Celebrating snowsports

Posted: Thursday, March 06, 2008

For some snowsport enthusiasts there is a word that describes the pure passion of aggressively negotiating a mountain - shralping.

Courtesy Of Scott Baxter
Courtesy Of Scott Baxter

"(Shralp) is an old-school term. It's been out there a long time," said Cherith Whiteman, who as special events coordinator for Hangar on the Wharf is organizing a first-ever Shralp! ski and snowboard celebration Friday, March 7, at Eaglecrest Ski Area.

"It's that ultimate slash, that perfect line," Whiteman said of shralping. "It's bouncing from snow pillows on cliffs and felled trees, the over-the-head powder on steep pitches. It's just that pure, clean adrenaline rush. And then you can just claim it with your two fists in the air."

Friday's celebration will include a slope-style snowboarding competition in which the object is to land tricks cleanly through an obstacle course. The event is co-sponsored by Sequence Snow & Skate Shop and Hangar on the Wharf.

There also will be night skiing and boarding on Ego and Sourdough, two runs off the lower Hooter chairlift.

"I'm really surprised they haven't been doing night riding," said Scott Baxter, a local photographer and filmmaker and Shralp! event assistant. "If anything, just for the kids on weekends. So hopefully this kind of helps push that. ... Hopefully, it's just a cool event on the terrain park."

Patrick VanPool, owner of Sequence Snow & Skate Shop, agreed.

"We just want to promote snow events in Juneau," he said. "We want to push the progression of snowsports ... keep kids stoked."

In keeping with this goal, Friday's celebration is much more than skiing and snowboarding. DJ AstronoMAR and DJ Smack will provide live entertainment.

And there will be a showing of Absinthe Films' latest snowboard flick "Optimistic?" Unfortunately, Absinthe Films' extreme snowboarding crew can't attend Friday's event. Scott Sullivan, Absinthe's photographer, told Whiteman that the crew would be out snowboarding in Haines during the event.

"(Nevertheless,) we wanted to show their movie, and they gave us their blessing so we're pretty excited about that," Whiteman said. "I hope to show it outside, but that's going to be weather permitting; so 'Plan B" is to show it in the day lodge."

According to Whiteman, the film includes segments filmed at Eaglecrest in 2007.

In addition to entertainment, hot food will be available for purchase in the lodge, and there will be a beer garden for those over 21 with valid identification.

"I think (the event) started off as just, 'Let's do something at night, have a beer garden, show a video, have some DJs,'" Baxter said. "I think, all in all, it's going to be combined into a good time."

According to VanPool, photographers will shoot footage of Friday's events for publication on Sequence's Web site, www.sequenceskate.com.

We will "try to cover as much of it as we can and maybe put something together. If anything, (we'll) have some photos from it," Baxter said. "(We) just hope to push it into an annual thing."

Whiteman, too, said she'd like to see the event continue.

"We're excited to present to the public a unique experience," Whiteman said. "And providing it's positively responded to, we'd like to continue events of this nature in the future."

• Neighbors editor Kim Andree can be reached at kimberly.andree@juneauempire.com.

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