This March brought a randy and unique crew of riders together at the infamous Jackson Hole Resort, all hungry for powder and very curious to hop on some of the most innovative and creative powder boards in the world. The man raising the pow call was Rob Kingwill a Jackson local, Compatriot Snowboards team rider, and owner of the snowboard accessories company, Avalon 7.
The Jackson Hole Pow Wow is Kingwill's brainchild, created as a reaction to the decline of events that support and bolster the stoke and soul of snowboarding. The event was loosely built around the concept of hosting an on-snow demo/test open to snowbarod brands and industry folk with the intention of demoing the best freeirde and powder boards on the market. Kingwill states, "the mission of the event is to bring the snowboard industry together to celebrate snowboarding at the best big mountain in North America."
Hosting this three-day event at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort was very intentional. The big JH is known as a resort that’s goal is to promote snowboarding from the top down. Historically, Jackson Hole has been considered a "skiers" mountain, but with the creation of four Burton Stash Parks, growth in the snowboarding representation on the JHMR athlete team, and a strong relationship with the infamous snowboarder Travis Rice, the resort has continued to demonstrate its commitment to increase snowboarding's presence on and off the mountain.
TGR filmed throughout the entire week, following testers and riders alike all over the mountain. They also took the great effort to film each brand, creating profiles for each companies quiver:
The JH Pow Wow took place over the course of three days in early March, with shredding all day long and evenings filled with industry-minded events including SHREDX JH, a compilation of short shred related talks. Brands, both big and small, credentialed industry folks, and local testers had access to a base camp tent that housed all the available boards for "testing" with meetups scheduled in the AM and at lunchtime for folks to pair up and head out for turns both in bounds and out of bounds on the mountain. To add to the fun, the JH Pow Wow set up a fun InstaGram contest with prizes from Jones Snowboards, Asymbol and AVALON7 for the best photos in the feeds.
Kingwill calls his testers the MtnWarriors- people who live in the mountains and ride over 100 days a year. He states, "They live and breathe snowboarding- who better to give their honest opinion on how a freeride board really preforms under their feet?"
For the first annual JH Pow Wow, the MtnWarrior highlighted testers included Mikey Franco (snowboard guide, custom shaper), Lance Pitman (Jackson Hole legend, Illuminati Snowboards), Jeff Stein (World Wide Tribes Guide), JP Martin (OG ParkDigger Pro), Pete Wurster (Unity Snowboards), Scott Sheer (3rd at World Freeride Champs), Julie Zell (Former Queen of the Hill), Gary Hansen (Formerly of Snowboard Mag), Eric Odlin (TGR tester), Mike Hardaker (TGR Editor) and more influential and knowledgeable folks.
From the retail shop side of the fence testers included, Dennis Nazari (Salty Peaks), Kurt Moore (Booters Shop), Kris Berge (Hole in the Wall Shop), Joel Handischin (Jackson Treehouse), BMay (Jackson Treehouse), and more.
Invited brands included Never Summer Industries, Rossignol, Arbor Collective, Lib Tech, K2, Ride, Capita Super Corporation, Burton Snowboards and smaller boutique powder boards brands like Jones Snowbaoards, Venture, Unity, Yes, Illuminati, Franco Customs, Amplid, Smokin‘, Compatriot Snowboards, Igneous, Powder Jet and the infamous Japanese brand Gentemstick.
Immediately, this event was set apart from the rest. The purposely small number of brands and carefully selected industry individuals, local Jackson riders, and JHMR ambassadors made all three days feel like one big shred fest, complete with the best boards you can dream of underfoot on some of the world’s best terrain. The atmosphere and mood amongst the crews was joyful and really friendly all around. Kingwill's intention to bring people together and reinvigorate the stoke for shred was incredibly successful—you couldn't find a single rider that wasn’t amped on the three day event. The echoing feedback was that this needs to happen more, not just for the individuals, but for the health of the industry and the people who work within it.
The evenings were filled with fun, tight-knit happenings, with the highlight being the SHREDX JH event with Asymbol Gallery, Travis Rice's online print business, sponsoring the shred/art talks. Rice's newest business is one to admire from an artist or art aficionado perspective, solely based on the humbling effort it takes to produce a picture worthy of hanging on a wall. Rice stated, "Asymbol exists to pay tribute to the creative workhorses who have inspired us by making their imagery available to the world. We specialize in iconic, unforgettable images from the snow, surf, and skate worlds that speak to our hearts, open windows into a deeper experience, dare us to dream, and keep us coming back for more. Our mission is to connect creators with appreciators, to tell the stories behind the images on display, and to make it possible for anyone to attain a high-quality, large-format, limited-edition print of those pieces that move you most."
The main sponsors of the event were Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, AVALON7 and TGR. TGR sponsored the welcome party and created the trucker hats as a cola with Avalon7. The SHREDX evening sponsors were ASYMBOL Gallery, AVALON7, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and World Wide Tribes. Snowboarder Magazine sponsored the Wailers concert tickets on the last night of the Pow Wow for all the brands and testers.
Looking towards next year, Kingwill has big plans to expand and grow the JH Pow Wow, "I am hoping to expand this to have a consumer event element for next year- hopefully a camp-like package with lodging, tickets, access to the demo and a guide for the week. Space will be extremely limited, so stay tuned."