Mt Baker Sesh Up 2014
Interview with Steven Goodell, Coordinator of the Sesh Up
Can you introduce yourself and your role in organizing the Sesh Up
I make the phone calls, write the emails, coordinate graphics, and fill out the paperwork that keeps the Seshup going each year. It’s a lot of work throwing an event this size without any support from a ski area who would typically do this behind the scenes stuff.
I spend most of my time raising money so I can pay for a Honey-Bucket. The Forest Service is really concerned that people’s bowels are going to release the moment they reach the snowpack. This year I spent all that time shaking snowboard companies out of cash, the most difficult thing to do ever, and the porto-potty delivery guys didn’t even show up. Thankfully the shit apocalypse never happened. Maybe it’s a good thing because someone stole a banner and now there’s money leftover to replace it.
What is the Mt Baker Sesh Up is all about?
The Seshup is like Superpark if the riders built their own jump and absolutely everyone was invited. The entire thing is DIY. It’s not a contest. There’s no “winner”. Just a huge group of friends doing what they love together.
What is some of the history of how it all started?
Jason Speer got the idea to start it in 2003 when he was the student rep for Red Bull at WWU. It actually was a contest then. Guys like Jesse Burtner, Sean Genovese, Donnkie, Pat McCarthy, and Nate Lind would be there and each rider would chip in $5 and then vote at the end of the day for whoever killed it the hardest. We kept having to use the money to pay the Forest Service fine that they would give us for having that many people out there. One year Jason got ticketed for “building and maintaining a monument on government property,” referring to our jump. I hope he still has that ticket somewhere because it’s Seshup legend.
Is there any classic moments that went down at this years event?
I almost fogged my goggles when I saw Nate Lind send backside rodeo seven. I remember he and Donnkie in a backside rodeo arms race years back with one throwing rodeo five, the other taking it to seven, and then both taking it to nine. I’ve still never seen anyone go as big as those two.
Can you tell us some of the challenges and rewards of putting together this event? The weather. The weather stresses me out from March until June. Fortunately the event is still small enough that we can push it to a fallback date if the first one looks like rain. We got hosed in 2011 and had to haul out two half-drank kegs on our backs. I vowed no more soggy Seshups right then.
The reward is that the Sesh continues. Things this fun always get destroyed because eventually someone says no and there’s no one to stand up and say yes. Fortunately the Forest Service has been easy to work once we got a dialog going with them. The sponsors have been really supportive, too. Especially the guys at Casual Industrees and Dinosaurs Will Die. Sean Genovese is the patron saint of grassroots snowboarding. DWD supports a whole series of DIY events around the Northwest every spring.
What did you learn from this years event that can help us create something even bigger and better for next year?
Over the top on the trees on the upper run in is the only way to go. The double line was so sick and half the effort compared to the 5-lane highway we built to go around them last year. Seeing people link tricks together on a run-in that people usually have trouble making it down was inspiring.
Why do you think its important to have events that bring together the snow community?
I read in the Economist Magazine or something that science proved what really makes people happy is the number of people they see regularly who know them and share their interests. I’m trying to create more opportunities for that.
Would you like to give thanks or shout outs to people that helped?
There is so much work that goes into the weekend of the event that I could never by myself. Brad Andrew brings his snowmobile each year to haul in supplies. He even built a cargo toboggan to tow behind his sled. I can’t thank him enough. Building the jump obviously takes everyone, but Matt Wainhouse always shows up the day before to get things started. Nate Lind is responsible for the monster wedge we had this year. He showed up Sunday and doubled its size when all I could think about was the run-in. Gilbert Van Citters who did all our branding has been so good for the event. If the Seshup has a cool factor, it’s probably because of the logo he designed. My friend Matt Finnel was a huge help and great copilot this year. Pat McCarthy at 686, Gershon Dorfman at K2, Jack at Aslan Brewing Company, Ali at POW Gloves, Riley and Brad at Coal, and John and Adam at Snocon. They all do so much for local events. Finally all the filmers like you guys who take the time to make us look good.