Riding hard-to-reach snowboard lines down the Snake River
Long about mile 68 is where it started to get weird. Luckily, the Shrub Brother trio of Kelly, Kip, and Kenny were seasoned raft wranglers and they kept their rubber duckies upright. Last winter the Shrubs were tasked with taking the most elite snowboarders in the world down the mighty Snake River in search of pristine powder terrain.
Under the tutelage of Travis Rice, the crew of Blake Paul, Mark McMorris, Mark Landvik, and Elias Elhardt amassed with the intention to ride harrowing lines down the Snake River. Using watercraft as a vehicle for access, foot-force for going uphill, and beans ‘n water for fuel, this band of boarders carved their way up, down, and around the rugged range for a week straight. The Shrubs provided guidance, good ol’ western hospitality, and saw this group through the thick and thin of it all.
Millions of common folk have passed by these milk-laden mountains with nary an idea of the terrain tucked into the hills. Pillow piles higher than any hay bale stack you ever did see. More powdery veins than Aunt Bessie’s calves. More chutes than a pond of eight-fingered toads. Nooks and crannies beyond your wildest bewilderment lay hidden in the cold northerly shadows just o’er river left.
Riding—or buckskinnin’ as they say out west—this range was no easy task. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Low water flows. Double-digit negative temps. Rafts loaded down with city slickers, rations, and saddlebags. Going overboard meant hypothermia for any sailor. Dunking a limb meant frostbite. But the boarders and camera fondlers weren’t shy about doing hard work.
Hiking. That’s all everyone did, all the time, everyday. Tens of thousands of feet that week, I reckon. Climbing through waist deep snow straight up, just to buckskin right back down to where they started. It’s a little crazy if you ask me. Them boarders sure were fired up too. Hootin’ and hollerin’ non-stop like a damn flock of fowl. They were flyin’ and whirlin’ and doin’ whoop-dee-doos down the mountains like mad broncos. But damn, it sure was a pleasure to see.
By the end of the week, all of ‘em were rubbed raw. Their skin was chapped from the sun on snow and their legs were jerky from the relentless approaches. Flat-out tired, hungry, and depleted––even a whole bucket ‘o beans couldn’t bring ‘em back to life! But in the end they pioneered. They did what none had before and proved it was possible. They milked the Snake.
Curious to know what the hell I’m talking about? Go to snakemilkers.com