Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media

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Most people in Oregon snowboard because they love it. They don’t let rain, wet heavy snow, and weekend crowds ruin their experience. If you’re going to drive hour and half to ride you’re going to make the most of it. When I was growing up in Portland I had very few friends who snowboarded. Luckily I meet Andrew Nagel at the Windells winter camp in middle school and became friends with him. People watched snowboard videos, but they didn’t enjoy them to the extent that Andrew and I did. Both us become aware how inspiring the snowboarding in Think Thank videos was. I know other styles influence Andrew now, and I hope this interview shows some of those flavors he has been messing with lately. I also hope that this interview shows how funny and clever a person Andrew Nagel, is and how lucky I was to have him as a friend growing up. — Jeff Holce

Brooke: What’s it like filming with Jeff Holce the athlete?

Nagel: It’s pretty good. Me and him are on like a different wavelength from most people. I feel like we kinda read each other’s minds sometimes. We don’t have to talk we just know that maybe that wasn’t the one or maybe it was, I don’t know.

AJ: With like a look or just body language. How do you communicate when you’re not communicating?

Nagel: Telepathically. I do that with lots of people.

Brooke: Jeff Holce has really evolved from the kid who used to make fake Cobra Dogs cards in govy to the enigma which he is, do you feel like you’ve been influential at all in that?

Nagel: No, I don’t feel like I’ve influenced him in that way at all. I’ve known him since 8th grade, I don’t know he’s always been really loose and out there with the things he does. You get a lot of weird looks rolling around with him.

AJ: That’s one way to describe it.

Nagel: Yeah.

AJ: I think the project you guys worked on last summer – Jeff Holce Naturally – When I watched that, I was immediately like this is absolutely like these guys get it, obviously you had some connection like you were saying, where it’s unspoken. Why did you guys decide to go all natural?

Nagel: Well that was honestly his idea, but like everyday as the snow melted there would be more and more stuff to do. We’d kinda eye something out and like a week later there would be less snow, so we could do it. That was our 5th full summer out there, not that it’s a lot compared to some people, but our terrain park at Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camp doesn’t have the most variety, so we kinda wanted to do something different.

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Dubs.

AJ: What made you choose Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camp over the other camps up there?

Nagel: Well, I had gone to Windells during a winter camp in 8th grade and that’s where Jeff and I met, and he had been going to summer camps too. I was planning on going to High Cascade that following summer, the summer going into high school. Then my mom bailed, she was like no way that’s way too much money and I didn’t have enough money to pay for it, so I signed up for Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camp. I met people there, met the head snowboard coach Mark (RIP), and then the next summer we started washing dishes and I was like “Jeff, come wash dishes with me, maybe we’ll get another job there.” He was like, “no I’d rather sign up for High Cascade day camp.” He was definitely bummed for a bit, saying we could be at High Cascade right now, this sucks. But it turned out good in the long run.

AJ: Yeah, when I think of Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camp I think of Jeff Holce, especially on Instagram.

Brooke: Do you think the owner of MHSSC knows that Jeff Holce runs their Instagram? Do you think he knows there is an Instagram?

Nagel: I don’t think the owner knows what Instagram is.

Brooke: What’s the background of that camp?

Nagel: Well the owner Mike Anette, he’s really cool, he’s like probably at least mid-70s now or something. It was I think the first ski camp on Mt. Hood, for ski racing and stuff and at some point they started snowboarding too.

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On the set of Naturally. 

Brooke: What’s the experience like compared to the WAC camps – what’s the difference?

Nagel: Well… There’s way less snowboarding media and stuff going on, it’s kind of just like a summer camp with snowboarding. There’s no camp sponsors, no product tosses or whatever, no activities to win like snowboards and stuff. It’s just way more low-key.

Brooke: How’d you get into filming?

Nagel: When I was really little, I did some random filming with my friends, skateboarding in Portland and stuff. We were probably like 12, and then I didn’t do it for a while. Then Jeff and I started filming each other at Timberline, I think freshman year of high school. Then he went away to boarding school after that and I kept filming random people and friends at Timberline, and that’s how I got into it.

AJ: Did Jeff’s parents not love him enough for him to got to school here, so they sent him away?

Nagel: No, I think they love him enough to send him away. He went to a boarding school in New Hampshire where he got to snowboard all the time.

AJ: Oh, that isn’t that bad.

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Filmer stee.

Brooke: Portland is changing a lot, what’s it like compared to when you were growing up here? Has the scene here changed or evolved or is it the same shit?

