Holy Bowly 2014
Japan meets 'Merica
The art of riding snowboards through skatepark-like bowls carved out of snow originated in Japan, with the Gentemstick crew, who first started holding bowl riding "sessions" back in 2008. Inspired by the phenomenon, Lib Tech created the "Holy Bowly," which has been held in Japan for the past two years. The event made its U.S. debut at Park City Mountain Resort this past week. Lib Tech's event specialist Krush Kulesza and Park City terrain park manager Jeremy Cooper teamed up to bring riders a course that looked more like a frozen skatepark than something made with snow-sports in mind. It's hard to define what the Holy Bowly is. It's not exactly an event, and it's definitely not a contest. The most accurate description I heard came from Kuleza himself: "The Holy Bowly is an international gathering of creativity and flow."
Having Jamie Lynn at the Holy Bowly is kind of like having Mozart attend your middle school band performance. Just his presence can give you goose bumps. Watching him attack the bowl all week was one of the greatest pleasures I have had during my lifetime of involvement with snowboarding. I'd take a Jamie Lynn tweaked out frontside three over a triple cork any day of the year.
Sam Taxwood was still in diapers while pros like Chris Roach and Russell Winfield were in the professional snowboarding spotlight. But I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the legends -- who were two of many present at this event -- were taking notes as Taxwood sent some of the best methods I have ever witnessed.
Blake Paul, Forrest Bailey
The ol' over-under. GNU destroyers Blake Paul and Forrest Bailey prove that it's way more fun to drop in with your friends than all alone. A huge part of what makes the Holy Bowly such a fun experience is the wide variety of riders present. The field is made up of jibbers, park rats, pipe jocks, and backcountry purists -- young up-and-comers as well as legends of the sport all dropping in one after another, each bringing something unique to the session. Every facet of snowboarding was represented in full force.
It is a very real possibility that Bode Merrill spent just as much time upside down as he did right side up during the 2014 Holy Bowly.
Watching Chris Roach ride was undoubtedly a highlight of the week. His timeless style and individual approach to the bowl set him apart. It seemed like every time you saw him drop in he was charging a line that hadn't even crossed your mind to try. Here he takes advantage of some free advertising for his new snowboard company, D-Day.
Young blood Gus Warbington embodies the ethos of the Holy Bowly. The amount of creativity and flow he rides with is just one of many reasons he is on his way to the top ranks of the snowboarding world.
It's hard to pin point exactly what makes the Holy Bowly -- an event that started in Japan two years ago, and just made its U.S. debut in Park City this week -- so special. It could be the feeling you get when you pull up to the start and realize you're standing in between Bode Merrill and Chris Roach. It could be getting to watch Jamie Lynn play guitar in the parking lot after a long day of shredding. Or it could just be the fact that all this is happening while you're taking hot laps with some of your best friends. Either way, the Holy Bowly is one of the sickest events in snowboarding and if you're not there next year, you're missing out.
Park City local Griffin Siebert was a standout of the week, ripping the bowl all day, everyday. Here he shows why the often-underrated nose grab is still one of the most stylish ones in the book.
Jesse Burtner, Blake Paul
Holy Bowly veterans Jesse Burtner and Blake Paul take a break from getting absolutely pitted in the white wave. When asked about how the Park City event compared to the previous years in Japan, Burtner put it bluntly: "We brought the scene from Japan to Park City. Everyone in Utah and all the locals embraced it. It's just the vibe that you catch. It's pretty contagious, and it's not hard to figure out." If good vibes were an infectious disease there is no doubt that everyone present at the 2014 Holy Bowly is in desperate need of medical attention.
Matt Edgars, Alex Lopez
This banger is equal parts surf, skate and snow. Matt Edgars cracks off a classic frontside indy while Alex Lopez rallies a signature surf turn, spraying the unusually tan Monster ladies with a wave of snow. Needless to say, the crowd was stoked.
Everyone's a winner
Classic events such as Superpark, the Dirksen Derby, and the Baker Banked Slalom also attract snowboarding's elite. But while the Banked Slalom is a far cry from a pipe contest, everyone is still there for a competition. There are winners and losers. Superpark has a similar vibe, but that's only after you have slowed your heartbeat down to an acceptable rate. The Holy Bowly is different. It's not about the biggest baddest stunts. It's about creativity, finding the line, and being a part of the core of the sport we have dedicated our lives to. If you are lucky enough to be there, you are winning.