Two seasons ago when The Bone Zone was raided and destroyed in a joint effort between Canyon Police and The Forest Service the collective snowboarding world wondered, what next? As last years preseason began signs of a resurrection were not promising. Many of The Bone Zone’s most influential founders had, in part thanks to their creation, become premier talent within the “video part” segment of the snowboarding world. Others had taken on jobs within the industry as team managers or various other roles which kept them away from Utah most of the season. At the beginning of preseason 2014 there were whispers of a few of DIY set ups within Guardsman’s Pass but most of those were kept small scale, extremely low key, and very much off the radar of social media. It seemed that The Bone Zone was indeed dead.
Flash-forward to the last few summer weeks of 2015 and a small get together of homies at a Motorhead concert in downtown SLC. “I’m a little bit drunk right now” is a phrase any journalist (even half assed ones like myself) loves to hear because something good always follows. What followed that night was the revelation that The Bone Zone was back and that it would be located at Brighton Resort. Now out of respect for the source I sat on that information for a couple more weeks, but I did know the date in which the information would go public. A couple of weeks later, on Labor Day Weekend, the much anticipated Milosport Pro Sale occurred and there, at that sale, Ted “Bundy” Borland had Bone Zone Brighton hoodies for sale. The cat was out of the bag.
Since that time there have been meetings, power points, and many decisions made. While a lot of things are still up in the air what we can tell you right now is that yes The Bone Zone will rise from the ashes this season on the protected lands of Brighton Resort. I went up to lend a hand building some features and get some crucial information from Brighton Marketing Director Jared Winkler and from Bonezone architects Ted Borland and Alex Andrews.
It seems like an easy question to answer, “Why Brighton?” but infrastructure and insurance issues as well as building even small things on Federal Land don't make for easy answers. That’s not to say that Jared Winkler of Brighton Resort isn’t down to work it out on their end. “Ted and Alex hit me up about bringing The Bone Zone in to Brighton and I just thought it was a great opportunity for both sides involved youknow. It’s all about a good time so we gave them all of the Explorer beginner area as well as a side run, Simon’s Way, to play on. They are doing their thing but we will partner with them from our side through marketing, snow making, and the Terrain Park Crew to get this thing going as soon as we can once the temperatures fall.” Perhaps the greatest bit of news I got from Jared was that The Bone Zone wont be just a preseason adventure. “As demand for Explorer comes from the ski school we will of course have to scale it back a bit but the Simon’s Way area should be able to run a bit longer. If you have a season pass or want to buy a day pass we feel like there will be some short where we run Explorer for access to The Bone Zone. If you want to come and hike the features and are willing to sign a release of liability than we can go from there. There are still details we are working out with our legal department, but that is the plan as of today. Ultimately the goal for us is to provide an outlet for those who are just over stoked to get on the snow early in the season. It keeps them from going into other areas of the canyon, damaging personal property, and most importantly just learning about proper mountain etiquette from cleaning up your trash to understanding how building things one way is actually detrimental to the mountain environment, and so forth. For this year we want to help them restart their brand and build a relationship. Long term it would be something to maybe see a rope tow and run this thing year round, but this year we are just getting it off the ground.”
Talking with Bundy I got pretty much the same vibe. “Brighton was where we all ended up anyways once the season was in full swing. We ride here so it was really an easy fit in our minds. We came to Jared and management and told them our plans and what we thought we could bring to the table and they gave us the go ahead.” When asked what he saw three years down the line Bundy just laughed, “Its hard for me to see three weeks down the line to be honest. We are getting a late start so we are just putting in a ton of hours trying to get some big features made as well as a host of smaller movable features. We have a few restrictions to work with but for the most part it is a blank slate.” Like Jared, Bundy also mentioned the hopes of eventually putting in a rope tow, but for now is content with just getting a season under their belt and proving that this can be done and that is where you, the hopeful Bone Zone rider really come into play. “The Bone Zone is open to everyone, but we will still try to have that vibe of stewardship that it’s always had. Hiking here isn’t a right it is a privilege. It’s a privilege to be allowed here and we as riders have to respect that. We aren’t going to be dicks about it but it will be expected that hikers clean up behind themselves, be respectful to both the mountain, and those working here. We are working on having some signage made that will help spell out what is expected. “
Finally many people have asked how they can help and Bundy has this to offer “first and foremost we want to say how we are super hyped on everyone that wants to volunteer up at The Zone before it snows but as much as we need the help, too many cooks in the kitchen makes things chaotic. We also have to remember that Brighton is still trying to get ready to operate as well and the last thing they want to worry about is a bunch of people in the woods building things with little supervision. So for now we have enough help although we may do something like a community work day one of the weekends closer to when the snow starts to fly. We do hope that everyone who is willing to volunteer at this stage keeps that mentality going when the snow is on the ground because keeping The Bone Zone maintained and cleaned definitely takes a huge community effort. That is way more important than this phase, but again thank you for all of the offers.”
Keep up with The Bone Zone on their official Instagram @BonezoneBrighton and we will see you when the snow falls!
- Words & Photos by Daniel Cochrane