Published in the 2015 Snowboarders Journal #12.4, this photo was taken just shortly after SoulMonkey Surf founders Chris Karol, Jim Sechrest and crew had gotten kicked off the chairlift in Park City, Utah. Ironically it was the same chairlift that would decades later come to serve the 2002 Olympic Halfpipe event.
After receiving the mandatory lecture from ski patrol, we’d started hiking and riding through the demo zone where ski-area operators were testing the latest snowcats and grooming equipment. The goal was to promote lift-access for snowboarding at ski-areas. Tired of being shut down, we’d taken matters into our own hands and organized a snowboard demo for the National Ski-Areas Association’s annual conference in Park City, Utah. What we showed up to was basically a snowcat rodeo…and we were the Clowns! One cat-operator finally took pity, allowing us demonstrate how many dirt-bags and boards could fit into the Coach of his brand new machine.
The only thing these snowboards piled into the back of the snowcat had in common is that there was not a flat-base board among them. Snowboardings evolution began with surf and skate inspired snowboard shapes. From the Flite, Barfoot, and Sims boards to the V-Tail Snurfer design of Burton’s Performer-Elite. Early snowboard innovators A-Team, Snowtech, UCB, Moss and others all featured unique surf-inspired hydrodynamic shapes.
Adapting flat-base ski-technology and gaining ski-area acceptance allowed snowboarding to explode at a rapid pace. But snowboarding’s original 3D-Shaper-culture got lost in the hype when snowboarding turned to the ski-industry for mass-production. Ski technology has allowed snowboarding to evolve to the incredible level it’s at today but sometimes the fun and adventure of simply going out your door and just cruising around with minimal gear and no hassle finding unlikely spots to ride and explore can be forgotten in the rush to catch 1st chair. So many spots overlooked, so many things to ride, Winter looks better on a Soul Monkey!!
SMS is committed to expanding snowboarding’s surf and skate inspired roots. Our boards can’t be made with conventional ski/board manufacturing methods. So, fueled by passion and the need to evolve, we devised our own.
Using our innovative and proprietary manufacturing methods, SMS can now make any kind of 3D shaped board imaginable. With experience gained from the 39STH we invite you to join SMS and experience the evolution of snowboarding with no rules, no limits and no tickets required!!!
Special thanks to Bud Fawcett for documenting the trip, Mike Nakumura for laying the groundwork and that guy from Piston-Bully for the ride!