YamaFest 2014 Recap
Yamafest 2014 went down in Revelstoke BC this weekend and the result was a major sled-community get-together that created hundreds of memorable moments. While technically speaking, Yamafest was not much more than some Yamaha dealers getting together to demo new sleds to potential buyers, the residual crowd that accumulated turned into a cosmic collision of the most dedicated mountain riders in Canada. Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. It’s like the sled community didn’t need more than a tiny excuse to tip the scales in favor of showing up in Revy for a great day of spring riding and the result was a wild weekend, full of antics across the entire spectrum of mountain riding.
Chris Brown was our case in point. He’s one of Yamaha’s top riders and was of course on-scene to make the day happen. Mountain Sledder has worked with Chris for two years and we wanted to get some shots of him for next year’s mags and so that was our excuse for showing up. And because Chris wanted to shoot some hill climbs to round out what is turning out to be one of his best Slednecks segments in several years, Slednecks sent a filmer to follow him around. And because Slednecks was there to film, the other Slednecks riders like Derek Wood and Brodie Evans came out too. And because Woods and Evans showed, a bunch of their friends did too… and so it went for pretty much every crew in the valley. Everyone had some sort of connection that made showing up a good idea and that is why the legend of Yamafest has continued to grow, despite about what it actually is and what it isn’t.
During the day there was a couple of pop tents set up and a selection of about 15 sleds that could be taken out for an hour or two. We spent all of 3 minutes there because when we showed Chris was already tee’d up to try a hill climb. So we raced there and got set up just in time for the show to begin.
After the antics at the Pirate Chute it was time to roll over to Monster Bowl where a main event was brewing. Monster Bowl is a chasm shaped perfectly over the millennia for the pure pleasure of hill climbing and the gawkers it attracts.
After sending ‘The Mclaren Mile’ chute (named after Neil McClaren, who was the first ascentist) Chris was ready for a break. So our crew rolled around to find some jumps that Brodie Evans and Derek Wood could hit. These guys have been sending it big all year and these airs were not much more than an everyday kind of thing. With the beauty powder contrails of winter gone, it was time to get creative with our picture crops.
Chris showed up to the booter session with broken handle bars from JRA (just riding along). We figure he did it on purpose to get out of the jump session so the kids didn’t show him up (just kidding). Stay tuned to Mountain Sledder Issue 6 on how to field fix your bars with a tree branch.
After the booter session, it was time to find some hill climbs to watch again. Our crew was spectating at this point.
Thunderstruck’s new kid Shad Simmons is an authentic talent with tons of energy. We watched him send it on a number of features.
Saturday ended on a bit of low note with an ankle injury. Too much power sent a guy huge off a lip and when he came down his ankle crumbled. It sucks a guy got hurt but it was awesome the way everybody got together and made the best of the bad situation. Big ups to Aaron Bernasconi from Mountain MotorSports for having a satellite phone in his pocket. After splinting the foot as best we could we kept our patient warm and in smiles (as much as possible) before the good folks at Revelstoke SAR showed up.
By the time we all got down it was time for official YamaFest business, a.k.a. a delicious dinner at the Hillcrest hotel. After dinner there were prizes and then several drinks at the bar. The new Viper is creating quite a buzz and there was more than one conversation I overheard about some potential buyers being swayed after demo riding the new beast.