From Tahoe to Tailgate

With an all-time low snow fall this year in Tahoe and the Sierra’s, it’s no wonder why there was a large migration of Californians that flocked to Flow’s Tailgate Alaska this year. Alaska saw two solid months of daily snow accumulation, which set records and set up this year’s Tailgate event for the best riding in the world. On April 1st gray skies from the night before opened up to blue bird fresh conditions at Thompsons Pass. Everyone gathered their gear, gassed up their snow machines and checked into their heli-briefings to set out into the Alaskan backcountry. With only a couple true down days this year there was plenty of activities to occupy one’s self with, if the day before was too grueling. Daily snow safety classes were held in the afternoons, “Man games” like (axe throwing, hammer schlaggen, skeet shooting) were non-stop and of course the open beer garden till 9:00 compliments of the Alaskan Brewery. After a small storm the King of the Hill contest was set to kick off the qualifying round. Approximately 35 competitors were narrowed down to eight men and two women after two runs. The finals were held on a slope known as Python’s shoulder; one run for each rider determined a King and Queen. Brandon Reid took home the crown, sword and $10,000 with a high speed run that included a backflip, technical turns and hefty drops. Emily Weir was crowned Queen of the mountain and for her flawless run she now has her own sword plus, a day of heli-time to use next year. The awards being held the last night of the event, all in attendance started at the Mountain Sky Lodge then proceeded to close down the rest of the bars in Valdez. Plenty of amateur pole dancing, whiskey shots, shotgunning beers and one last show of the northern lights were visible from town. Start planning your trip to Tailgate Alaska now; it is not an event to be missed. If you have to, buy a ticket, bring a board bag and go for it. 

Write-up and photos BELOW are courtesy of Kyle McCoy

Shot captions
1. Getting closer
2. Jordan Nield getting his first AK runs
3. The High Mountain Taxi knows the best spots for lunch
4. Last run of the day
5. Base camp at night
6. Jordan Nield climbing the Berlin Wall
7. Shawn Clawson shredding the best
8. Pam Robinson sending Aaron to the Valley of the Tusk
9. David Biner jumping over nineteen pieces of flare
10. Chucking axes
11. Dub step and dace parties in AK?
12. True tailgating
13. Hammer time
14. Beer me
15. Gourmet Gabe an RV chef
16. Experts only!
17. The fish fry at the Fat Mermaid
18. Basich finding his first line
19. Keeping it classy
20. The locals say if you howl the lights glow brighter
21. This place is pure magic
22. All Hail Queen Emily
23. Learning how to stay safe
24. Kite board fest
25. Rose and Lago ping pong fighting
26. Mackenna has her own pass where’s yours
27. Hanging in the glacier cave
28. Mike showing his lady a good day
29. Trip is over, time for a shotgun
30. The King of the hill and his princess

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