Nagel: I don’t know, when I was growing up here I had no idea about a snowboarding scene. I wouldn’t hang out with anybody from my high school except for this one kid who lived on my street, but I would just spend all my weekends and some weeknights at Skibowl or Timberline. I had a group of friends that I’d snowboard with, so I guess that was my scene.

Brooke: You didn’t realize this was where pro snowboarders go to die?

Nagel: No, I realize that now I guess, which is cool. Portland is really fun.

Brooke: What’s your favorite thing about Portland?

Nagel: Well, I guess I really like all the trees and fresh air and stuff, there’s always different types of outdoor stuff to do. In Utah some days spent outside are equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes. The winter that 3deep5me was filmed, Salt Lake City had the worst air quality in the world.

Brooke: Why did you decide to move there?

Nagel: For college originally. I’m done with that now but now most of my friends are still there. So I feel I’d like to keep snowboarding and filming with the friends I have out there.

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Stunts, captured. Photo: Ryan Bregante.

AJ: What would you tell someone that’s living in California and wants to move to Portland, reasons why they shouldn’t move to Portland and stay in California?

Nagel: Get back on San Vicente, take it to the 10, then switch over to the 405 North and let it dump you out into Mulholland where you belong. But for real, all the people moving here are changing the landscape a lot. I’m not down with these condos and townhouses popping up everywhere. People move to Portland thinking it will help them live a lifestyle that’s like straight out of a catalogue or something.

AJ: I like the people here more. They’re more down to earth.

Nagel: Yeah I don’t know, the only times I’ve been to California was like Disneyland with my family when I was little and then snowboarding at Big Bear and Mammoth. I don’t have any care to go to LA and hangout.

AJ: Yeah, it’ll drag you down. It’ll crush your soul.

Brooke: You’re gonna waste a lot of your time in traffic. That’s another reason Californians shouldn’t move here is traffic. They’re causing way too much traffic. So, let’s talk about your early video influences. I mean obviously, you’ve watched a Bronze video before…

Nagel: Yeah I love those videos, there is nothing better. Obviously there’s some influence, but I mean I feel like there’s more to it than that. Everything is influenced by something.

AJ: How much does tumblr influence your videos?

Nagel: I haven’t been on tumblr in like a year, so I don’t think that much at all lately, but tumblr is cool. You can find some fun stuff on there.

Brooke: What do you shoot with and edit with?

Nagel: I have a Panasonic HPX170, which is very fun to use, and I have a MacBook Pro with Final Cut 10, or X. Also, last year I picked up this camera called the Pixelvision 2000, that’s kinda what I filmed some of the B-roll with. I don’t know if you noticed that grey blocky stuff, that’s what I filmed that on.

Brooke: What do you think makes a good snowboard edit? What makes something that you wanna watch?

Nagel: I mean first of all there’s gotta be good snowboarding. I really like to watch videos of people I personally know. If you know someone’s personality it’s fun to tie that into how they snowboard, or skateboard or do anything else. But, good snowboarding is kind of something you gotta have these days too.

AJ: How would you define those things, like what – is good snowboarding just either you know it or you don’t know it or is there like a formula?

Nagel: I don’t think there’s any specific formula, I guess some people do stuff that’s more interesting than others. Also, I agree with what Deadlung said about carving.

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The gentleman. 

Brooke: Who do you think is doing interesting stuff?

Nagel: First of all I guess I’d say Tucker Brown is. He’s currently sitting in the #1 spot on tour.

AJ: He’s got a sick beard.

Nagel: Yeah he’s got a huge beard. And he’s got a girlfriend now too.

AJ: Does she have a beard?

Nagel: No.

Brooke: What about video wise, whose edits do you watch and get psyched on?

Nagel: I always watch Beef’s videos, I feel like he and I are both psyched on each other’s stuff. Skyler Riley, when he makes videos they’re good, and I like watching the people he films. Footyfiend videos, those are always great too. Whenever Lucio is in a video I watch it. Garrett Read makes great vids too, especially when Kevin Hanson is in them. Seamus is dope. And then there’s some other kids at Brighton that always make cool videos too. I like Chad’s videos.

Brooke: Chad Unger. Is that the deaf kid?

Nagel: Yeah, he’s deaf, so his videos don’t have music or anything so it feels like the most raw it could possibly be. If he puts in lifeys he doesn’t know what they’re saying, he just kinda puts them in cause they look cool or seem funny I think.

