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Welcome to our new whenever-we-feel-like-it column, Stuck in the Midwest, dedicated to every one who lives in the heartland of ‘Murrica. You might not have the best mountains, the most snow, or an ocean within 1500 miles, but you do have god damn heart, and for that we salute you! This ode to of one of Ohio’s most epic
peaks parks is brought to you by Zachary Sanford.
It had been five years since I last boarded at Mad River Mountain in Bellefontaine, Ohio. I remember it fondly as place where the park was usually good, but not great. However, any shortage in the variety or maintenance of the features was compensated for by the enthusiasm of the locals, who make the absolute most of a short season and a small hill. I can now report that the park features have caught up with the aspirations and abilities of area riders, and that even the small set-up pushed together for the commendable Sandy Hook Benefit Rail Jam on December 22nd was representative of the carefully constructed, well-manicured park features we can expect from Capital Park this winter.
The park staff had set up a simple down rail, a flat bar, a tightly curving C-rail, and a nice flat box. Riders hiked up and pointed it down through a vicious man-made storm, as Mad River’s guns blew tons of snow to shape into the bigger jumps and jibs to be enjoyed in the coming weeks.
The quality of the parks is no great secret, I suppose. While I was living in England and snowboarding in refrigerators, the hill nearest my Dayton home began building large well-groomed park features on an increasing number of trails. Riders have been suitably impressed, voting it the winner of the high prestigious 2012 “OnTheSnow Visitors’ Choice Award” for Best Park & Pipe in the Midwest, for the third consecutive year. Perhaps it is best known though, as the childhood mountain of Louie Vito, which is made clear by a large sign in town and a veritable shrine to the pint-sized ripper in the Loft Bar (the best place to warm up with a few cold ones, which may be necessary if you’re taking advantage of “Midnight Madness” and getting your shred on ‘til three in the morning). The respect and adoration held for Vito in these parts is not without cause. His annual rail jam, with a non-perishable food donation as entry fee, has been well attended, for years and is happening once again today, December 29th.
After a couple of weeks taking advantage of the massive snowfall in the Northwest, and the pow turns it absolutely necessitated, I’ve returned to Ohio and I’m jonesin’ for more. While the steep and deep will be difficult to find, for the next three months or so Mad River Mountain’s park should be enough to see me through to my next proper powder fix.