Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media

Intro: Mikey Leblanc, Captions: Mike Ranquet

A month ago I lent my credit card to Mike Ranquet.  It was a last minute decision as we were parting ways in a train station in Gigi Ruf’s hometown.  I was headed back to the USA, and he onwards to points unknown, literally. We had just ended a week long riding trip in Austria, and had quickly created a bond that only two true road warriors/gypsy’s could form. We roll loose, and Mike wasn’t thinking about how to pay the next bill, or train or ticket, or meal. Luckily he had me there, because the trip would have taken a less direct direction. However I’m quite sure if I hadn’t lent Mike my credit card, the days to come may have led him in a very interesting direction. And I’m sure his vibe would have carried him on just fine.

The week I had in Austra with Mike was my kinda scene. Roll with the journey, love to everyone you meet, slip seamlessly  into the shred houses along the way (Thanks Rome Snowboards and Gigi to name a few) that took the Mike and Mike show in.

BITD, Ranquet possibly invented flat ground tricks as we know them. When Dave Seoane filmed Mike doing some of the first flat ground tricks in, “Roadkill” they probably had no idea they were about to inspire the entire new school generation to come a few years later. Alters, Cole, Rodgers, Abramason, Iguchi, Schnacky, Salasnek, Tarquin Robbins, etc all coming onto the scene and quickly displacing the old guard within a matter of years.

These days, one thing’s for sure, Mike has style: his fs airs are timeless and signature. I can tell it from a mile away. He’s also got A LOT of HIS-story to share, listen up peeps.

I think we agree the word legend is very over used in snowboarding. Do you consider yourself a legend?

I think I did a lot for the sport – made switch cool, made a lot of tricks cool. Is that legendary status? I don’t know. When you think about it, fairy tales are also synonymous with legend status, so maybe it’s not the best word for snowboarding. So do I consider myself a legend? No.

Who do you consider a snowboard legend? Are there any?

Everyone considers themselves a legend in snowboarding, so the whole meaning of it has been taken away. I can say Kidwell’s a legend, butso can every yahoo on the FB ‘history of snowboarding page’ about themselves. It’s funny how people’s skewed versions of history are taken as fact on that page. On the FB ‘history of skateboarding’ page, that word is used only when appropriate.

This shot was taken Lech, Austria in 1989, my first trip to Europe. Most of Americans of the time, and certainly The Europeans had never seen the likes of my riding style, I rode switch probably 60% of the time at that point, I inherently knew it was the future. I was doing Cab stalefish, Cab Indy, Cab stalefish revert (fakie to fakie 540 or Cab 540). Never cared for contest results, I figured that I’d never beat Craig so I better find something else. Photo Fran Richards

Tell me about D Day snowboards. Why on earth are you trying to start a snowboard brand right now?

I got talked into it by Roach about five months ago, and let me put it this way. A year ago, I never thought I would have anything to do with snowboarding, or go on the trip I went on the last month. It’s all pretty mind-blowing. When it came up, I just recognized the timing. The timing for the industry as a whole – the riders, the pros – have skipped a generation now. I would say three years ago this never would have worked, it would have been dead in the water already. Even two years ago I don’t think it would have worked. Ten years ago we would have been laughed out of the trade show. It’s interesting when you look at it like that. That’s the first thing I say to everyone – this never would have worked a couple years ago.

So why do you think it’ll work now? Because the industry’s in a transition?

I don’t know if it’ll work now. I hate using the term industry, but I always knew it was gonna be the year after the Olympics, whether it was 2014 or 2010. I had a feeling that the industry would actually come around and look back. Like, look where we came from. Instead of treating it like a joke or a novelty. The industry has an appetite for the next Baby Jesus. It’s always looking for the next big thing. And that’s been the trend for so long, but Baby Jesus, you know, he grew up. Every team is always after this new kid, and that kid’s fucking old after awhile. You look at some goggle companies that have a surf team and you look at that surf team three years ago and you look at it today and there’s maybe one out of the six people that are off that team. You look at a snowboard list now and one from three years ago, and it’s a whole new team. As a brand it’s kinda defeating to try and build some kid up and he just isn’t cool in a couple years. He might be riding better than ever, but you know. It’s hard to market that. I think the reason that it might work now is you gotta grow up as an industry and bring a lot of these kids into the fold. It’s not just a search for Baby Jesus. We can still look for him, but you just want to have some diversity when it comes to brands or the media. Close to 50% of snowboarders are over 25. I mean, that’s a big fucking number. Everyone’s always like, it’s such a young man’s sport. The only people who pay attention to what goes online are people in the industry and other than that, maybe 2-3% of the general snowboarding population goes online to watch those videos. It’s a really small segment that everyone markets to, and most of those people get hooked up anyway. I think the industry is growing up a little bit, ya know.

This shot was at Mount bachelor in 1987. Only two months prior was a photo of Chris Miller doing a front side air nose bone at Upland skateboard park. As soon as I can get On Snow that year, I knew I was gonna learn that fucking trick What really juiced me was the fact that it was opposite of what Craig Kelly did. In those days, Craig always kicked his tail out, so I was like fuck that I’m kicking my nose out. Nigga what.

What are you guys gonna do differently? Do you have a team?

Yeah, we have Ben Bilocq, Erik Messier, Andrew Burns and Deadlung right now, so that’s a pretty cool fun crew. I rode with Deadlung for like a month this year and that was pretty much the funnest time riding I had in so long. I feel pretty tight with these guys too. I feel my role is to make new in roads, be the face of it for the first year or so and try to elevate our team with us. It’s just a basic formula. Have a couple older dudes that have been around and have a team under them. What’s different about that is me and Roach will always be there. We’ll keep the balance, it’s not like some new marketing director is gonna come in and change things every couple years because he likes this 14 year old. We’ll have continuity.

Trying to market to older people, in snowboarding, seems like a whole new philosophy and it’s obviously not just the team, it all goes together.

In every other board sport, this is not new. Even in surfing, you have guys from 15 to 50 years old and they’re all in great shape. They market to all different people, and it’s the same with snowboarding. It’s time we realized that. It’s weird. For me, living in Hawaii the last six years, you see surf culture is based on respect, respecting your elders and those who were before you. You’d never question anything. I mean Gerry Lopez, 14 year old kids know who he is. They’ve known who he was since they were 10. I don’t expect that in snowboarding, or 14 year old kids to get out of my way, that’s just the culture I’ve been surrounded by these last few years. It’s interesting watching snowboarding slowly come around.

Craig Kelly was a chemical engineer and he loved Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and UFO; Craig is not buried at Baldface under a cross in the snow. Craig was never a fucking hippie, in life or in death. Photo: Gordon Eshom

You moved to Hawaii and stopped snowboarding, why?

Well, I didn’t quit. I moved to California for awhile for a job, then came back up to Washington and rode that winter. At the same time, my hip was so fucked up for years. I could barely walk, but for some reason I could snowboard still. It was a weird little thing. So I was in complete denial with what was really going on with my body. I moved to Hawaii and that’s when it caught up with me, and I was like, what the fuck is wrong with me. Cut to a couple months later and doctor is walking out with an X-ray, like, what the fuck? He asked me, “What pharmaceutical drugs are you on for the pain,” and I was like none. Nothing works. He got me in within 12 days, he was like, your hip is so fucked up you could either break it and/or dislocate it in your sleep. So I got that fixed in Chicago, and went back to Hawaii and started to heal. I got back in the water, started skating a little bit, and surfing. Just got my head straight, it was a good place to be. You can’t run from anything there, you’re on a fucking island. You have to live a pretty clean life, you just have to slow your life down. So that’s why. And kids, we had kids. I think was out for three seasons total, but I didn’t really ride like do tricks or hit jumps for like 12 years.

