Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media

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Words: Brooke Geery, Video Kris Marshall

Back in the 80s, when snowboarding was a just for a bunch of fringe weirdos, there was no core shop. There were mom and pop ski shops and when Jake Burton, Tom Sims, Chuck Barfoot and and the like approached them to sell snowboards, they were laughed out of the places.

But as the “snowboard industry” evolved and became an actual thing, a new breed of shops emerged. Some were in the back corner of a ski shop. Some were attached to places that sold hot tubs and patio furniture. For the most part they were dark, dingy and smelled like a cross between cigs and boot sweat. But they were ours. A place where you could be a dirtbag kid with no money and they’ll still let you wax your board. A place where you could watch the videos you couldn’t afford or get told your stance was fucking stupid and get yelled at until you fixed it. It may not have been a welcoming environment for all, but for the weirdos who liked it, it was home.

We’re now talking about the mid 90s. Terje was the undisputed best snowboarder in the world.  The US Open at Stratton was the biggest party of the year, Transworld put on an event amazing event called the Team Challenge and the Vans Triple Crown was pretty much the coolest shit around. The X Games paid 10k for first place and Shaun White was not yet to the double digits, but still better than most people on the hill. It was a special time and we’re just now seeing those who grew up in it move on with their lives or step up and take control. 

In 2018, snowboarding is just another way to blow money to the masses. It’s expensive, it’s cold, and it’s only really fun for a couple runs before you break your ass and it’s time for the après festivities. The archetypes are basically the same, but the delivery message has changed. The shop has been replaced by the snowboard park, and the snowboard park is quickly being replaced by “world class facilities” only available to those kids who come from means.

It’s easy to point fingers. Blame the internet! Blame social media! Blame Amazon and other online retailers! Blame the mega corps that run a lot of the big ski resorts!  Blame whoever, as long as it means you don’t have to don’t have to blame yourself.

But in Alaska, things are different. The community is smaller, the mountains are bigger, and people actually care about each other, and not just the bottom line. People such as Jason Borgstede are willing to put their time, money, energy and reputation on the line, so that a new generation can experience the same feeling they did back in the day. Blue & Gold in Anchorage is in business, and with it, a great Alaskan tradition can continue. We’re talking about the shop video, and you can watch Evoke above. If you want to know more about the video, there’s a great interview with Kris MarshallDakota McKenzieJakob Blees, that Cody Liska did over on Crude Mag. 

If you want to be part of it, go to Alaska. Or get out there and make your own video. Do something. Do anything. And maybe, just maybe, someone other than your immediate family will care. If not, well… there’s always next season.
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Jeff Brushie is arguably one of the all time greats of snowboarding. He rode with a style years ahead of his time, pushed the levels of halfpipe riding to new heights, and one was on the first snowboarders to leave Burton by his own will. Who can blame him, when he was alledgedly offered a three-year, six-figure contract from Ride!

In the mid 90s, if you didn’t ride Terje’s board you rode Brushie’s, and these days a ’93 Burton Brushie 157 (with the trout on it) will fetch you a pretty penny online. With his token dreadlocks and ability to bone out tricks like no other, Jeff secured his place in snowboard history before Yobeat was even an idea. But in 1997, as Brushie’s career was shifting to a more “adult” status, we went to a American Snowboard Tour stop at Sugarbush to do some coverage. The conditions sucked, and no one could ride for shit, and Brushie, despite barely making it over the lip managed to land on the podium. My report included a line to the effect of “Jeff Brushie is still getting sympathy points from the judges because he’s old, fat, and washed up.” This was meant to be totally tounge-in-cheek, but of course when you’re a pro snowboarder in the golden hour of your career, and you just dealt with a 90s halfpipe full of snow where you were excepted to perform, it’s definitely the last thing you’d like to read about yourself. These are things that a 15-year-old with a website doesn’t think about, of course.

It wouldn’t have mattered, but in addition to being into snowboarding, Jeff was an internet early adopter and actually participated in the same AOL chatroom Yobeat got its start. His email was on the list I’d send a note to every time we dropped a new issue of Yobeat and accordingly he read this long-ago-deleted post and took to his keyboard in all caps. The rest, well, is history.

See the full issue of Yobeat this was featured in here. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Snowboarding was simpler in the 90s. Fewer people did it, the Internet hadn’t ruined it yet, and the popular consensus was to keep shit punk rock. Snowboarding was turning mainstream, and depending on who you asked, it was the beginning, or the end. For the riders who grew up in this magical decade and are still at it, there’s a bit of nostalgia floating around these days. Maybe because it hurt a lot less back then (getting old sucks) but mostly because that’s just kinda how things work. So, for you, my fellow 30+ board brethren, here’s 20 things that will remind you how old you are.

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1. You’ve answered the question “How do you stop on those things?” on a chairlift.

Snowboarding was accepted, but far from mainstream in the 90s. Our parents still assumed it was a fad and you’d often encounter incredulous skiers asking absurd questions. Hell, Transworld even made a shirt with the answers.

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2. You know TB stands for Totally Board.

While technically Fall Line Films was the first, the 90s were all about TB and Mack Dawg. Dawger was arguably more hip with younger riders, while the TB movies had lots of big mountain sections to fast forward through. But either way, you bought them both, every year.

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3. You remember thinking it was insane when Jeff Brushie signed a 1.3 million dollar contract with Ride.

But still thought it was cooler when he rode for Burton. “Selling out” was kind of a big deal back then.

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Brian Regis and Rahm Klampert. Pulled from the Yobeat photo archive.

4. You at one point wished you could ride the Killington half pipe (or you hiked it everyday – and night for the one season it had lights.)

See back then, the average halfpipes topped out at 12 feet and it was actually kinda fun. They were the 90s answer to the rainbow rail. Killington, in particular, had a solid scene of people who almost made it and the week before the Open everyone who was anyone would show up to “train.”

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Photo: Sky Chalmers via ESPN

5. You remember when the US Open was a drunken mess, and people actually cared about it.

Oh, and there were no bag checks.

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These suckers were guarantee not to break. Your ankles on the other hand…

6. You’ve ridden (or wanted) baseless bindings.

So much better board feel, dude.

8. Peter Line is kinda your hero.

Not only was he good at snowboarding, he had funny board graphics, and he was short enough to not be threatening.

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9. You rode a stomp pad before it was ironic.

