Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media

Welcome back to Canada. So you’re not lost, you should convert all your money to Toonies and read Parts one and two.

I had decided to give this one more day—after all, I wanted to get at least one saleable photo out of the deal. The first plan of attack was to hit the People ledge—a down flat that was in Mack Dawg’s movie last year. The good news about this spot was it had already been hit, so no digging was required, but the bad news is that one of the crews that had hit it was the Runway Crew. Although it seems like that would negate its value for a men’s snowboard video, the guys assured me they’d do “way better tricks” on it.

AS SEEN IN PEOPLE

AS SEEN IN PEOPLE

Since Mike was hurt, he didn’t even put on his snowboard gear. Looked like I was going to have to make due with Kalle and Josh… The worst part about being a photographer on a film trip is you can’t really set anything up. The filmers take precedence, and you’re mostly just there to capture what went on. This is fine when you have motivated and talented riders who make snowboarding look good, but it’s a little more difficult when no one is making any effort. Luckily, the session lasted several hours, so I had plenty of chances to try out different angles, and at least this ledge had interesting scenery around it.

Check out this sweet aerial!

CHECK OUT THIS SWEET AERIAL!

THIS WAS ONE OF THE FIRST PHOTOS I TOOK. I PROBABLY COULD HAVE JUST QUIT AND KEPT MY HANDS WARM

THIS WAS ONE OF THE FIRST PHOTOS I TOOK. I PROBABLY SOULD HAVE JUST QUIT AND KEPT MY HANDS WARM

I could bore you with the names of both tricks that went down, but I don’t really remember. Towards the end of the session, Nova decided he would ride after all, but by that point I was cold and over it. I did take one photo of him from the van that’s actually one of my favorites from the spot.

SHOT FROM THE CAR

SHOT FROM THE CAR

One of the things we’d scoped out the previous day was a wall ride that was definitely doable—in fact, I’m pretty sure JP Walker hit it in some video. The best part, though, was that it would require very little building and would look really rad in photos. Of course, after an hour of debating it, they decided not to bother doing the wall ride. Instead, the idea was to build a kicker on the top of the parking garage next to it and do airs onto the giant snowbank below. Of course, since our van probably wouldn’t even fit into the parking garage, Josh planned on recruiting Max to drive tow-ins with his car. Poor Max was pretty much our bitch the entire trip, given we were a bunch of Americans in a French-speaking country, so thanks, Max—and sorry for running up your phone bill!

JP WALKER DID IT. WE DIDN'T.

JP WALKER DID IT. WE DIDN'T.

As with pretty much everything on this trip, the build-out was the biggest part of the process. This time though, instead of removing snow, the guys were trucking it in. Of course they picked the one surface in the entire city of Québec that had been scraped clean, so it took a few hours to build a kicker. I knew that they probably weren’t going to end up hitting it that day, and I had figured out where and how to rent a car to get home. I just needed to get to the airport.

I asked Josh what the chances were that they’d actually hit the gap today. He started giving me some long, drawn-out answer, but I stopped him and said, “If you might not hit it, I’m getting out of here.” He said, “We’re going to hit it. Stay.” I guess it was a lost cause anyway, because no one was going to give me a ride to the airport. I sat miserably in the van, which was nearly out of gas, so we weren’t allowed to keep it running to stay warm. For awhile one of the Justins joined me, and asked why I was leaving. I explained I wasn’t really getting anything, and I just wanted to go home. Then he asked me how I wanted to cover my part of the van. I laughed, perhaps for the first time on the trip, and told him he should probably talk to Josh about that one.

SWEET KICKER BROS

SWEET KICKER BROS

A few hours later, everyone climbed into the car. Even though I didn’t need to, I asked, “So, are you guys going to hit it?” Josh replied, “No way—the light sucks, and we’re all way too tired, anyway.” Fine. “Can you take me to the airport, then?”

Even after I’d put up with all their shit, paid for hotel rooms I wasn’t even using, and got the dudes a girl’s number at the sushi place, I was not going to catch a break. “Yeah, yeah,” Josh said. “Max is just going to show us one more spot.”

Now, I am actually glad we took this last little detour. The stop was The Citadel, a crazy old building with the only original city walls in North America still intact. Ten feet of snow that had drifted up, and made for insane urban snowboard possibilities; there was even a potential road gap. Of course, the guys were just there to check out a rail. (The same rail, mind you, that the Runway Crew had shot on the day before.) I know, because I saw the photos. I’m sure they were going to do “better tricks,” but if I had any doubts about leaving, this took care of them.

TOTALLY DOABLE ROAD GAP

TOTALLY DOABLE ROAD GAP

BUT HERE'S WHAT WE WERE SCOPING OUT (BEEN DONE)

BUT HERE'S WHAT WE WERE SCOPING OUT (BEEN DONE)

Back in the van, I’d finally lost it. I just started chanting “airport” under my breath. After ignoring and or insulting me for most of the trip, the guys finally decided it was a good time to start joking around. “Oh, I think we’re gonna go back to the hotel and take showers first, haha.” I bit my tongue—the airport was only twenty minutes away.

As we pulled out, they asked where I needed to go. I had no idea, so I had them drop me as close to the entrance as possible. I got out of the van and gathered my stuff. The filmers and Nova exchanged the requisite niceties. Good to meet you, see you around, etc. Not one “Thank you” for me, though. But, I guess, what could I expect?

It turned out I’d been dropped at the wrong terminal. I dragged my gear through even more snow, and finally found the rental cars. Thank god they still had one! $97 a day, but whatever! It took a little while to get it ready for me, and I sat in the airport eating gravy fries. When they finally called me over to tell me my car was ready, I jammed my stuff in and sped off. As it turned out, the windshield washer fluid didn’t work, and I had no idea where I was going. After a scenic tour (that I couldn’t see) through upstate New York, I finally made it to the Burlington airport, where my dad picked me up. I recapped the trip, and he simply said, “I would have left them when they didn’t pick you up from the airport.”

TOTAL COST OF ITEMS OTHER THAN FOOD ON A TRIP “EVERYTHING WAS PAID FOR:” $337.92

Be sure you’ve already read Part 1, so you are not totally lost.

As our giant conversion van pulled onto Canadian soil, I started to get a little bit excited. My first trip as a real photographer—I hoped I wouldn’t blow it. We picked up Kalle Ohlson at the airport and then headed to our first hotel. At the desk, Josh asked how much it was, and then said, “We’ll take three rooms. I’ll split the first with Nova.” I was confused, but bit my tongue. The older Justin spoke up and said we’d probably only need two because they were on a budget, and then asked me to pay for a third of my room for the next two nights. Interesting, because “lodging was paid for,” but I was already there. $77.92 after the Canadian exchange rate.

The town we were in was called Trois-Rivières. It smelled like a paper mill and was blanketed in about six feet of snow. The next day we would meet Max Baillargeon, who was nice enough to take us to a few spots. Of course, I didn’t learn Max’s full name until after the trip, since Josh never bothered to learn how to pronounce it.

The first spot we hit was called “The Perfect Rail.” After three hours of digging, we uncovered a low down-rail that looked like it could easily have been in any snowboard park. I figured it was a warm-up rail, and/or some seriously tech stuff could go down, which made sense for the first spot on the trip. As I tried to figure out a way to make it look decent in photos, including attempting to dig myself a hole at the bottom of the rail so I could shoot up at it with a fisheye, Josh just shook his head at me and said, “Brooke, I’ve never seen a photographer shoot from there.” Yeah, photographers never shoot from the bottom of rails… But I hoped he was just concerned for my safety, and tried to ignore it.

AS YOU CAN SEE, THE PHOTOGRAPHIC POSIBILITIES WERE ENDLESS

AS YOU CAN SEE, THE PHOTOGRAPHIC POSSIBILITIES WERE ENDLESS

I TRIED TO GET ARTSY. IT DIDN'T REALLY HELP

I TRIED TO GET ARTSY. IT DIDN'T REALLY HELP

I ASKED THE DUDES TO WALK UP THE OTHERSIDE SO THEY WEREN'T IN THE SHOT. THEY SAID NO, NOT THAT IT MATTERED.

I ASKED THE DUDES TO WALK UP THE OTHERSIDE SO THEY WEREN'T IN THE SHOT. THEY SAID NO, NOT THAT IT MATTERED.


A few hours later, it had already become very clear that the only one in this crew that could really hit rails was Nova. Unfortunately, he also fell super-hard on his shoulder, and didn’t think he’d be able to ride for the next few days. After a while attempting to make turds look like diamonds, I went to sit in the car. Josh, who’d already landed some hideous spinny trick, was already there. I finally asked what, exactly, they were filming for. I mean, it certainly wasn’t Mack Dawg. I’ll admit, my phrasing probably wasn’t the most gentle, but Josh’s response was basically, “Why do you think we have a 16mm and an HD filmer here?”

I HAPPENED TO SHOOT A SEQUENCE OF MY HOPES AND DREAMS BEING CRUSHED

I HAPPENED TO SHOOT A SEQUENCE OF MY HOPES AND DREAMS BEING CRUSHED

After The Perfect Rail, we went to check out a double kink. More digging. (I should note that it never occurred to me to bring a shovel, so I couldn’t really help—and I got a lot of dirty looks for it.) Josh got mad at me for asking if I should try and build a kicker at the top of the rail, saying, “OBVIOUSLY.” I’ll spare the gory details, but the only ones who ended up hitting this thing were Max and the injured Nova. No real tricks went down, and Josh and Kalle claimed they wanted to come back tomorrow.

THE MOST ACTION THE STUPID DOUBLE KINK SAW

THE MOST ACTION THE STUPID DOUBLE KINK SAW

INJURED NOVA STEPPED UP AND THE LIGHT GOT GOOD. LUCKILY THERE WAS A SOFT LANDING PAD INCASE SOMETHING WENT WRONG.

INJURED NOVA STEPPED UP AND THE LIGHT GOT GOOD. LUCKILY THERE WAS A SOFT LANDING PAD INCASE SOMETHING WENT WRONG.

Tomorrow came, and we went back. The rail was too frozen, or something, so no one hit it. No one hit the triple kink we went to next, and the last rail was too buried. We decided to just head to Québec City, where plenty of spots were fabled to exist. We drove around the historic city for hours. We saw a few spots (most of which had been hit in various videos over the year) and marked them in the GPS. The snowboards never came out, though. Eventually it started to get dark, and it was time to give up pretending we were going to snowboard. I suggested we book a hotel room; maybe even a suite, so we could all split it. I was shut down by Josh, who said, “We’re staying at the Ozone. It’s where everyone stays.”

THE TRIPLE KINK WAS A NO-GO

THE TRIPLE KINK WAS A NO-GO

Of course, finding the Ozone was the first challenge. We had a GPS, but Tom-Tom didn’t seem to know where the Ozone was (Not a good sign, right?). So, being the only one with a Canada plan on my phone, I called information and got the address. Unfortunately, the free text message with the info didn’t come through, so I had to try and remember the exact address. After the boys were sufficiently pissed that I failed them by trying to help, we finally arrived.

QUEBEC IS A COOL CITY

QUEBEC IS A COOL CITY

WELL ACTUALLY COLD. FREEZING COLD

WELL ACTUALLY COLD. FREEZING COLD

BUT THERE WAS PLENTY OF STUFF TO LOOK AT

BUT THERE WAS PLENTY OF STUFF TO LOOK AT

I TOOK THESE PICTURES WHILE WE WERE DRIVING AROUND ALL DAY.

I TOOK THESE PICTURES WHILE WE WERE DRIVING AROUND ALL DAY.

Sure enough, two other film crews were also staying at the hotel: Runway and TransWorld. I must say I was excited about the prospect of seeing other people I knew on this trip, because at this point I was trying to plan my escape. I never really intended to end up this deep in Canada, and the plan had always been that one of the crew would drive me back to Burlington in time to catch my flight. But now we were five hours away, and Josh suggested there were probably buses. But, I thought, maybe having other riders around might make the trip a bit more bearable.

I dragged my bag through the biting cold to the warm lobby of the hotel. There, it had already been decided that I would room with Justin and Nova (it turned out he snored, so Josh didn’t want to share a room with him, but he pretended he was trying to split his time evenly…or something.) At this point I was over it, so as they told us we had to pay in advance, I told the guys I would probably only be there one night, even though they would be there for three. They looked at me, then at the girl behind the counter, and just said, “Yeah, can we split it in three?” So, another $100 worth of “free” lodging, most of it for days I wouldn’t even be there.

That night I went to hang out with Leanne Pelosi and Raewyn Reid. They showed me their pictures from that day—the day we’d driven around and done nothing because the weather wasn’t perfect. They had tons of pictures using the amazing scenery—tail blocks in front of horse-drawn buggies, etc. Nothing super epic, but man, it looked like they were having fun. After a little venting, I headed back up to the room, where I was happy to find no one was around. I did my best to sleep in the loud, drafty hotel, and tried to figure out how I was going to get home tomorrow…

TO BE CONTINUED.

Check back for Part 3, the conclusion of the trip, and my snowboard photography career, next Monday.

THIS CAN BE TAKEN SO MANY WAYS. I THINK IT WAS THE THEME OF OUR TRIP.

THIS CAN BE TAKEN SO MANY WAYS. I THINK IT WAS THE THEME OF OUR TRIP.

I am not a real photographer; I think I should start by saying that. Yes, I take photos, and sometimes they even come out well, but when people ask me what I do, photography is usually somewhere near the bottom of the list. Yet somehow, I found myself up to my neck in snow in Québec last winter as the official photographer on a snowboard video shoot. Well…let me classify “official”: I was the only photographer, and I was invited for that purpose.

So how, you might ask, did I end up in this predicament? It all started at Killington. I was there for the Grand Prix (mainly as an excuse to visit my family and write it off my taxes), and ran into Josh Sherman. I’d met Josh a couple of times, and he seemed nice enough, but I hadn’t been following his career closely enough to know anything about his riding. Anyway, at the event, I was shooting photos, so Josh must have assumed I was pro. The day before I was supposed to leave to head back to the West Coast, I got this e-mail:

Hey, I’m sure your busy shooting the Open but figured I’d ask you if you’d like to join myself and Mike Casanova while we film rails or urban stuff up in Montreal, Canada. We will be doing this for the next week. Lodging paid, you’d just have to drive up the 2.5 hours. Let me know if you want to shoot or can’t asap so I can figure it out….I like your photos though and this could be a really good trip.
– Josh

JOSH SHERMAN, ALWAYS TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

JOSH SHERMAN, ALWAYS TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

Immediately, the wheels started turning. Yeah, I wasn’t a real photographer, and my flight was the next day, but this could be really cool—maybe I could make some money. I’d just have to drive up there—simple, really. I mean, hey, this could be my big break into snowboard photography, or something…

So, I called the airline and changed my ticket. Having never been on a rail trip before, I didn’t know what to expect, and I almost didn’t pack all my snowboard gear. Luckily I thought better of that, since Québec, where we would end up, had more snow than I’ve ever seen on the East Coast. It would have sucked to shoot in jeans…not that it didn’t suck to shoot, anyway.

I got to the Burlington airport at our allotted meeting time, and sat there waiting for the guys to come pick me up. After what seemed like a few hours, I finally took a cab to meet them, as it turned out they’d decided to go to a sit-down meal before they picked me up. Awesome…and there goes $18. At the restaurant, I met the crew. Two filmers, (both named Justin), Josh, and Mike Casanova. They said we were picking up one more—a Euro—at the airport in Montréal.

The meal was awkward, since they’d already finished eating by the time I got there, and they were stressing because apparently they hadn’t checked out of their hotel yet (right next to the airport, mind you) and wanted to make sure they weren’t charged for an extra day. At this point I was still trying to be cool, so I ate quickly and we hurried back.