That’s the danger of trying to find that older market – How do you make snowboarding look impressive and exciting…

Go ride with me.

Right, but you can go snowboarding and have the best time every time, but how to you translate that into something people want to watch or consume in media form?

When I was in Italy I went to this skateboard ramp, the biggest ramp I’d ever seen in my life. I skated for a few days with these guys and then went to a BBQ. One of the guys spoke English, and I asked, what got you guys to build this ramp? He said, all of them had quit skating for over 10 years, and then in 2008 he happened to pick up a random magazine and there was one photo of Kevin Staab in it. Kevin rips but popularity wise he’s no Hosoi, Hawk or Caballero. So from this one picture, the guy realized that Kevin Staab was his age and was still actively skateboarding! So he showed the magazine to all his buddies and the next day all those guys went out and bought skateboards and started skating parks, and slowly got really into, then built like the biggest ramp in Rome and anywhere south of Rome. It’s a huge thing based off one photo. In snowboarding I think it’s just a matter of posting things that other people can do. People are so scared of unattainable shit. Rails, wall rides, that stuff is really creative, but the media is just flooded with wall rides or rails or jumping over trees or roof gaps. Most people that snowboard will never do any of that shit. They don’t want to. Most people that snowboard just ride down the fucking hill. Most of these guys are super secluded in these rail scenes, but when you really go around the world and look, people are older now and older people like to be smart. And then don’t get hyped on shit they can’t do. I can make basic shit look good and people like that. It’s not that hard to market, you just throw it in the mix. It’s not like you make a big announcement that we’re marketing to 44 year olds! If I was riding for some clothing company I would get one of their ads, that’s how you do it. And the other side of that is big mountain, which is so over the top. They’re like swimming in Antartica, and this shit is not what people do. Most people go to ski areas and that’s it. It’s an easy one to cater to in marketing. Everything’s gotta be new and crazy, and you can only do that for so long.

Right, but how do you make that stand out from the pack? If you look at media as essentially the spectator side of snowboarding, and given my experience, people wanna see crazy shit.

You guys do. The media. It’s a weird one.

Eggplant at the Lahaina skate park last year. A reminder to all snowboarders; an eggplant is a handplant in which you plant your front hand (as opposed to your back hand) on the coping and grab like you’re doing an Indy air.

I think the media does what the consumer wants in some regards.

You can say this is what people want. Well, the only consumers you have are 17 year olds. The way things are, you can’t consider someone my age, or over like 28, a consumer in snowboarding because there’s nothing in it for them. So the media says, well the people reading the mags are only 17, and it’s because you fucking write the mags for 17 year olds, cause that’s what you think. That those are the only people who do that. I can pick up a skate mag and it’s interesting to me, a cool photo or story, but either way, I can relate to it. It’s not all just so over the top. That’s why most people at a certain age they don’t care to look at snowboarding anymore.

I think that’s a problem in snowboarding for sure, you get older and you don’t feel like you belong anymore.

That’s what’s happened. It’s easy to understand is that it only speaks to a certain age group. I don’t even surf that much, but you see this whole array of surfers, and that’s where snowboarding has to get to sustain. There’s this talk that we’re declining, and in snowboarding, all the videos and magazines output shit, and they’re so over the top. Having a four million dollar heli – no one’s ever going to do that. Most people when they watch skate videos, they can relate. At least they can go to the spots and try to ollie down the stairs. In surfing you get super gnarly waves, but most people can paddle out and do this shit and that’s what they portray. Snowboarding portrays this very finite and acute angle and that’s it. But many people snowboard.

Well yeah, that’s why I’ve always posted park edits and stuff like that.

Yeah, I like the Shredbots stuff, where they just go in an tear those parks apart. That shit is rad. They go to a park that everyone is riding. There’s lots of elements, but mostly they just show these two extremes. Everyone else is in the middle.

When Roach and I got kicked out of Japan, on the flight home I hatched the idea of telling our current sponsor Santa Cruz snowboards that we should have the same travel budget, same paycheck and just go out and film all year. It was out of necessity of course, because we got kicked off the World Cup tour, and pretty much uninvited to any and every contest. At the time skate videos were huge so I thought why not do the same in snowboarding. Santa Cruz wasn’t too cool with it, but Bert Lamar was. That’s when I started riding for Lamar, he let me do whatever I wanted as long as on every trip I produced.

Surfing and skateboarding are more accessible than snowboarding – you don’t have to pay every time or live by a mountain…

But the reason snowboarding got so big so fast, because it’s the first, and really only board sport that you can teach anyone to do in 2 days. You can take your uncle to a 3 foot mini ramp, all padded up, and that mother fucker is not dropping in. You think about surfing. It’s impossible. They can’t do it. Snowboarding is easy, it’s the easiest of the board sports by such a fucking long shot and that’s why I think the media and the core of the industry, they just don’t get it. Surfing and skateboarding, those guys are fucking hardcore surfers, to be a hardcore surfer you gotta be hell bent on big fucking waves. To be a hardcore skateboarder you have to take beatings down handrails. So to me that’s a more hardcore person running this industries. I think in snowboarding, it’s the fact that anyone can do it, that anyone can work in the industry.

There’s people who don’t even snowboard that make decisions about snowboarding.

It’s not that they don’t snowboard, maybe they do it, it’s just that most people that skate are in it for life. They’ve done it since they were 10 years old and they’re down. Snowboarders, it’s normal people that do it. Most normal people don’t skate and most normal people don’t surf. Snowboarding is a thing that anyone can do so you get a different swatch that goes into the industry.

BS air in Rome last August. It was after skating one night in Maui, that I realized that I could do most things I did snowboard again.

Does it make sense to look to surfing and skateboarding when you’re dealing with a totally different audience?

Right now in snowboarding, the industry is run by fans. People in surfing and skateboarding care about the fucking sport and that’s where snowboarding should be, and that’s why it’s fucked up. But it’s gotta come around, it can’t keep running around and around as it is.

I think one of the problems with the media is that they’re trying to mass market snowboarding, rather than marketing snowboarding to people who actually snowboard.

Yeah, and that’s why things have to change. Niche marketing is one thing, but just the brands you have now – you don’t have to make a boot, a binding, a board, a powder board, a skateboard. It’s all so bloated now. Let the hat company make hats, let the glove company make gloves. Once brands get to a certain point they just start making everything and it’s shit. So much shitty product. I think consumers want a more niche brand to specialize vs people that basically put their name on everything. Some people do that really well.

Fall 1987 Mt Bachelor. I lived with Craig at the time, I was 17. I first started doing FS nosebones because of a photo of Chris Miller at Upland Skate Park. He was the first to do them on a skateboard, I’d learned them at the time of my skateboard, but I knew I could do them sick on my snowboard. The other reason I started doing nosebones, was because Craig and everybody else in the world kicked their tail out on every trick, so I naturally did the opposite.

But it’s all based on capitolism – you’re never gonna get everyone to cooperate.

I think consumers will as we roll into this new era of snowboarding. There’s only so much corporatization that people like. If your big brother is sponsored by Red Bull and GoPro then you’re gonna wanna be sponsored by small brands and be less cool. Newer people coming into the sport are going to find the smaller niche brands that much more attractive because they speak to them more.

Last question. Do you worry that snowboarding is going to turn into skiing?

No, not anymore. I used to, but I just don’t anymore.

At the premiere of Critical Condition. After the premiere Craig and Kelly Jo (his future wife) saw me getting beat up by some bouncers, Kelly Jo said to Craig ‘hey we have to do something’ and Craig said ‘no, you don’t know what Mike did to get himself in that position’. Coming from the same guy that strapped me too his rack and drove me from Mount Hood parking lot to Welches (or some. small town on HWY 26). Only stopping when he got pulled over by the police after going through the DQ drive-through,the woman from DQ called the police after I reached down to get my milkshake from her.