And if you were riding Clickers, it probably came in handy when they froze, broke, or otherwise failed you mid-run.

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10. You had a Mack Dawg sticker pack, in its entirety, on the back window of your car.

It was a pain in the ass to scrape it off every September when the new one came out, but you had to keep that shit fresh, yo.

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Told ya, Lifty guys.

11. You’ve been denied access to a chairlift for not having a leash.

So you ingeniously rigged up a shoelace from your boot to binding to trick the lifty. Why anyone thought run-away snowboards might be an issue, we’re still not sure.

12. You thought Shaun Palmer was kind of a bad ass.

Now you know he actually is.

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13. You spent hours playing Cool Boarders 2.

But you never touched another snowboard game after Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater came out.

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 11.44.57 AMJim Rippey, big air master. Photo: air-style.com

14. You remember when guys didn’t land 720s every time in contests.

And when they did, they won the contest.

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Airwalk ad, circa 1996

15. You owned Airwalk Snowboard Boots

They were a big step up from your Sorels, but that’s not saying much.

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Prom ad. Circa 1995

16. Every girl who you knew that rode was sponsored.

Both of them. And Tina Basich was their hero.

17. You either loved, or hated the Garden.

Nothing in between.

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18. You can tell the difference between Ten Foot Pole, Pulley, No Use for a Name and Face to Face when you hear them.

Thanks to the music credits at the beginning of every part in videos, you had that shit down.

 

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Sweet pants dude. No idea who this is, it was an ad for something though.

19. You used a studded belt to hold up your absurdly baggy pants.

And weren’t even a little bit ashamed.

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20. You claim 93/94 was the best season ever.

Cause it was, duh.

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Photo: Tim Zimmerman

Matt Cummins has the longest running pro model in snowboarding’s history, 25 years and counting. He has used this opportunity to continually push snowboard designs from the earliest skate influenced twin tip MC Kink to today’s powder hungry Nootka. His designs, priorities and style forever changed the sport and paved the way for generations of pros.

“His board was a ground breaking concept. It spear headed twin tip freestyle snowboarding, it created a genre. To have that kind of a brick in the foundation of snowboarding is truly a special thing. Matt deserves and is owed every ounce of that brick and it’s a big one. Matt and what he stood for and the way he rode and why he rode Lib Tech made me want to ride and be a part of what he stood for as well. Throughout the years having him build such a legacy with his board, he packaged all that awesomeness up, put a nice little bow on it and handed it right off to me and for that I can’t thank him enough. I owe him everything. What I’ve been able to achieve in my career came from Matt Cummins. I don’t think he get’s enough credit, so this is the opportunity, Matt, thank you so much brother.” -Jamie Lynn

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Japow! Photo: Endo

So, is it going to snow in Washington this year?

Well, I hope so. It needs to snow. We had a Northwest Snowboard/One Ball party and burned some snowboards, so we’re hopeful.

It can’t be worse than last year, right? Have you lived in Washington you’re whole life? Have you ever seen a season like last year?

Yeah, if I’m not mistaken it was the worst snowfall on record, and as far I can remember it was warmest and nicest summer ever, so I don’t know.

Same in Oregon – it’s been really nice, but doesn’t instill you with faith for a lot of snow fall. But we can definitely hope!

Yeah, we’re hopeful. It’s starting, looks like Stevens and Baker are getting some snow already.

The precipitation levels seem to be getting back to normal, hopefully it was just the Fukushima blob and that’s going away. That was what was warming up the air, I think it is dissipating and it’s gonna be good.

Is that what they’re saying?

No, that’s what I’m saying. The blob is real, but I don’t know if it was actually the Fuskashima fall out still.

You would think that, with Fukushima that was what, like, four, five years ago? We were actually over there two days before it happened.

Crazy. What were you doing there?

I put on a banked slalom there every year. It’s called the Tenjin Banked Slalom. It’s all this mountain that’s really good it’s called Mt.Tanigawa, it’s all hand made and I think it’s the largest snowboard event in Japan. We had to cut the entrance off at 400 people and it’s a 2 day event so it’s pretty massive.
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The LBS. Photo: Zimmerman

How long have you been running that?

I helped start it the same year the big tsunami was. I wanna say this year will be the fifth year. This year it’s March 5th and 6th.

What’s the secret to doing well in banked slaloms?

I think riding a lot. The guys that are on the hill all the time have the best twitch reaction, and are just dialed in. That’s the most important part.

I think it’s drinking a beer before you go.

I don’t know, a lot of people try but maybe one to calm the nerves but after that you get into dangerous territory.

You have the longest running pro model in snowboarding. Is that crazy or are you just so used to it now?

Yeah, it’s disturbing that time has gone by that fast. It’s been fun, I’ve done a lot of things. Especially going through finding photos and and pictures, it’s like damn, that doesn’t seem that long ago. But it gets to the point where you’ve done so much stuff that you start to forget some of the trips and some of the stories. I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Japan. Under 15, but you can’t distinguish one trip from another almost. I’ve been at it for a long time, but it’s rad to see people getting hyped on all the old boards. It’s amazing how much trading is going on and how collectors are really into it, it’s really cool.

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Modeling his models. Photo: Tim Zimmerman

Definitely seems like there’s a resurgence. I think its because the second generation of snowboarding is getting to that age where you start to get nostalgic.

Everything’s been done, magazines go through the pros so fast, unlike any sport that I know. There’s guys that are so good that don’t get a chance to be pro. The media, or social media or whatever just cranks through pros. And then it’s like, well, how do you be really weird and zany, how do you get attention? There’s tons on insane riders that don’t wear whatever sort of clothes or act a certain way that nobody’s ever gonna hear about. It’s just a weird time, so I think people are looking back and going, oh what is this guy doing, where’s this guy been? My whole thing was I did’t care about pictures very much. I didn’t film, I rode the halfpipe because I grew up skateboarding halfpipe and nobody really cared. And then it went to the Olympics and was already over it. I just rode powder in the Northwest, so my body is in relatively good shape compared to some of the guys that do some of the gnarly street stuff. I don’t know why my program stuck. I think that I really enjoy deigning products and I own One Ball as well, I started that back in 1988, so I get to just sit around and come up with ideas and design products and learn how to do graphics. To design boards and find the art you want on the board and have people ride that equipment and go, this is sick. Back in the day people hadn’t seen twin tip or double ended snowboards, so it was like whoa, why? But that was kinda my thing and it still is my thing, just continue to be really creative and have it somehow support you financially is kind of a dream job, really.

