Gritty. Crusty. Firm.
Like it or not, these words describe a typical day when shredding on the East Coast.
We are in a region of the country where snow is not guaranteed. In fact, when that 4-foot accumulation does happen, it’s like the Snow Gods have blessed us beyond belief.
West Coasters scoff at 8 inches of snow overnight. East Coasters rejoice.
Eastern riders refuse to let Mother Nature’s sometimes-inefficient snow slow them down. Some of the most prolific snowboarders in the world - including Danny Kass and Louie Vito - hail from the East Coast. When you have to shred around snowmaking guns and death cookies the size of small boulders, you can pretty much conquer anything.
This brings us to the Eastern Snowboard League - an idea born from the pride of East Coast riders and the chip that they all have on their shoulders. Snowboarding isn’t a hobby - it’s a lifestyle. And the East Coast subculture is as strong as any in the world.
Founded by a group of born-and-bred East Coast riders in collaboration with The Program* brands and three prominent East Coast resorts, the ESL is now gaining momentum in its second year of existence.
The concept behind the ESL (@theESL) is capitalizing on the creativity of each individual resort and the riders they breed. Western New York pride (716, stand up!) is a common sight at Holiday Valley. It is for these reasons why the ESL was formed.
Pat Morgan, youth marketing director and park manager at Holiday Valley, said growth since last year has been absolutely awesome.
“We’re so happy with year one success,” Morgan said. “I think what has really helped is that we’ve been able to adapt to the things that we missed on last year. Those miscues were all a part of the learning curve, and we’ve got them ironed out for year two.”
In a day and age where everyone wants to be a part of the snowboarding industry, it isn’t uncommon to see a company or contest series fail. But the ESL, driven by social media and the youth behind the movement, is picking up momentum.
“The East Coast is the place to be, with the [New York] City and all of the exposure that we get here,” Morgan said. “We’re very fortunate to be in the resorts we are, because those three are the ones that are killing it year in and year out.”
The ESL has a solid foothold in three East Coast resorts: Holiday Valley, Big Boulder Park and Seven Springs Mountain Resort. When asked if he could see the ESL expanding into more resorts, Morgan said probably not.
“We’re hesitant to expand into different resorts for a multitude of reasons,” he said. “The ESL was built from the ground up by the best resorts in the mid-Atlantic. We’d be very cautious and selective in adding other resorts. It would be good for exposure, but we don’t want to dilute the product.
“There are a lot of events, series and in-house events that we have planned. Ultimately, we want to promote travel between three top-notch resorts - not burden riders with the challenge of trying to travel every other weekend for three months.”
The three resorts that harbor the ESL have been very receptive to the ideas presented by those who are in charge. Just like with anything, there is a lot of give and take with how the events are planned.
“We work together [each resort] to come up with some parameters - then we let the creative juices flow,” Morgan said. “That’s what makes each series unique. It gives the resorts the capability to show what they’ve got so to speak.”
The second year of the Eastern Snowboard League is sure to be better than the first. Now with exposure, a new and improved website (www.easternsnowboardleague.com) and word of mouth, this is one contest series that will continue to grow and gain momentum.
The ESL was formed to capitalize on the creativity and uniqueness of the East Coast, its resorts and its riders. Thanks to three prominent East Coast resorts, The Program brands and the plenty of others, those riders have the opportunity to show why the East Coast > West Coast.
On Twitter? Peep the ESL at @theESL. Contests: Holiday Valley on Jan. 21, Big Boulder on Feb. 4th and Seven Springs on Feb. 25.