Our adventure begins here.

It all started because I needed to get an Instagram. After all, if you snowboard and don’t get any likes to show for it, did you really snowboard? Now Timberline was gorgeous on December 28th. We’re talking mid 30’s, blue bird, with a foot or so of fresh powder. I was pretty sure we could get something epic. Party Time Nate and I hopped on the Magic Mile as soon as it opened in hopes of scoring some untouched wind-drift gully action. Of course, the thing about the Magic Mile is there’s no tree cover, so the terrain actually gets horribly windblown – but if you know where you’re going – just a smidgen out of bounds to the West – there are a few sizable gullies to enjoy. Surely, even a snowboarder of marginal skill such as myself would be able to kick up a little pow or maybe even catch some airtime worthy of the feed.

We dropped into the highest gully, much to Nate’s chagrin – he was aware we may have to hike out of this and ew, who wants to hike? – but sure enough, an untouched wall of pristine pow sat in front of us. Nate tried to explain we should cut over, but I was determined to get awesome and pretty sure we’d be able to make it out or at the very worst, end up on the trail to Gov’y, a totally fun run with the added bonus of hitchhiking back!

I dropped in, totally didn’t have enough speed and threw up a weak ass powder puff only acceptable because I am apparently a middle aged woman (at least according to my longest standing intern.) With the gram in the bag it was time to get the fuck out of there, but not before attempting to get a back up gram on another untouched pow field and losing Nate in the process.

The shot. Instagram got. Now it’s time to get lost.

I waited for a bit and then said fuck it, we’d meet at the lodge and proceeded on my way. I did my best to cut left, all-the-while slashing untouched pow through the wide open evergreens on Mt. Hood. It was a damn sick run, and man was it long…

It’s probably when I hit the first river that I realized I may have fucked this one up. Who knows how many miles I’d been riding, most were easy going and the few flat spots were great for practicing my cross-country snowboard skills, and really not that bad thanks to the powder prowess of my Arbor Shreddy Kruger.  But the top of Mile to the bottom of Jeff Flood is only about two miles and I’d definitely gone more than that.

“I’m by a River”

I was still holding out hope that I could connect with the Alpine trail, which runs directly into Charlie’s Mountain View, but at this point desperate measures need to be taken. I sent out a Snapchat SOS to Timberline marketing superstar Ricky Hower, and took the even more desperate measure of making my way across the creek – which was surrounded by 6 feet of snow – and then the ultimate sacrifice, hiking straight up hill to get to the top of the ridge line. I don’t want to talk about how long it took me to make it up those 500 or so feet, but by the time I did, it seemed the sun may have been starting to set.


The day as seen on my Snapchat

I finally reconnected with Nate via text, who had ducked out in time and was enjoying a beer in the lodge, and tried to remain calm. “Dude I’m so lost,” I wrote back. “Down and left,”  he said, unaware of just how dire of straights I’d gotten myself into. Ricky was slightly more helpful.

“I’m by a river,” I told him
“Damn, you’re deep,” he said, “but if you keep going south you’ll end up in Govy no problem, you’re not even very far.”

It’s all up hill from here

He sent me a pin which showed where I wanted to be, .6 miles away, which while not really that far, is a lot less fun when you’re trudging though knee-to-thigh deep snow with a snowboard, soaked gear, and variable terrain (almost none of which slanted downhill.) But Ricky is a great cheerleader and he assured me I had plenty of time before sunset, and said he would call me back in a bit to see if I wanted him to call ski patrol. I fumbled with my phone compass to make sure I was headed south and thanked the ghost of Steve Jobs for the iPhone (and the fact the battery hadn’t died, yet.) When Ricky called back I was not having fun anymore. “Yes, I want you to call ski patrol, please send someone in here to rescue me,” I pleaded, fully okay with admitting defeat.

Unfortunately, I was so far down that I was basically out of ski patrol’s jurisdiction, and if I wanted a rescue, I’d need to call the sheriff, “But that’ll probably take three hours at least,” they told me. The ski patrol agreed with Ricky, I was on the right track and should just keep walking. Despite the general unpleasantness of my winter hike, the time did go quickly! Unfortunately that meant I had made it about .1 miles by the time the sun was really starting to drop. Ski patrol told me it was time to call 911 and request search and rescue, but of course, in order for them to find me, they wanted me to stay put.

I was soaked with sweat, which was beginning to freeze over as soon as I stopped moving. The ski patrol told me it would take them a few hours to get there and I should just keep walking. The sheriff told me otherwise. Every time I moved my location would change, and over the course of the night I had to call 911 a couple more times to report my movements, but miraculously, my phone stayed charged. When the rescuers took to the trail about an hour later, I finally sat down and huddled up for the long haul.

I took off my wet mittens, which were only succeeding in making it harder for me to use my cell phone, and tried to huddle my arms into my jacket. Unfortunately, once your arms are in your jacket it’s really hard to zip. So that didn’t really work. But despite my struggles, it wasn’t long before I heard whistles and people shouting my name. By some miracle, I had made it a few hundred yards from the cross-town trail, which was nice and packed down by cross country skiers.

The rescuers, who are all volunteers, gave me new gloves and stocked me up with a Gatorade and a Cliff bar. They also lead the way with snow shoes and we easily made it back to Govy in 15 minutes. My ordeal was over, and a mere 10 hours after I’d gotten off the Magic Mile. I didn’t have frostbite or have to cut my arm off or anything, so I’d say it could have gone worse.

I got a Cliff Bar!

Of course, the first stop was Charlie’s, where friends were stoked to see me alive and well. Joey Bruce kept high fiving me and telling me I’d probably learned a lot of stuff today. So the question remains to be seen. Did I really learn my lesson on going out of bounds?

Well, maybe at Timberline.


In Seaside he’s know as Crab Jesus. If you don’t know Matt Kass, you’re about to.

Matt Kass was a pro snowboarder before anyone had heard of Danny Kass, but you’re more likely to know him as the co-founder and long-time president of Grenade LLC. Matt helped start the brand and grow it into a multi-million dollar business, which employed most of his friends. My career at Grenade started shortly after I bought a house and was freaking out about how to pay for it. Matt offered me a job at Grenade, and I spent the next year of my life doing whatever needed to be done, and generally being part of something pretty cool. A lot has changed since then, and Matt Kass more or less disappeared from the public eye. Ousted from the brand he started, and considered dangerous by some and a joke by others, Matt moved to the Oregon Coast, where he lives with his fiance and son and works as a professional fisherman. But after a few years out of the limelight, Matt hit me up, ready to tell his side of the story.

Brooke: Do you think you’re crazy?

Matt: No, but I have had severe emotional damage done in my life as a child that causes me to act out.I sometimes lose control in given situations with anger. I have anger problems. Do you think I’m crazy?

Brooke: I know you’re crazy.

Matt: hahahha, thanks.

Brooke: What’s your biggest regret from your days running Grenade?

Matt: Starting it. Starting Grenade. I would never do it again. It was my Frankenstein. I sit around every day and miss my friends that I lost through it. Do you know why I’m breaking my silence?

Brooke: No. Do tell.

Matt: It’s kinda cheesy. I sit around and everyone has their story about this or that. I was there, I know what happened. Some things that happened I still don’t understand. Like I ask myself, “What the fuck happened? What could I have done differently?” Then I was reading Yobeat and Colin’s interview and it all came together for me. It wasn’t about me. It was about a group of guys and a time and place…like a movement…like a band! And when they break up it’s never the same!

