Welcome to JARS Leveled Up: A series all about smoke-worthy occasions and the people doing the damn thing — and in this feature, we met some local Michigan snowboarders Dominic Palarchio and Grant Yoobie to talk all things cannabis and snowboarding.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at their experience and the relationship between smoking and hitting the slopes — or in this case, the abandoned Pontiac Phonix Center.
An affectionate term used by snowboarding enthusiasts to describe their snowy destination, anyone in your crew knows where “the spot” is.
For Dominic Palarchio and Grant Yoobie, their spot is often the abandoned Pontiac Phoenix Center after a snowfall. With plenty of rails and snow-covered steps that mimic a bona fide ski slope, this is the perfect haven for snow-obsessed Michigan locals.
To see Yoobie and Palarchio in their natural environment, JARS pulled up to the Pontiac Phoenix Theatre with photographer Joe Gall (aka Camera Jesus) to capture every moment. As they gracefully barreled down the concrete steps and flipped off of the metal railings, they celebrated with a few puffs of sticky icky. It was clear that to them, cannabis is that “treat yourself” moment after landing a big trick or simply getting out there and trying your best.
While shredding and smoking seem like second nature to these two, it hasn’t always been openly embraced by the snowboarding community — and perhaps the most public example of this is the 1998 Olympics.
Olympic Dreams Up In Smoke
In the 1998 Nagano Olympics in Japan, Canadian Ross Rebagliati exploded onto the extreme sports scene after capturing the gold medal in a surprise win — he went from 8th place to 1st with an ultra-fast run of the slalom course. But before Rebagliati even got to enjoy his newfound fame, the International Olympic Committee stripped him of his landmark gold medal for having only trace amounts of cannabis in his system.
The Olympic athlete fought this decision as cannabis was not on the list of banned substances and had his status gold-medal status unceremoniously restored only 36 hours later — but the damage had already been done.
In the 1990s, the negative stigma surround cannabis stood strong so Rebagliati was seen as a lazy stoner, despite having won one of the most prestigious awards an athlete can hope to achieve. What should have been a joyous moment for both Canada and the athlete himself, became a moment of shame that left a bad taste in Rebagliati’s mouth.
That is, until recently.
Enter a New Era of Acceptance
As cannabis legalization continues its global takeover, many athletes, including Olympic juggernauts like Michael Phelps, have come out in support of cannabis use. This movement has led many people to give Rebagliati and many other disgraced athletes their well-deserved flowers. Even Drake, a native of Canada, extended an invitation to the athlete for a seat at the OVO table with a 2020 clothing line collab that left hypebeasts drooling.
Today, Rebagliati still smokes and hits the slopes, and is also a well-known advocate for medical marijuana. So it’s safe to say that his story has a happy ending.
With the efforts of Rebegliati and many other world-class athletes, the extreme sports world as a whole is beginning to openly embrace cannabis culture — openly being the keyword here. Whether you knew it or not, cannabis has long been a favorite amongst the snowboarding community.
Think about it: snowboarding was born out of a rebellious counter-culture, much like cannabis. While many athletes report that they don’t get high while snowboarding, they do use it as a way to relax post-run, recover from sore muscles, and bask in the moment. An abundance of pro-boarders also uses CBD or THC-infused topicals to reduce pain and inflammation on snow-weary joints.
While the industry is still evolving, it is clear to see that snowboarding and cannabis go hand in hand.
When it comes to smoke-worthy occasions, snowboarding is at the top of our list. After hours spent on the mountain or on a snowy set of abandoned steps, a joint just seems like a fitting way to finish the day.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the next installment of JARS Leveled Up to see an up-close and personal look at some of the dopest sesh-approved moments. In the meantime, hit up your local JARS location to grab all the green you need for your own personal smoke circle — whatever the occasion may be.