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Surfers riding a new wave in boarding

Tim Mutrie

The surf’s up in Snowmass?

OK, no one is catching waves, but a hoard of “surf-style” snowboard carvers are ripping up Snowmass Mountain this week. They’re here as part of the first annual Pure Carve Expression Session, aimed at uniting carvers and showcasing the new style.

About a hundred hard-boot wearing and long-board riding snowboarders are participating in the four-day event, organized by local Cliff Ahumada, founder and president of Pure Carve Snowboards. Surfing legends Herbie Fletcher, Micki Munoz, Dickie Moon, Mike Doyle and Joey Cabell are here riding the carving wave too.

“All of us have been on the cover of Surfing Magazine,” said longboard legend Herbie Fletcher. “I was on three – it’s no big deal.”

Thursday was Fletcher’s first time on a Pure Carve snowboard, though he’s boarded freestyle many times.

“As the day progressed, I really got into it, it was ego snow,” he said. “It’s like dropping in on a nice big wave, but much faster. Everybody was hooting and hollering out there, it was just a perfect day, it couldn’t get any better.”

Coincidentally, the name of the event – Expression Session – comes from a bygone surf competition at the Pipeline in Hawaii, one of Fletcher’s familiar haunts.

Ahumada, who designs the Pure Carve line of boards along with an engineer, says surf-style carving is “more of a fluid, casual style of riding, with the thought of riding a wave,” as opposed to alpine-style, which is more aggressive and in the fall line.

Part-time local Joey Cabell, who splits his time between Aspen and Hawaii, is another of the surfers/carvers partaking in the Expression Session. Cabell founded the first Chart House in Aspen in 1961 and used to ski race competitively, though he hasn’t for three years, since he got hooked on carving.

“There are a lot of people here who have always surfed and skied, and now with Pure Carve in the picture, it really goes hand and hand,” Cabell said.

“Today [Thursday] was fabulous day, it was as exciting as it’s been ever at Snowmass,” he said. “[The Expression Session] really brought people from all over the United States together.”

“The thing that people like most about this event is that its noncompetitive – at least in a formal sense anyway,” said Brent Gardner-Smith, Pure Carve race team member. “It’s just the show-up-and-ride mentality.”

In Ahumada’s estimation, the Expression Session “is going extremely well. Everybody’s stoked beyond all my wildest dreams,” he said.

And will there be another? “Definitely,” Ahumada said. “Same time, same place. My biggest fear is having too big of a turn out.”


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