Meanwhile on Mt. Hood #2: Backcountry Sessions

Tommy E and Inspired Crew take it to the backcountry

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Editor’s note: password for the video above is: “powder” – Enjoy!

WORDS & VIDEO: Ethan Stone

Mt. Hood has a long tradition of jump building. Several different zones of undulating terrain adapt perfectly to backcountry jumps, while the deep Pacific Northwest snowpack makes sizeable builds viable through July.

Over the years, countless crews have shot here, capturing many of freeskiing's time-honored moments: Kris Ostness on the Nov. 1998 POWDER cover, the early Nimbus Independent sessions, Charles Gagnier saying "I thought I was going to dead," Sammy Carlson's On Top of the Hood, and much of last year's "The Education of Style," just to name a few of many Mt. Hood classics.

The Mt. Hood OG. Kris Ostness. PHOTO: Bill Stevenson

Although some ski-movie aficionados may consider the spot to be blown by all of this coverage, there's no doubt that it's still producing original footage. It's a big mountain, there are a lot of options, and people just keep coming back for more.

On a recent summer day at Hood, a crew convened at Hip City to continue the legacy. The day's backcountry samplers were Tommy Ellingson, Josh Larkin and a few other local legends, in cahoots with a visiting film crew from Inspired Media. Ellingson and Larkin, two of the mountain's most experienced builders, conjured up a unique, two-jump option: a stepdown over the in-run of a hip, both perched on the crest of a cornice that drops away into a long landing.

Legends of the Hip. PHOTO: Ethan Stone

As the shadows lengthened across the snow, the build finished and a session began. The Inspired crew went to work on the hip with switch hits and double-cork variations, while Tommy and friends blasted both jumps simultaneously. The level of skiing and the level of excitement permeated the air. After two hours of jumping and hiking, the crew called it quits, agreeing continue the session the next day.

And I thought, who knows? Maybe someday, somebody will remember today as one of those legendary Hood sessions.