Brooke: Yeah so it’s like more visual and he’s not like relying on multiple senses.

AJ: That’s wild. You never would think about that, like I feel like it’s so audio driven, in some respects, you know.

Nagel: I know. Sometimes it’s really hard to find music or whatever, but he doesn’t even worry about that.

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The shot is all the filming stance, really. 

Brooke: How do you find your music?

Nagel: Most of it’s found on Soundcloud these days. There’s a lot of stuff on there. You can get lost in Soundcloud and youtube portals.

AJ: Soundcloud is changing, cause I think Universal bought them. They have this whole record deal, so like they’re taking a bunch of songs off there. But what are you gonna do. And ShareBeast is down…

Brooke: What do your parents think of your videos?

Nagel: I think they’re down, and they’re supportive. I mean if I link a video to them like hey check this out, they’ll watch it, but I don’t think they like follow my Vimeo account or anything. I bet it’s hard to relate for non-snowboarders.

AJ: I feel like some parents are, even if they don’t snowboard – some people I talk to are like yeah my parents watch this shit they think it’s awesome.

Nagel: I’m sure they watch it sometimes, but they got their own stuff going on that they’re more interested in, like playing tennis or something.

Brooke: Yeah, what do your parents do?

Nagel: My mom is an accountant, or a CPA, and my stepdad has a company called Bernhardt Golf that builds sports fields and golf courses and stuff. I actually did a video for them this summer, they’re doing a new football field at this high school, got some money.

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Guy in the sky shot. 

AJ: So is that how you like monetize your video skills?

Nagel: That was like the first non-snowboarding video I’ve made money on.

AJ: Ah really, so you’ve made money on snowboarding videos?

Nagel: Yeah in the past. I did some stuff for Saga, which was actually a lot of fun. I’d do it again.

Brooke: What’s it like working for Jerm?

Nagel: It’s good, he seems pretty fair, he’s nice. He got me tickets really late notice going to Bear one day, so he’s a good guy.

Brooke: Do you think that snowboarders should accept Saga as equals?

Nagel: Yeah, I don’t see the big deal. Sean Whitaker rides for them, right?

AJ: Oh and he’s sick.

Nagel: Yeah he is sick. I like Jeremy too. And yeah they’re mostly a ski company, but it’s not a big deal. I know some skiers that are far cooler than some snowboarders.

AJ: So are all the other cool snowboard brands – Salomon and K2 are ski companies.

Nagel: But Saga is a pretty small company I feel like too. They’re big, but they’re small. They’re not a huge corporation.

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Not Mt. Hood.

Brooke: What’s your favorite resort on Mt. Hood?

Nagel: I guess, in the springtime it’s Timberline because that’s like the most fun I’ve ever had snowboarding, and then probably Skibowl too. I grew up going there a lot at night and stuff and it’s really fun.

AJ: So Meadows is third?

Brooke: Why don’t you go to Meadows?

Nagel: Well first of all I haven’t been here in a while in the winter, but the crowds and stuff. And it’s even farther of a drive from Portland. Skibowl is less busy, and they have a rope tow park sometimes. You get like all of Portland at Mt. Hood Meadows. It could take like an extra 2 hours to get home if you go there.

AJ: Well, whenever we get driver-less cars, and you can just Netflix and chill with wifi in your car, then I don’t really see the issue. That’ll be rad, but right now that sucks.

Brooke: Why can’t people in Oregon drive in the snow. Do you know how to drive in the snow?

Nagel: Yeah, I feel like I’m great at driving in the snow. I have a perfect driving record – no crashes… Couple close calls, but that’s it.

AJ: Do you wear your seat belt?

Nagel: Yeah.

AJ: Do you text and drive?

Nagel: Well – a little bit, then I catch myself, tell myself it’s stupid, and stop. Plus if you – sometimes it’s cooler to wait longer to return texts. Especially to a girl.

AJ: Yeah you don’t wanna hit them back right away. Then they question like oh, was that nude I sent good enough?

Nagel: I’ve never gotten nudes sent to my phone. Because I didn’t have picture messaging in high school, and I feel like that’s when most if it went down.

AJ: I didn’t have a phone in high school. Like a cell phone – I had a home phone, but you can’t really send nudes over home phone. Like aye can you mail me a nude? Here’s my address. Kids have it so good nowadays. They have Tinder and Snapchat.

Nagel: Yeah, it’s messed up.