Probably helped that you ride for Lib Tech and not some other company…

Yeah, I’ve been with those guys the whole time. I bought my first board from them in 1986. They’re my friends and they’ve helped me out and it’s been awesome.

Your board this year is a DIY blank board. What was the inspiration for that?

I go to Japan every year and I have some friends and there’s a small company from Japan called TJ Brand. One of the owners is Yosuke. He’s like my age, iconic Japanese snowboarder and in the summer he’s a surfer. And he’s an OG kind of dude. He would show up to the Banked Slalom and help dig, I didn’t really know him at first or what he was about. He would make these boards that were 140ish, really short, and I don’t know if they were horizontal laminate or a single piece of maple, but he would get em wet and then prop the nose up with some weights and put a nose kick in it. It was just a piece of wood, no edges, no ptex, you would just have bindings on it, but they were low backs. He was in my class, pro masters or old guy class, and he would almost beat everyone on this board with no edges. This super short thing. He couldn’t stand up and rail and turn, he would have to get really low and just be like flowing around the corners. I don’t know how to describe it but it was basically like he was surfing on a snowboard and I was like like, woah. What is that? The next year he showed me a blank and was like, we want you to make a board out of this blank, and we’re gonna give it away as a prize. So I made one and I just started thinking, why aren’t we doing that in the States? Everyone wants the powder board, everyone wants a bunch of boards, but very few people can afford it, and why not offer one? This has been in the works for five years. They’re just coming out now. People want to get creative and they want to make their own stuff that works for their resorts, and everyone likes to ride powder and instead of paying $600 or $700 for a really elaborate futuristic- or old school – depending on how you look at it powder board, you can just make your own for a couple hundred dollars. The big question in everyone’s mind is well, don’t you need edges? But you really don’t. It’s already so sharp that unless you’re riding on ice – which, I don’t ride on ice – you’re gonna be fine. It totally works. So that’s where it comes from.

I saw that at SIA and was psyched. I wanna play with one, although I probably shouldn’t be allowed to use power tools.

Yeah, it’s not for the faint at heart. Because you’re trying to keep it within really tight tolerances. But it you have a guy that does wood working, he’d be able to make no problem because he has all these really sharp powerful tools.

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Wheelie boarding. Photo: Endo

Let’s talk about One Ball. When did you drop the Jay from the name?

We’re still figuring that out. People just refer to it as One Ball, so we said, ok, we’ll just do One Ball. And we got the icon that’s just o-n-e inside of a ball.

Were you the first wax company?

We coined the term snowboard wax, and starting making snowboard wax and surf wax in 1986 to put on some snowboards we made I think in 1983-84. We were like, we can make our own snowboards and skateboards, so why don’t we make our own wax?

And that’s your main gig these days?

Yeah, that’s my main income. Kinda my desk job. It’s cool, the flexibility to go there whenever, stay home if you’re sick.

You also ran a snowboard shop for awhile, right?

Yeah, unfortunately we just closed it about a month ago. We had some of the oldest handful of shops in the world. We started those in 1988, it was our family store and we had up to three. But with the online buying habits and the lack of support from brands. Everyone’s just going completely vertical with their sales model, distribution is just wide open. It would be interesting how many mom and pop, core stores have gone out of business. I don’t know, but I wanna say it’s 300-600. It’s massive. It’ll be interesting to see how it all unfolds. Quiksilver and Billabong, all these huge companies that have blown out their distribution. It hasn’t worked. But who knows, I’m no expert, but at this time, the risk is too much. You buy the stuff, try to make a little bit of margin, you have insane competition from every chain store and online thing that you can imagine, and then you made your little bit of money and you pay back the brands, and there’s no money. Unless you have a retail store by a resort or by a big city, it’s really hard to do.

It seems like something, industry-wise is gonna have to chance if shops are going to survive.

We didn’t know, so we just checked out. We got outta here with no debt and just walked away and said, alright.

What will you miss about having a shop?

It was just a family thing for so long, so it’s kinda what we were, who we are and what we came from. People just being stoked on snowboarding, as simple as that. Everybody just gets older and you gotta weigh the consequences vs the reward of why are you doing it. It’s a rough question. But it was a cool family thing for so long. We had a snowboard team forever and that part of our lives was huge for almost three decades.

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On the hunt. Photo: Endo

So your brother Temple is kind of a big deal. Is it just the two of you?

I have another brother, Mike, he’s our middle brother. I’m the oldest.

Did you ever beat Temple up?

Probably. And then Temple got stronger and bigger than me and I laid off him. All brothers beat each other up. You’re boys.

Tell me about your documentary that’s coming out in January.

It was cool. I think they’re touting it as 25 or 26 years with Mevin. Stanny – Tim Sanford – he did a good job of scrounging up photos and footage and putting together a history of where I came from and how I came up, and then my development of working with Mervin and the tech of the modern twin tip. I talk about that and a little bit around the graphics because the graphics are really big. A lot of big time Lib Tech riders have some parts, and it turned out killer.

How involved were you in the making of it?

I kinda stayed out of it. I’ve worked with those guys long enough that they know what I’m into and what I’m not into. So I just tried my best to round up the footage, but Stanny did all the work. As far as my involvement I watched it, said, yeah this is killer, let’s change a few things. He came over to my house and worked on it one day and that was it.

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Luggage life. Photo: Endo

Having ridden in Washington for 30 years now, how have you seen it change?

It’s more crowded, for sure. I don’t know about the next movement of young people coming up. You have guys like Blair [Habenicht.]

I think he’s old and washed up now.

Is he?

No, but I wouldn’t describe him as next generation anymore – he’s the it generation.

So I don’t know, that’s a good question. Where I’m at, I try to go up on powder days and work when it’s bad and get my powder days when it’s good. If there’s a big social thing I’m not really part of it. I don’t know how it’s changed, I’ve always just done by own thing. I come in, get it, and leave and go do something else. I don’t really hang. In terms of the scene, at Mt. Baker, when I was growing up, it was 3 or 4 hours away, so I would drive up there, crash on someone’s floor, ride as long as I could with the local Baker guys. There weren’t many people. Some pros would travel up sometimes but it was primarily the Baker guys. And then I would have to leave. I would ride locally around here if I could. But the young crew of rippers coming up, there’s some guys, I’m just not super tuned into it.

