From Issue 182, February 2004
Although not entirely what KAB, stands for, kick ass builders can describe the work these two friends have done. For five years, KAB (Kick-Ass Blaster) have been building rails for skateboarders and snowboarders, for pros and major companies in the industry, turning mere parks into jib obstacles and having a lot of fun in the process. I had a chance to sit down and get a verbal history of these two kick-ass bros, from where they came from to where their company is going.
During the early 90s, resorts around the country started making terrain parks for kids to ride. However, Utah locals had to make their own jumps out of bounds or find trees to jib inbound because local resorts weren’t stepping up. Popularity of the sport soon pushed Wasatch Front resorts to finally invest time and money in maintaining an adequate park. Simultaneously, on the west side of the valley, Jared Winkler and Steve Dukes were attending Kearns High and were starting to snowboard from their skateboarding background. On a four-month trip to Australia, nowhere near snow, the friends were holed up on a beach with only one VHS tape—a snow movie. Watching Ski School over and over again, they finally came up with a name they both like, even though there was no company yet. The name was KAB.
After years of riding at Brighton, they ventured together to Windells Snowboard Camp during the summer to be “diggers” for a free pass to ride. In the summers, they also began to make skate rails, at first for themselves and eventually to sell to local shops. Learning how to weld and using the trial-and-error process was the best way to figure out what worked and what did not. Building small and working up was cost effective and rewarding. The skate rails also doubled as snowskate rails for the winter. Using their experience with skate rails, the two made a few snow rails in the summer and dragged them up to the mountains in a secret location to be sessioned. Word got back to the local Burton rep at the time, Jason Bowes, and Brighton park employee Dustin Anderson, who purchased a few for Brighton’s park. The following summer, Jared returned to Windells as head digger and fixed or built most of the rails for the summer session. Work was picking up for the boys as fall brought the leaves down. In 2001, they built four rails for Powder Mountain and that same winter were approached by Chris Engelsman to build a rail for his new snowboard company Elevation. The down-flat-down rail was shot at Brighton as well as the Elevation wall ride. Cory Smith also talked with the boys to build a rail for the Smith limo that has shown up around town and in numerous videos over the years. In 2001, Jared made three unique rails for Brighton’s park that upped the ante for other resorts. The first Elbow Rail, C Rail and the only Y Rail in the state found a home. With a name, experience and contacts at different mountains, they were starting to get larger projects to work on. In 2002, E-Tree introduced them to Brian Botts, team manager for DC, who hired KAB to build the DC Mountain Lab rail garden. A grand total of 25 rails and boxes were constructed of varying size and skill for the DC pros to practice on. Jared also had a meeting with Brighton and was hired on as Terrain Park Director for the Terrain Park. That same year, Park City Mountain Resort also announced the Park City All Stars and plans for the World Championships Halfpipe and The Chevy Grand Prix. At the Grand Prix in December of 2002, KAB unveiled the newest creation, The Grand Prix Staircase. The city ledge saw plenty of movie time and was sessioned by some of the world’s best snowboarders. Robot Food also spent a few days filming specially built jumps and rails at Brighton’s park last year and continues to be one of KAB’s sponsors.
This year they turned Jim Mangan’s idea into a reality by creating a wall ride and down box for the Grand Prix. The heavy hitters were out once again for the contes—including JP Walker, Jeremy Jones and George Oakley, who eventually won the event. Jared and Steve are also responsible for all the jumps and rails currently at Brighton for the second season running.
For 10 years now, Jared and Steve have held season passes at Brighton and are now building some of the best rails in the state at the same resort. As the progression of the sport was pushing the riders, the builders were also being pushed to build more complex features that last. Each time you ride through the park, remember to have respect for those you ride alongside of, but also respect what you are riding on. If you would like to have some rails built or want to see what KAB is all about, visit their website at www.kabrails.com and go session some of the new rails at Brighton.