509 Vol. 9 – Heli-Shoot Week Recap
The 509 heli-shoot is a get together of epic proportions where the who’s who of freeride mountain sledding meet in one spot for the final trip of the year. Most are there to round out their segments for next year’s 509 movie: Volume 9. When you put this many rad people on the same trip the antics are sure to follow and this year did not disappoint. Stay tuned for a Behind the Lens webisode on this trip from 509 in a couple weeks.
This time the trip was planned for Sicamous BC and it was supposed to only be a couple days, but the weather didn’t cooperate so we ended up staying quite a bit longer. Somehow though, it felt as if things unfolded as they should have.
Here’s a day by day breakdown of a fraction of what went down:
Day 1 started with a splitting of our massive crew. Several people had ridden Eagles Pass the day before but the snow patches on the road had blocked access and made for an uncomfortable sled ride on gravel. A bunch of people decided to ride Owls Head instead, which is closer and easier to get to. But we opted to join the crew headed for Eagles, with the idea that we would put work into clearing the snow patches on the road for easier access later in the shoot.
Once in the zone the day started with some hill climbs. The Micku boys were in fine form. The weather however, wasn’t.
- Megan Render gets ready for a climb. Dave Micku running coms.
After the hill climbs we wandered over to nasty step-down air that had injured one of our team the day before. The jumpers had a time with it.
After the step-down we wandered around to scout some other things. The weather wasn’t the best for shooting.
Not a whole lot of note worthy antics happened but Brandon Micku did manage some nice whips on his turbo.
We were supposed to be back early that night as there was an autograph signing at Moose Mulligans pub in Sicamous. It was a stacked table to say the least.
Day 2 dawned rainy and so there was only one thing to do: hit the pool and then go for a go-kart session.
The scene at the go-kart track was one for the ages. It could merit its own post and even a webisode. Here’s a couple pics that will leave several unanswered questions and not even come close to doing what happened justice.
Day 3 dawned rainy again, with the possibility of clearing weather in the afternoon. So we figured we’d go for a pleasure cruise on a house boat in the morning and then go sledding. It was a sweet dual sport day.
After house boating we all got suited up and headed to Owls Head for some sledding. The weather was crappy but the airs were still big.
Day 3 ended with a near fatal mistake for the Mountain Sledder crew. We opted for a hot tub after sledding instead of grabbing supper. We paid for it because the only place open by the time we were ready to eat was the Husky gas station.
By Day 4 several people had left but a few had showed. Among the show up crew was Brett Turcotte. Day 4 was a full day up Owls Head but again the weather didn’t cooperate. That didn’t mean some air didn’t get thrown.
By the end of day 4, calling in the helicopter was at make or break point for day 5. Waiting another day wasn’t an option because everyone had to leave. Most people had already re-jigged their plans to stay this long. At a group pow wow on top of a peak in Owls Head the decision was made to get up super early the next day and make it happen at Eagles.
The first photo of day 5 should be the alarm going off at 5 am. We were a little too tired to pull that off and considering the trucks were already running by 5:40 when we finally stopped pressing snooze we had to hustle not to get left behind.
Beside a broken down truck, the crew was in the alpine building jumps by 9am. The weather was also looking promising at moments, although it did shift from skank tank to winter jacket weather and back several times an hour.
By noon there were a few new jumps built and the nasty step-down was also re-primed. We were in good shape by the time the heli showed up with lunch.
And then, just like that, it was go time. Turcotte was up first. He didn’t say much but he mentioned he wanted to get the flip out of the way. As soon as we got a window, the bird went up in the air and the session was on.
After a few jumps it was time for the flip. Brett had attempted the back flip 4 times before this and landed all 4 jumps. Still, doing flips in the backcountry is gnarly: everytime. But, he nailed it.
When Brett came back to the top of the jump after stomping the flip he finally let the emotion show. “Now I can have fun,” he said to us.
After the Turcotte session the crew rallied towards a large step-down (not the nasty one) up the valley. There were some rather large airs sent!
As if on que, when the step-down session was ending the clouds came in and the bird got set down.
When the light finally arrived it was time for the nasty step down.
Russ Zee went first and both him an Mentaberry hit it, but no one went bigger than Suhan.
When the step down session was over the weather came in for a while. The boys took the time to build yet another jump.
Finally the bird was in the air for the last time and the hip session began. Before the hip was a sweet natural, multiple jump, moto style course the boys had discovered.
With the hip jump session over, it was time for the heli to fly home. That still left the crew in the zone and it was decided to take break and then go look for another hit. Things were going good during the break, the heli was packed to go home when lo and behold, out of the blue, Turkey Reinheardt shows up.
Turkey fired up the boys and another session broke out on a much smaller but steeper hit. There were a lot of fantastic airs: here’s just a couple of them.
At the tail end of a mega session, the lip finally gave way and B Micku paid the price for it. His sled bumper ended up tagging him on the thigh. He was ok to get himself out of the zone but in quite a bit of pain. That put an end to vibe and everyone started packing up to go home.
On the way home the light was too good not to shoot.
With that, the shoot was over. We had no more mojo to keep shooting pics for the evening antics, which were minimal by scale of other nights in the week. Everyone was super tired and after 17 hours in our riding boots the time for sleep had come.
Big ups to 509, Velocity Productions, the Sicamous Chamber of Commerce and all the athletes and behind the scenes people who made an epic trip come together. There’s a lot to live up to next year…