On December 28th 2013, some of the state’s best snowboarders took to the dark woods of Pando Snow Park for the second annual Occupy Pando event…
This grass roots event is the brain child of Michigan shred turned out west snowboard up and comer, Zepplin Zeerip. For those of you who don’t know, Pando is best known for being the birthplace of competitive snowboarding and was one of the very first snowboard terrain parks in our fair state; which seems right considering Michigan is the birthplace of snowboarding. With credentials like that it’s understandable as to why Pando has a very devoted group of kids that occupy the small hills here with a deep passion for the park’s reputation, preservation, and growth. The locals have blood, sweat, and tears in the snow here and it shows.
The event took place in the near dark. Very little light adorned the course. One could go as far to describe it as haunting. It was like a place that you had never been to, but seemed familiar. With at least 100 kids standing in the shadows of the barely lit course the event began with a short intro from Zep and a rules and general pep talk from course designer and Pando’s terrain park mastermind, Andy Smith. Andy did an amazing job building something out of the usual realm of your standard snowboard event. It took me at least 20 minutes to wrap my head around everything the course had going on. The whole “tranny for days” saying was an understatement. There were tons of options that equaled tons of fun. Although the course looked inviting, it was also pretty damn burly in sections. When I first talked to Zepplin at the bottom of the course I jokingly told him that a written description of the course was going to be a pain in the ass. I also knew that because of the low light our film and photographer contributors were going to have their worked cut out for them , but I promised him an attempt. In a nutshell, you were dropping into trench with a shitload of tranny options. Aside from the possible hits on the inside, many features and jib possibilities were to be found on the deck of the course. I would say there had to be at least 20 different options to sort out and all of them were pretty fuckin rad.
As I stated in the intro, there were some bad asses that showed up to this event. Tommy Young was riding super clean as always. Evan Erickson, Ty Modz, Eric Zimmerman, Andy Salomon, Harrison Mcilhargey, Kristen Theos, Brett Guild, Ryan Gile, and Alec Ash were all stand out riders in my opinion. Andrew Carroll was particularly stylish and landed some good stuff. New comer, Johnny Johnson, was destroying most of the course and landed a couple of pretty big tricks. I also saw Brandon Smith (the judge) take a few controlled stylish passes through the course before the event. Zep ran through the course as well pregame in an almost effortless fashion. Ha! Now that I think about it pretty much everyone involved with the event dropped in at some point. You almost had to if you were there. In the end, Pando’s own Kyle Caswell ended up taking first place in the men’s division. Kyle has awesome style with a seemingly endless bag of tricks. His agressive riding afforded him a new Nitro T1 deck for first place.
1st. Kyle Caswell
2nd. Ryan Gile
3rd. Brett Guild
1st. Kristen Theos
2nd. Zoe Zeerip
3rd. Kyra Marks
1st. Drew Eder
2nd. William Damico
3rd. Charles Wernett
Everybody, for the most part, got to leave with something. With a great showing of support from the sponsors; Burton, W3, Nitro, L1, Bustin Boards, Novak, Saga, Rome, Marhar, Yea.Nice, Homeschool, and Pit Viper there was zero shortage of product.
The night concluded with a fireworks display that was a symbolically triumphant end to the very successful second year of the Occupy Pando event.
Written by Benny West
Edit by Addison Beeker
Additional Filming by Matt Kusbel
All Images by Brandon Shafer Photography