The 2016 finals for the Psicobloc Masters Presented by Mountain Hardware (pronounced seek-a-block) were held at the Utah Olympic Park on Aug. 5. A local Salt Lake climber, 21-year-old Jules Jimreivat, had the lowdown on the event, offering a great taste of the enthusiasm that the competitors have for this new climbing discipline: “This event is a 55-foot wall, which is not special, but it is over a deep pool, so we’re ‘deep water soloing’—we’re not using a rope, so we are taking some big falls today. … I was really nervous the first time I got on the wall. I thought I was going to be too scared to try hard, but it was way more fun than it was scary, and the adrenaline rush is huge.”

The Psicobloc climbing wall, illuminated by the Park City sky, is a piece of art in and of itself. Photo: Colton Marsala
The Psicobloc climbing wall, illuminated by the Park City sky. Photo: Colton Marsala

The premise of Psicobloc stems from the practice of “deep water soloing,” which sees climbers tackling natural routes over water that is deep enough to take a high fall into. Of course, in the natural environment, the climber must scout the water thoroughly for rocks and other hidden obstacles lurking below the surface beneath their intended route. Many climbers have been able to utilize stand-up paddle boards and other small personal water implements to reach and claim previously unimagined ascents.  

Formatted as a single-elimination, head-to-head tournament, climbers could advance by climbing higher or getting to the top first. Obviously, if you fall off of the wall before reaching the top, your chances of winning are pretty slim. It’s also worth noting that the first rounds of the event were power protection paired, to keep the higher seeded athletes in the competition longer. The contest saw very few climbers fall from the wall before reaching their objective. 

Weather threatened the finals by gracing us with a little rain, which was promptly mediated by hand towel. “The part of the wall that is currently looking wet is actually the hardest part,” said Josh Muller (a lifetime climber and frequent competitor of other disciplines), but he was only mildly concerned, if at all. As the competition wore on, slippage didn’t seem to be a serious issue. Muller was unfortunately eliminated in the early rounds, as was the famed Chris Sharma, who had a huge hand in bringing this brand of climbing to its current popularity.

Mikaela Keirsch and Sidney Trinidad were paired for the final round of the Women’s Competition, which saw them both tearing up the wall. Matched quite evenly for the majority of the fourth run up the wall, Keirsch proved her supremacy and topped out first, with Trinidad close in tow. Keirsch was also just one of a handful of competitors who opted to use the available downclimbing holds to decrease her plummet by roughly 15 feet, for which the announcer hounded her each round. It was upsetting to hear boos from spectators at her refusal to jump off the top of the wall, begging the question, how much respect does the public really have for extreme sports athletes? When asked by the announcer what she was going to do with her winnings, Keirsch answered, “I’m going to pay my college tuition.” Seemingly tactical in all respects, Keirsch was hard to shake—expect to hear her name again.

The route on the wall was modified before the men’s contest to decrease the number of holds available to the climbers, requiring higher risk,”bigger” moves, and also seemingly slowing down the climbers’ progress. In the Men’s Final, Nathaniel Coleman was pitted against Jan Hojer in a real nailbiter that had the crowd on their feet. Hojer set the pace of the race, while Coleman showed surges of speed that ultimately saw him off the wall when he missed the final hold in a desperately fast and long reach.

Beyond the actual competition, the additional entertainment at Psicobloc was plenty: There were beginner slackline setups, multiple food options, Uinta Brewery selection and a highline walker (a user of a slackline at considerable height), as well as aerials performed by U.S. ski team members on the practice ramps into the pool.

Ultimately, this was a wonderful way to spend a Friday evening, and contests for this discipline are only going to become more common. To learn more about this burgeoning competition and view full results, visit facebook.com/psicocomp and psicocomp.com.

