We got up early with a very excited crew—they had never been to the area. The Grizz is kind of a legendary spot holding some of the largest Jumps in Utah, like Chads Gap and The Pyramid Jump, as well as countless others that have graced pros’ video parts and snowboard magazines dating back to the early ‘90s. So, for any young pros that study video parts and photos as they come up, it’s kind of a nostalgic place to check out.
As we pulled up to the parking lot, I started pointing out some of the spots, doing my best to give the crew a bit of a history lesson to hopefully stoke them out. The history this area holds is amazing, almost every big pro over the last 20 years had done something amazing in this zone, helping to push the progression of the sport, which makes for some great storytelling when taking new riders up little Cottonwood Canyon and then to Grizzly Gulch for the first time.
“…almost every big pro over the last
We all hiked up to the zone with our oversized Tuffy shovels that we normally used for the streets, but thanks to the easy hike, it was mellow to bring them. Wow, do they make a difference compared to the normal backcountry shovel, which is pretty much like building with an oversized spoon.
20 years had done something amazing
in this zone, helping to push the
progression of the sport…”
As we made our way, I started to get a little nervous because the fresh snow kind of felt like dust on crust, and the area was looking way different than I had ever seen it due to the low snow levels. When we got to the Hip of Love, there was a huge bush in the landing, and what should look like a natural hip looked nothing like it normally did.
The guys did not know what the Hip of Love was, so I just casually kept hiking past it, telling them the zone was not much further. I started to panic a little bit, worried that the day could be a wash, but I also remembered there was one more option above the Hip of Love.
We got to the zone, and thankfully we saw a cornice that looked like we could dig a hip into. The landing was not as steep as we would have liked, but there was a sweet spot if you went large enough. We quickly went to work with all-hands-on-deck shoveling.
These types of builds can be time-consuming. The kicker always goes up pretty fast. The worst part is always cutting the run way into the cornice.
It’s got to be just right, so it sends you to the sweet spot and not on top of the cornice—or worse tosses you far out and you miss the landing completely, missing the pitch of the cornice, putting you into the gully below. In most cases, you spend all day building your jump and then hit it the next day. Thanks to the longer days of spring, and the crew’s hard work, we made the call to hit it the same day.
We also had a rather large crew that day. These types of jumps have a landing that stays good after riders’ hit it, so I figured a large crew was the way to go so we could build it as fast as possible. In addition to Gabe and Brandon, we also had Kix Camp, Nik Baden, Hailey Langland, Brock Crouch, Jed Sky, and filmers Mia Lambson and Leland McNamara.
With these many people digging, anything is possible. I think it was Kix who hit it first, and we all let out a sigh of relief as he went quite large with perfect pop, landing right in the sweet spot. But when he landed, he bounced and did a huge tomahawk. The next rider went, and bam! another pretty brutal tomahawk.