I think that’s one of the things thats cool about Washington is it is easy to be super into snowboarding and not involved in it at all at the same time.

Right it’s kind of like being in Hawaii. If you’re in Hawaii you’re going to be involved in surfing one way or another because it is surfing. In Washington, it’s some of the best riders and some of the best snow and the best mountains really close. It’s all right here.

Definitely. It’s the best. Well, let’s finish this up with some shout outs and thanks.

Thanks to my family, Mervin Mfg, the crew at Oneball and Northwest Snowboards. And thanks to these guys for keeping me looking good – Union, Pow, AFDicegear, Dragon and Ninja Suits.

Hit Matt with a follow on Instagram @Smashingpowder

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In 2000, I was assistant Snowboard editor for BluetorchTV – an action sports media corp based in Irvine, CA, and funded by a tech company. Said backer had developed technology to make interactive television possible, and hoped to create the demand to buy a product you saw on TV with your remote within the surging action sports market. In addition to a TV show, which aired on some channel no one actually got, they also produced several magazines, and some of the earliest content-driven websites (in a time when a 2mb gif would likely freeze your computer.) Life was good at Bluetorch as tech money and a lack of understanding about the real reach of snowboarding, skateboarding, wakeboarding, surfing, bodyboarding, motocross and BMX at that time meant we had unreal budgets, catered lunch (and dinner) at the office daily, and for me, one of the best summers of my life. Armed with a camera that shot actual film (I would spend hours in a room scanning slides as part of my workday), I captured many memories. Fifteen years later, I came across the photo album, and damn, if I didn’t get to attend some star-studded parties, such as this one. These photos from some super cool industry event, and include a few faces you may (or may not) recognize.

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The Mammoth Connect: Matt Kass, Nicole (Jackson) Klabbermatten and Matt Hammer.

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Nate Bozung, age 19. 

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Marc Frank Montoya and Kevin Jones, legends then and now. 

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Two of the most attractive men to ever grace board world – Chauncey Taunton and Zach Leach.

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I ran into Jeremy Baye (left) a few years back at a tradeshow in Orlando, where he was running a company that builds out tradeshow booths. He told me he always knew when girls had googled him because they asked what Yobeat was thanks to his immortal promo shot. Not sure who the other guys are anymore (or if I even did then.)

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Wildcats Chris Brown and Kale Stephens. The Canadian cats are making a new movie this year and we hope they both have parts! 

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Peter Line hasn’t changed at all – aside from maybe getting a little shorter. Here he’s seen with a European Volcom pro who’s name I would probably have known back then, cause I think he was kind of a big deal.

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David Carrier Porcheron is Canadian, so we’re sure this isn’t the first or last photo ever taken of him double fisting.

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NOW founder JF Pelchat and Holden founder Mikey Leblanc. Why is JF bleeding? I’m sure he doesn’t remember either. Bonus points if you can name the guy in the background…

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Ok this one I definitely recognize the dude with Peter – that’s the Muska, fools!

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Whatever you do, don’t get the wrong idea about this pic of Keir Dillon and Anne Molin Kongsguard. They’re just friends, ok. 

So what came of Bluetorch? Well, the glory was short lived as the tech bubble burst shortly there after and on the day before I was set to leave for my sophomore year college anyway, the entire editorial department was laid off. The TV show continued on for a year or two, and Bluetorch was eventually morphed into FuelTV, which was pretty sick, until they went all MMA on us.

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Before people really used the Internet, before shooting film was just a novelty, before the Olympics realized people actually might want to watch snowboarding – everyone who was anyone in the East would gather at Stimilon Air and Style events. Masterminded and ran by Dave and Laurie Olcott, this big air series launched a lot of notable careers in snowboarding and united a scene like no other. While the 90s had lots of cool snowboarding stuff, the Stimilon big air series tops our list of the most influential and important thing to happen in East Coast snowboarding, ever.

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Top right: Tim Karpinski. Middle: Nugget and Pat the Eye Bridges. Bottom: Adam Moran

“The Stimilon events were so ahead of their time,” Scotty Arnold said. “Dave made some of the best jumps I’ve hit even to this day, and I if it weren’t for those events I would have never been able to go anywhere with my snowboarding.”

And while does Davo deserve a lot of credit for putting on incredible events, he was quick to remember his wife and partner Laurie, who sadly passed away on February 12th, 2015 after a battle with cancer.

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The diligent staff who made it all happen.

“I wouldn’t be anything in our industry without her,” He said. “She did so much behind the scenes and none ever knew about it because she didn’t do it for the attention. SHE – was the reason – I was.”

We recently discovered the 1999 “Ones to Watch” brochure and realized almost half of the people on it are still actively involved in snowboarding, and the rest, well, who knows? So we figured it was time for an update.

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Click on the above image to expand.

 

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Memories from Mountain Creek

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Left: Nugget, right: The legendary Zack Diamond

Men

1. Myles Hallen

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Despite our best efforts, we were unable to track down Myles. He was last seen in South Lake Tahoe, where he was busy raising a shredlet of his own. If anyone has any information, let us know in the comments!

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Photo: Don Landerwherle

2. Tom Flocco

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“I live in SLC and work and ride in Park City mostly. Still shredding a lot but only in the winter now. I am a massage therapist at a spa called Align. I’ve been working there for 11 years. They are super good to me and I get lots of time to shred. Keeping the mountain life alive over here.”

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3. Scotty Arnold

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“I have been filming a bunch of snowboarding. I started a company called Stoyach. I am a landlord in Park City. Still snowboarding a lot and competing in fun events like the Bode Merrill mini pipe. And I skateboard a lot, too.”

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4. Adam Moran

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Adam spent several years as staff photographer for Burton, and is currently in the freelance game. Hire him at adammoran.com!

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Adam and Bridges. Photo: Poppa Moran. 

6. Mike Baker

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“I’m living in southern Maine, own kayak and fish New England guide services, work for wilderness systems kayaks and am the father of 2 boys 1 girl, and married for 5 yrs. Still lurking the NH snow in the winter, hosting Mike Baker banked event and grooming at Waterville last year.”

