All the Ski Patrol’s in the world couldn't prepare Winter Park Resort for what was about to happen. The Second Annual Highnoon Duel was set to kickoff with much anticipation. Jay Stewart had a chance to sit down with the creators of this legendary event and ask them a couple questions.
Interview and Photos by: Jay Stewart
What was the idea behind the Highnoon Duel?
Ryan Arrington: The Duel is a concept we’ve adapted over years of wandering around Winter Park. It’s essentially a flow of instincts. When boarding with your buds, you develop this sense of awareness. That’s why the Duel is so special. It’s no longer about one person, but instead the people around you help define the outcome.
Ben Lynch: The original synchronized snowboarding was discovered about decade ago, when we were still just punk kids. We had no idea what we were doing then. We were just trying to keep up with one another on the hill and not kill each other.
To an outsider who has never had the opportunity to witness this event, what is synchronized snowboarding?
Ryan: Synchronized snowboarding is something that flows naturally. Its interacting with your fellow boarders on a more creative level. Its completely up to the teams to create their sense of flow..It’s an art form.
Ben: We do this everyday without thinking. We snowboard as friends not as kooks.This artistic movement is our passion and no one understood that, so we created a competition. We made it happen because the idea behind this is what snowboarding is all about; Friends.
What is the idea behind all of the kooky features on course?
Ryan: Creativity. In a world of triple flip flops it’s nice to incorporate a sense of style and finesse in a world of acrobats. By having these features available it gives the riders an abstract view of reading the terrain.
Ben: It makes no sense... either way. We don't know who made us do it or what made us do it. We are Cirque de Soile on snowboards.
Do you think creativity is being lost in modern day snowboarding?
Ryan: No. In my mind, snowboarding is in its own Renaissance era. New genres of snowboarding are becoming more apparent in the snowboard universe giving boarders a
chance to think outside the norm. Stunt junkies have brought the sport to such a high level that people find themselves drifting away from the “standard” and more to an abstract interpretation.This is a big part of why the Highnoon Duel was created.
Ben: Yes, absolfuckinglutely. Most have lost that precious gem within them that is the pure soul of snowboarding. It ain’t cool its just friction..man.
Aside from the traditional first, second, and third places what other awards are handed out?
Ryan: There’s two other awards that are given to two lucky contestants. One award that we’ve done both years is the Biggest Shiteater award. Winner of this award usually gets a toilet seat with a mirror in the middle for self contemplation. As grotesque as this award sounds, we try to make it more of honoring the slam..
Ben: Mest Bethod is the other award we hand out, this trick began it all its another way to pay homage to the greats.
You say two and four man teams, do you have something against humans with an extra X chromosome?
Ryan: Haha not at all, every year we make awards for the women’s category but yet to have any lady luck in the Highnoon Duel.
Ben: No, they just never show up, what's the problem! I spend at least three hours making plaques for the damn women and they don't show up!
2 Man Team Winner - Pretentious Jerry’s
4 Man Team Winner - Kooks on the Loose
Mest Bethod - Kit Hendrikson