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Mountain Sledder Magazine | September 21, 2017

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509 Vol. 9 - Heli-Shoot Week Recap

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:

Best Western in Sicamous is a great place to stay. Nice big screens in the rooms and sweet hot tub and pool area.

DAY 1

The crew congregating in the Best Western parking lot on Day 1
The crew congregating in the Best Western parking lot.

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.

Good thing we brought Russ Zee along. He wasn't afraid to pin it through the snow.
Good thing we brought Russ Zee along. He wasn’t afraid to pin it through the snow.
It didn't always go perfect everytime. This was a minor 'hiccup' according to Dave Micku
It didn’t always go perfect everytime. This was a minor ‘hiccup’ according to Dave Micku
Russ Zee, pinning it again.
Russ Zee, pinning it again.

 

Once in the zone the day started with some hill climbs. The Micku boys were in fine form. The weather however, wasn’t.

Kyle, Brandon and Justin Micku doing some trandem hill climbing shots.
Kyle, Brandon and Justin Micku doing some trandem hill climbing shots.

Megan Render gets ready for a climb. Dave Micku running coms.

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.

Jay Mentaberry was the first one to clean the step down.
Jay Mentaberry was the first one to clean the step down.

 

Russ Zee gets the step down too.
Russ Zee gets the step down too.
Riley Suhan got the step down too but Stephen Darcy went the biggest.
Riley Suhan got the step down too but Stephen Darcy went the biggest.

 

After the step-down we wandered around to scout some other things. The weather wasn’t the best for shooting.

Standing around, waiting for weather. L-R : Brandon Micku, Megan Render, Stephen Darcy, Jay Mentaberry, Riley Suhan
Standing around, waiting for weather. L-R : Brandon Micku, Megan Render, Stephen Darcy, Jay Mentaberry, Riley Suhan

 

Not a whole lot of note worthy antics happened but Brandon Micku did manage some nice whips on his turbo.

Brandon Micku turbo whip.
Brandon Micku turbo whip.

 

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.

Stacked table for autographs at the pub.
Stacked table for autographs at the pub.
Speaking of stacked tables...
Speaking of stacked tables…

 

DAY 2

Day 2 dawned rainy and so there was only one thing to do: hit the pool and then go for a go-kart session.

Chris Brown ready for battle.
Chris Brown ready for battle.

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.

 

The first bracket about to start.
The first bracket about to start.
Chris Brown being really helpful to the racers. This was only the start of the water usage.
Chris Brown being really helpful to the racers. This was only the start of the water usage.
Brodie Evans and Derek Wood feuding it out to the amusement of their friends.
Brodie Evans and Derek Wood feuding it out to the amusement of their friends.
Niki Taylor busting through the finish line.
Niki Taylor busting through the finish line.
Suhan and Render battling it out.
Suhan and Render battling it out.
The crew. Needless to say a good time was had by all.
The crew. Needless to say a good time was had by all.

DAY 3

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.

Houseboating with jetskis and a wakesurf boat.
Houseboating with jetskis and a wakesurf boat. Photo by Julie-Ann Chapman.

 

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.

Riley Suhan sending it big in the gray.
Riley Suhan sending it big in the gray.
Stephen Darcy on a massive step-up. You can't even see the lip in this pic.
Stephen Darcy on a massive step-up. You can’t even see the lip in this pic. He got it second time around.
Tyler Blair boosting for the crowd. Not quite sure what's happening with the camera men....
Tyler Blair boosting for the crowd. Not quite sure what’s happening with the camera men….

 

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.

Note to the wise: the entire town of Sicamous will be closed by 10 pm on a Sunday night in May. Christain Gagnon searches for something to eat at Husky gas station.
Note to the wise: the entire town of Sicamous will be closed by 10 pm on a Sunday night in May. Christain Gagnon searches for supper at Husky gas station.

DAY 4

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.

Brett Turcotte hitting a whipper for the crowd on Day 4.
Brett Turcotte hitting a whipper for the crowd on Day 4.
Nadine Overwater sending it as big as the dudes.
Nadine Overwater sending it as big as the dudes.
Turcotte getting tricky over Mabel Lake in the far background.
Turcotte getting tricky over Mabel Lake in the far background.
Riley Suhan going huge.
Riley Suhan going huge.
Brodie Evans finds some fresh pow in Owls Head.
Brodie Evans finds some fresh pow in Owls Head.

 

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.

 

Day 5

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.

Brett talking the crew through the backflip air build.
Brett talking the crew through the backflip air build.

 

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.

The flip jump getting primed.
The flip jump getting primed.

 

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.

