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Mike Chantry, “Master Blaster” Snowboarding Pioneer

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Mike Chantry, Homewood Ski Area, Lake Tahoe, 1988

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Mike Chantry, Sand Mountain, Nevada 1988

Excerpt from Lee Crane’s story at Transworld Snowboarding, History of Halfpipe:

In 1978, resorts in California’s Lake Tahoe basin hadn’t realized snowboarding’s potential and refused to allow snowboards on their mountains. Because of this, snowboarders spent most of their free time searching for good spots to ride. “Back then not everyone in high school had cars so we needed places to ride that were close by,” remembers 29-year-old Tahoe local Bob Klein.

Klein’s friend Mark Anolik was hiking around Tahoe City in 1979 when he discovered the perfect hit on land owned by the Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Company. It was literally the city dump. No one is quite sure if the spot was a bend in a creek bed, or the edge of the land fill. It had an entry and a couple hits, which was all these snowboard pioneers needed. Word of the pipe spread and within a few days Mark, Bob Klein, Allen Arnbrister, and Terry Kidwell were beginning to session the spot. They named it the Tahoe City Pipe.

By the spring of 1980, thanks to a local phone company employee and skateboard fanatic named Mike Chantry, the pipe was exposed to the skateboard world. ”Mike Chantry took me there nearly blindfolded because Bob Klein didn’t want anyone to find out about it,” remembers Tom Sims, founder of Sims Snowboards.

“What’s wrong with other snowboarders finding the pipe. At that time there weren’t even that many snowboarders in the world, let alone riding the Tahoe City Pipe.”

Over the next few years pro skateboarders Rob Roskopp, Steve Cabellero, and Scott Foss began visiting the pipe. Lensmen from Thrasher magazine and later International Snowboard Magazine were close behind, not as much for the pipe, but because of the people who were there.

By today’s standards the Tahoe City Halfpipe was not even a halfpipe. “The pipe itself was really just one-hit,” Chantry says. “To make it good took a lot of shoveling.”

That didn’t seem to bother Terry Kidwell or Allen Arnbrister. “Once Kidwell and Arnbrister got into it, it became more of shaping thing,” Klein explains. ”They would spend more time shaping it than riding.”