Mike Baker at Sugarbush

Sugarbush. 

7. Andrew Mutty

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I’m back east. I live in Mass once again. Currently I’m a stay at home dad:) My contract with Nike ran out in 2011, 12/13/14 I was with Rockstar. That’s now over too. So now I am trying to refocus… see where the road leads me. Video Games is still active and doing well with USASA. I am working on the board with TTR trying to help snowboarding remain relevant as thing progress forward toward the 2018 Games. I bought a house and have become somewhat of a Macgyver in terms of how to fix things and not pay contractors to do it for me. Being a stay at home dad is a full time gig and tall task on its own. I really love the snowboarding world and I hope to find a place to grow there but the industry as a whole is in a tough spot and it’s not getting easier, so my focus maybe slightly broad right now to find a new career path… who knows, maybe some industry leader wants to kick some ass and bring me in to shake things up!”

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8. Preston Strout

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After a few years as part owner and marketing director at High Cascade, Preston sold his shares and now lives in Bend, OR with his wife Dawn and helps make one-footed snowboard antics possible with Crab Grab.

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9. Jeff Moran

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“Been living in Jackson Hole for 16 years (due to the influence of Sean O’brien and Chris Danielle)

-Starting my 12th year at the Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard club: 11 years as head snowboard coach (2004-2015), 9 as the Director of the Freeride Program (2006-2015) and most recently I moved into a new position: the Director of Advancement (2015-present) focusing on fundraising, marketing and communications. Jhskiclub.org

-I got “re-sponsored” (HA!) in 2012 when I started riding/designing boards for Notice Custom Snowboards out of Whitefish, MT noticesnowboards.com

-I rarely hike or even go out of bounds. Still love to take hot laps and ride the park/pipe. Pow is fun, but I’m more of a quantity over quality kind of guy.

-In 2010 I started the Wednesday Night Lights Snow Jam Series at Snow King Mtn with Rob Kingwill. It’s a local rail jam for all ages designed to be a fun, casual competition for kids and adults

-I co-founded the Wild West Skateboard Contest Series in 2013 which now has 5 events in 2 states: WY & ID Wildwestskateboarding.com

-I’ve somehow managed to stay involved with snowboarding and create a life for myself in Jackson Hole with my amazing girlfriend Amy Glenn. I feel pretty lucky about all of that.”

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11. Pat Bridges

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Pat Bridges chain smokes, scours thrift stores for old snowboards from specific snowboard video parts and enjoy godlike-status as Creative Director for Snowboarder Magazine.

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Photo: Don Landerwherle

12. Jeremiah Cook

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Photo: Don Landerwherle

“Been out in San Diego for almost 10 years after 6 years in Boulder/Denver Colorado. I’m now a DJ and it has been my source of income since 2003. I only get to ride a few times a year these days at Big Bear or Mammoth, but I live at the beach so I am surfing as much as possible.”

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13. Jason Ortiz

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I’m living in Ansonia, CT. I have an 11 year old daughter, Ava, and will be attending Lincoln Tech in September to become an electrician.

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15. Nick Scofield

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Well, after Stimilon I was forced to get a real job and face the world head on. I moved to Burlington for about ten years, worked at the big “B”, had a little Chemo adventure I’m sure you’re aware of and am recently officially in remission. Then I decided to move back to CT to be closer to family and help my mom who has MS. Now I work at Victorinox Swiss Army helping manage their watch repair centers in the U.S. I currently live in Shelton, CT with my girlfriend. I still skate a bit and ride, but not nearly as much since the hills aren’t as close anymore. I’ve gotten into cars a bit and go to a lot of exotic car shows. I just started exercising again as now that’s I’m 40 I guess I need to! And that’s pretty much where I am today!

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Women

1. Hannah Grant

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“I’m living in Steamboat Springs, CO. I just got married this past April and we have two huge dogs (a newf and st bernard.) I still snowboard a ton in the winter and ride mountain bikes in the summer. I work at a dispensary, which my husband owns. Life’s pretty darn good in Steamboat!”

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Photo: Don Landerwherle

2. Anna Bock

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“1999- I won the Stimilon- 1st place Overall Pro Championship- back then it was just old cameras, pagers and VHS lol.

That comp opened up a lot of doors, I was riding for Burton B team with Ali Bernsten, who has actually remained a great lifetime friend of mine. Love her she is doing great in NYC.

2000- 2001- got wildcards for US open big air, also was invited to the Grand prix big air series tour out in California and did events in Tahoe, Breck, and Big Bear. Which lead to a few the summers training at the Burton House on Mount hood. I ended up getting 4th in the US open big air in Stratton, Vt in 2001 and just overall had great time riding all over the West and East coast with the team. Around 2004 I had a bad injury to my right shoulder in a contest. Resulting in a broken collarbone. I did treatment called Ondamed -Wave Medicine with my father Dr. Steven Bock and then ended up getting certified for the therapy after

I healed. I can now treat others in that field , I did that for about 7 years. Then ventured to South Florida where I have a condo and started Photography Business called Elitestar Photography. I live in a small surf town called Delray Beach. North of Miami. I live a nice mellow and simple life. Love to travel and go to events. I still go up North and out West to see the family. Spend my free time on the beach and with friends. Love doing charities and events down here. I love simple things no kids yet but one day.”

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Photo: Don Landerwherle

Follow Anna on social media: Twitter- @annabock1 | Instagram @annabock and @elitestarphotography

3. Ali Berntsen

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“I’m in NYC, I have a clothing brand called We Were Once Fiends. I went to FIT in 2004-2006, then worked for fashion brands from 2006-2013, and in late 2013 I started WW1F.”

Ali Berntsen at Sugarbush

4. Brooke Geery

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“Oh hey, that’s me! After I tore my ACL, broke my ankle and gave up on the pro snowboard dream, I went to college at Western Washington University, freelanced for just about every snowboard publication known to man, interned for Snowboarder Magazine, was associate editor at Bluetorch (which became FuelTV), spent two years doing wakeboard and boardercross research for the X Games, six years running running web content at Alliance Wake, a year and a half as social manager for Nike Snowboarding, some other stuff I forget. And obviously I still run Yobeat.”

