Mountain Vibez: Trip to Colorado & New Product Release

By Kim Ewing

Photo Credit: Reda Ruokyte

On December 1, 2018, Mountain Vibez Riderz and Repz stood at the top of Loveland Pass in Colorado together as one family. The objective, none other than to snowboard and slash pow all day.

For many it would be the first-time meeting each other and would quickly learn their friendship was far deeper than snowboarding after day one of sharing a single bathroom Air BNB in Silverthorne.

Summiting Loveland Pass, a five car train long. More more than 15 Mountain Vibez riders went barreling down the open face into the trees, discovering drops plummeting into pow, tree taps, and step-ups, the stoke was undeniably exceptional.

One Chevy pick-up waits for the team where the hairpin turn meets the ravine, each rider piling in or hitch hiking to get back to the top could not delay the never ending pow laps. Uncountable backseat drivers and a constant need to stay hydrated, the shuttle was essential to keep the team going until it was “too dark” to ride.

The Mountain Vibez company has established repz and team riderz all over the globe, brought together from various backgrounds, but it is much more than a typical ambassador program. Sit around the dinner table with this group, and you will understand that most have professional backgrounds, unique skill trades, and all but one love for snowboarding and the freedom it brings to them.

Mountain Vibez, without ego or judgement welcomed the family with an opportunity to show each other the real love for snowboarding shared amongst each other.  That is truly rare to find, and as the company grows, we will continue the Mountain Vibez mission in all our snowboarding affairs.

Beyond this, the new apparel launch of the neck tubes in partnership with Phunkshun Wear, are double layered, water resistant and made from recycled bottles.  With each purchase, 5% is donated to the, Mountain Vibez Charity, Good Vibez & High Fivez.  USE CODE: KIM10 to save!!!!

Good Vibez & High Fivez is a non-profit outreach program dedicated to enriching lives of the disadvantaged youth with the opportunity to experience snowboarding alongside the Mountain Vibez team. The 2019 event is in partnership with New Mexico Xtreme Sports and will be hosted at Pajarito Mountain on January 19th.


Mountain Vibez: Snowboarding Athletes – Supporting Female Progression in their Communities

By Kim Ewing

Photo Credit: Dan Hilden | Rider: Kim Ewing

Stevens Pass Parks | Washington

Snowboarding to many is a sport that is extreme and dangerous, and to the rest of us who live in the life of a snowboarder; it’s a passion, an invigorating connection to being alive, and a family we’re committed to. Predominantly a male driven sport, yet the popularity among females of all ages have become impressing and the girl gangs are boldly sending it.

In the United States riding season can begin as early as October and span through the spring months of late May and even June.  Pick your preference, freestyle or freeriding, but it has become much more common for the ladies to try and demonstrate ability in all areas of riding until they find what they are truly passionate about progressing in.

Conditioning pre-season and even ongoing through winter regardless of how frequent you ride is undeniably a main artery to improving in ability, or often it just sustains our bodies through injury after injury to keep charging. May seem like a simple tweak to your daily routine, but don’t be fooled. The harder you go, regardless of ability, it becomes a game of risk, a fun game, but a risky one.

To each their own, we are only here to indulge in the mountain stoke for snow because for many of us, winter is coming full circle. So, if you don’t have you dance pants on, our friendship may be questionable (only joking).  Some of our Mountain Vibez riders have shared their pre-season activities to keep the stoke for winter and their efforts to building a stronger community this this season.

Photo Credit: Peter Day | Rider: Jen Jones

Squaw Valley | California

Jen Jones: Riding 10 years with three years of consecutive months

Style: Big Mountain Freeride

Home Mountain: Squaw Valley, CA

Off Season

Jen maintains monthly consistency in riding while conditioning for Big Mountain Freeride competitions around the world, most recently in New Zealand. Back state side she picked up skateboarding; shredding the streets and concrete surfing have been keeping her passion for board sports alive.

Mountain Vibez Female Support

Jen often supports and encourages females around the world by staying connected.  She finds the female division for big mountain freeride to be lean.  Even with growing demand for more competitors the community is small so when reunited at these events it’s only more motivating to go out there and push each other past those comfort zones. Ultimately, she hopes to achieve a progressive female community in this type of terrain.

