By: Lisa Slagle, Founder & Creative Director
It's Lisa from WheelieCreative, bringing another round of The WheelHouse straight to you. My company specializes in making wild, meaningful, irreverent, and often hilarious content for brands in the outdoor industry, and today you and I are exploring what it was like to attend The Jackson Hole Pow Wow.
I was lucky enough to spend last week at the most unique event in snowboarding.
It’s called The Jackson Hole Pow Wow, and annually, snowboard shapers and riders come from all over the nation to testride a bunch of snowboards as hard as they can and review their experience with each board. The event is thebrainchild of snowboard legend, Rob Kingwell, and the openminded, innovative, respectful spirit of the Pow Wow is something special.
I went to the Pow Wow with a crew from Whitefish’s own Notice Snowboards.Owner-Operator Brittan Ellingson believes that snowboarding is a quality, personal experience, and people should have boards to reflect their unique style and preferences. Every board he makes is custom, from the shape to theflex to the graphics. Brittan is a perfectionist, and the craftsmanship of his boards proves it. I filmed a ton of great footage of riders testing his boards in everything from steep terrain to the halfpipe, and I can’t wait to start putting some edits together for Notice.
At the Pow Wow, everyone’s stoke level was through the roof.
The whole point of the event is to mindfully acknowledge where snowboarding has been and to test a bunch of new shapes to keep industry progression in motion.
I think we could all learn a lot from the Jackson Hole Pow Wow.
1. LET YOURSELF BE SURPRISED.
Preconceived notions should be left in the parking lot. This is beautiful. I think all companies in the outdoor industry would appreciate this. There were rows and rows of boards to test, and I was shocked by how well this crazy-shaped, little board rode when I usually stick to something more traditional like this. It’s nice when life reminds you that no matter how long you’ve been doing something, you always have more to learn.
2. EXAMINE EVERYTHING
For me, the board tests went beyond ride quality. As a graphic designer, I spent the whole week shredding my face off and really examining board graphics by questioning what visually works well and what doesn’t. Most art doesn’t get stomped on, so I love the unique challenge of designing around feet and motion. The more boards I looked at, the more inspired I got. I’m all kinds of fired up to go back to work tomorrow and design until my eyes hurt. I think graphic designers in all sections of the outdoor industry should experience this type of immersion.
3. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU’VE BEEN TO KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING.
I was really surprised by the JH Pow Wow’s homage to the history of snowboarding. There were ShredEx talks where snowboarding legends spoke about the progression of snowboarding. The guys who invented the highback binding were there. The Burton archives crew was there talking about snowboard building throughout the years. And super pro snowboarder, Mikey Basich spoke about stop action self portraits he had taken over the years long before the term selfie was ever invented. He used a remote and a tripod and captured this pic. (I distinctly remember ripping that shot out of a magazine and hanging it in my bedroom in high school.) I learned a lot from these talks, and I also have a lot of new ideas for marketing snowboarding to the upcoming riders and youth of America.
4. YOUR PEOPLE WILL SHOW UP WHEN YOU ARE WHERE YOU ARE MEANT TO BE.
I LOVE snowboarding. I can confidently say that every big decision in my life has been based upon and shaped by snowboarding. My extreme happiness, best friends, relationships, and homes have all been based upon sliding sideways on snow. I showed up to the JH Pow Wow with no expectations, and I made a ton of new friends. I also ran into old friends whom I didn’t realize how much I missed. It was the most loving, welcoming, positive environment I’ve been part of in a while, and I realized that this extreme camaraderie is theabsolute best part of the outdoor industry. Whether you’re into climbing, kayaking, biking, or whatever, your crew will show up. Be good to them. Be good to them in play and business alike. They’re your people.
5. YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES. JUST KEEP TRYING.
The thing I was most amazed by at the JH Pow Wow was the openness to feedback. Some shapes work well. Others don’t. This event was about celebrating successes and improving flops without taking things personally. It encourages shapers to try new things, to push what has been done, and to explore what has never been done. And that is badass.
Take this mindset into your job and your business.
How can you improve your product?
How do you fit into the history of your industry?
What can you push to a more innovative level?
What can you do to support your industry?
Huge props to Rob Kingwell on the Jackson Hole Pow Wow. This is visionary stuff.
I can’t wait for next year.
If you'd like to go snowboarding with me, I'd love to hear it. If you're interested in hiring WheelieCreative to make wild, meaningful, irreverent, or hilarious content for your brand, I'd love to hear that, too. Just hit the orange button below: