Photos: Matt Hudson
Words: K.C. James Swain
A few months ago I got the call. My buddy James Fleege was on the horn, gave me the scoop that he wanted the story of the 2nd Annual Treasure State Shredfest to be told beyond the local news papers in Montana. Bigger. More exposure. Connect the community. Three years deep and it was time to let the world know what is brewing in Montana’s “on-the-rise” snowboard scene. Snowboarder Magazine would be a new sponsor for this years event and someone needed to get the story into their mitts.
Thats where I come in, bringing all my Hipster Magic along for the ride. And so it began...
It was up to me to get to Missoula. Fudge. Take the Greyhound? Ish, did that too many times when I lived in Missoula. Shitty seats and worse company. Rideshare? No one replied. Thank the lord, the days of ass, grass, or cash are long gone and I don’t own a fire arm. Ding. Ring. A. Ding. Phone call. James got me a ride with Terrance, a home boy from Great Falls Montana, that just happened to be in southeast Portland looking for co-pilot to join him on his journey to Sherdfest. 24 hours later, I found myself exhausted from the road, ready for a brew and walking into Missoula’s own Edge Of The World board shop.
Let the good times roll.
Over the next few days of my trip, I got a crash course in the production, coordination and set up of Shredfest. It’s not all rail rides and pow pow behind the scenes kiddos. Errands and tasks for days. You name it, we did it. Covered Missoula proper, better than the local police. I made friends with the owner of EOW, Jake Barrow and his lead manager Chris Bacon. Turned on my Mic Pro App and started my interview with Mr. Barrow. To get down to the nitty gritty of the conception of Shredfest and chat about the local snow scene.
Treasure State Shredfest has been seven years in the making. Started as an idea of bringing together the bros for a pop up urban style contest. When it comes down to the brass tacks, Missoula needs this contest. The town is one of the most free-style driven snowboarding communities in the Rockies, yet our local mountain doesn’t have a free-style park. It has been completely up to the snowboarders to create their own niche.
Look at it this way, the contest has potential to prove to the established ski community that the snowboarders have a home in Missoula too, even if the rest of the folks in town are confused about snowboarding. It’s funny to think that Snow Bowl still has a skier only park. People just don’t realize what is here. So, the goal with Shredfest became connecting the community. Bridge the gap between people’s perceptions of snowboarding and what is actually happening in snowboarding. While at the same time, creating an event that anyone could come to and feel that they have a home. A place to become inspired. Having an event like this gives local kids something positive and fun to do. It comes down to the realization that if we want snowboarding to evolve, the entire snowboarding community (the big time riders, the fans, the people that ride for fun) must come together. It’s not all about the riding...
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of this industry and seeing how involved the Northwest gear reps and in-house people are, has been insane to say the least. Their support for local scene is priceless. The hard work people are putting in at the smallest level, is coming to the surface. For the most part, this region gets neglected because you have to drive three hours in any direction to get any where. It costs a lot for companies to travel out here and there are no huge accounts here for that reason. The funny thing is that companies still seek Montana out. Why? Because the little guys are trying hard and that has earned them support. Not in for the money. Here for the hard work and that is what puts Montana on the map.
In Jake’s opinion, If there is one thing anyone should know about the Montana snow scene, is that it’s primitive. In the best ways. If you want to start a snowboard collection, start snowboarding in Montana and hanging around the lodges. One is bound to find what they’re looking for, even if they have to set the clock back two decades. The University of Montana is down the street, which brings in people from places like California, Colorado and Utah, who are looking to get the snowboard scene popping. Get the town up to speed. The lost puzzle pieces. Ready. Set. Go. Not being with the times opens doors around here. Potential to influence the local scene and push the global
Photos: Matt Hudson