The Pioneers of Shred, a.k.a the members of the board assembled last night at The Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. The Aspen Historical Society created a panel discussion with some of the most influential Snowboarders in history for AHS's first Time Travel Tuesday session of 2012. The snowboard community in America (and especially Aspen) owes a debt of gratitude to the 8 shredders who gathered on the Wheeler stage to discuss the history of their sport. One thing was clear about all the Pioneers of Shred...each one has a HUGE passion for snowboarding and mountain sports in general, and the stoke is alive and well and thriving in Aspen, Colorado.
Click 4 pix: PIONEERS of SHRED
The Members of the Board:
Kevin Delaney. World Champ and Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Famer.
Jeff Grell. Inventor of the High-Back binding and owned a Snurfer in 1968.
Chris Karol. Pro rider and former program director for AVSC.
Chris Klug. Aspen's own Olympic Medalist, an organ recipient. Colo Ski & SB Hall of Fame.
Larry Madden. Opened Aspen's first snowboard shop, alternative Edge in 1990.
Travis McClain. X Games Gold Medal Winner and head SB Coach at AVSC.
Susan Saghatoleslami. The first shred betty in a male dominated sport.
Chris Tribble. Influential filmer, captured the birth of snowboarding on film.
The discussion was spirited and informative. The audience was filled with friends and fans and mountain riders..snowboarders and skiers alike. Stories from the past flowed from the stage and the audience could feel the camaraderie amongst the Shredders. It was evident that the snowboarding community remains very tight and that the members of the board were enjoying their reunion.
Apparently riding on one plank attracted plenty of attention from the ski patrol in the early 80's and getting kicked off the mountain was a common occurrence in Aspen back then. Even without lift access these die hards were so determined to ride their shred sticks...that hiking up the mountain and inventing their own modified equipment was their only solution. Aspen Highlands was a hotbed for snowboarding in the early 80's....that is once all the paper work and insurance forms were completed.
It's easy to forget that snowboarding is a relativly new sport. Established in the late 60's and early 70's snowboarding didn't really take off until the early 80's and it became an Olympic sport in 1998. It wasn't until 2001 that snowboarding was even allowed on Aspen Mountain. The sport has evolved into the mainstream very quickly and according to local hero Travis McClain "the Olympics needed snowboarding more than snowboarding needed the Olympics". Some industry insiders credit the growth of snowboarding with saving the entire ski industry. From the first "snurfers" who rode their wooden boards with a rope and no bindings to today's shred masters ripping double blacks alongside the skiers..snowboarding is clearly a legitimate BIG TIME sport. The friction that used to exist between skiers and riders no longer is part of the equation. In fact snowboarding has been very influential in the development of shaped skis and fat skis Chris Tribble admitted that in the early days snowboarders were "slow and kind of in the way" but now with better equipment and technique...they are leading the charge. Former World champ Kevin Delaney laughed that he knew the sport had really made it when "skiers started wearing baggie pants". All the pioneers agreed...it doesn't matter how you slide down the mountain, on 2 sticks or 1...its all about creating "smileage".
It was like a great big knuckle dragger family reunion at The Wheeler. Kudos to Aspen Historical Society for assembling such a meaningful and enjoyable group to share the history of snowboarding. If you enjoy history and you love Aspen...get into the mix with Time Travel Tuesday's (TTT). The weekly programs are fun, interesting and informative...yeeeeah dude, you might learn something.
Click for pix: PIONEERS of SHRED