By Sasha Yakovleff
Every year the crew at Highland Mountain Bike Park throws a huge raging party on closing day to celebrate another successful season. Be forewarned—this is not your typical casual-dress resort party with fancy appetizers and executive speeches. This is a true mountain biker's party complete with costumes, live bands, a video contest, and excessive amounts of noise and fun. In previous years they took midnight runs down to the local gas station to buy their entire beer stock.
Highland can get away with this because they are not your typical resort—they are 100-percent dedicated to mountain biking. Instead of waterslides and spas, riders hit air bags and professional-grade slopestyle courses. The "slopeside lodging" means pitching a tent in the parking lot and the "live entertainment" is usually a bonfire, sometimes with your buddy jumping over it. New Hampshire's state motto is "Live Free or Die," and Highland truly exemplifies that spirit.
This year's S'Ender Bash theme is a beach party. Whether that means girls (or guys) will wear bikinis remains to be seen. A few highlights of the 2013 S'Ender Bash include the video contest and the live auction. Every year Highland's video contest encourages riders to submit season highlight reels for a chance to win prizes and celebrate the best riding of the year. This was last year's winning video:
Possibly the best thing about the S'Ender Bash is their auction. This year Highland has partnered with The Pro's Closet to benefit Wings for Life. Basically you can buy a bunch of memorable pro gear—like Brett Rheeder's X Games helmet and a Darren Berrecloth-signed Red Bull hat—and all proceeds go to the Wings for Life organization to help find a cure for spinal cord injuries.
If you're in New England this weekend, head up to Highland for one final hurrah. The brand-new top-to-bottom Cat's Paw will be unveiled and it is amazing: think overhead berms that are completely vertical and just waiting to be slashed at full speed. Highland rules: the S'Ender Bash is only a small part of the fun leading into an epic 2014 season. In this reverse parallel universe of New Hampshire mountain resorts, Highland will open back up for the summer on May 2 (May 1 for season pass holders).
Head to HighlandMountain.com for more information.