words and photos: Ethan Stone Fortier 

It’s the evening after the third day of what could be one of the coolest events snowboarding has to offer, and as I sit in a parking garage at the top of Tenjin Mountain, having a cold one with a group of good friends from all over the world talking about our day on the mountain, I take a good look at the scene. As I look around, I realize our sport is definitely heading in the right direction. For a while I was unsure. It seemed like people only cared about how many corks you could do and style was a thing of the past. Tonight, though, I saw that Forest Bailey and Scott Blum have built a skatepark out of all the random junk in the garage; Louif Paradis and his crew of French Canadians are hosting a game of M.U.F.F.; Jamie Lynn and Wes Makepeace have brought up an amp and are jamming and making art, while the Japanese Car Danchi crew play the drums and roll a continuous stream of joints. The garage is filled with a group of people all brought together through snowboarding, to shred a bowl together.

The event is in no way a contest, it’s a gathering of style. With events like this, you know the sport is going in the right direction. All day long for five days, a crew of some of the most stylish snowboarders in the world ride an amazing snowboard park inspired by skate bowls and surf slashes and all built by hand. Throughout the day, you see new lines appear as this creative group of riders do their thing. There is no winner or loser at the end of the week, just a bunch of smiling faces and tons of stories about all the cool snowboarding that we all witnessed.

Snowboarding needs more events like the Holy Bowly. More chances for multiple generations of the sport to get together and do something as simple as have a beer together after an insane day and talk about how much style Blum and A-Lo have, or how sick this new young crew of shredders called Lick The Cat is, or how cool it was to watch Jamie Lynn blast off that hip. We all got into snowboarding because it was a chance to do something different that allowed you to have your own style and do whatever you wanted, as long as you were having fun. Somehow, we drifted in the wrong direction and maybe this is why kids are now quicker to pick up a pair of skis instead of a snowboard. The Holy Bowly will push us right back where we need to be. Let’s get more events like this going, so we can show the world what our sport is all about. Props to Krush Kulesza for making this happen.