Brooke: All right, let’s break it down to the undisputed facts real quick. Why did you move the company from Mammoth?

Matt: I kept the Mammoth operation, Danny and JC liquidated it, along with a lot of my friends. I kept my friends around so I wouldn’t quit. I never liked my brother, I just liked Levins and Cole, so once they let all my friends go, there was no point for me to be at Grenade.

Brooke: Where did JC come from? How did he get involved?

Matt Kass: He was hired to help with our networking as a consultant. When Danny asked me to resign, I did. I was the manager of Grenade LLC until resignation or death. Of course he stiffed me on the 75k. But what’s 75k among bros….right? Danny hired JC and made him the CEO and took over from VP to President.

Brooke: Right, but you’re skipping a lot. I mean, I worked there for a year and Danny apparently didn’t even know I did. So how did it go from you hiring Joseph to Danny ousting you?

Matt Kass: Danny paid me to resign per the operating AGREEMENT. He stiffed me on the 75k that I was to be paid as resignation. Danny took over as president and hired Joseph to replace me. So I was screwed in plain English. Next.

What about all the rumors of you flipping out when you left?

When I resigned, yes I broke my brother’s laptop over my knee. Yes, I spray-painted my resignation on the side of the building because it was my building and my spray paint. And yes I took a gun out of there and then they lied about it and I lost my second amendment right to bear arms for two years.

Brooke: What have you been doing since then?

Matt Kass: I was the international and domestic sales manager at Betty Rides until I got fired. I went back to Grenade after being fired from Betty. Grenade moved when my girlfriend gave birth and I got a unexplained extended vacation. When I went in to the new office JC said I stole money again (which is a lie) so I got upset (aka I fucking screamed at that lying turkey), quit and walked out. While I was waiting for the elevator JC tried to beat me up even though I was holding a 3-month-old baby. Since then, I have decided my brother is nothing more than a pony and that if he will let JC push me around while I’m holding my son, aka his nephew, that he is no friend, brother, or family to me. I really did not like working at either Betty Rides or Grenade, in ALL honesty.

How did you end up living in the former “Office” location on Burnside? How long were you there?

Matt Kass: When Nicole and Danny lied on a restraining order, I was given 20 minutes to pick up personal stuff. She sold the rest of my belongings. After that, I was living in a warehouse in Washington, then I got evicted, because I did not have money, because I was never actually paid to resign. My family disowned me, and yes, I was forced to live in a skateshop for over 6 months and sleep on the concrete floor in an asbestos-filled building. I did enjoy it though. Cole made it a point to help me through the hardest time in my life because although he is a failure at life, he is a TRUE friend no the less. How is that?

Brooke: That’s insane. Was Cole living there too?

Matt Kass: Yes, then when I saved up enough money to get a place, he lived in my van outside my house for 6 months. Curt Johnson also lived in the shop when he got kicked out of Flood’s house. I also let homeless people sleep in there when it was cold.

Brooke: Here’s a big one I have. Why didn’t you sell Grenade when the opportunity arose? Quiksilver wanted to buy it, right?

Matt Kass: Yes, actually we were almost sold to Oakley. Danny was always trying to sell Grenade to his sponsors. He always wanted to sell out. I was the hold out. I always rode for small independent companies like Joyride and Mission 6. Danny rides for Oakley and Nike. I would NEVER ride for Nike or Quiksilver, or Gnu (because it’s still Quiksilver.) I’m trying to make a comeback.

Will Matt recapture his pro glory of 2001? More importantly, does anyone still have that hella big Bjorn Leines poster?

Brooke: I want to know all about your comeback, but it seems like it would have made sense to take the cash and start something else, ya know?

Matt Kass: Do you know any bands looking to sponsor a crappy halfpipe rider? I have been working on another company since 2007. The new brand I’m working on is Called ENMY.

Brooke: Ok, I’ll bite. Tell me about ENMY

Matt Kass: It’s a outdoor lifestyle brand. I’m also helping out the guys at Sasquatch Skateboards. I was just hired a couple days ago, I’m really stoked. The kids involved are really talented. I’m in the process of forming a Distribution Company and our first 2 brands are “ENMY” and “Sasquatch Skateboards.” I also started my own fishing business as well as being a dad. I’m busy.

Brooke: I’m confused. I thought you said started Grenade was the worst decision you ever made. Why would you start a new brand?

Matt Kass: I really feel like the industry is getting dry and needs a kick in the ass and I’m just the asshole to do it. I’m starting over without partners and because I feel like it is time to make a comeback. I want to bring my band to trade shows so we can play our awful music. I hired a coach to train me and everything. For real!

Brooke: Wait, what are you talking about? Now you’re in a band with a coach? I thought you were making a snowboarding comeback. Are you drunk?

Matt Kass: No, I just got one of my wisdom teeth pulled. I have a coach so I can make a comeback. I have a band called “The Bent Screws” and when next SIA comes you will see the band and the brand. Hopefully I can start shredding soon, fishing season opens 2/1 though, so I’m going out on the water then.

Brooke: So let me get this straight. You’re going to “train” for like 3 days and then launch a new snowboard career, and by next SIA you will have started a Poler ripoff and distribution company?

Matt Kass: I have been training since October of last year. I skate at least 3 hours a day and I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m not fat like the Dingo. I’ll tell people who think I’m not gonna make a comeback, hey, I did one kassrole, why can’t I do two? When I’m doing 540s below the lip I’ll laugh too. I’ve told Gretchen (Bleiler) she won the X games with my run that I used to do. Sometimes my nollie backside 5 would go above the lip, and sometimes it wouldn’t.

That reminds me of the number one snowboard joke of all time: you know where the best place to pick up snowboard chicks?

Me: Yeah, below the lip.

Matt: Hey, How am I ripping off Poler? You haven’t seen one of my designs.

Me: You said outdoor lifestyle… which is what Poler is doing, but you’re right, I haven’t seen it.

Matt Kass: It’s more of a utilitarian style, fishing gear. I know about Poler, I like those guys, I even modeled for them for free. We’re making fishing gear and outdoor lifestyle type stuff. If a kid wants to wear it snowboarding, that’s his business. And I’m trying to start a distro company, but when I say that I’m trying to do it, I’m not trying to jump out over night like Vanilla Ice. The name of the company is called Ammo distribution– ENMY, Survival and Garden State grip tape. It’s been a pet project of mine for a long time. When I started Grenade I wanted to turn it into a skateboard company. When Danny started he wanted to turn it into a TV show. That’s the truth. When we ultimately fought it was because I didn’t want to be on his TV show and wanted nothing to do with it. Dingo and Danny wanted to do it, they made they pilot and it looked like shit. I didn’t even want to release the project. Danny’s the one who wanted to be on TV.


Boat enthusiast.

Brooke: So, when Grenade ousted you, how many boats did you have in the warehouse?

Matt Kass: 2 or 3. I took one with me

Brooke: Did you buy them with Grenade money?

Matt Kass: Nope with my paycheck. My brother spends Grenade money on weed, all the time. I have proof.

Brooke: What proof?

Matt Kass: Receipts.

Brooke: Who gets a receipts for weed?

Matt Kass: I do. Danny took 80k from Grenade to start that awful TV show.

Brooke: Don’t you think that TV show was marketing?

Matt Kass: No, it’s embarrassing Danny stole money from Grenade and blamed me. JC stole money from Danny and convinced him I took it, I put 600k into Grenade and real estate and all I got back was 175k and I feel like they stole 10 yrs of my life. They never gave me a letter of recommendation even though they said they would.

Brooke: Well, at least you’re not bitter. What have you been up to the last few years… how did you get back on your feet?