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Photographers be like, Nagel is always getting in the shot.

Brooke: What did you go to school for?

Nagel: Well, I started going for communications, and that was too hard, cause I had to be like on the newspaper and my first task was to sit in on a school board meeting and interview the president of the school and I kind of had a freak-out and quit. And I took a little tiny bit of time off, then went back for film and media art. And that was far less challenging.

AJ: What school?

Nagel: University of Utah. I started at Westminster.

Brooke: What’s the difference between Westminster and the U? Which one did you like better?

Nagel: The U is way better, I actually felt like I was at a college. You get the real university feel. If you want you can basically be invisible and sit in the back of class and not talk too. But at Westminster, you’re still doing “Ice-Breakers,” to get to know all your class buddies and stuff. I don’t know it’s tiny, it’s like a high school all over again.

AJ: What’s it like, like culturally coming from, Portland, which is a be a pretty liberal place, to Utah, which I consider to be fairly conservative?

Nagel: I guess that never really crossed my mind but, living out there for school people weren’t maybe as open to things as I thought everyone was. Like things that would be kind of a shock out there are nothing to me. I don’t know, a lot of people out there probably still hate gay people or something. I feel like I was cool with them since age 3 or something. Salt Lake City is a fun city though, it’s got its own quirks and stuff.

AJ: And when they have snow in the city it’s great.

Nagel: Yeah.

Brooke: Do you think it makes sense to save things for a web edit or for a full length video or with Instagram and the opportunity to just put it out – does it matter anymore?

Nagel: I mean, I like save stuff, if it’s just not some random stuff that you do everyday in the terrain park or whatever. Especially if I’m like working on a video or if say you’re at a street spot that no one’s been to. In the past I definitely have told friends too not post anything at the spot. I feel myself starting to care less about that stuff now though.

Brooke: Do you value your worth in likes?

Nagel: Vimeo likes maybe. But I feel like comments weigh even more. If they comment, that means they really like it, or they really don’t like it.

Brooke: As long as they feel something, right?

Nagel: You gotta kinda like it to hit it with a heart on Vimeo, but if they comment something’s up.

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Not-so-subtle Signal advertising?

 

Shout outs?

Nagel: Nick Sappio and SEGCOS.

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Brandon Hammid, aka Buff Moose is not your average pro snowboarder. He didn’t start snowboarding until he was 19, and then it was only because there was a small resort near where he was stationed in the Air Force. While he’s the first American snowboarder I’ve ever interviewed to serve his country, this actually isn’t his first Hump Day. But since his Brighton Perspective is dropping tomorrow, and since we’re in Utah for the Holy Bowly, I decided to sit him down in a Park City gondolaand get his current thoughts on food, bombs, cars, pubes and more.

Mertz wanted me to ask you what color your pubes are right now?

Well they’re like blondish. Well the roots are dark and then blond with purplish tips.

Is that just a thing you do, dye your pubes?

I don’t usually do it, but the whole bleaching your regular hair is a trend. And you can’t follow trends, you’ve gotta start trends. So I was thinking the pube thing might catch on and be this cool thing.

Has it?

I don’t think so.

How many shots of pubes have you done in your lifetime?

Well, it’s initiation for this gang that some friends and I started, BLK. The Blood Lace Krew. You pretty much wear this lace and to get into the gang you have to take a shot of pubes. You put some pubes in a shot of whiskey and do it.

Why would anyone want to do this?

It’s a pretty hard gang.

What’s your gang motto?

Eat Pubes or die. Oh, but how many have I done? I don’t even know. You have to take one to get in and then if you get caught without your lace you have to take another shot. So I’ve taken one to get in and then I got caught one time without, so I’ve taken two.

How many have you inflicted?

Ooh, several. The best one though, Sam Taxwood at Superpark last year. He’s hung over as shit and I see him in registration and I’m like, Sam, where’s your lace? And he’s like, what? All out of it. He looks down and he doesn’t have it, so right there in line I rip out a bunch of pubes and put it in his gatorade and make him drink the rest of his Gatorade.

Who else is in the gang?

There’s a lot of people. They probably don’t want me to tell anyone, but it’s Cale Zima, Justin Keniston, Little Jeff, Parker Duke, I don’t even know if half these people wear their laces anymore. Dangler was in it for a little bit. There’s probably more that I’m forgetting.

Hammid_doubleDouble chucking. Photo: Amanda Hankison

 

So how many push ups can you do?

Right now?

No, what’s your record?

I don’t know, in basic training you had to do push ups. You had to do like 50 in a minute and a half, I did like 85 I think. Then I collapsed.

How’d you get so buff? What’s the secret?

I still don’t know how I got so buff. I don’t work out. I probably worked out for two months of my whole life. I heard a story of a genetic mutation and it makes it so you produce more testosterone so you have to eat more and it just turns into muscle. So maybe I have that.

Do you think you’ll ever get a pro model from Arbor?

I might, I think there’s talks of it. So as long as I don’t fuck it up.

Do you think kids want to buy a Brandon Hammid Pro model?

Probably not. I mean, I snowboard to get kids stoked to try to to pursue snowboarding. Who knows if anyone cares what I do. If one kid buys it and he’s stoked on me, I’m happy with that.

Does it suck have to deal with Sean Black regularly?

Fuck yeah. He’s the worst. I’ve been friends with him for like 10 years and now he’s my boss. It sucks. On a serious note, he’s kept me pretty sane with snowboarding. I’ve kinda lost my mind a few times and didn’t want to pursue professional snowboarding anymore. He’s kinda helped keep me sane.

Why wouldn’t you want to pursue snowboarding anymore?

I love being around people, but I get social anxiety. So sometimes just being around a huge group of your peers, I can’t just be myself. I don’t know, its just really overwhelming to me. And like sponsors and stuff. But that stuff doesn’t matter at the end of the day, it’s just snowboarding. That’s kept me doing it.

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Next level shit. Photo: Amanda Hankison

Why do you clap and scream after you land every trick? Are you claiming or just that enthusiastic?

I just get so stoked. I don’t claim, I’m not like, oooh, did you see that shit? But I just get so excited. I’ve seen a few dudes, like Jonas Michilot he laughs after he gets shots. Jaws, the skateboarder always has a huge smile and his tongue out. I just think that’s awesome, when people are genuinely stoked on their own snowboarding. So now I don’t even care. I throw my hands up, scream, whatever.

How was Russia?

Russia was my favorite trip! Russia was fucking incredible. I’ve seen people go to Moscow and stuff, but there was no snow when we got there. So we drove cars 24 hours east. Snowboarding is crazy because the spots are not perfect. It’s not a good down rail, it’s all improvisation. It’s right up my alley. Like, alright, let’s see what we can snowboard on. No one speaks English. You don’t know if they’re yelling at you or what. There was one instance where Chip was sitting down and this guy comes up to him and is in his face, speaking Russian all crazy and we asked the guide that was with us what he was saying and she was like, oh, he was just asking if you needed help. Chip thought he wanted to fight. So it’s a huge language barrier. And the food sucked. They would eat like hots dogs and coleslaw for breakfast. Weirdest thing ever. It’s awesome to go to a city where you’re like, yeah, there’s the best spots everywhere, but when you’re actually in a place that’s unlike anything I’ve ever really experienced it’s pretty cool.

And you went to Dubai too. What was it like snowboarding there?

Well, it was a snow dome, in the mall. So you go to the mall, with your snowboard stuff, and there’s people all around you in full middle eastern dress. You’re walking right next to this family that’s all covered up and you’re in your snowboard gear. It’s pretty crazy. The food was awesome, we also went four wheeling one day on the dunes and it was incredible.

I take it you’re into food. Do you consider yourself a Foodie?

Yeah, I am.

How the hell do you live in SLC then? Worst food city…

It’s one of the worst, but there’s a few little sick spots. Like Roots Cafe, it’s a breakfast spot. They source everything locally, and it’s just good. But we go on trips and stuff. In Grand Rapids we went to this place called Marie Catribs and it was the best little spot ever.

What’s your favorite food city you’ve been to?

Grand Rapids, MI.

Seriously?

Yeah. It’s such a small little city and culinary is their thing. Art and culinary. It’s this sick little city, which you wouldn’t expect cause it’s in the Midwest. They have amazing restaurants everywhere. This kid Tommy Young, he’s friends with Marie Hucal and he just showed us everything. He’s a food snob and it was really cool. We ate really fucking good.

3Arbor_MN_bridge_Hammid_5050

 

Photo: Stephan Jelde

Ok, back to snowboarding. What’s it like filming with Scotty Vine?

