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EVENTS: Holy Oly

Kurt Jenson took home the award for NW Method.

Words and photos by Shannon “Shayboarder” Johnson

In January, a major avalanche/mudslide swept through Hyak at Summit at Snoqualmie, Washington the home of the Holy Oly Quarterpipe contest.  Many wondered if the Holy Oly would fall under the contest cancellations for this year.  Rising through with a new location at Summit West and guidance from Summit’s Youth Marketing Director, Krush; the Holy Oly was revived and remained alive.

When I asked Krush what makes this contest different and what brings people to attend it, he said “First off, it really isn’t a contest…more of a gathering of people who really understand what it means to be a part of snowboarding here in the NW.  No rules, no rider-lists, no start times, barely any judging…just amazing riders hanging out for a day having a blast and feeding off each other. And if the riders are stoked then it makes sense that people would want to watch them…but the focus has always been and always will be on the riders…if the people show up then cool.”  With no rules in place, to run the contest they just needed a giant quarterpipe, inflatable summit water tower, pallet of Olympia beer and Cobra Dogs.  The water tower didn’t make it, but the contest went on without it.  At the end of the day, the Holy Oly was just as described, a good time with friends.

Despite a bad snow season in Washington and competing with two other major contests (Dew Tour and The Artic Challenge), the Holy Oly kept in the Northwest spirit of if you put on a good time, the spectators will come.  Deemed the anti-contest and a celebration of NW pride, spectators came out to watch athletes air in a jam session format hitting the massive 28 foot quarterpipe.  The fence that separated the spectators from the athletes was packed throughout the day as people stopped to drink some beer and enjoy the sunshine that came out for the event.

There was no lack of attendance at the Holy Oly by spectators or media; magazines, online sites, and spectators came out to see it in person.  The Holy Oly may not make the network news but, it does continue a Northwest tradition of riding to ride and the purity of being on the mountain.  Northwest pro rider, Peter Line chose to stay in Washington to partake in the Holy Oly versus going to The Arctic Challenge.

As the awards were handed out, it wasn’t about placing on the podium since there is no podium.  The winnings weren’t money and fame, but a pallet of the Northwest’s finest beer, Olympia.  Some of the awards given out included the NW method award, highest air, raddest guy with a day job, hardest charging industry guy, and hucking his meat award.  In the end, nine riders went home with an honor bestowed by their peers.  The holiest of the Holy (highest honor at the Holy Oly) went to Monty Hayes, a NW rider who isn’t a worldwide name, but a rider with heart and a passion of the shred.

Was the event a success?  Krush says, “a total success…Pete Saari told me so about 40 times.”  The Holy Oly Revival brought forth the effort that a contest is about the people: the riders, the crowds and those who won’t let a bad economy and season destroy something so fun.