB and GNU, but Quiksilver and Roxy as well. Neil Goss has been offered a team manager position, but has not decided yet to give up the pro shred scene yet.

Ride has dropped the majority of its team leaving only eight men and one alternate token female left. Rumor has it they are looking to rebuild.

Ingemar is building a new team under the Allian name. Dave Lee is starting a new company called Super Natural and rumor has it K2 is going to build a new cool guy company with a recently departed Burton rider.

Forum’s new boot program left DC in need of pulling in some new power and all though it’s new team is different styles of riders than before it is still a remarkable crew.

The injury list is as follows: Peter Line hurt his knee filming on a hip we wish him a speedy recovery in the mean time I am sure he will keep himself occupied with board games and new toys. Kim Bonsack also hurt her knee while shooting in the halfpipe the doctor is thinking ACL. Abe Teter over shot the landing while filming with Mack Dawg and wrecked his shins. Roberta Rodger bruised her foot on an alley-oop Michealchuck, but will be back for the last session.

High Cascade celebrated it’s first anniversary under Vans ownership and bought the whole town ice cream even though they got blamed for an unfortunate act of stealing go carts that they did not commit. On the same evening an unknown bandit fire bombed an old ski camps van and that too was blamed on HCSC and once again we were not involved. I missed the action but being from the great white north the land where liability and lawsuits are rare it seemed to me to be just another drunken evening but got a little blown out of proportion. High Cascade does fess up to a pre camp party held at the $1 beer and $1 bowling alley where a few bowling balls wound up being thrown threw the roof. The only other drunken incident was Trevor Andrew getting a concussion from the balcony of the Rossi house falling out from under him. I guess he wasn’t too upset about the incident as there was a whole slew of hoochies there just looking to look after young pro snowboarders.

With two weeks to go and not a cloud in site I am sure there will be a lot more action to go. But if you are looking for a new way to get stoked for winter rumor has it the Forum video, Mack Dawg’s and Whitey’s new flicks are coming to a store near you real soon and if the whole movies are as good as the teasers they will be sure to help you hold on for a few more weeks.