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Friday, February 15, 2013
Snowboarding Nemo

By Pat Milbery
XGames.com

I awoke on this past Friday morning at about 10:15 a.m., and was alerted by a weather notification that informed me of any decent-sized storms happening around the U.S. Two days prior, I had to postpone a trip to Japan, and I was upset about the missed opportunity. But with news that the New York City region was in for a blizzard, I felt some urgency to take a look at some flights. So I rang So-Gnar's marketing correspondent, Gracie McGuire, for some help tracking down flights. The results were unaffordable. We found that the flight into NYC was going to cost me just about as much as a flight to Tokyo would have. There was no sense in me spending this kind of money on a flight. I had a major hurdle in my plans.

 

So I got out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee. As I took my first sip of coffee, my phone rang with Gracie's number. Her grandmother Marilee had served Frontier Airlines for 20 years as a flight attendant and had earned flying perks, known as buddy passes, that extended to her family. Gracie said, "I just scored us tickets to NYC for $55.92 round trip."

My jaw dropped. I have been waiting all my life to jib, create and snowboard around New York City and the opportunity had just arrived. The flight was in 3½ hours, and my house to the airport is a 40-minute drive without traffic. So I packed up the essentials, and headed to NYC to snowboard. 

 

As we arrived at the counter to check in, we were immediately bummed -- Frontier canceled our flight and didn't notify us. There were no more flights to NYC or anywhere nearby headed out of Denver International Airport that day. The only flight left was into Washington, D.C., about five hours away. We looked at each other and said, "Let's take it!" And we were off, to a city nowhere near New York, but nothing a rental car or train ride couldn't fix. On the walk to our gate, I called everyone on the East Coast I knew to see if they wanted to shred, if they were in town for the weekend or if we could crash on their couch during our stay.

I have been waiting all my life to jib, create and snowboard around New York City and the opportunity had just arrived.

-- Pat Milbery

Out of the 12 contacts I had, zero of them were going to be around. Then all of a sudden, I remembered my friend Kyle Arcomano, who had a great position at Red Bull as an event car driver and winch operator. He was based out of New Jersey. Kyle and I had met in Wisconsin during my So-Gnar Snowboard Camp Tour. After ringing Kyle, he was down to link up, and bring the MXT and winch to charge the storm.  Shortly after updating my Facebook and Instagram status, I got a phone call from one of my favorite lighting photographers in the game. He is from Florida and his name is Chris Garrison. Chris wanted to head up to document the storm. He found a flight up the same evening and the crew assembled.

When you think of New York City during the winter months, you typically think about cold weather, gray skies and the bitter windchills that pierce through your layers of clothing with ease. New York has yet to be blanketed with a healthy coat of snow on any sort of consistent basis through the 2012 and 2013 season. So anytime the city receives snow, it seems like the residents either rejoice or lament the snow's arrival.

Snowboarding in the Big Apple is a foreign concept, and we were easily able to observe the reactions we received from passerbys as we walked through the city with snowboards, shovels and film gear in our hands. We fielded a lot of questions of confusion and disbelief about snowboarding in the city. There has been little to no snowboarding documented in and around the city. I remember the Forum Crew jibbed the streets during a freak blizzard a handful of years ago and was able to document a few spots around this gigantic city. We decided to document urban snowboarding in an iconic manner, an approach that had not yet been seen in snowboard media or any mainstream media coverage to date.

Our focus was to incorporate snowboarding into the world's most recognizable iconic landmarks, skylines and bridges utilizing the resources in the environment around us. With the assistance of our good friends at Red Bull, we were able to accomplish everything from hand plants to pow slashes to quarter pipe fence stalls with the use of a winch. Special thanks goes out to Officer Louis Mecka and his dog Froto, Eric, Kyle, Nick, Gracie, Chris and especially grandma Marilee.