5. Lauren “Nugget” Naudascher

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“So what’s the Nug doing? Living the life Brooke, living the life. So I am a Domestic Goddess, raising my two fantastic kids 6 and 1. I live in NH, married to my college sweetheart 16 years of love. I also have my own baking business Sugar and Flour. Jason “Larry” and I are trying to keep true to our roots and give our kids the opportunity to see the snow and skate world. Oliver, 6, has been riding since age 2 and Ellery will give it a shot this winter. Oliver absolutely loves snowboarding and can totally hang with the big boys, which is sweet. I feel so fortunate to have meet the tight group of friends that I did through Stimilon. It’s built life long friendships. Thanks to Dave and Laurie for creating something so awesome. I couldn’t ask for anything more than I’ve got! I love my life.”

Nugget proves she ain't chicken!

’98 Waterville Valley Air & Style Challenge. Photo Don Landerwherle

6. Karen Plourde

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We also couldn’t find Karen – does anyone out there know??

MORE VINTAGE COVERAGE

1999 Air and Style Challenge

Making it Big in Big Air by Pat Bridges

1999 East Coast Contests in photos

The official Stimilon archive

RIP Laurie, you are greatly missed!

Ken Achenbach is widely known as the father of Canadian snowboarding. He opened the first snowboard shop ever, was instrumental in getting resorts to allow snowboarding, and has been at the helm of Camp of Champions since 1989. More importantly, he still loves it every bit as much as he did the first time he strapped in. This summer, we headed up to COC for the full Whistler experience and I spent Ken’s daily afternoon commute down Whistler, chatting with him about the past, present and future of snowboarding as well as a few of the lessons he’s learned along the way.

What was Camp of Champions like in the olden days?

We had a lot of fun. It’s funny, it’s changed a lot, but it hasn’t changed at the same time. All the best pros come and coach, kids from all over the world come and hang out and ride with em. Everyone makes a bunch of new friends and pretty much has the best week of their lives. The park has changed for sure, but the experience is pretty much the same.

Tell me about starting the first snowboard shop ever.

Well, I ski raced until I was like 15, but I figured out pretty quickly as one of four kids with a single mom, that I was never gonna make it to the national team because I wasn’t rich. So one October duing dry land training for ski racing, I walked up to my coach and just said, I quit. Winter is pretty long and boring in Canada if you don’t do anything. I grew up here and I don’t even remember learning to ski, I was so young. It was our day care. I skied every single day of the winter. To go from skiing everyday to doing nothing, it was like oh, God – which was is serious? I called up Tom Sims and bought a snowboard, went one run and was just like, this is the best thing ever. I called up and ordered 6 more because I figured everyone was going to want to do this. Nobody wanted to sell them. My original plan was to sell them to ski shops, but nobody wanted to them, so I just opened the Snoboard Shop. Maybe I should have pick a named that was a little more franchise able, but whatever.

How long did you run that for?

I never really ran it, I just sort of had it. I opened the Calgary store in 1980, and we closed the one in Whistler in 96. It was pretty funny. I gave the one away in Calgary and I found out later that the dude sold it for $2 million. I’m not the best businessman. Had one here and Doug Lundgren was the guy running it and he was trained to be a heli ski guide at Weigles and one fall Mike Weigle called him up, “Doug, you wanna be a heli ski guide?” Our lease was up in a month and we were going to move to another location. He was still on the phone with Mike and he looks at me and says, hey, you wanna run the store? I was like, nope, so he took the job and we closed a week later and that was that. We actually closed our store for powder – no lie. In before everybody and out before everybody.

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Ken and his empire. Photo courtesy Camp of Champions/Low Pressure Podcast

Do you ever miss having a shop?

Oh God no. I think every day I wake up glad I don’t have a store. I never wanted to be that 50-year-old guy that’s behind the counter watching a video, selling kids snowboards. I sold snowboards, but for me the store was just a way to turn people on to snowboarding. And that’s what camp has kind of transitioned into – just a way to get people snowboarding and get em stoked. Now I don’t have to sell em anything and I just have to keep them excited about snowboarding and now skiing.

When did you add skiing at COC? Was it a tough decision?

No, JP Martin and I both came from ski racing and skiing families and half our friends skied and so we would always get our ski friends asking to ride the park. How do you say no to your friends? It’s like in Alberta when we had the store, we had more ski resorts to ride at than probably anywhere else in North America. How do you say no to someone you’ve known your whole life? Doug Lundgren’s parents used to own Mt Norquay, my mom and dad used to be ski patrollers. Back in the day everyone skied because that’s what you did, so even though we were snowboarding, they couldn’t suddenly not like us. We were kinda lucky that way, and I just didn’t take no for an answer ever when a ski resort wouldn’t let us up. We would hound ya nonstop, and it worked. I can relate to Jake. He did it in the states and we did it in Canada.

Do you think it was easier to get acceptance in Canada?

Yeah, it’s Canada. Just do what you want. Canada is pretty awesome that way. It’s why camp is so much fun as well. When you don’t have to worry about getting sued every three seconds for sneezing or whatever you can do a lot more stuff that’s a lot more fun. It obviously safe, but you don’t have to think about if we’re going to get sued. That’s why our camp is so progressive. We had the first 22′ super pipe, actually ours was 25′, and we’ve had pretty much every rail configuration you’ve seen started at camp. So much park progression and maybe it is because we’re in Canada and we have that freedom of thought so your first thought is “wow this sounds really fun” instead of “well we could get sued.” We always had a more open mind or we just didn’t care.

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OG. Photo: Scott Serfas via Instagram

I know you were not a big proponent of adding snowboarding to the Olympics. What was your objection back then and how do you think it’s turned out?

Every generation of snowboarding takes its own approach and makes it into what they think it should be. I’m some 50-year-old dude now that grew up snowboarding, but snowboarding belongs to the 15 year olds. Who cares what I think. But personally, FIS ruined ski racing and moguls. They ruined skiing basically by turning it into the regimented thing where all the fun and freedom is taken out of it. You have to do it like this and you have to point your pinky. Why would we want snowboarding, which is way closer to skateboarding than skiing, to be like that? Don’t even get me started on the fact they’re a bunch of gangsters.

FIS is run by Gangsters?

Well they’re all gangsters. I remember the first day I started at CBC commentating snowboard contests. Being the mouthy person that I am I asked the producers “since when do you guys give a fuck about snowboarding?’ He goes, oh we got told we had to. This was 95/96, and they had been told by FIS that if they didn’t carry FIS Snowboarding they’d lose FIS ski racing. And whoever controls the media, controls snowboarding.