This year was a the first year that I actually went on a street trip with him. We went to this down rail and he tries a one-footed board slide. And I’m like, fuck, Scott, I know that’s your thing and it’s sick, so I didn’t say anything. Then all of a sudden he tries a hard way half cab nose press and does it perfect. So fucking sick. It was a good experience. I went to Minnesota for 10 days and he really changed my perception of him. Cause I’d just seen park stuff. I was really impressed.

Why don’t you have a car?

Well, I have a car, its in my garage.

Ok, why don’t you drive?

Well, I got my vehicle stolen from me five years ago maybe. A year after it got stolen from my driveway they found it at some apartment complex. Someone had ditched it and it sat there for a year. So I got really into biking. I just started biking everywhere. It’s just changed me. I would rather be on a bike then in a car in this closed little space. I figure I can get my car registered or keep biking. I’m only really in Salt Lake the nice part of the year.

What about getting to the mountain?

That’s the hard thing. Thank god I have awesome friends. I do my best to hook em up with gas and shit, but I know they’re probably like, fucking Hammid. Never gonna fucking drive.

I heard this is your first time at Park City in years?

Yeah, probably 2 or 3 years.

Why Brighton over Park City?

In Park City you have a lift that goes over the park and everyone can stare at you. Not that I care about what I’m doing. I’m snowboarding and that’s all that matters. But I’m a pretty anxious person and I just think about things way too much. There’s skiers. There’s giant fucking jumps. Sticky ass rails. I’ve like caught my edge and stuck to rails here too many times. I’m over it. I just feel at home at Brighton. I could probably get used to Park City, I just never really tried. I always just go back to Brighton. And a big thing to me is loyalty. Jared Winkler’s always taken care of me, so I can at least return the favor by riding there.

Tell me about the time you crashed your Bronco in Alaska.

I was 19 years old, just barely gotten into the military. I had been there barely a month and I had a fake ID and the Misfits were playing 15 minutes out of town. We drove there, pounded a bottle of Jim Beam right before we got to the show. Got maybe five mixed drinks and got kicked out. They kick us out and my friend is like, dude, I can’t drive. For some reason I thought I could drive. So we’re on this little road back to town and as soon as we leave the bar, a cop’s coming. So I’m going like 80 MPH, I look in the rear view mirror and he turns his lights on and turns around. I tried to think of what to do real quick and the only thing I could think of was to try and turn off the road and hide. I turn off a road going probably 50, hit dirt, and just slam into threes. The airbags go off, and I’m just sitting there like, fuck. In that situation I had no idea what to think. I had so many emotions running through my head and I was just like, I gotta get out of here. I just out of the car, run into the woods and my friend that was with me stayed in the car, but I just bailed. So I run through the woods for probably 15-20 minutes and then jumped into this house that was being built. I climbed up into the roof rafters and just hid in the house for probably a half hour. I heard cops with their dogs around the house, but they just didn’t find me. So they left. I ran through the woods for 6 or 7 miles, just getting bit by mosquitos because it was spring and mosquitos are really gnarly up there in the spring. I get out of the woods finally and I show up at this gas station. This crack addict mom and her daughter are there and I’m like, I’ll give you $50 to take me to the movie theater. They just looked at me like, what the hell did you just do? Cause I’m like covered in mud and mosquito bites, I looked like hell, probably smelled like booze. So they take me to the movie theater to meet up with my friends. I turned myself into the cops the next day.

What happened?

They tried to give me an alcohol test, but I didn’t blow anything. So I pretty much went to court and got a reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident ticket. I had to do community service, but I didn’t get kicked out of the Airforce, I didn’t get a DUI. I paid my friend’s deductible for his truck. In the grand scheme of things, yeah it was probably sketchy, but it worked out.

2Arbor_MN_Bridge_Hammid_swfsboardPhoto: Stephan Jelde

So why did you join the Airforce?

I come from a pretty poor family. I grew up in apartments. Didn’t really have anything going for me after high school. I just partied super hard. Did a lot of drugs and just wasn’t making awesome decisions. I was like, dude, I gotta get out of this. I was working in this warehouse making like $10 an hour. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to be influenced by anyone. I just did it and it’s probably one of the best decisions I ever made.

Did you go to war?

Nope. Luckily with the Airforce you can choose if you want to get deployed or not, depending on your job. My job wasn’t important to be over there.

What was your job?

Building bombs. Munitions Assistant specialist was my technical title. It’s a four year or a six year contract and I did six year because you get an extra $2000 or something. I just did the six years and was done.

Do you think you’d be doing what you’re doing if you hadn’t joined the military?