Click images for captions

(L–R) Provo Bicycle Collective Assistant Director Kai Cox and Director Austin Taylor have comfortably fit the operation in the Collective’s new digs. Photo: Gilbert Cisneros

The Provo Bicycle Collective has progressed as a social-melting-pot bike shop. By 2016, that social melting had already flooded out of the old space—Provo Bicycle Collective’s donation stream had been heavy and caused them to expand into a great new space more than twice the capacity for the good of two-wheeled change. BYU grad Austin Taylor is the PBC Director at the helm, with Assistant Director Kai Cox at his side. Taylor and his team are excited about the growth and services that PBC have been able to furnish for their community.

SLUG: Are you fully moved in, and are you pleased with the setup of the shop?
Taylor: Yes, we’ve been moved in for nine months, and it has taken nine months for us to set up this way. We’ve got a double-decker rack, which fits as many as 20 bicycles for sale or giveaway, and we are always receiving fixture donations from other shops.

Photo: Gilbert Cisneros

SLUG: How did you come across this new location? Why did you choose this space to operate PBC in?
Taylor: We didn’t initially know that we could inhabit this space; however, the neighborhood board approached us and explained the options for the building and that they wanted the Collective to move in. First we had to get it rezoned for a business, and to do that, we spoke in favor of such at the town council meeting. We actually moved in that same night with help from about 20 volunteers.

SLUG: When did you recognize the need to expand? What pushed you to do so?
Taylor: Well, at two points, really: one being that on Saturdays during open shop, we would have people working on their bikes in the  parking lot due to insufficient space inside, and the second was when we got a huge donation of bikes from BYU—we had them stacked literally floor to ceiling, taking up a solid third of our shop space. We now have seven work stations inside the shop, whereas before, we only had two. 

SLUG: What is the most rewarding experience associated with the new space so far?
Taylor: I’m really big on output. I like seeing results. Last year, we refurbed and moved 500 bicycles into the local community, 200 of which were given away to people who really needed them to get around, and our vision for every bike that leaves here is that it’s one less car being driven around. The people who get our bikes really need them—they aren’t buying them to take out on weekends. That bike maybe means a job for that person and a healthier lifestyle. If they just got out of jail—or they are homeless and they are looking for some stability in their lives—a bicycle can be a good first step for that.

SLUG: What challenges have you encountered with the new space/move?
Taylor: Last season, we actually couldn’t keep up with sales demand. So, we have hired a full-time mechanic [Jamie Gonzalez] for this season. Hopefully, they can churn out enough bikes. If not, we will hire another.

SLUG: What new programs have you started in the last year?
Taylor: One new thing we’re doing is bike-touring classes, and we’re doing an overnight up Provo Canyon this weekend. A lot more people know about us now because of the new space, and they want to get involved.

SLUG: Do you have any programs that include the youth?
Taylor: Yes, it’s called Earn-a-Bike, and we’ve made it so that from the first day of class, they choose a bicycle, and over the course of the 10 weeks, they will clean it, re-grease it and reassemble it, and then they take it home. We offer that program to anyone.

SLUG: Do you have any pressing needs of which you would like to inform SLUG readers?
Taylor: Yes! We need more people to ride bicycles to eliminate air pollution—especially during the winter. And we can always use more volunteers, of course.

SLUG: Do you think a lot of people recognize the mental health benefits of riding a bike as opposed to commuting by car?
Taylor: I think it’s hard to describe until you actually do it. It’s something that I haven’t heard people talk about that much, but I’ve definitely experienced, and I think we should talk about it more. And the other thing I love about bicycles is that you don’t have to worry about traffic—it’s irrelevant to your bicycle commute.

In case it hasn’t shown through yet, Taylor is the real-deal bicycle crusader. After conversing with him, it’s clear that he believes that bicycles are potent tools to be used for the benefit of all humans. Stop in and check out the PBC during open-shop hours at 397 E. 200 N. in Provo, and online at bicyclecollective.org/provo.


