Peace Park 2015: “Carving is Cool”
Danny Davis’s annual spring break party brings out some the year’s best snowboarding at a custom-built terrain park.
Davis with a few strategically placed Mountain Dew items. Photo by Chris Owen, courtesy Mountain Dew
Peace Park is Danny Davis's annual ritual: build a terrain park, recruit a dozen or so of his best friends to shred it, and make a film that leaves you wishing you'd got the invite. For the past four years, the weeklong jam session has been a spring break party for Davis and his crew, courtesy of Mountain Dew and Burton Snowboards.
Davis dreams up the design for Peace Park with Snow Park Technologies, who design and build some of the biggest competition courses in the world. Six snow cats dozed, packed, and shaped snow—all of it natural—for two weeks at Wyoming's Grand Targhee resort to build this year's version. Davis's vision for the first Peace Park, in 2011, was to expand and adapt standard slopestyle courses and halfpipes. He added rails, bowls, and other features that fostered creativity in the riding. Style and innovation prevailed, and the event became an end-of-season diversion from the redundancy of the competition circuit. To Davis and his crew, it's snowboarding for the sake of snowboarding. A week of learning and going big. No podium to get in the way. Mountain Dews all around.
We caught up with Davis at his home in Truckee, California, to get the dope on this year's edit.
VICE Sports: So what's new about this year's Peace Park?
Davis: The people at Grand Targhee are so good to us. They basically give us this whole mountainside to use. Twelve hundred vertical feet to shred. This year, we made one of the longest courses we've ever done. We had berms and jumps and quarterpipes leading into a jump and two halfpipes side by side. We had a 13-foot mini-pipe, which sort of took you back to old school, right next to a 22-foot pipe. The 13-footer bowled into the 22-footer—I'm sure that's never been done in snowboarding. We also had a pow day this year, which had never happened at Peace Park. We were blessed by Mother Nature, and she hooked it up with what everyone really loves to do in snowboarding, and that's surf the deep snow.
VS: Did the new course design bring out some new riding?
The course design sets the stage for what's going to go down. Four years ago, we were like, how are we going to add to this halfpipe? Now we're so far ahead of that, adding all these berms and rollers and bowls. It evolves every year. This year we tried to use the whole mountainside. We had a new approach to transitions. And it's fun for us because we don't ever get to ride this stuff. Most of the year, it's just contest to contest to contest. The creativity you can have out there is what makes Peace Park Peace Park. And, of course, the riders that show up. Everyone that comes has a blast.
VS: Looks like fun. Who gets to decide the invite list?
It's not all my choice who gets to be there, but it pretty much is. Camaraderie runs deep at Peace Park. We basically have a big mash of riders from all over the industry. It's a melting pot of slopestyle guys, halfpipe guys, some big-mountain riders, some backcountry guys. It's all about having a diverse group of guys with a lot of style. That's how I've always thought about snowboarding. With a big group of friends, up there listening to music, grilling burgers, learning off each other.
VS: How has Peace Park influenced the industry?
The main goal has always been to have a blast, but now it's at this point where we're influencing not only terrain parks around the world but also competitions. Park managers at Vail and Breckenridge are looking at what Burton and Mountain Dew and SPT and I are doing and what we can actually put on snow, and then they see the snowboarding that happens on it. I think people see this as an inspiration to change up your park. Jackson Hole told me their park was totally Peace Park-inspired.
And then there's the competitions. Last year the U.S. Open, for the first time in a long time, didn't have three jumps in a row. They had this transition jump. I think you're seeing more transitions coming into the slopestyle courses.
VS: So Peace Park is both influencing the development of the sport while staying true to the roots of snowboarding?
There are a few contests out there that embody what snowboarding truly is. You got the Mt. Baker Banked Slalom. The U.S. Open has always been a snowboard event. There's others, but Peace Park is completely, organically created to pour out the soul of snowboarding. You see it in the edit. There's a whole section on carving and turning.
VS: And that's organic snowboarding?
I saw today on Instagram that a kid did a quad cork. That stuff is amazing, and it has to live in snowboarding. We need it to push the progression of the sport, but at the same time we need things like Peace Park. There's a four-minute segment in the edit on turns and how surfy the course is. In my eyes, that's what snowboarding is: surfing the mountain. It was invented by guys who liked to surf or skateboard and wanted to do it in the snow. We love to surf snow, and that comes across clearly in the film. Not only doing tricks and flipping and spinning but really, truly snowboarding, flashing and carving and all that. Peace Park inspires that. The soul of the sport. Everyone riding together, a lot of high fives, no bad vibes.