Box Jam 9: Making the most of the Snow Day
On Wednesday. January 17, 2024, schools told students not to attend, businesses warned customers they may not open, and roads became lawless in Bellingham. About a foot of snow inundated the city and shut down nearly everything as snow days usually do in a city that has limited infrastructure to deal with any kind of snowfall.
Excited to seize the day after coming off the high of a few pow-days at Mt. Baker last week, the team at Boardworks had their gears turning for how to capitalize on this opportunity. After weeks of trying to decide when, where, and how we were going to host our annual Box Jam, this snow day came at just the right time.
Photo: Johnny, Andy and Rob boardslide the box all three on the box at the same time (Photo by Miles Tucker)
Our typical Box Jams rely heavily on planning for favorable weather windows and having access to excess snow from Mt. Baker, which we truck down Highway 542. Past years Box Jams were costly too; $10k or more is usually the starting cost to host our Box Jams. With the snow sports industry’s less-than-ideal economic situation, we couldn't host the same show we usually do. In addition, finding a suitable venue proved difficult to find this year.
Luckily for us, Wednesday became a unique opportunity to host the Box Jam, reliant on no one but ourselves and some strong friends. By noon, it was decided we would get the word out and we were going to find a friend who had a REALLY BIG truck we could use to haul the 16-foot long, 800-lb box feature cozied up in Johnny’s backyard. As we scrambled to get the word out, recruit some local muscle and secure a big truck, we wondered how much we could possibly be fined for having the jam in Whatcom Falls Park…. Uh, I mean in Canada.
Johnny Lupo grinds the rails of the box feature to prep it for sliding.
Grayson Neal preps his cab-over flatbed for carrying the 800-lb. behemoth.
Only the best tools for Johnny, his Milwaukee Tools angle-grinder made quick work of the rust on the rails.
Elias Delaca, left, and Emmett Jones wait for their call to lift heavy.
It takes a team to prep a box.
Eight strong bucks carry the massive 800-lb. box to the truck bed.
As we scrambled to get the word out, recruit some local muscle and secure a big truck, we wondered how much we could possibly be fined for having this year’s jam in Whatcom Falls Park…. Uh, I mean in Lynden. In the end, we figured whatever the fine could be, it could only be a drop in a bucket in comparison to previous jams.
The theme of Box Jam has always revolved around hosting a fun session with a handful of easy features anyone can enjoy hitting. And with a sprinkle of creativity, even expert riders can be satiated.
Photo: Grayson safety checks the big blue box rail sitting only halfway in his big diesel truck's bed. The box is about 16 feet long and his truck's bed was easily 8 feet long. The 800-lb, solid steel feature took all eight men to lift. (Photo by Andy Ford)
in the dark
Miles Tucker came out with his pro setup and flash giving light to the shenanigans in the darkness. Shout out to him because we wouldn't have had much documentation without Miles!
Somewhere in the middle of Whatcom Falls Park, lit by only two construction lights, the box was positioned at the bottom of a small incline. (Photo by Miles Tucker)
Brian Ingles back boardslides the box. (Photo by Miles Tucker)
Andy Ford front boardslides the box. (Photo by Miles Tucker)
Back to the box feature: we had secured some helping hands within two hours and our saint, Grayson Neal, came through with his beloved “Turtle”: a cab-over diesel with a sizeable flatbed. The only challenge now was how to lift the 800+ lb feature up into the bead sitting over 4 feet above ground level.
Shout out to Justice, Nick, Elias and Emmett who offered their strong backs and weak minds to lift the monstrosity. With 8 people, lifting the enormous rectangular prism became manageable with Johnny’s “1, 2, 3” countdowns.
Once we brought it to the Bayview Cemetery entrance off Lakeway, what lied ahead was a quarter-plus mile walk with the stiff, blue whale. We trudged valiantly through the deep snow while collectively dreading the future when we would have to bring it back that night. But with swift haste, the feature was slid into position and the building had begun with barely a moment to spare before we told people to come ride. Thankfully, we were spared extra setup time with our errors to send the correct coordinates to our devoted patrons. As darkness set, and the generator fired up the lights, a session to remember went down.
Brian Ingles watches others hit the box feature. (Photo by Andy Ford)
A rider front boardslides the box as Andy Ford looks on. (Photo by Miles Tucker)
Scotty hits the box with a back boardslide. (Photo by Miles Tucker)
We may never know how many tried to find us, but we know at least 30-40 were present for the intimate venue. Although the production was smaller, the stoke couldn’t have been higher! As the night progressed, tricks and riders themselves progressed. Rob and Brian were standouts for throwing down some of the most technical tricks and everyone was a standout for making the night a wicked time! Better yet, owners Johnny and Nate actually got to ride this box jam too. At past jams, they only got to hit the box a few times in between tirelessly working to keep the event running smoothly.
As the evening came to a conclusion, Grayson made the delivery of McKay’s Pizza that would fuel the remaining riders in their efforts to carry the blue whale up the incline from which it came. The prism was no match for the collective determination of the crew. Bit by bit we broke down camp, packed out our trash, and the City of Bellingham…. Uh, I mean town of Lynden, was none the wiser to what had happened in that park. And it cost us less than $300.
With the “Turtle” in position to take the blue whale home, the team rallied to get it up into the bed.
“Ready? 1, 2, 3,” said Johnny.
Boardworks Owner Nate Braks does a nose press on the box. (Photo by Miles Tucker)
Emma, Johnny Lupo's husky, lays in the run-in. (Photo by Miles Tucker)
Boardworks Owner Johnny Lupo front boardslides the box. (Photo by Miles Tucker)
Andy Ford takes a video of Brian Ingles doing a front board on the box. (Photo by Miles Tucker)
Front to back, Boardworks Owner Johnny Lupo, Andy Ford, and Rob boardslide the box in quick succession. (Photo by Miles Tucker)
Nate Braks back boards the box while Johnny Lupo front boards the box right in front. (Photo by Miles Tucker)