Editor’s Note: The original version of this article listed the incorrect website for the Provo Bicycle Collective. The article has been amended.

eff Hopkins, Men’s Open Snow 2nd place, Backside lipslide 270 fakie. Photo: Chris Kiernan

The 17th annual SLUG Games: Year of the Yeti Presented By G-Form, Mark Miller Subaru and Monster Energy rail-jam contest was held at Brighton Resort in sunny Utah on Saturday, Feb. 11. Brighton is all about the good times, keeping our priorities in check and getting wild with friends—which is why SLUG Games is so well situated there.

Brighton Terrain Parks Manager Mouse—now in his sixth season as the head of this hard working staff, the master lip sculptor and flow analyst—was on hand all day to put specialty shovel to snow and direct his minions in the smooth operation of this outstanding rail jam.

DJ Matty Mo was in booth all afternoon popping, mixing and holding it down with deep grooves to pump up the competitors and keep the spectators warm.

MC Ben Bogart brought equal parts trick knowledge, congratulatory sound effects and heckling—I’d say he killed it. Bogart is clearly a jovial fellow who repeatedly gave credit for tricks originally executed by former snowboard-camp attendees whom he had coached—this is an example of the kind of camaraderie found in this tight-knit mountain community.

Best Trick honors went to Brady Durgins for his a cab 270 on 270 off the waterfall rail. Other notable big tricks included a backside boardslide to an extremely stalled-out shifty off the top of the wall ride by Jeff Hopkins. Best Crash went to Garret Calaway. An honorable mention for Best Crash went to Pat Fava, who executed, in his own words, “a double 360 to deck, to full scorpion,” Fava said. “I’m out here giving the people what they want—that’s what it’s all about”— which means that he came up short (distance wise) on a 720, fell down and slid on his chest/stomach region for a sustained distance. It was beautiful. Fava is not wrong: When you’re riding with your friends, the prizes and the official results are really secondary. For most people, the motivation is stoking their friends up to add to the excitement of an already excellent day.

And what about the winners? Well, everyone who partied with us was winning at life, but there were also contest winners:

Men’s 17 & Under Ski: 1st Place Luke Mallen, 2nd Place Alex Mallen and 3rd Place Garret Callaway

Men’s 17 & Under Snow: 1st Place Henry Hawkins, 2nd Place Spencer Dallas and 3rd Place Ashton Davis. Before the contest I chatted with Hawkins, who just wanted to hit each obstacle on the course and maybe do a 180 off of the box. Instead, he did an inverted 540 in the quarter pipe, as well as a fast plant 540, which were big tricks on the day.

Women’s 17 & Under Snow: 1st Place Mattie Neves, 2nd Place Sofie Neves and 3rd Place Gwennith Park

Women’s Open Ski: 1st Place Celine Fouquet. Fouquet fought despite competing in an uncontested category, pushing her comfort level and elevating her riding throughout the contest.

Men’s Open Ski: 1st Place Jonathan Klutsch, 2nd Place Ben Rotordo and 3rd Place Ian Russel. Let it be known that Mr. Klutsch is not scared. He took some big falls off the top of the wall ride, but didn’t slow down. He attempted rotations into and out of every obstacle on the course and stomped at least half of them.

Women’s Open Snow: 1st Place Sierra Jewett, 2nd Place Samantha Hobush and 3rd Place Rachel Westcott. Hobush stood proudly on the second step of the podium with her fairly fresh baby. Jewett won the section by greasing the C to down rail and multiple maneuvers on the flat box to down rail. “The contest was super good. [The ladies] all killed it. It was a great time and it was a beautiful day,” Jewett said about SLUG Games: Year of the Yeti.

Men’s Open Snow: 1st Place Makalu Arnold, 2nd Place Jeff Hopkins and 3rd Place Andy Chammaraw. Men’s Open Snow was the most hotly contested of the categories. Chammaraw said, ”I didn’t even know what the rail looked like [referring to the down, down down rail]. I just mobbed into it.” This was a fair representation to Chammaraw’s approach, just comfortable and excited. Arnold killed it on all features and was promptly crushed by all of his friends and a yeti after being declared the winner. All three spots on the podium for Men’s Open Snow were claimed by members of the Brighton Parks Crew. They love and live what they do.