Matt Kass: Well do you want the truth? It was a hard climb. I was waiting for the 75k from my resignation agreement and it never came. I was counting on the money, so it really screwed me up. I started living in the shop because I had nowhere to go and Joseph told my friends at Grenade that they would be fired if they talked to me.

We got in trouble at the shop for selling graffiti supplies, got a 5k ticket, had to stop selling paint with was a giant piece of our sales. It was a dead horse. I closed the shop, got a house 6 blocks up the street and started working at Betty Rides. Which, sucked too.

Matt, Elliot and one hell of a flounder.

Brooke: Tell me more about ENMY. What specifically are you gonna make?

Matt Kass: You will see. ENMY is “bottom secret.” There are a couple designs on facebook, but they are old. The new stuff is being made right now. I never really stopped designing T-shirts. I just stopped showing people. It was therapy for me. I’ve done T-shirts for small guys and menus for a pizza place. I just do shit on my computer to get by cause I got a kid and diapers ain’t cheap. I’m no Pinski, I’m not gonna cut off my dick and put it in my ear and then call myself an artist — I lost him when he went bo-mo. That’s Bohemian Modern.

Brooke: How are you funding the brand?

Matt Kass: By myself, I don’t want partners. What I’m trying to get across to all these little brands is, don’t fucking be me. Money does bad things to good people. You want my business advice? Here’s three lessons I’ve learned.

1. Don’t take a partner when you need a loan.
2. Be careful who you get into bed with.
3. Lying can get you into problems and through problems, but only the truth will get you out. You can’t lie a fact. Be careful what you say or do, this is the info age and everything is recorded or on video somewhere.

I explained to my father yesterday, sometimes lying is a part of business. Have I ever told people lies? Yeah, I used to all the time. When I didn’t know the answer to something, I would just say two weeks — it’s from the movie the Money Pit — the contractor would always say “two weeks.” Instead of saying I don’t know I would always say two weeks, because it was embarrassing to say I don’t know.

Brooke: Let’s wrap this up. What else?

Matt Kass: Grenade could have been a lot more and should have been. When I think back of what I started, I think of it as something that that was great. When you used to buy a Grenade T you used to support people like you and Dave and Jesse and Tom and me; it used to be a family people. Now when you buy a Grenade T at Pacsun you’re enabling Joseph to abuse snowboarding and snowboarders and you keep my brother drunk and on drugs. I know we all didn’t do it right. I was never the best boss, and one of the worst things I ever did you caught the brunt of. If you ever asked for a recommendation from me you were a great employee in an environment a lot of people would have failed. I’ve had everyone’s back, every day in that company.

Yahtzee!

Earning your turns is a time-honored tradition in snowboarding, and those who choose to hike are often lauded for their dedication and rewarded with face shots and untouched pow. And while that’s great, we here at Yobeat believe hiking is for the birds! There’s a reason those motorized devices exist to propel you to the top of the mountain and we’re happy to take advantage. However, not all lifts are created equal and while casually sitting on a chairlift is pretty idiot proof, some lift riding requires actual skill, such as the T-bar, as we learned on our recent trip to Whistler.

Not to be confused with the bar, which is actually one of our favorite places, the Blackcomb T-bar can be both your best friend and your worst enemy, and this summer, the glacial snowpack is lower than normal, upping the sketch factor ten fold. Basically the T-bars are already extended as far as they go, and offer very little give. Don’t fret though, it just takes a little technique, so here are a few tips.

Sit on it like a bench. You’ll see plenty of riders (ok mostly skiers) opt to place the t-bar between their legs, but not only does this method look silly, it’s a great way to get a bruise in a place you really don’t want one, or at least, a nasty wedgie.

The face to face stance can be awkward or it can be magical! Just depends on your partner. 

 

Choose your partner wisely.  Since Two riders can share the T-bar, you will want to judge potential partners based on stance and ability level. Ideally, you should both face the same way, as combining a regular and goofy rider can create some awkward positions.

Pick a side. In general, the inside line is a bit easier, so if you have a weak link, give them the side closest to the lift tower in order to prevent any blow outs.

Alternate sides yourself. If you’re riding the T-bar repeatedly, it makes sense to alternate between riding regular and switch to keep those thighs from getting too tired and causing one leg to grow much bigger than the other. This will also be beneficial if you’re trying to impress babes at the pool afterwards.

Taking selfies while riding the t-bar is not recommended. 

Stay on track. Unlike riding the chairlift, you actually need to say in control while riding the T-bar. This means keeping your board inside the ruts by shifting your weight and using your edges, just like you’re riding down the hill!

Let go if you have to. There is nothing more frustrating that falling over when you’re almost to the top of the lift, but don’t be proud and consider your own safety. It’s easier to walk up a little bit than to recover from flying off the side of the trail. Just trust us on this one.

Moments before this photo was taken, I nearly soared off the side of the track, plummeting to our certain doom. Could have been worse. Thanks, fence!

Being “cool” in the 21st century is a tricky thing. As “core” snowboarders, we grapple with it daily. Just read the comment sections on this site and you’ll see, snowboarding is a competitive fashion show masked as a “sport” and parading as a fun activity. But why? Why are we so concerned about the size of each other’s pants or the straightness of a boardslide?

In a recent article in the New York Times Princeton French professor Christy Wampole hits the nail on the head of what is actually the much bigger plight of an entire generation. Millennials, born in the 80s and 90s. are are growing up and coming to terms with the fact that they are becoming real life adults. Their coping mechanism: 100% irony. After reading every word of this nearly 2000 word article (too long for the next generation of kids raised on Myspace wall posts and facebook) I had an epiphany. Snowboarding’s growing pains are just like the crisis of ironic living, but rather than hating the “Hipsters,” those in snowboarding put their misplaced disgust on the “Joeys,” blaming them for crowding the hill and “ruining our sport,” a great irony in and of itself.

Wampole explains:

Throughout history, irony has served useful purposes, like providing a rhetorical outlet for unspoken societal tensions. But our contemporary ironic mode is somehow deeper; it has leaked from the realm of rhetoric into life itself. This ironic ethos can lead to a vacuity and vapidity of the individual and collective psyche…

In smaller words, Irony can be a plague, and it can drag you down with it. And there’s nothing more ironic than being a “cool” snowboarder.

Think about the “Joey” or “Chad” or “kook.” Go ride on a weekend and they are on every intermediate trail and mountain base lodge. They completely disregard fashion, new equipment, or what’s cool. They rock GoPros on every mount imaginable, jeans and starter jackets, giant mittens with T-shirts, and are out there for one reason: to have a damn good time. They ride for a few hours, parade in at noon for lunch like lemmings, take another run or two then retire to the bar. There’s a good chance they fall getting off the lift.

But those poorly outfitted, low-skilled weekend warriors are boarding irony-free. They are doing it 100% because it is a fun way to spend a day. Meanwhile, the most ironic of all boarders, the cool kids, are too busy worry about their pants being over their highbacks, they don’t wanna admit that they might just be kindred spirits. Or worse, someday that Joey might ride enough to become one of them.

So ask yourself, when did this happen for you? If you consider yourself a “core” snowboarder, think about what that means. You follow trends, you know what tricks are cool and which are super lame, and you probably have left a hate comment on the Internet. But you’ve also fallen getting off the lift (more recently than you like to admit), gotten a little too excited about ‘gramming your friends while they board, and dropped your glove mid-trail or off the lift. Are you really that much better than the “Joey?” Really?

Wampole explains it like this:

“Obviously, hipsters (male or female) produce a distinct irritation in me, one that until recently I could not explain. They provoke me, I realized, because they are, despite the distance from which I observe them, an amplified version of me.”