This has transcended into her ability to be an effective coach for females which allows her to work directly with these athletes pursuing snowboarding.  Through this she has found that being supportive and giving encouragement has allowed her to directly strengthen the female snowboarding community.

Photo Credit: Michael Sorger | Rider: Emily Sorger

Bear Mountain | California

Emily Sorger: Riding Park for 5 Years. Started snowboarding at 3 years old

Style: Freestyle Park

Home Mountain: Park City, Utah & Bear Mountain, CA

Off Season

Admirably, Emily is a full-time student majoring in computer science with an emphasis video game programming, while also perusing a double major in German and Physics. If you’ve got your brain wrapped around all that, when Emily isn’t snowboarding she is also the captain and flyer of the cheer squad at CSUSM. While the conditioning to continue leading her cheer team is vital to progressing, she also spends time hiking, wakeboarding, surfing, and disc golfing.

Mountain Vibez Female Support

If you hear all the things that Emily is passionate about, her heart is gold when it comes to supporting females in snowboarding regardless of their ability. No matter when you begin, it’s important to recall that all athletes were new and had to start somewhere, and we all had someone help us achieve our goals.  Emily is leading the way and spreading the love by:

  • Taking any interested fellow female riding with her.
  • Challenging others alike to try new features, pushing for their goals, and stretching for achievement.
  • Investing in others confidence to give them a positive experience despite their skill level.

I love hearing about her compassion and ability to work with others with that almost tough love, “it’s okay to fall” mentality.  I challenge all readers to stretch their minds to be a more supportive rider this year, and remind each other of the pride we once had when we achieved the little lessons and strive to omit the fear of being judged on the hill for new riders out there, rather help them out.

Let this all resonate, and if you find yourself itching for snow or feeling the same way about how you push for the ladies to somehow tune out the criticism of women being in this sport. If you continue to strive for progression in yourself and others alike, and if you persevere during the hardest frustrations that come along with it all, then you’re a snow addict like us.

Develop a supporting group of riders and hype up the confidence because we can rant all day about ability and skill.  The other main artery here is mental ability to find balance and confidence in what you are about to do. Someone once told me, “hesitation leads to devastation.” We all build walls of fear. Fear of worst case scenario, or that playback of when worst case scenario occurred. So, who you surround yourself with can be a foundational piece of the equation to stomping that trick or slashing the sickest line you’ve been twitching over.

The moral of the story before I start:

Watch out for each other on the hill. They say no friends on a pow day but any good friend knows the mountain is a dangerous place and no pow day means more than someone’s life.

Ok, now let’s go back. December 27th, 2015 I was enjoying some holiday powder with my two buddies at Breckenridge, CO. On my second run I was riding some trees and made a tiny, uncharacteristic mistake that led me full speed into a tree. It hurt A LOT but after a few minutes wrestling with my breath my friends advised me that I probably just knocked the wind out of myself (I WISH) … so I tried to be a tough guy and hopped on to the next lift. A few minutes into the lift ride I knew this was not your typical loss of breath. I began to go in and out of consciousness. Once I got to the top of peak 10 I knew I needed to be at the bottom of the mountain 10 minutes ago. My friends tried calling ski patrol but I couldn’t wait. I began side slipping ALL the way down Breckenridge to the bottom of Peak 9. I literally collapsed at the bottom of the hill. My friend was close behind with ski patrol and paramedics. All my efforts to avoid the sled were crushed when I realized I stopped 50 yards short of the on mountain ICU 😐 (it happens to the best of us)

OK so now for the fun part. The whole time I had been convincing myself it was just a loss of breath, I was really bleeding out internally from my spleen. My lungs and stomach were filling fast. Three of my ribs broke inward, which is how my spleen became lacerated. I was quickly moved from the on mountain ICU to an ambulance. From there I went 10 minutes down the road (all this time no one was really telling me how severe this was) to the Frisco Hospital. This is when I realized that this was no walk in the park. A helicopter was there waiting for me. My stomach sank, or what was left of it at least. Two dogs sitting at home waiting for me, a family back in PA with no idea what’s going on, a dead phone, and here I am being loaded onto a helicopter with a direct bee line to St. Anthony’s Trauma Center in Denver. I gotta tell you guys, I always thought my first helicopter experience would be jumping out one…not a flight for life. I was in and out of consciousness but I swear we made it in 20 minutes. I made it alive but barely. I had one visitor that day. A friend of a friend heard the news and came by to keep me company (also had a phone charger…I still won’t forget this guys..it’s the little things that mean the most so be kind even if you think it’s meaningless)

The next morning I woke up to my parents standing above me. They somehow found out through social media and flew out that night to make it by the morning. This was the best feeling ever because I was definitely alone and pretty damn scared. I was in the hospital for another week plus, then flew back to Philly for another month to recover some more. Two more ER trips and a whole lot of crappy days would follow before I would finally make it back to Colorado. Once I got back it was the hardest thing ever. I could barely take care of my own dogs and had to watch as all my friends continued to have fun and enjoy riding. But it wasn’t just the physical recovery that was rough. It was the financial recovery that was toughest. I had some help from my family but no outside support, which is ok, but we as a community have this power to make even just a few $1 donations which could be enough to save someone’s life. So when you can, please, lend a hand!! 🙂

But the moral of the story is that this whole incident could have broken me and my spirits but it didn’t. I wouldn’t let it. I used it as something to make me stronger, both as a person and as a snowboarder. Life is full of good and full of bad. The trick is to take it all in stride. Use both the good and the bad to build your character. They say find something you love and let it kill you. I am all for it. If things went differently I was exactly were I would have wanted to be. Luckily I got a second chance and can tell you all my story because people like my buddy Jay (RIP) and his family were not so lucky. So to anyone reading this: Be kind, be brave, and love everything and everyone as much and as often as you can.

-Kevin Wetzel

It’s finally snowing here on the Northern Hemisphere and it’s time to dust off that oldsnowboard, but if you’re anything like me, you haven’t actually put it away.
Every year I create a list of ten things I want to do. This list ranges from taking a
photography class to running a half marathon to learning how to do a 180 on a
snowboard. No matter what, everything on the list has to be doable in a year and in
some way challenge me physically and mentally or most likely both.

On my 2016/2017 list I had – Snowboard every month in a year. (Spoiler alert…I did it!) October 2016 through June 2017 was pretty easy with Arapahoe Basin in Colorado opening October 21 st and closing on June 11 th . July through September on the other hand, was definitely more of challenge. Unfortunately traveling to the Southern Hemisphere to chase an endless winter wasn’t in the budget so I had to find the snow in Colorado, which is a lot easier than you think – if you thought it was hard to begin with.

The most challenging part for me, finding people to go with, but I’m a huge proponent of solo adventures and embraced the challenge and “Megan” time.
I’m pretty lucky to live in Denver because of how close I am to the mountains. I didn’t have to go far to find a patch of snow that was ride-able in July, August and September thanks to St. Mary’s Glacier…snowfield.

This beautiful spot is only about an hour drive from Denver and right outside of Idaho Springs, Colorado and only 1.5-mile hike to the top of the glacier. The views are OUT OF THIS WORLD, especially during the sunset, which I highly recommend.
Now for the snow. The snow at the end of July was ok. The snow at the end of August
was sketchy and the snow at the end of September was soft but almost nonexistent –
the first snowfall had just happened a couple of days before I went. This was just my
experience and honestly, I didn’t care that the snow wasn’t soft. I didn’t care that it was a short run. I only cared that I was strapped in and on a mountain doing the one thing I love to do…snowboard.

Lucky for me, winter is right around the corner and Arapahoe Basin is now open – I hit my twelfth month on snow on October 13 th – Abay Opening Day! I’m pretty stoked and I’m definitely going to try and keep the streak going and hit up a few different spots next summer!

I’ll be forever dreaming of a true endless winter, but for now, a glacier snowfield tucked away in the Rocky Mountains can and will transport me to a winter wonderland during my summers here in Colorado. I’ll see you in July St. Mary’s. Xx

Megan Ecker