Lunch delivered by the heli and provided by the Sicamous Chamber of commerce.
Lunch delivered by the heli and provided by the Sicamous Chamber of commerce.

 

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.

Brett Turcotte warm up air.
Brett Turcotte warm up air.
Turcotte's second jump (a warm up) was better than most will ever achieve.
Turcotte’s second jump (a warm up) was better than most will ever achieve.
One last warm up on the flip jump.
One last warm up on the flip jump.

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.

Brett Turcotte backflip stomp
Brett Turcotte backflip stomp.
Brett. backflip. big.
Brett. backflip. big.

 

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.

 

Celebration after the flip
Celebration after the flip.

 

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!

Russ Zee flying way above the bird(s).
Mentaberry getting warmed up.
IMG_2110
Russ Zee flying way above the bird(s).
Mentaberry getting up close and personal with Mike Reeve in the chopper.
Mentaberry getting up close and personal with Mike Reeve in the chopper.
Brandon Micku going for a climb.
Brandon Micku going for a climb.

 

As if on que, when the step-down session was ending the clouds came in and the bird got set down.

Hurry up and wait for the light.
Hurry up and wait for the light.

 

When the light finally arrived it was time for the nasty step down.

Riley Suhan. Sky is clearing, the bird is about to fly and next up is the nasty step down.
Riley Suhan. Sky is clearing, the bird is about to fly and next up is the nasty step down.

 

Russ Zee went first and both him an Mentaberry hit it, but no one went bigger than Suhan.

Suhan. Flying on the nasty. This was a massive air in case you can't tell.
Suhan. Flying on the nasty. This was a massive air in case you can’t tell.

 

When the step down session was over the weather came in for a while. The boys took the time to build yet another jump.

Building jumps and waiting for weather.
Building jumps and waiting for weather.
The new 509 Altitude helmet looks sick.
The new 509 Altitude helmet looks sick.

 

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.

Rapid fire airs with the heli following.
Rapid fire airs with the heli following.
Brett Turcotte. Hipster.
Brett Turcotte. Hipster.
Brett Turcotte, tricky hipster.
Brett Turcotte, tricky hipster.
Russ Zee over the bars.
Russ Zee over the bars.

 

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 Reinheardt showing up in style after driving through the night from the Mac.
Turkey Reinheardt showing up in style after driving through the night from the Mac.
Turkey was a little hungry after his epic sled in so he asked us for a snack.
Turkey was a little hungry after his epic sled in so he asked us for a snack.
He washed it down with a delicious Monster.
He washed it down with a delicious Monster.
After talking it up with athletes they called him out and so it was time to perform. A little pre jump stretching went on.
After talking it up with athletes they called him out and so it was time to perform. A little pre jump stretching went on.
He was talking a big game but you could tell he was a little nervous.
He was talking a big game but you could tell he was a little nervous.
But he still sent it big
But he still sent it big.
And claimed it even bigger.
And claimed it even bigger.
After the air it was time for some highmarking on old avalanche debris.
After the air it was time for some highmarking on old avalanche debris.
It didn't go that good.
It didn’t go that good.
But just being there was reason to celebrate.
But just being there was reason to celebrate.
Turkey Reinheardt ladies and gentlemen. He's a beauty.
Turkey Reinheardt ladies and gentlemen. He’s a beauty. Follow him on instagram: turkey_reinheardt

 

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.

Jay Mentaberry upside down.
Jay Mentaberry upside down.
Brandon Micku upside down too.
Brandon Micku upside down too.
There was a repeating theme throughout the weekend. As in Suhan went the biggest...
There was a repeating theme throughout the weekend. As in Suhan went the biggest…

 

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.

B Micku bail to sled walloping his thigh.
B Micku bail to sled walloping his thigh.

 

On the way home the light was too good not to shoot.

On the way home the light was too good not to shoot. The hunter becomes the hunted. Camerman Stephen W Clark goes on the other side of the lens.
The hunter becomes the hunted. Camer man Stephen W Clark goes on the other side of the lens.
Turcotte sends what looks like a mid winter cliff drop.
Turcotte sends what looks like a mid winter cliff drop in the late evening light.
Late evening wheelie on a 2015 Arctic Cat
Late evening wheelie on a 2015 Arctic Cat.
Last shot of the trip. Turcotte still rallying in the final drops of light.
Last shot of the trip. Turcotte still rallying in the final drops of light.

 

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…

 

It ain't over till it's over. Just an easy turn around move with the broken truck in tow.
It ain’t over till it’s over. Just an easy turn around move with the broken truck in tow.

 

 

 

 

 

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