Ah, Nova Scotia, you do exist. You aren’t some mythical land filled with igloos and dog sled HOV lanes, but rather grey skies, warm smiles and overly-friendly people. In fact, we didn’t even know there was skiing in Nova Scotia [besides the cross-country variety] but you proved us wrong there, too. And to many peoples’ amazement and wonder, Salomon’s backyard jib contest winner, is also located in Nova Scotia, Canada.
In the quaint little burg of Hilden, Nova Scotia, resides the Stevens family. The two eldest brothers, Charlie and Nick, took a line right out of Field of Dreams, where they built it [sweet backyard rail park] and they [jib rats] came. The two guys got tacit approval form their parents years ago to build some backyard rail setups, and have added on, making the setup bigger and better, every snowy season in the great, white north. And in the end, the Hilden-natives big time setup outlasted all other entries to the Salomon Backyard Jib Contest. For winning, Salomon sent myself, John Symms, Mike Clarke (for a recently injured Nick Martini) and Steve Horton (the cameraman behind Salomon Freeski TV) to visit the Nova Scotian residence of the Stevens.
Arriving on a cold Nova Scotian evening, we arrived in Hilden only to find the brothers, their friends and other siblings session-ing the backyard setup. On paper, the setup consists of a down-flat rail, dub kink rail, flat box, flat rail to barrel and a bench type of rail. But in real life, the yard is ablaze with tuff-lights, music blaring, and grinning kids running up the stairs to drop in again and again. The setup also has a viewing gazebo, complete with propane heater and even more popcorn holiday lights. And what does every other backyard setup need? A supportive dad and nurturing mother to fuel late-night sessions with pizza bagels, nachos and pepsi.
Unfortunately, Mike Clarke, just moments into the first session, has aggravated a knee injury he suspected happened a few days earlier in CO, effectively putting him out of skiing conditions. But none the worse for wear, Clarke was a trooper in his crutches, being a constantly positive and energetic force throughout the weekend.
The boys are Hilden (and local resort Wentworth) mainstays. Charlie who is credited with the park, spends hours out in the yard honing his rails skills. 270 here, pretzel there, switch up over here and stomp there. The park has gained considerable notoriety in the community, being featured in the local newspaper and the target of many evening sessions. In fact, the Stevens residence has a better rail setup than many resorts.
But why stop at checking out just a backyard setup? Why not have Charlie and Nick show us all that Nova Scotia has to offer? The rest of the weekend in Nova Scotia consisted of: rallying 4-wheelers around the backcountry, getting 4-wheelers stuck, lighting rails on fire, late-night GT racing, riding at Wentworth Mountain, impromptu rail jam contests, grinding edges, watching bad movies [Pulse], interviews, chicken wing night, Jager shots, home cooked meals, sleeping in, Tim Horton’s drive-thru, dogs skateboarding, intelligent and witty banter, getting Steve’s truck stuck, astrological chat, and much more. Basically, a good ol’ Nova Scotian time.
Sandwiched between a couple Winter Dew Tours, it’s a fresh reminder of where a portion of the sport lies… in the suburbs, in the small resorts and in the unexpected places. Unabashed love for skiing has driven two brothers to build a backyard super set up for all to enjoy.
Check all the pictures from the weekend’s antics in Nova Scotia, Canada. Be sure to catch the Salomon Freeski TV episode of the trip in the coming weeks. Yes, there are a lot of pictures, but check them out anyway.
Monumental thanks go out to the Stevens family and Salomon.