After countless 4am wakeups, less-than-ideal car camping setups, and enough ice-capps to kill a horse, both Hayden and I are beyond stoked to finally be launching this summer's project. This video has been a true labor of love for both us, and I'm so excited that it's finally up for everyone to see. This whole project was made feasible by the generous folks over at Rocky Mountain, and I want to extend a hand of gratitude to Sebastien Berthiaume, Thomas Vanderham, and Nina Harmon for being so supportive and malleable. I also want to thank Matt Brooks for not only filming a second angle of Hayden's flip, but also for putting this feature in 20 odd years ago, as well as Dylan Sherrard for coming out and being such a positive presence that night.
Hayden cracks a tabes, Logan gets the nug.
The stoke is real.
We did NOT start this project with any idea this is what we would end up with. Hayden and I left for a trip to Kamloops in April with the idea of stacking clips to make a demo-tape for Rocky, and ended up heading back every chance we got. Come Canada day weekend, Hayden had thrown the heaviest move of his career (so far), and I was lucky enough to be the one documenting it (along with Matt Brooks, and Dylan Sherrard). At this point, this project had evolved into Hayden's 2023 Rampage submission, and there was no way we could leave this in the catalogue as just a demo, so we made the call to push it as a standalone project.
The Iconic Ord Road Gap. Hayden stands on the knuckle of the landing, Logan stands on the takeoff.
July 3rd, 8:43PM. Hayden's cleaned the Ord Road gap 6 times. A thin layer of smoke from a nearby wildfire dances in the Kamloops valley, softening the late evening light and giving a natural bloom to an already stunning backdrop. "You're looking good; real good " Dylan calls out to Hayden, as he hikes back up for another hit. We all knew what Hayden had in mind, but in fear of pissing off the gods of fate, no one dares speak it into existence. All we knew is that whatever happens, this shot needs to be perfect. Hayden takes a deep breath, staring down at the take off. "Just do a backflip", Hayden reassures himself. If there is such a thing as "the zone", Hayden has definitely found it. "Dropping", he calls out; his voice echo's off the surrounding hills. This is the moment of truth. Logan, Dylan, and Matt have spent the last hour deliberating over angles, focal lengths, and framerates, looking for the perfect combination of magnitude and technicality; now's the time to see the vision come to life. Hayden pulls back, brings it around and stomps it, putting himself about 5ft down the landing. We never measured the gap itself, but to where Hayden landed, we reckoned it to be 65-75ft on the diagonal. It was a surreal moment to be a part of, and the stoke from that night is nearly impossible to put into words. Safe to say, Hayden has a bright future ahead of him, and I personally couldn't be more proud to call him my best friend.
The big moment, Hayden flips the Ord Road Gap.
I watched my straight air clip, and knew from the way I popped and the way I was feeling, I could do it. As I was hiking up, all I told myself was "just do a backflip". When I dropped in, I knew I had it, there was no doubt in my mind. I didn't do it for fame or Instagram hits, I did it for the love of myself, and the history of Canadian freeride.—Hayden Zablotny
"No one could believe what we'd accomplished; even Hayden himself"
The original inspo to hit Ord came from Drop-In. There's an episode in Kamloops where Steve Romaniuk points out this gap he wants to hit, and immediately I thought "Holy shit this thing is massive, I want to find this". It sat on the backburner for a while, until we were on our way to another zone in Kamloops, when I realized "Wait a second, I'm on Ord Road". I saw the water tower, and we went to scope it. I ended up seeing it in NWD 6 as well, after we had already started rebuilding it. Seeing it in that movie really really inspired me to go out and put my own signature on it.—Hayden Zablotny
A huge part of filming freeride videos that is often overlooked is the digging involved to bring these features to life (and sometimes, back from the grave). When we first rolled up to the gap, it was borderline unrecognizable from the last documented time it had been hit, somewhere between 13-15 years ago. There was a rain rut over a foot deep, running down the entire stretch of landing. The long grass and giant sagebrush had totally reclaimed the feature. It was effectively derelict, which made it that much more powerful when it finally came time to hit it.
Ord landing, April 24th/2023.
Ord landing, July 1st/2023.
To add an additional layer of perspective, Hayden has begun travelling around the world to attend freeride events, in parallel to stacking this segment. King of the Castle at the Green River Classic, Best Style at Freeride Fiesta, Cam Zink Invitational Rider of the Day (1 of 3 judged days), 2nd Place Whip-Off Whistler, and Best New Nine at Swatch Nines are among Hayden's biggest achievements this year.
The terrain in Kamloops is second to none for big, natural transitions.
There are so many moments in this video that I love, it's really hard to call out my favorite. The sunrise flatspin at 2:25 was one of the first sequences we put together, so it definitely stands out. There's nothing I would change about this video (for now), which as a filmmaker is really something to be proud of. I know I did my best here, and I think it shows!—Logan Williams