GHF Essentials

10 Trip Essentials for Giant’s Head Freeride

Are you packing your things for the 2017 Giant’s Head Freeride in Summerland, BC this June 26-28th? Well, then this article is for you. If not, this is still worth the read. Here are ten essential items to enhance your experience at the Giant’s Head Freeride.

1. Swim trunks or Swimsuit
The first thing you’ve got to know is that it’s going to blazing hot while you are there. Unless you are from the desert and used to the dry heat, you are going to want to take the right precautions in order to stay cool. The best way to cool off at lunch or after a day of skating is to jump in Lake Okanagan. This year though, after record winter snowfall and intense glacial melt, the water level is really high. As of June 18th, it seems the water level is 71 centimeters above the normal levels for this time of year. The usual dock spot might be close to submerged at this point.

Jed Johnson shows us that it doesn’t matter if you forgot your swim trunks. Just don’t forget a floaty for your board when jumping in the water.

2. Sun Protection.
Now that it’s summertime, the sun is out for the longest periods of the year. And, they don’t call it Summerland for no reason. It’s going to get hot during the day, so you are going to want to protect yourself. A wide-brimmed hat and sunblock are pretty essential items out there.

Organizer Andrew Monaghan shows his stoke for wide brimmed hats.

Organizer Adam Auger wears a different style of hat. Regardless of the style, you will notice all the organizers will have a wide brimmed hat.

3. Eye and Face Protection.
Wearing sunglasses can help you from getting a headache from squinting in the sun. Also importantly, eye protection is good for the amount of urethane shredding off of wheels and stirring in the air.

Aaron Breetwor and Quentin Gachot show of their stylish eye protection.

Sometimes you don’t need shaded protection but just just sometime to protect your eyes from exposure to the dust and urethane.

Bandanas are a good idea and they have multiple uses. You can use it to protect your neck from the sun, cover your face to prevent yourself from eating urethane dust, or wipe off sweat as it comes.

This wise rider protects his neck.

Dizzy Jane sports a bandana and avoids breathing in the ‘thane spray.

4. Full Face Helmet.
This one is a given. Obviously, you will be better protected if you wear a full face. You won’t need glasses if you have a full face, but some people prefer the extra protection of sunglasses and a full face. A half-shell helmet won’t protect your face if you fall.

Miles Essert is living proof of what can happen if you fall while wearing a half-shell helmet.

5. Pads.
Whether you prefer full knee pad protection or lower profile shock absorbers like G-Forms, it’s a good idea to protect yourself from the almost inevitable crash. With hundreds of riders mixing it up down the hill, sometimes things get out of your control. Below, Jimmy Riha shows us how he pushes the limits while wearing G-Form pads.

Casey Morrow wears knee pads over jeans, choosing function over style. He also protects his eyes with safety glasses since he’s not wearing a full face.

Brett Ciabattini is more daring then most. He drops down “Tight Rope” with no knee protection and very short shorts.

6. Extra Pants.
You never know when you’re going to burn a hole through your one pair of jeans.

Victoria Waddington touches shreds her jeans as she tries to slow down.

7. Extra Wheels and Slide Pucks
For most experienced riders, this is a given. Giant’s Head is a steep hill which requires so much sliding, you burn through your wheels very quickly. If you can afford it, it might be a good idea to bring a couple sets of wheels for each day. Hard lipped wheels and softer wheels will last longer than hard wheels or rounded lip wheels. If you don’t do stand up slides all the time, you will also burn through your slide pucks. Bringing an extra pair of pucks is a good idea.

Urethane dust, the remnants of wheels.

You may win some free wheels while you are there, but be prepared and bring extra wheels too.

8. First Aid Kit.
Let’s face it. We all fall down at some point when we are pushing our limits. The last thing you want is an infection from your GHF trip. If you get road rash, you want to cover up your wounds. You can always get patched up from the medical staff under the tent halfway down the hill, but the bandages may be a bit restricting if you want to continue riding. Tegaderm is a film that hospitals use on large rashes that you can sometimes find at a drug store or by ordering online. Most downhill skaters swear by its ability to keep your wound clean and sealed from infection-causing bacteria.

JP Rowan displays his road rash. He could use some Tagaderm, that’s for sure.

Tegaderm. Great for covering road rash.

9. The Obligatory Button-up Shirt.
It wouldn’t be a GHF without a bunch of kitschy Hawaiian shirts. In addition to them being a popular style choice, they are functional too. You can un-button your shirt when you need to cool down.

Obligatory Button-up Sportage

Obligatory Button-up Sportage

Obligatory Button-up Sportage

Obligatory Button-up Sportage

10. Sweatshirt or a Jacket.
It’s hot during the day in Summerland, but it also gets cold at night. If you wanna hang out at camp comfortably, it’s not a bad idea to bring some extra layers.

Bring some extra layers for the cold nights, or just hang out by the camp fire.

Well, unfortunately I won’t be at the 2017 Giant’s Head Freeride. I wish I could be there this year. So, to all about to get some Giant Head, have fun and stay safe.