I honestly have no idea. I think about that sometimes, I try not to think about it too much because it’s like alright, I made the decision I did. But I probably wouldn’t be snowboarding because I wouldn’t be able to afford it. I never even snowboarded before I joined the air force. That was why I started, because I had the money. Probably wouldn’t be a professional snowboarder or have traveled the places I did.

It definitely seems like a good option for some people.

I’m not saying it’s good for everyone, but it is an option. At the end of the day you’re doing something for your country.

I feel like our culture has really shifted to not respect the military, do you think soldiers get the respect they deserve?

It’s weird. If you think about in the 50s or 60s, that was a thing. You were a hero. Now a days it basketball athletes or football athletes or snowboarders. Those are the heroes. No one gives a fuck anymore, at least in our culture. It’s kinda fucked up, but it’s just how it is.

Alright, well on that note, any shout outs?

Arbor, and Sean Black, thank you, you’re the best. L1, Knut Elliassen is the funniest guy ever. Lance and Nima and Mike at Ashbury, they’re awesome. TOTF. Koala Tree organics, they make clothes. Charlie and Lars, they’re on some shit. Brighton, Jared Winkler, he’s the best. Milosport, all the dudes from Milo sport, I love them all like family. And Beaver Wax. I don’t really have a relationship with them, they just give me wax. Thank you.

nikitabrighton

So you want to be a pro snowboarder. Come on now, you know you do. And why wouldn’t you? You can spend the first years of your career broke and getting screwed over by your sponsors. Then once you get big enough and start making money, everyone will hate you for being successful. It’s a dream job really! But in all seriousness, there are worse ways to make a (meager) living, and if the dream ever comes through for you, you can plan on annual photo shoots.

After the trade shows end, most companies gather their team in one location, cover them in samples and spend a few days getting the shot for catalogs, ads, magazine content, you name it. This season, the lovely ladies of Nikita Outerwear headed to the sunny shores of the Great Salt Lake to get it done. Somehow, I tricked them into letting me tag along to make daily videos.

Day 1: Brighton, Utah

The team was staying in a lovely subdivision called Riverton, which according to the rental agency was “20 minutes to the mountain.” While it was close to Ikea and all the other comforts of home, the “mountain” was at least an hour away. The first morning when the girls were roused at 7, gray skies and a report calling for “weekday night riding conditions” greeted us. The good news though, was after we traveled for what seemed like forever through canyons full of fog, we were greeted with snow. Tons and tons of falling (and much needed) snow.

Though it wasn’t ideal for getting the shot, almost a foot of snow fell throughout the day. We explored the resort, scoping out spots to shoot the next day and enjoying faceshots-a-plenty. It was a good warm up, and since this year Nikita’s sample size was small, it gave the girls a chance to stretch out the pants. Safe snowboarding took a backseat to first tracks, so there were a lot of mid run collisions and having 20-some people trying to ride together didn’t help either (but at least everyone was wearing bright colors!)

Day 2: Brighton, again

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Getting up at 7 wasn’t as difficult on day 2, as we knew exactly what was waiting for us at Brighton. We impressively made it to the mountain by 9:30, where it was still gray, but blanketed in two feet of snow.

After trying to ride in a massive unit the day before, the girls were divided into 3 groups, two with photographers, and one for filming. I choose to head off with the “gummy bears” and photographer Alex Mertz. We’d figured out “Milli” was the place to start and took one run to scope things out. The snow was deep and remarkably heavy, but there was no shortage of cool stuff to ride at Brighton.

The biggest problem we encountered was the gnarly localism, and random kooks who would try and barge through where we were set up shooting to catch 3 inches of air and almost take us all out. We weren’t the only crews out to get the shot on the day, which would turn out to be perfectly sunny by early afternoon. I laughed as we ran into the Team Thunder crew, Dinobots, and even E Stone from Tech Nine. But the gummy bears, consisting of Jordie Karlinski, Kara Rennie and Madison Blackley actually turned out to have the most productive day of all the crews for Nikita anyway. Go team!

Day 3: The Canyons

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The Canyons is sort of like the bastard child of Park City, and not a place you’d probably ever go. But I was excited because I assumed they’d treat us like queens. I mean, who thinks to shoot at the Canyons! Well, unfortunately the person who was stoked on trying to market the mountain for snowboarding last season no longer works there, as the first cluster fuck was getting tickets. With 20 2-for-1 passes in hand, Kelly Stoecklien was forced to actually buy some tickets so we could ride the 4 lifts it took to even get to the park.

