NOT YOUR AVERAGE KICKOUT
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably experienced getting kicked out of a spot. It's all the same, some people are cool, sometimes they suck, and if you’re lucky you still end up getting the clip or whatever. The spot featured here doesn’t have any story, everything went fine. We actually got booted from another spot before ending up here. Chased off by some old angry lady yelling at me in French. I don’t think she realized I couldn’t understand her, but that's how it goes. This story isn’t about this spot, that spot, or old people hating things. It's about an old stair set feature in what used to be Snow Park, New Zealand.
I first went there in 2016 on a trip with filmmaker Jon Stark and Dillon Ojo. We drove up to what once was the legendary Snow Park resort to see if anything was left. Almost everything was gone, the lift and the right wall of the dirt dug pipe were completely torn out. But the infamous wooden stair set structure and rail still stood intact. There was no snow around it, but Dillon Ojo really wanted to hit it, so we shoveled over snow for a few hours and made a little strip for his inrun and landing. We even built the lip out of the dirt to use less snow. After a few comical slams, he boardslid the rail and rode out into the dirt with his chain sparkling in the sun. It was the highlight of the trip.
Fast-forward to last summer, Sam Taxwood and I made a last-minute decision to go back to New Zealand for a contest and some summer boarding. It wasn’t until I was on the flight over, revisiting photos on my phone, when I realized that our trip was on the exact same dates as our trip with Dillon. I wanted to go revisit that Snow Park rail, almost as a way to revisiting Dil. But I knew there wouldn’t be enough snow. Luckily, as if it were a sign (if you believe those things), it snowed two days before the exact same date that we went to the Snow Park rail two years before. So, we bought a shit ton of Coronas and headed up there on the same date to have a session in his memory.
Carlos Garcia Knight drove us with Markus Skin who was going to film. On the way, we passed a few “No Trespassing” signs and somehow opened a locked gate to the abandoned parking lot ("carpark" as they say down there). It was a perfect sunny day, a fresh foot of snow covered the rail that was still standing. I found our old dirt lip and teared up a bit. Once it was good to go, this big ass truck came out of nowhere and parked right in the middle of the landing. My stomach dropped. It was the one time I was not willing to get kicked out, not after everything had lined up so perfectly. It was the guy who owned the property, he saw our tire tracks in the snow and followed us there. He was like most people in this situation, shaking his head, pissed off, telling us to leave immediately. I walked over and told him to hear us out. I pointed out the Coronas and flowers and explained we could care less to be there, but we were there to pay tribute our friend who accidentally passed just a few months prior. He paused, before telling me he knew of Dillon and remembered seeing the footage of him boardsliding the rail a few years ago. He then went on telling me how they kept the stair set there as a memorial to the old resort. Then he said something like, “if there were any reason to let you guys ride here today, this was the one.” Just before he got back in his truck he said, "Make sure to pick up the beer bottles and try to lock the gate behind you." And then he drove off.
Sam and I boardslid it for Ojo. Then had a fun session while listening to a few of his mixes on soundcloud before sitting on the stairs and drinking Coronas. It was pretty crazy feeling, going from being yelled at to watching the sunset, drinking to Dil, on the spot he hit on the same day two years before. It really did feel like we were with him, and I’m glad it wasn’t your average kickout. We left the flowers on what will forever be Dillon’s rail. RIP Dillon Ojo, we love you. –SPENCER SCHUBERT