If you replace the word hipster with Joey, it becomes much more clear. We’re all just Joey’s, out there, having a good time. Two wise men once said, “If it’s not fun, why do it,” so as snowboarding’s ultimate ironic hipsters we say: At the end of the day, we were all Joey’s once, and realistically we all still are, so get out there, board and remember, no matter how tight or loose our pants get we’ll still never be as cool as skateboarding. Get over yourself and just have fun.

Read the inspiration for this rant here.

It’s often been commented, “Yobeat hates Colorado.” So much so that it’s become a running joke every time we feature a CO edit. Now, it’s not entirely to say that we, the staff of Yobeat, hate the place – it has a few redeeming qualities. Southern Colorado terrain is insane, if you wanna ride parks they’re some of the best in the country, and you get drunk way easier at 10,000 feet. But that’s where it stops. The following are all the reasons the Silver State sucks.

1. Bros

You’re sure to run into your fair share of bros at any ski area, comes with the territory, really. But Colorado boasts a special brand of arrogant, drunk, legally-high assholes. Granted most of them are on probably there on vacation from Indiana, but they choose Colorado! That’s gotta say something.

2. Skiers

Skiers are everywhere and for the most part harmless, but in Colorado, they actually think they’re cool because they ski.

3. Long Traverses

Snowboarders at Vail literally ride with poles.

4. Lack of snow

Now I’m not talking about Southern Colorado, we all know Wolf Creek gets dumped on blah blah blah, but anyone who actually lives in Colorado can tell you those storms are few and far between. And half the time when it snows, the snow is too damn light to actually cover anything.

5. High Prices

$110 for a day ticket? $50 for parking? We’re good.

6. High altitude

Summit County is based around 9000 ft. The base lodge at Silverton is at 10k. As we mentioned before, high altitude is great for getting drunk efficiently, but it also makes it hard to breathe, makes putting on your boots the hardest thing ever, and makes it hard to sleep. But the biggest issue with the thin air is you just can’t think straight, which may explain why everyone in Colorado is such a kook.

7. Never Summer

Oh you make your snowboards in the US? Cool story. Remember when they tried to patent reverse camber?

8. Shitty avy conditions

When and if it does snow, the Colorado backcountry is downright treacherous. Stay alive out there, kids.

9. Rich people

With places that are expensive comes the people that can afford them. Now, aside from the “corest” kids, most snowboarders do come from means, but I’m talking about the shitty rich people. The ones that look down on you just because you haven’t taken a shower in a week and you like to have a beer on the first chairlift. Yeah them. Fuck them.

10. Nazi ski patrol

Cut a rope? Lose your pass. Go fast? Lose your pass. Have fun? Lose your pass. Now, as I personally know a ski patroller in Colorado who’s almost an alright guy, but there are just a few too many rules at the “big resorts” for me.

11. It’s cold as fuck

Oh cool, high of negative 5 today? Fuck you.

12. It’s flat as hell

This is of course, what causes the long traverses, but even the “steeps” of Summit County are ya know, pretty mellow.

13. Texans

They get even worse due to the lack of Oxygen.

14. Oxygen Bars

I’ve never been in one, but I assume it’s horrible. I mean, they have them in Los Angeles.

15. It’s windy, everywhere

Again, flat + tiny little excuses for trees make for the whipping wind experience that is an every day occurrence.

16. The lift lines at Breck and Keystone

Ever been to either place on a weekend? Then you know. You are better off just crushing your own skull under a large truck.

17. The Traffic on I-70

You know what’s the best part of a day riding in Colorado? The six hours you spend in traffic in I-70 to get there from Denver!

18. General Overhype

Local pride is real, so we get it. You love where you live and that’s why you live there. But would it kill you to just be honest with the other people. Hell, maybe it would keep some of them away and solve two of the aforementioned problems.

19. Vail Resorts

Nuff said.

20. Fake snow totals on the reports

Sure, maybe there are 7-inch drifts around your measuring stick, but what you actually mean is “a dusting.” While not entirely a exclusive-to-Colorado phenomenon, resort marketers seem to get extra creative in the Rockies.

21. 3.2 Beer

Yes, you can get real beer in the Liquor store or any of the 40,000 craft breweries, but damn it, I want to pick it up with my groceries, and that shit is 3.2. Worst part, unless someone tells you this, you can spend your whole vacation wondering why you’re not getting drunk, even at 10,000 feet.

22. Tourists on Weed

Tourists are the worst – always screwing up driving, getting lost, asking stupid questions. And in Colorado, they’re all high as hell. Good luck with that.

23. Every 13 year-old can double cork

It’s just not fair how good these little brats are.

24. Angry Snowboarder. 

Just chill out, dude. Smoke some legal weed perhaps.

25. Legal Weed

It’s not that we’re not in favor of legal weed, as we just mentioned, but we’re pretty sure the feds blew up Leo’s just to prove a point. Not to mention the annoying bi-products that have come because of it such as dabs, oils, weed snobs, etc.

26. Mountain academy kids in general

Mountain Academies attract two types of people: rich kids who love to snowboard and rich kids who’s parents think they’re going to be the next Shaun White. And everyone knows, we don’t need another Shaun White.

27. Superpipes

Remember when we had 9′ halfpipes? That was fun.

28. CU Boulder

Frat boys, college kids, and all the shit that goes along with that.

29. People from the Midwest think it’s the only place you can snowboard

If you’ve never left the grain belt, and your only impression of snowboarding is movies like Out Cold and Cloud Nine, you probably don’t know there are more mountains on the other side of Colorado. And why would you care?

30. Made-for-TV contests

Oh good, ESPN is in town. Let’s jack up the prices and block off the streets! Remember the Dew Tour, it wasn’t all in Colorado, but it was obviously Colorado’s fault.

31. Long boarders.

We already explained that one. Click the link.

32. Moguls. 

It’s a guarantee you will accidentally end up in a mogul field riding in Colorado if you don’t know where you’re going. And if you like riding moguls, well, I just don’t know.

32.5 Vail Resorts.

Yes, we know we already said that, but fuck. Come on, man.

Ever since the Too Hard teaser included a girl tossing a bloody tampon, it seems even male snowboarders are aware that girls bleed once a month. It’s ok, it’s just nature and it’s what makes childbirth and the continuation of life possible. But that doesn’t mean it’s not icky for dudes to think about, a pain in the ass for girls to deal with, and most importantly, a bummer when you’re trying to get some snowboard action. Between dealing with cramps, being an even bigger bitch than normal, and trying to protect your long underwear from gross stains, it’s probably the most serious problem facing women’s snowboarding today. So as a fellow female and long time menstruator, I’ve decided to put together a handy guide for snowboarding with your monthly visitor.

 

Medical.

Pat Bridges is convinced that you are more likely to tear your ACL while menstruating. He’s told me and every other female snowboarder about it on multiple occasions, which makes it true, right? Actually, the truth according to science is changes in your estrogen levels make you more prone to knee injuries around the middle of your cycle, which means, when you’re bleeding, you’re in the clear! So go out there and twist your knees as violently as you want as long as there is blood coming out of your vagina.

 

 

Equipment.

Choosing the right feminine hygiene products can make all the difference. First off, maxi pads are out. What are you, 12? As for tampons, there are two schools of thought on this one — with applicator or without. The applicator free tampons are smaller and easier to store, but hell, you’ve got a waterproof jacket with pockets, so does it really matter. Best bet, go with something wrapped in plastic and with a plastic applicator, just in case your taped-seams fail. No one wants a fully soaked tampon expanding in their pocket while they ride.

 

Advantages.

