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SCUK Summer Bash 06
Now in its 5th year, the Summer Bash will involve tents, beer, snowboarding and a few other things, plus a chance to meet all the wierdos from the forum.
As British folk across the land wilt in unfamiliar temperatures, the smart people head direct for the cool breeze of Tamworth SnowDome and in particular the Snowboard Club UK Summer Bash... who says snowboarding is a winter sport?
If I’m absolutely honest, I rarely snowboard in this country, which given that I used to get paid to do it and remember fondly the sheer pleasure it brought, not to mention dedicating my work-life to promoting the sport, is a rather odd/disgraceful statement. In my defence, I am unfortunate enough to live in one of the few areas in the UK that are miles from a good slope, and that coupled with ever-increasing work demands means... well, I’ve been slack, I admit it. And so, head hung low with shame I head off to the SCUK Summer Bash to seek atonement for my sins and rediscover my passion for sliding sideways and camping.
We arrive in our designated field, just five minutes outside of Tamworth and yet seemingly in deepest green belt, procured by Gary Baker from the SnowDome – he’ll feature quite heavily in this, as the man seems to do just about everything to make this event happen. It’s a lovely farmland plot with pristine portaloo imported especially for the gig, showers are obviously a little decadent – add wet-wipes to the beers and burgers on the shopping list.
As the night draws in, the Summer Bashers arrive in their droves with claims of, ‘I’ve been looking for hours to find the bloody place’, which served as a good reminder to erect ample road directions from both approach points, and not just the back-ass route that we (as organisers) mistakenly took on arrival. As is customary on the first night of the Summer Bash, welcome drinks are quaffed and folk get focused on drinking excessively long into the night, huddled around the camp fire exchanging banter whilst listening to the soulful tunes of DJ Tony B, who generally won’t get out of bed to install anything under a 5K system, so thanks must go to Tony for not plugging his bass bins in. With the faint glimmer of early sunrise and paint-balling on the horizon I leave most of the party to it and sneak off to the comfort of a firmly inflated airbed.
With bleary eyes I attempt to ignore the 0830 hours roll-call for some serious paint-balling action, but at close to about 100 degrees in my tent, it’s a welcome intrusion, and of course the chance to finally pop a cap in some-one’s ass! As a paint-balling virgin, I’d heard all the chat about, ‘welts the size of an orange’, and ‘people getting shot – illegitimately - in the face’ but I hadn’t considered the level of enthusiasts I might encounter in our opponents. Enter Tackleberry from Police Academy, with his 10 equally trigger-happy mates! These guys were paintballing professionals, families of them, all equipped with a personal arsenal (customized, high-velocity, 30 rounds second paintball rifles) getting stuck into some good ole honest-to-goodness shooting, and it soon became apparent that this was a mixed ability group. My first foray into the Jungle zone lasted all of approx. 30 seconds before I took one for the team and went about the precarious duty of getting the hell out of there without suffering one of those fruit-sized wounds I’d been warned about. The following excursion got me hurriedly discussing tactics with the Bash crew, but I was soon to learn that talk is cheap out in the field.
Just got back had a wicked time! - Wakeyboarder
It was just after midday before we’d finished shooting people – there’s something about that, which just doesn’t sit right – and it was back to the campsite for the Summer Bash Football tournament. The professional portable goals were doing nothing to fool me, as it was my experience that board sports enthusiasts were somehow found wanting when it came to operating their legs independently. The following display illustrated that this theory is water-tight. With the exception of a few premiership strip clad individuals, it was a sorry state of miss-timing and over-exuberance and I most confess to being one of the worst offenders... traditionally a rugby player, I found there are few transferable skills. Regardless, the action was never anything other than committed, often brutal and an absolute lottery.
The sideline was full of gripped (well, mildly interested) spectators who were suffering under the heat and the repercussions from the heavy night before, and a huge apology must go to these guys as they were forced through a final not dissimilar to England’s world cup campaign... dismal! Though the skills were lacking the camaraderie was what I’ve come to expect from this community – Snowboarders... clumsy but caring!
AHHHH this was the most amazing weekend ever!! - Gina
Even as seasoned athletes, surely the tempo had to be lowered if we were to stand any chance of actually fitted in some boarding later on, and so it was time to sit back, swap tales and do some serious shade-hunting. With a healthy appetite, but zero supplies, it was time to peruse the local community of disposable BBQs to select a dining group. Some were seasoned pros, with propane refrigerators, serving stations and a gazebo. Tony opened the decks for all-comers to ply their trade or throw on a CD, which I always find easier.