We dropped one of the Justins off at the hotel to check out and babysit the luggage while we went back to the airport to pick up a rental van. This went okay, and soon we were back at the Burlington Holiday Inn loading everything up. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but the keys got locked in the car. No, wait; I do remember—one of the Justins left them in there. When I got out to go into the hotel, leaving the van with all our gear alone outside, I locked it. Of course, the rental car place had no spare key for this particular vehicle, and no one bothered to offer up an AAA card until it was too late. Still trying to be cool, I called a locksmith and paid to have the car opened. Another $45, and no one offered to chip in.

AND WE'RE OFF (ALMOST)

AND WE'RE OFF (ALMOST)

Once we were finally on the way to Canada (after one more stop at the hippie store so Justin could get some nuts and berries), the stressing about the border began. As I have crossed the Canadian border a lot, I never worry. You just answer their questions, don’t be stupid, and they let you go—they want you in their country spending money. I offered to drive when we crossed the border, and everyone seemed okay with it. Once that was decided, the ride was again awkward. Casanova sulked in the back. Josh talked a lot. And oh yeah—and we only had two CDs: The Fugees and Eric Clapton. (Eventually Nova would buy a Thrice CD, but we never got an iPod connector or any other modern convenience.) And we weren’t even to Canada yet.

AT LEAST I HAD THIS TO LOOK FORWARD TO!

AT LEAST I HAD THIS TO LOOK FORWARD TO!

Stay tuned to YoBeat for Part 2 of the trip. Will we be strip searched at the border? Will will ever go snowboarding? Will I get the shot? All your questions will be answered next Monday.

Switch 50-50, somewhere in Quebec

Switch 50-50, somewhere in Quebec

This photo came from my trip to Quebec, which may finally get full coverage now that Yobeat is back. Mike Cassanova fell really, really hard on the previous rail, yet was the only one of the imported pros who really hit this rail. If that doesn’t sum it up, I don’t know what does.

 img_2890.JPG

I was doing so good with the blogging for awhile there. I guess I was busier, which generally leads to increased productivity. Not that I haven’t been busy. In fact I was on the road, so I had no free time. Of course my trip turned out to be less than productive, thanks to crummy weather, and some unmotivated riders. Actually, it inspired me to retire from snowboard photography. Well, I’m not going to entirely retire, but I think I’ll stick to trips where I am getting paid and mostly responsible for the story, not making medicore shredding look good. Reality is so much more subjective in written words.

Now I am back in Portland. It’s so nice to see flowers and green grass, although it’s a bit chilly and today it’s raining and the vegans downstairs are listening to Death Cab, which makes things even more depressing. I just booked a ticket for my first wake trip of the year though– Toe Jam in Orlando mid April.  Aside from working on my tan and being warm, the thing I am most excited about is I got a direct flight on Alaska Airlines from PDX to MCO. Seriously, the world makes sense again.

Oh snow!

Posted by admin in Snow - (2 Comments)

nova.jpg

Things are, well, going up here in Canada. The weather is not really cooperating, and there’s so much snow everywhere we have to dig for 2 hours before anything gets hit and the angles sort of suck. Also my boots are still wet from yesterday. The good news is I got new boots at Walmart for $3, but they would not be so good for shooting.

Anyway, there’s going to be a a lot of artsy black and white photos coming from this trip. Tonight we are off to Quebec City, and hopefully it will be better weather.

Oh Canada!

Posted by admin in Snow - (3 Comments)

poutine.jpg

Yum, poutine! 

I was all set to go back to spring in Oregon yesterday, but I got an email from Josh Sherman inviting me on a jib trip to Quebec to shoot photos, and well, it’s definitely not spring here. We are currently in Trois-Rivieres, a paper mill town about an hour east of Montreal. It smells kind of funny, but there is more snow than I have ever seen anywhere east of the Rockies. I mean, it doesn’t compare to how Snowqualmie Pass looked, but there are seriously giant snow banks and about a foot of slush every where you try to walk.

Today we are going to hit a couple rails in this town. Apparently you have to dig them out, rather than build up snow, so this should be interesting. Hopefully I don’t blow it. These dudes seem to think I am a real photographer!

Oh yeah, I finally posted up my Grand Prix videos on Future. There is supposed to be a gallery as well, but I don’t think its happening now, and it’s all B shots anyway. No loss. Go watch the videos.