What do you think of the snowboard media in general?

It doesn’t matter. We used to make movies and go to crazy places too, but snowboarding in the magazines, so much of it is no relation to what real people do for fun, because everything’s ad driven now. In the old days we’d do a trip to Europe but we couldn’t say “Barfoot goes to Europe.” You look at the mags now and it’s all Vans does Europe and Burton goes blah blah. I wish we could have bought the cover back in the day.

Do you think the ad influence has stifled creativity in some ways though?

I don’t know. Snowboarding is always creative because it’s just the way of the sport. I think snowboarding is as creative as its ever been. Look at Capita, look at Lib tech and even Burton. The thing was the creativity back in the day was driven by necessity. When I made the twin tip it was a matter of not liking the boards we were on, and got our asses handed to us by Kidwell, so we thought, how can we make a better board? Me and Neil Defrain came up with the twin tip and now that’s the DNA for all snowboards pretty much. Same with baseless bindings. I wanted a more poppy board and the baseplates made a dead spot in the board. I was like if we got rid of the baseplates and mounted the bindings on the outside it would get rid of the deadspot. That kind of turned into the EST system. The creativity is there, it’s just a lot harder to come up with something new. But you can’t blame kids for not being as conscious of what makes a board epic when the board they’re on is epic. The general wickedness of snowboards these days is awesome, even a piece of shit is epic. We did it so they don’t have to. But luckily there’s the JG’s and the Alex Warburton’s of the world who think about how to make snowboards better so we don’t have to. That makes me stoked when people always push stuff forward. You can always make stuff better. That’s why I laugh when people diss Burton because pretty much everything started with them. Same thing with Lib Tech, it’s such an amazing brand. Mike Olsen, Barrett, Pete Saari are geniuses of snowboarding. The creativity is there, it’s just different than it used to be.

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Taking care of business.

Do you think the pro dream is still the same?

Yeah. Everybody wants to go pro. Snowboarding is exactly the same as it was in the old days. I never got paid as a pro! (laughs) The dream is still there. You might not get paid but it’s still pretty awesome to travel around the world on someone else’s dime and make friends all over the world, go to different countries, see things and do things, have people come up to you and ask you for your autograph or say, your section is blah blah was so sick! That’s awesome. Money is just a bonus.

Helps ya buy things though.

That’s what jobs are for.

Who wants one of those, though?

True, I’ve been trying to avoid that shit my whole life. But on the other side of the coin, the fact that there is no money in snowboarding unless you’re one of the few people getting paid is it makes you think of your own stuff. It makes you start brands or create something so you own it and you can’t get ditched the first time you break your ankle or blow your knee. It makes me so stoked to see Blue Montgomery start Capita. That’s what you’re supposed to get out of snowboarding is to figure out your own life. Like you with Yobeat. When you started snowboarding did you ever think you’d start a website and you’d be driving down whistler in the middle of summer doing an interview?

No.

But you did. And the neat thing is when it’s your own you never quit and you try harder and you go up and down with the cycles, but because you love snowboarding at the end of the day that’s all that really matters. And you do whatever you do to keep snowboarding. Maybe I’m still 15 in my head, but that’s all I ever wanted out of snowboarding was to go snowboarding.

That’s funny people always accuse me of having a 15-year-old mentality and I think that’s not a bad thing because I think snowboard media should either appeal to 15 year olds, or remind you of being 15 when you read it.

I’m with you. When you’re 15 everything is awesome and you make the friends that are gonna be your friends for life, and you have more fun than you’re every gonna have, because you have no responsibilities other than to have fun. And that’s what snowboarding should be. I’m totally with you. My wife left me cause I’m basically a 15-year-old kid. What can ya do?

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Moments like this aren’t going to capture themselves. 

Have you ever considered growing up?

No. No way, I’m never growing up.

What’s your take on Mt. Hood camps and then new ones popping up from Woodward?

The more the merrier. More people getting people stoked on snowboarding the better. I don’t know about their parks, but that’s just my personal opinion. The neat thing about snowboard camp, and I don’t just mean ours is snowboard camps are the churches of snowboarding. The kids that come to camp are the most rapid snowboarders from wherever they live. And they meet the other rapid snowboarders from all over the world and they make the next snowboarding. Mary Rand came to camp when she was 12 and now she’s rookie of the year and a guest pro. Andrew Hicks, he’s working for Billabong and he met his wife at camp when he was 15. The friends you make and the connections you make, you don’t get that anywhere else. I think the media should support camps a little more. If they wonder why snowboard sales are down – give support to the true hardcores, which are the kids that come to camp.

What do people get out of camp?

People come to camp to be pro snowboarders or whatever, but the one thing I really like about camp is you may come for that but when you’re here you realize, oh man, I’m never gonna make it as a pro. But you’ll be like I could be a filmer, or a photographer, or a writer or a marketing director or an editor for a magazine. It’s amazing. You look at the snowboard industry and everyone in it came through camp.

I have to ask, is this the lowest you’ve ever seen the snow?

This is the worst winter I’ve ever had. Me and Don Schwartz and a couple of friends own Powder Mountain cat ski and we cat skied 6 days. We usually go 90. It was New Zealand this year. No snow down low and tons of snow up high. Up until May 1 we had pretty much the same snow we had last year and then it got hot and didn’t stop.

Do you think it’ll turn around?

It has to man, it’s all I’ve got. (laughs) Snowboarding is all I’ve got and I’m not even that good at it! It’s gonna snow. Whistler had something like this in the late 70s where they had three years of no snow and the only reason it wasn’t as tramatic for the resorts is we had all that Olympic snow making. I called this season Colorado good. There wasn’t any powder but it was sunny every day and it was white and you could slide on it. Colorado perfect, it’s what everybody – other than people that live for powder – it’s what you want on your vacation. So it was an awesome year if you like that, but I like powder, so it could have been a little bit better.

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Marcus Rand.

Tell me a story about when you were a pro snowboarder.