Had a great time. I'm very burnt though and sore and aching and tired. - boardchick
It was at this time that Gary (Baker), SnowDome head honcho, brought out the kite board, which following his spectacular face plant and subsequent abrasions is most definitely now considered a sport for heterosexuals... get well soon Gary! Deciding the kite was a little sedentary, a group of fidgety Bashers stepped things up and hitched a rope with which to tow any would-be car-boarders. It was bound to happen I suppose, but unfortunately you may think for the climax of this story, it followed without incident. Gary, ‘swap the kite for a car mate, it’s a lot safer!’
That felt like the longest drive home in the world today, but it was worth every mile of it. Cheers for a great weekend and everyone making me feel welcome when I turned up with no friends on Friday. - Steve McKenna
And so, the moment we’d all been waiting for, ‘Snowboarding at the SnowDome’! The slope looked fantastic, with a clean white covering of fresh SOFT snow. The Summer Bash had been selected as the launch party for a lovingly-sprayed and classic-looking VW Camper slide box. Wow, what a beauty! And wow what a drop off the end! This proved to be my age talking, as I watched the more than impressive array of talented Tamworth locals cab-on, cab-off the damn thing without a second thought. My attention was immediately focused toward obstacles that reduced any forms of compression - having been given my marching orders from a feeble camper-slide to knee-crumple to ass-check - and came to lay upon the SnowDome Quarter-Pipe; an appealing looking contour standing about 14’ high and thankfully lacking any unnecessary vert. It was interesting to note the natural divide between peer groups and their favoured obstacles, the common denominator – AGE! All of us old farts concentrated mainly on the QP and kickers, whilst the groms were full engrossed in progressing their rail dexterity – one noticeable exception, Tim ‘jib-dog’ Sandy... at 40+ you have to wonder when is he’ll start acting his age!
It seemed as though we’d only been on the slope 20 minutes when we were being ushered inside for a re-groom. How time flies when you’re sliding sideways. I was watching the meticulous work of the cat-driver from the balcony, willing him to skimp the odd corner to get off the slope as soon as possible and all other Bashers seemed equally charged and raring to get back out there and really do some damage. It could have been the coffee and Red Bull snake-bite, but I was genuinely chomping at the bit. This is what I remember about snowboarding... pure unadulterated FUN!
Let loose once more, it was time for the organisers to delve inside the SCUK chest and get those prizes flowing. Now, as the order of the night was less than informal, the judging criteria was equally relaxed, with local veteran and aforementioned show-off, Tim Sandy, throwing prizes to all age groups, sex and standard with equal emphasis on the size of a riders smile as to the quality of their riding... here here old boy! Like contestants from Blankety Blank, few went away empty-handed, and none without beaming smiles. Yep, there’s no two ways about it, snowboarding is bloody brilliant, and you can do it whenever you please in this country, something I had come to overlook.
Once back at the farmer’s field and surprised I was still awake, all Bashers congregated around the camp-fire, and with Tony B’s sound system safely locked away for the night, we were reliant upon car stereos for musical inspiration. Man has always been drawn to fire, but you’d have thought by now he’d have figured out, one that spits hot embers every 10 seconds is one to be treated with extreme caution. A game of dodge the deadly embers ensued and provided fascinating entertainment pretty much until sunrise, when campers begrudgingly packed away their tents, tended their midge-bites and consigned SCUK Summer Bash 5 to memory.
An extra special thanks must go to Gary Baker for arranging all the logistics of a thoroughly packed and enjoyable weekend and the efforts of Tony B, who generously donated his time and sound system to deafen the locals. A huge thanks to all our sponsors for throw downs, but to especially Dragon Lodge who made Biggy a happy chappy with a stay at Dragon Lodge in Tignes.
If anyone has forgotten how much fun summer riding is, then sign up for your refresher course at SCUK Summer Bash 2007, but quite frankly there’s no reason to wait till then, when these places are available all year round. If you can't wait for that long then check out the SCUK Winter Bash coming to you from Les Menuires, 27th January to 3rd February 2007. Later skaters!
[By Spencer Claridge, SCUK]
Of course, the best review is from the people who went, so check out the SCUK Forum.
Thanks everybody for coming. I hope you enjoyed the field, the fire, the food, TonyB's music, the paintball, football and snowboarding. May you recover quickly and come again another year.
The SCUK Summer Bash 06 event page can be administered by dunx (Dunx), stu (Stu Brass), spencer (Spencer Claridge) and office (Office).
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