We were lucky to have Canyons local Alice Gong in our group, Team Wolf Cry, but we stuck to the park anyway. Madison Blackley, Gabby Maiden, Maribeth Swetkoff and Magalie Dubois rounded out the group. I will give Canyons some credit for a creative and perfectly maintained park, but man, shooting in the park was boring. The girls got some tricks, and we got a few shots, but aside from Maribeth’s giant backside 180 up the step up, this day is mostly memorable since I got the worst goggle tan I’ve had since I was 16.

Day 4: Park City

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Since the Canyons didn’t feel like hooking up passes, and there is only do much you can do with park shots, we opted to just jet further up the road to Park City (who also didn’t hook it up, but what can you do?) Filmer Ben Fee had been given the honor of naming the teams and had come up with “Parrot Carrots” for our crew of Kara, Gabby, Alice, Maglie and Sabrina Kusar this day. I was scared it might be another day of jib tricks in the park, but the crew was down to explore. We ended up on at least one endless mogul run, but found some old mining buildings with tons of possibilities.

We posted up in one area with a few bomb drops, a roof jump and a dirt patch that seemed promising for most of the day. Magalie turned out to be part monkey, climbing and jumping off whatever, and getting the most shots of the day. As we were being ridiculously productive, we took it upon ourselves to rename ourselves the jib ponies, and proceeded to hit a giant tree jib and one more sketchy mini structure before the day was over.

Once the lifts closed, we rallied to one of the various played-out jib spots of Park City. The ledge, which is part of some sort of recreation complex, gave us a half hour more riding and a couple shots before we were kindly asked to leave and called it a day.

Day 5: The Streets

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Some of the girls wanted to head back to Park City and ride pipe and a quarter pipe at the resort, but Magalie had scoped out about 15 insane street spots as well. Though last year I retired from shooting mini shred, I figured it was more interesting than shooting pipe, so I headed off with Mertz, Gabby, Sabrina, Alice, Kelly and Magalie to check them out. You may have seen the YoBeat report of Poaching Deer Valley last week. Well this was just like that. We went nowhere near the resort, but even without trying to board the lift, we were basically vibed out of the rich, white ski town where segregation is alive and well.

We drove around checking tons of spots ranging from giant drops, to ledges, to cliffs, all of them looking incredible. After a few minutes of thinking, “why doesn’t everyone shoot here” it became abundantly clear. Two hits at the first spot and we were told we were “giving snowboarding a bad name” and that “we should have just asked.” It probably didn’t help that Magalie kept calling the dude a douche bag, but what can you do. We went to scope a cliff and got the cops called on us before we even strapped in.

Discouraged but not dissuaded, we decided to go hit a wall ride some of the other girls had ridden the day before in Park City. We spent a few minutes chopping up the icy runway, and then started hitting it. But almost as soon as Magalie had stomped the shit out of a frontside wall ride, an official looking truck pulled in. The guy got out and said, “You guys don’t want to go to jail do you?” We didn’t so we moved along.

Next idea was the check out the skatepark, but it was also on lock down. We considered poaching, but the foot-high ledge with a kicker already built didn’t seem that sweet. We entertained ourselves with the bike sculptures for a bit, Gabby did a performance piece, and then we decided to grab some coffee. After some down time, we all realized it had been a long week, and we were all ready to go home. All, except Alex and Gabby. They’d hatched a plan to jib a garbage can in a city park.

Everyone else sat in the car as they hacked at the dirty snow banks to build a little kicker. Even with a half hour of construction, the drop in was basically retarded. After 45 minutes of “figuring it out” Gabby finally got the 360-tap she was going for. Alex got the shot (obviously) and we concluded another productive day.

To wrap up the week, Kelly had hired a sushi chef to cook food for everyone. 91 bottles of “real” Sapporo, sake, plumb wine and Asahi filled the fridge. Before we knew it, the house was full of people. Some we knew, such as Laura Hadar, Jarad Hadi and Pat Fenelon, but most we didn’t. In fact, I am not sure where most of them came from, since no one else seemed to either. There was drinking, there was eating, there was plenty of dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” It was pretty neat that Nikita let me come, and I must say, I can’t think of a better way to spend a week in Utah. I also learned another important lesson about being a pro snowboarder. If you are going to go for it, it pays to be female! (Not literally, but girls have way more fun, and get to say how cute everything is!)