The Eric Mickelson and the Big and Floaty

May 31, 2017 at 9:20 am



A friend on Instagram asked me what I liked best about this photo of me on the Big & Floaty on Grasshopper. It’s too much for an IG post which is why I’m putting it here.

Reasons I like the photo:

  1. The light in this shot is amazing. Eric has a great eye for light. The light creates this amazing visual drama.
  2. It shows this thing works. People have said that my jumps wouldn’t work since I first started building on Grasshopper. but guess what? They do. And here’s your proof.
  3. It’s showcases how nice the area around the jump is now. This spot was a logged out demilitarized zone, before work began. There were stumps everywhere, slash piles and nothing much growing except briars. We replanted ferns and worked around the native plants that were there to bring it back to life. I replanted 20 or more sword ferns from the planned route of the trail to the sides including the area on riders right of the set-up jump. It was a pain in the ass, but the fern in the foreground, silhouetted by the sun makes it all worth it. This area was so terribly ugly before and now it’s beautiful!
  4. Light is amazing in this shot. When I look at the picture, I find myself half expecting a velociraptor to poke it’s head out from behind that fern. It’s the light and I love that!
  5. It makes the jump look otherworldly. The shape of the dirt is very square and obviously not natural and this shows so clearly in the picture. One of my goals with building jump trail is to have dirt work that is smooth and square and intentionally shaped sitting in the middle of in a beautiful natural setting. To get this, I replant ferns and did a ton of weeding and relocating slash piles while doing dirt work. When finishes theres this contrast between the angular man-made looking dirt shapes and the natural vegetation that makes it look as if the jump is made of stone and dropped there by aliens. There is a scene in Stanley Kubrick movie, 2001: A Space odyssey at the beginning of the movie where the apes are crawling towards a perfectly smooth and angular rectangular door shape that is stuck straight upright into the earth. This photo captures this better than any other. Pretty sure it’s the light.
  6. It captures how relaxed the jump feels. It took me a long time to be able to ride something this size and to be able to build something like it as well. The jump is slightly hipped with a hard right hand turn right after it. This could have made it awkward to ride, but because the time put into tuning and good spacing, it feels totally natural. It just puts you right where you need to be. I dubbed it the Big & Floaty the first day we started building on it. I declared what it would be before building had really even begun. Definitely the funnest jump I’ve every built. I think this shows through in the photo.
  7. The light is amazing.
  8. Pride in my style. It took me a decade to ride the way I do. I tend to be a bit critical of myself riding, especially with jumping. But when I do see a photo of me that looks like, it’s pretty gratifying. This picture does that. I look relaxed and stretched out. It looks like I’m having fun and I most certainly am! It so great that that translates.
  9. Also, the light is pretty sweet in this shot. I think I may have mentioned that at some point, but hey. It’s true!


Thanks for you eye and hard work on this picture (and many others), Eric! If you haven’t checked out his pictures, check it his website at Thanks to Coast Mountain Culture for publishing this shot in their summer 2017 issue. I’m really stoked.