So there are lots of things that suck about having your period, but like most things in life, there is a bright side. In the male-dominated world of snowboarding, this it is a gross and mysterious process that most dudes don’t want to talk about. So, when there’s an annoying dude hitting on you in the ski town bar? Start talking about it. Trust me, they’ll leave and you can go back to drinking away the pain of cramps.

So there you have it. No more excuses, and no more complaining. Boarding on the rag is still a day boarding, and there’s really nothing wrong with that.

Yeah, that’s a hybrid #portlandmeritbadge

Good news kids! It’s like we’ve hopped in a time machine and headed straight back to the early ’00s when Mother Nature used to provide enough of that good stuff to go around all year long at Mt. Hood! Despite reports of dire glacial conditions at Whistler shuttering Camp of Champs, Timberline is looking prime this year with snow piles as far down as Gov’y. As of June 25th you can still do full laps on the Magic Mile lift, and there is a 22′ pipe and a mile-long park to boot! My predictions are for full laps until at least July 4th or so.

The scene is the same — gypsters, ski racers, dirt bags and little kids who are better than you. The pro count was low on my visit, but let’s be real, does anyone even care about pros anymore? And they’re bound to show up sooner or later, so don’t fret.

Cobra Dogs, Volcano Cones, Charlie’s, the Taco Shoppe and all your other usual food options still apply. Sadly no, there is not a dispensary in Gov’y yet, but there are two in nearby Welches — a great excuse to go poach the Windells skatepark. Apparently High Cascade is still in business as well.

That about sums it up. Weatherman says it’s supposed to be a hot summer though, so get your ass up here sooner rather than later.

Filming: Adam Foster and Cam Weeg – Sorry about the music, it came free with my iphone editing software. 

Fires are raging out of control in most of the Western US and September 3, 2017, the second-to-last day on hill for the Timberline summer, was a smoky one. But even though breathing was labored and it seems like the world may very well be going to hell in a hand basket, the snow on the Palmer glacier is holding strong and with minimal walking, you can lap the former Windells park until your heart’s content. Don’t wanna hike at all? Don’t blame you – that air quality is worse than Bejing right now, but you can just rip Palmer midstation laps all day while exerting (almost) no energy. I could ramble all day about how fun it was, but since the Internet hates reading, here are five reasons 2017 was the best damn summer, ever.

Doesn’t look like much but compared to the last few years…

There is Plenty of snow – As stated, legit snow fall over the winter has seemingly refreshed the Palmer Glacier to its mid 2000’s glory. Enough snow means better features and less hiking and well, that’s just awesome.

The butterflies! Pic: Goneronin

The butterflies migrated – Every so many years, thousands upon thousands of butterflies migrate over Mt. Hood and this year, they were back! While butterfly-splat on your goggles isn’t that fun, fluttering insects mostly just add to the magic of an already magical experience.

Wont be the same without the skatepark in town, but whatever, that park sucked anyway.

High Cascade got the fuck outta Gov’y – In a move that was a long time coming, HCSC announced they’d be moving the majority of their campers out of Gov’y and on to the glorious Windells campus, leaving Gov’y to be the haven for adult debauchery you’ve heard rumors about.

There’s weed in there, and it’s totally legal! 

(At least) two marijuana dispensaries have popped up east of Sandy on Route 26 now: Weed is legal in Oregon but sadly, there’s still no where to buy it in Gov’y. This is likely because each town in Oregon sets its own regulations, and let’s just say Government Camp isn’t run by the most progressive minded people. But there’s Mt. Hood rec center in Rhodedendron and on our trip up yesterday we noticed another huge new dispensary across from Mt. Hood Foods that just opened. It is very chill.

They had a public lap park: We Are Camp’s constriction means more public terrain and Timberline Parks turned the former HCSC lap park is now open to anyone! Can I get an amen?

Sadly, today is the last day you can ride the lifts to the top of the Palmer Glacier for the summer, but don’t fret! When the snow holds on, TLine has been known to fire up the generators as early as Columbus Day and if you think summer boarding at Timberline is awesome, you should get up there in the fall!

Originally Published on Yobeat | October 4, 2017

If you turn your attention to the video above this paragraph you will find the full version of Postland Theory’s 2016 video release “The Fourth Wall.” Why the hell are we just posting it now, you ask? Well, in the olden days, people used to care about things for more than one season – and if you haven’t watched it, you’re in for some seriously heavy boarding interspersed with beautiful scenery and some funny outtakes. But as it is now 2017, it’s really just a ploy to get you paying attention and excited for the forthcoming video “Loose,” which hits the Interwebs for free on Nov 1. And to hopefully make you more excited, here’s a recent conversation with the brains behind the movie for people who still like to nerd out on snowboard media.

The man behind the lens and editing bay at Postland, Tim “Shithorse” Schiphorst. photo: Ponchikz

Brooke: So, I Youtube’d The Fourth Wall to my Smart TV and watched most of it – I have a few take aways:

  • Snowboard parkour is neat
  • European spots seem is way tighter than American spots.
  • I can’t beleive you guys are doing this again, because modern rail snowboarding is fucked-up gnarly.
  • I never want to go to Russia
  • My tv was turned up too loud for some of the sections.
  • And finally, that kid with the white guy dreds is so fun to watch but… he still has white guy dreads

Tim: Hahaha so sick. White guy dreads is next big thing. He’s my favourite snowboarder right now and he’s back this year.

Are white guy dreads sick though? I’ve always thought of Europe as being ahead of the times and I like to think Americans are already over that. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking haha.

Hahaha yeah, he’s had em since I met him and probably before that. I dunno! It’s just a hair style.

Right, but do they smell bad? Are there arguements over who has to share a hotel bed with him? I suppose on a rail trip across Europe odors are just part of the deal, so whatever I’ll drop it. Tell me more about him as a human, please.

He’s Simon Houlind, he lives in Copenhagen, but he’s kinda been kinda all over the place, living in a hammock at the skatepark in Christiania. I’ve been trying to film with him for years now so we just thought it’d be sick to bring him along for one trip during The Fourth Wall, and that’s when he filmed his part. I think we were all really hyped on what he got in such a short time and I really like his riding style and approach to street riding. So this year we traveled together the entire winter and it’s just been the sickest time.

Usually since he doesn’t really have any money, and we sometimes make a deal that he pays less for the hotel so he just hangs up his hammock somewhere and actually doesn’t get a bed. Sounds kinda harsh, maybe. But he doesn’t mind, he’s got a sick hammock.

Yeah, whatever works, right? So what’s up with the title? Is the Fourth Wall a reference to Travis Rice’s last project or Taco Bell?

Taco Bell? What’s that?

lol. It’s the best fast food restaurant in America and they have a marketing campaign based on “fourth meal” aka the shitty food you drive thru and get when you’re drunk. But seriously, it’s delicious. And dirt cheap.


MMM, naked chicken chips dipped in fake nacho cheese sauce…

Ah yeah I heard of those. Should probably make the trip more often, but with Poutine in Canada and Borsch in Russia, how high can it really score?

Fourth Wall refers to breaking the fourth wall. That’s when, for example, a musical actor talks directly to the audience. So the stage has 3 walls, and the audience is looking through the fourth wall so to speak. Same in movies when the actor talks directly into the camera like Kevin Spacey in House Of Cards.

Since we set out to travel a whole bunch and visit some places we’d never imagined we’d end up, we thought it would be sick to kinda show that in the movie, rather than just make video parts. We still focused on video parts but in the full movie we mixed em up with travel parts. So we made the online parts for everybody to enjoy, and the full movie is more for ourselves to watch back when we switch over to surfing.

Makes sense. Seems like heavy shit went down on some pretty crazy spots. Do you feel a need to top yourself or what? What was your the motivation to do this again, and what if anything are you going to differently this year?

