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Brain Bowl x Mt. Baker Sesh Up recap

Beginning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the gathering has turned into an annual event for all to enjoy

The morning after a spectacular sighting of the northern lights, sunlight bounced off the snow while the smell of burning joints and laughter filled the air. This all occurred at the fourth annual Brain Bowl Session, hosted by Tre Squad, which launched off at Mt. Baker Ski Area on May 11. The event lasted all week, from May 6-12. 

Groups of snowboarders and skiers from all over the country brought their shovels and personally shaped the obstacles and ramps. 

The event was sponsored by board companies Lib Tech and GNU, both based out of Sequim, Washington.

Brain Bowl features all hand-built bowl features, and the Mt. Baker Sesh Up is a huge launch ramp with an even larger drop-in section. 

The man who started it all is professional snowboarder Max Warbington, of Bend, Oregon, who recently moved to Tahoe, California, and is sponsored by GNU and Airblaster. He started Brain Bowl in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to see his friends when all the resorts were closed. 

Brain Bowl originated as a snowboarding video back in 2019, and has now become an event that attracts people from all over the country. All skill levels are welcome. 

“It’s just super rewarding to do this kind of stuff,” Warbington said. “All the love from the community, and it’s a better use of my time.” 

He also said it’s incredible to see how much support it’s gained and how many people come out for it. 

Warbington explained that they dug the obstacles out from the bowl itself, rather than shovel snow in from outside the riding area. Large transitions and spines were made to bury the trees beneath them. 

The effort resulted in something you’d see in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game. It was a full skatepark style riding arena with jumps, transitions, spines and even a tunnel. It also featured a rope tow to pull yourself back to the top of the run. 

For many Brain Bowl participants, it was their first time coming out to Mt. Baker Ski Area. 

“It’s my first time ever actually coming up to Baker,” skier Rowan Callahan said, who has been skiing for about 10 years. “I teach up at Snoqualmie and then I ski up at Stevens on the weekends.” 

With the summer quickly approaching, and the lowest snowfall year on Mt. Baker since 2014, this was one of the last chances to get any kind of riding in before everything melts away.  

Since the season is ending, a lot of the resorts closer to Seattle have already rained out, making Mt. Baker the perfect spot, said Skip Lester, who’s participating in his fourth Brain Bowl session. 

“[We do it because] it really fosters inclusion. There’s pros riding alongside kooks like me. And it’s just ‘bring a shovel,’ and if you helped you can ride.” Lester said. 

If you want to participate next year, more information is posted to the Brain Bowl Instagram account @brainbowlsessions. The event itself was all volunteer run and free of charge. Just show up, lend a hand and shred.

Nathan Barber

Nathan Barber is in his third year at Western and will be majoring in Visual Journalism. He’s an avid kitty cat enthusiast. You can usually find him either on Mount Baker during the weekends, or at the skate park in downtown Bellingham during the week. Reach him at

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