A big thanks to SLUG Games Presenting Sponsors G-Form, Mark Miller Subaru and Monster Energy, as well as sponsors Chaos Headwear / CTR, Freeheel Life Industries, Graywhale Entertainment, Izm Apparel, Lucky Slice PizzaMilosport, Pig & a Jelly Jar, Pit Viper Sunglasses, Porcupine Pub & Grille, Saga Outerwear, Ski Utah, Tite Belts, Vive Juicery and Zeal Optics.


Courtesy of Tom Wallisch

X Games slopestyle gold medalist Tom Wallisch is heading to the inaugural First Chair Festival this coming Saturday, Sept. 17, at The Complex, and it’s fair to say that excited is an understatement. The festival will feature brews from Sierra Nevada, film premieres and live music from Too$hort and BoomBox. Wallisch, who will be featured in the premiere of Good Company’s first feature film, Vice Versa, chatted about the upcoming celebration of the shred, what inspires him and whose style everyone will be stoked on this season.

Courtesy of Tom WallischSLUG: You’ll be featured in Vice Versa, which I understand is Good Company’s first feature film, and it’ll premiere tomorrow at First Chair Fest. What can we expect from the film?
Tom Wallisch: Good Company is kind of my baby with my two good friends Kyle Decker and A.J. Dakoulas. We’ve been more known for park and rail riding, but this film is more well-rounded, if not heavier into the backcountry and pow riding. We’ve got a lot of segments dedicated to pow riding and backcountry jumps. A couple guys in our film are laying down tricks that I’ve never even seen done in the backcountry before.

SLUG: What footage will push the boundaries of the sport?
Wallisch: Karl Fosvedt’s part in our movie is really great. … Having a good variety is really important to see who can really do it all. I think that our movie is one of the most well-rounded projects that we’ve done. It’s cool that it’s possible to just do one or the other and make a segment out of it, just doing park or powder, but the guys that always inspired me as kid were the ones with the really full parts showcasing their skills across the mountain, and that’s definitely something I’m working on.

SLUG: What thrills you most about the films that will premiere at First Chair Fest?
Wallisch: I’m just excited to have a film festival in SLC, more than the specific films being played … To get everyone together, to get the huge skier base that is Salt Lake City, to celebrate last season and get pumped for this season, to recognize what ski movies are and … just the whole festival itself.

SLUG: What movies are you stoked to check out, other than your own?
Wallisch: Tanner [Hall]’s new movie, Ring the Alarm, is something that I’m really excited to see. He is on this whole other level. I can’t even comprehend some of the lines he’s skiing now. And Henrik [Harlaut]’s new movie, Be Inspired—they’ve been working on it for two years, and I’m really excited to see what they’ve put together.

SLUG: What’s next for you?
Wallisch: Well, next season, I plan to do a whole lot of urban and then spend all of the mid-winter and spring filming backcountry and park to really showcase all of my skills … And there’s really so much left to be done out in the backcountry, continuing to do that new, weird, interesting stuff that’s out there—and snowmobiling is awesome, too.

SLUG: Park skiing is on this insane level that I personally couldn’t have envisioned 10 years ago. What advice would you give the groms who are trying to go pro?
Wallisch: My best advice would be to not skip tricks. I see a lot of kids who are too antsy to get to the one crazy flip trick. The kids I see who are coming up who are the best and show a lot of future are taking it slow and really learning everything as they go, learning each trick, each spin, each direction, each grab. Know your limits and be smart.

SLUG: Why do you think events like First Chair Fest are important for Utah and the local ski community?
Wallisch: It’s nice to have something like this to keep the excitement going for the winter. People are just starting to go buy their passes, and it would be great for kids from the U and Park City to be able to come out and be together and keep getting new people into the sport.”

