Freestyle meets Mount Hood


News staff writer

May 3, 2006

Sunny skies, slushy snow and riders in sunglasses and T-shirts was the scene this weekend on the slopes. And on Saturday at Mt. Hood Meadows, the term “riders” took on two meanings, with one set of “riders” being clearly distinguishable from the other.

From off the lifts and down the slopes, skiers and snowboarders tore up the three-or-so inches of sticky, slushy snow on its way to the water table.

And at the base area, riders of the other kind pedaled hard down a plywood path, hucked themselves off a 10-foot wood ramp and sailed through the air on their heavy-suspension freeride bikes.

The freestyle jam-format competition was dubbed “Snow Jam,” which brought about 15 riders from the northwest to Mount Hood for the first event of its kind at Meadows. A jam-format, such as it was, gives competitors as many chances as they can in a given amount of time, which was an hour and a half in this case. Riders then convened and voted for who they thought were the top finishers in each division.

Bend radical Chris Jordan pulled off a 20-plus foot back-flip, which was impressive enough to win the first-place vote from his fellow competitors.

Behind the progressive, grass-roots competition was the Gorge Free Ride Association (GFRA), which is based out of Hood River. With the help of Meadows and a handful of sponsors, Jake Felt, Douglas Johnson and Gary Paasch designed and built the massive wooden kicker. Meadows groomers then built the approach and landing out of some of the softest, kindest landing material around.

The snow was so soft, however, plywood had to be laid down for a takeoff and landing path so riders could keep up enough speed on the approach and prevent tumbling head over heels on the landing.

As the spring takes hold and the summer approaches, the GFRA is getting ready for another season of pushing the limits and progression of freeriding in the Gorge. The group is responsible, in large part, for much of the development taking place in the Post Canyon area. By working with Hood River County Forestry and private land owners, a new system of development is now in place that allows riders to create and maintain freeriding terrain and features in the area, while also giving County Forestry the power to regulate where, when and how much can be done to different areas.

Most recently, members of the GFRA completed a walk-through of the middle Grand Prix area of Post Canyon with County Forestry and, according to Felt, they got the go-ahead to start a new project in that area.

For more on freeriding in the Gorge, visit:

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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