Wait what are talking about now? Like the movie that’s dropping in a few weeks? Or the NEXT movie that we’re gonna start filming in December?

Cees Wille. Stairs to 50-50. Photo: James Griffith

Oh man, thinking in seasons makes my brain hurt, so let’s talk about the one you’ve already filmed first.

Yeah, so The Fourth Wall is actually last year’s (2016) movie, but since I never uploadeded the entire thing anywhere I thought it’d be cool for some people to watch. But the full parts have already been out since the beginning of last season. Our new movie “Loose” is dropping November 1st, and video parts will start coming online around January. And then we’re gonna start filming again in December.

But I think in general we’re always trying to do the opposite of what we did the winter before. For The Fourth Wall (two winters ago) we just set out to travel a bunch and find unique spots and locations and just go on an adventure pretty much. Last winter we just wanted to take it way more simple. We all met up in Holland and drove to Finland from there. Cees has his Chevy van that we loaded up with winches and generators and lights and we more or less stayed in Finland, and focused on specific tricks and spots the guys wanted to film.

It was kinda nice not having to worry about visas and just having all the gear with us to hit literally every spot that popped into our heads. I think everybody filmed their best video parts this year because of that.

That makes sense. There’s a lot to be said for simplicity

I’m not just saying that to try to get everybody to watch the movie.. Like honestly everybody was so hyped the entire winter because it felt like everything we tried to do worked out.

People will watch the movie if they want to, I think.

And if they don’t, they won’t.

Ollie Dutton, gap-to-rail. Photo: Schiphorst.

Yep. I like how you guys take a cinematic approach and make something that’s pretty.

haha do we?

Yeah, I think so. It seems like there’s more to what you do than just tricks, and because tricks are a hard sell for most people who snowboard. It takes a special sort of nerd to care and appreciate just how gnarly the stuff these guys are doing is.

So, for The Fourth Wall it was kind of a thing that I wanted to really show how beautiful Japan and Iceland were and how raw Russia is. But this winter it’s really more focusing on the tricks. No drones or stabilization gimmicks or anything.

Honestly, holding anyone’s attention for longer than 1-minute these days is a serious feat. What’s your take on that?

Yeah I totally agree that these days people’s attention spans leave much to be desired. But that’s just natural process. I mean, I sometimes still think about the old FODT video’s that just showed 5 slow motion angles of one trick because the riding was so fucking heavy. You just don’t get away with that anymore. I still like showing more angles, but I only have two cameras, so it’ll never be that crazy. But it feels that the guys put so much effort into their riding that it’s kinda unfair to just let every single shot fly by.

Will Smith. 50-50 through a TV, now watchable on TV. Photo: Ponchikz

Yeah it’s a tough one. Like, they’re doing it for themselves at the end of the day, but it would be nice to treat this kind of gnarly ass riding with a little more respect. So I suppose it’s finding that middle ground. Like, should you still “save” shots for the full edit?

That’s why I think actual snowboard movies are important opposed to the webisodes everybody wants to do these days. If you want to release a video every week, you shouldn’t expect viewers to remember and replay your video hundreds of times. Why should they if they can just watch something new all the time? That’s why I always try to make our movie available as a free download, in case there are people out there that like to watch the whole thing a few times. It’s cool that so much content is available right now, but sometimes I think the community would be happier if people would put a bit more effort into collecting footage, rather than just throwing everything online as soon as they got enough for a 2 minute video – but probably we’ll start doing it eventually as well, haha.

I get what you’re saying. I guess the dillema is that by “saving” footage you’re risking someone else doing it first. But for you guys, there probably aren’t 10 crews at every spot like there are in places like Quebec or SLC. Have you ever had that happen, where say, you guys hit a spot and then Haldor and Eiki show up and get better tricks on it? Does that matter to you/the riders you work with or does it just get you more hyped?

Oh I think you’d be surprised to see how many crews there are in Finland. People are for sure kinda over the spots in for example Kuopio, but not to the same level as Quebec. But if people go back to the same spot and do better tricks, I think that’s only a good thing. That’s what pushes the video parts, it’s not so fun to go back to the same spot and do something less than what somebody else has done. The awkward thing is when people do the same trick, and the one who came second gets the appreciation for it. That has happened before to us for sure! Even when we went to Quebec and Will did that big ass drop to bank. As far as I know he was the first to do it and I think Brendan Gerard attempted it a year later and launched himself over the road in the outrun. Then there’s Phil Jacques doing that pole jam to backlip in his Union part, that Kas did a few years earlier in his Connect The Dots part. I’m not calling these people out and saying that they’re uncool for copying us. It happens all the time, I’m sure we’ve also “copied” other people’s shots. There’s just too much content coming out right now that it’s impossible to keep track of what everybody is doing, so I feel like you can’t blame somebody for going for the same shot.

Will Smith on the fabled bank-to-ledge, sometime in 2014. Photo: Schiphorst

 

Great answer. Do you think Americans will ever care about the European snowboard scene? Can we trick them into it or are the names just too hard to pronounce?

You guys are for sure showing interest in some individual snowboarders like Toni Kerkelä and Benny Urban, who’ve been filming with Transworld and Videograss the last few years. I don’t think Americans will ever really care about the European snowboard scene though. There’s not much to care about because it’s all so damn small.

Then why does the snowboard scene seem so much cooler/more connected in Europe than America? Which countries would you say have the best snowboarding?

I’m not sure about other countries, but in Holland it’s a group of like 40 snowboarders that ride pretty often and really show up for events. There’s maybe one event a year, and everybody goes there. But because it’s so small it’s really easy to be really close to each other and support each other. A lot of locals from different indoor resorts are in touch with each other to meet up and shoot videos. That’s really cool. It kinda comes back to that quality over quantity thing.

Artem Smollin, boardslide. Photo: Will Smith

Makes sense. How do people from Holland even get into snowboarding in the first place?

I think they don’t really start anymore. I kinda only notice people growing out of snowboarding instead of seeing young kids coming up, but maybe that’s just because I don’t really visit the domes as often as I used to. I guess most people here get into it through the Christmas holidays with their family, and then maybe want to follow it up in the dome and start practicing rail tricks. I’m just basing this on what I see in the indoor scene, apparently there’s a massive group of Dutch snowboarders that are interested in backcountry riding, but the scenes are so divided that we never actually meet.

If you wonder what you’ll look like after drinking three Monster Energy Drinks a day for 40 years, wonder no longer. Photo: Ponchikz

So, tell me about your plans for the next movie… or is that embargo’d til winter?

So that’s the one we still have to film, right? haha.

Yes.

Well one thing to be excited about next winter is that Kas (Lemmens) is finally back after a 2-year injury. Really excited to go out and film with him again. Besides Kas, I’ll probably be travelling a lot with Cees, Simon and Will. Then I’m working with Jesse Augustinus, Joonas Eloranta and a bunch of other guys on some web episodes as promised and film a full movie as well. And I always try to include some local talent to give them a little push towards street riding.

To be honest I’m way less in preparation mode than I usually am this time of year.

That seems like it might be a good thing – sometimes the best stuff comes out when you least expect it! I feel like this is already gonna be more words than anyone wants to read on the Internet, so any one you’d like to thank or anything else you’d like to say to your fans?

Well if anybody made it to the end of all this “back in the days, everything was better” ramble, then I’m sure they can call themselves a fan and a big thanks goes out to them. Literally the thing that makes us keep going every year isn’t the support from sponsors etc, it’s the support of the people who like our videos!

Loose is coming out as a free download on November 1st. We’re doing a bunch of premieres, including on your side of the ocean in Montreal and Quebec City. Pretty excited about how premieres work over there! And maybe next year we should organize a premiere at Taco Bell, sounds like a party!