SLUG: One last question. Who is your personal hero?
Wallisch: Oh, man … in terms of skiing or life? I guess I’ll just go with skiing and throw a shoutout to the late Shane McConkey … when you watch his footage, you can tell how much fun he’s having.

SLUG: So if you’re having the most fun, are you best skier?
Wallisch: I think so!

It snowed at higher elevations just the other evening, there’s a chill in the air, and winter is coming. Everyone is going to be getting pumped all day long on Saturday at the First Chair Festival, with five known heavy-hitting films, plenty of beers, and live music from Too$hort and BoomBox.

Click on the images below to see First Chair’s event schedule

Big mountain ripper and Discrete Clothing CEO Julian Carr has engineered a footrace for optimal enjoyment of our high alpine playground here in Utah. “The Peak Series is about hiking up a mountain as fast as you can, coming back down and having a beer with friends,” Carr says. The second year of the Peak Series will feature stops at Deer Valley on June 25, Alta on July 16 and the final stop at Snowbird on Aug. 28. After experiencing strong turnout for the inaugural season of the series, Carr is excited about bringing more people to the mountains this year.
Community is the basis for this series. The Peak Series was born to fill a substantial gap in the spectrum of summertime mountain-culture events. While other mountain-based foot races are centered around the completion of man-made obstacles, Carr is firmly committed to the very natural thrill of topping out an impressive mountain: “For me, you can’t fake the funk with bagging a peak,” he says. “The series is summit-oriented.” While it is an incredibly simple concept, the idea of getting to the top has driven explorers and enthusiasts since the beginning of recorded time: Carr believes that everyone can partake in this basic and gratifying physical task.

This year, the Peak Series will feature three stops in the heart of Utah ski country. The first stop, held on June 25, will take place at Deer Valley, and the race will cover just over nine miles and 2,260 vertical feet of ascension. Along the way, competitors will be treated to views of the Uintas. This is the “mellower” race of the series, so it would make great sense to jump in right at the first stop, especially for all racers who are new to crushing big hikes.

The second stop, on July 16, is held at Alta and sees competitors clamboring 2,545 vert over the course of seven miles, so it will be slightly more strenuous than the Deer Valley stop. The race route threads together the most breathtaking aspects of Utah’s most storied ski resort. As a bonus: Racers will likely get to view the beginning of Alta’s wildflower season

The third, final and most demanding race of the series lands at Snowbird on Aug. 28. Participants will battle 3,600 vertical feet over nine miles of extra-rugged terrain. The route will bring racers over Mt. Baldy and back through the mountain via the Peruvian tunnel. Last year, some rain and lightening spiced up this race, so competitors should anticipate multiple weather situations. “The rain at Snowbird on Year One actually made for a very enjoyable temperature and running surface,” Carr says of the mild weather. On the strenuous nature of the Snowbird stop, he says, “I am interested in getting my ass kicked for two hours and coming back down to hang out with my friends.”

Each race offers three categories of competition for men and women: Sport (Novice), Expert and Pro. Cash/prize pay-out is equal per race for the men’s and women’s field as Discrete and all associated sponsors feel strongly about equal work begatting equal pay-out. Sub-pro categories will be showered with awesome prize packages valued similarly to the pro payout structure. Additionally, there are overall series payouts and prize packages.

“For me, just competing and getting up there is the fun part,” says Carr, “but there are insane prizes for competitors as well.” Prizes aren’t just for winners! In an unorthodox award, Probar is putting up a generous nutrition package for the racer finishing at the absolute middle of the pack in each race. “There are insane prizes,” says Carr, for the fastest man and woman to the top of the mountain (The Peak Freak award by GoPro),  and a prize for the fastest man and woman down the hill from Under Armour.

Get Up High: The Discrete Peak Series
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