dc mountain lab
(Illustration by BLK/MRKT)

Boarding House

dc mountain lab
Ryan Brandt

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If you were to die and go to snowboarder heaven, it might look a lot like the DC Mountain Lab, a 22-acre R&D facility and crash pad in Utah’s Wasatch Range, operated by SoCal-based DC Shoes, maker of snowboard boots, skate footwear, and board-sport apparel. Company president Ken Block, 37, an avid boarder, broke ground on the sprawling estate in 2001, intending to build a private winter retreat. He soon decided it was too good to keep to himself and went on to erect an exclusive venue to test new products—and make everyone else in the industry jealous. Here’s a voyeuristic look inside the best backyard in the country.

dc mountain lab

dc mountain lab

1) A 700-foot ROPE TOW provides rides to the top of a new 11-acre terrain park, built by Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson, designer of the Winter X Games parks. It features a 50-foot kicker, rail slides, and a curving, 250-foot-long quarterpipe.

2) A SNOWCAT is essential for grooming the park and grounds following typical Utah powder poundings.

3) A combo garage/pro shop contains a grinder and other board-tuning tools, plus three stylin’ rides, including a silver 2002 MERCEDES G500 pimped with a DVD player and PS2.

4) The three-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot HOUSE boasts a hot tub, walls adorned with vintage snowboards, and a living room with turntables, Ping-Pong table, and projection TV. Off the porch: a skeet-shooting range.

5) Four YAMAHA SX VIPER MOUNTAIN SNOWMOBILES, customized with snowboard racks and avalanche supplies, provide fast access to the virgin slopes of the Wasatch backcountry.

From Outside Magazine, Jan 2005 Lead Photo: Illustration by BLK/MRKT