Well, when I was a pro I kinda transititoned into being a photographer. Back then It’s kinda like you’re the best hockey team in Alaska. Being a Pro snowboarder didn’t mean much, it just meant you got your ass kicked by Terje every year. But snowboarding hasn’t changed much at all. You get a crew of friends the snowboard shop posse was ridiculously talented – we had Boyer, Warburton, Shorty, my brother Dave, Steve Matthews, Keith Duckboy Wallace and Evan Thein, Brushie and Nicole Anglerath. All these people would come and coach in the summer and they were the same people you’d hang out with in the winter. Snowboarding hasn’t changed at all and that’s why I laugh when people talk about it. It’s like my keys to reality story. Snowboarding hasn’t changed, you’ve changed. You’re 12 or 15 and all you do it dream about moving to a ski area and then as soon as you’re old enough to move to a ski area, you either move on your own or with your friends and you get a crappy job as a busboy a pizza delivery guy and you snowboard every day. And you have the best time and you live life simply. Your hungry and your clothes are dirty and your always broke, but you have a season pass and you have the absolute best time of your life. You do that and then one day you decide to buy a car and then you get a job to pay for the car and then girls talk to you because you’re not a loser snowboarder that has no money and all of a sudden you blink and you’re forty years old and have a house and a job and you’re not that kid anymore. I’ll fully admit, I’ve changed, but I still like to think of myself as a dirty little snowboarder. All I’ve ever wanted to do is snowboard and I’ve been lucky enough to make that happen.

You still didn’t tell me a story from the old days.

Ok, it was like 1991 and every pro snowboarder lived in this one house in Whistler. The tour bus would go by and point it out – the snowboard house! Brushie lived in the hallway to nowhere and put up a sheet to keep everyone out. Terje lived there. There was like 25 people. The house was so full I basically lived in my van all summer.

What’s your favorite part about Whistler?

Everything. I think what I like the best about it – there are a lot of resorts that blow the horn, or say we care about the customer experience – but Whistler to me is the only place that I’ve ever been where they don’t even see a box to think outside of. I can’t believe this is my front yard. You end up where you’re supposed to end up so it make sense, but it’s best resort in North America. I’ll call it the best resort in the world, but I’ll definitely say there’s better riding in Europe, but as far as the whole package, there’s nothing better than Whistler. I can’t get bored of this place because if I do I will have to move to France. I’d have to find a French girl to marry like Americans do when they want to move here!

Do you think you missed out on anything by being a snowboard bum for your whole life.

No, not a chance. It’s funny, you get older and you live in Whistler and when you travel and you tell people where you live they’re jealous. And it’s like, you could live there too. There’s not a gate to get in. You get the life you want, so pick a life you like. You don’t have to be an office monkey, you don’t have to have a shitty life. If you wanna live in the mountains, do it. Sell all your shit and move, it’s the best thing you’ll ever do. Yeah you’re gonna be broke and hungry and live with 15 people in a crappy two bedroom apartment and you’ll either like it or hate. If you like it, well there’s a way to find a way to make your dream come true and live there. If you don’t like it, university and real jobs are always going to be there. The stuff you learn being a free person, I think you learn a lot more about how the world works than I think you do going to university. But what do I know, I never went to University.

 

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We here are Yobeat are sort of snowboard nerds (in case you weren’t sure.) We all really live for this shit. And accordingly, our ears perked right up when we heard the soothing voice of Ed from Buoloco asking TRice who his top 10 boarders are. Now the news section on this site is I feel, an unappreciated gem, and it’s frequented almost exclusively by old people such as myself (read: 30+) so the lists it has spawned reflect that. However, I wanted to bring it to the greater Yobeat population with this here feature, because it’s a heavy question and it’s very interesting to see all the different answers. Since we all know you care so much about our opinion, here are the staff of Yobeat’s picks:

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Todd Richards. Circa 2000

Brooke

Peter Line
Jamie Lynn
Travis Rice
Gigi Ruf
JP Walker
Terje
David Benedek
Kazu
Todd Richards
Craig Kelly

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Danny Kass, circa who knows when, wearing Kyle Clancy’s badge and holding an Eastern Edge.
Stan/Justin

Travis Parker
Nicolas Muller
Scotty Wittlake
Terje
Travis Rice
Jeremy Jones (rail)
Pat Moore
Chris Bradshaw
Danny Kass
Craig Kelly

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Peter Line at High Cascade circa 1999 (Taken minutes before or after Todd’s)

JPark

Peter Line
Tarquin Robbins
Craig Kelly
Jeff Anderson
Terje
Devun Walsh
Scotty Wittlake
Travis Parker
Jamie Lynn
Gigi Ruf

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Pat Moore on the Forum or Against Em Tour.

Alexa McCarty (honorable employee)

Kazu
Travis Rice
Terje Haakonseen
Danny Kass
Pat Moore
Chris Bradshaw
Jamie Lynn
Dylan Thompson
Halldor Helgason
Todd Richards

Ok, go. Or check out other people’s lists here.

Also, we should take more promo shots.

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Last week we spelled out a rough history of snowboarding from 1996-2005 and now we pick up where we left off. Snowboarding is flying high through the 2000’s and shits about to get really, really tech. Again, this is by no means a complete history of everything relevant or important that happened, rather the stuff we or the Internet remembers best. Please feel free to add the things we missed or argue because you have nothing better to do.

2006

2006. Snowboard cross makes its Olympic debut and Lindsay Jacobellis secures her infamy falling on a grasser and blowing certain gold.

2006. Shaun White has an “undefeated season” and is on the cover of Rolling Stone. From this point forward, he is what regular people think of when they hear “snowboarding.”

2006. Mervin introduces Banana Camber, starting the war with Never Summer, who claim they did it first. We’re not choosing sides, since reverse camber was first done by Inca Snowboards in 1996.

2006. David Benedek does the first double cork in a contest at 2006 6Star Air & Style Munich. JP Walker did it first.

2007. Terje shatters Ingemar’s high air record at the Arctic Challenge, going 9.8m off a quarter pipe with a backside 360.

2007. Burton encourages people to poach, offering a $5000 prize for a video of poaching one of the resorts that still doesn’t allow.

2007. Taos opens its doors to snowboarding. Only three resorts now do not allow snowboarding.

2007. 1080s in every different direction are a must if you’re a competitive snowboarder. And people manage to land them pretty much every time.

2007. Lance and Mike Hakker start Ashbury, and the hipster movement gains serious steam in snowboarding.

2008. Snowboarding equipment is a $487 million industry.

2008. That’s it, That’s All comes out and is on the next level for snowboard videos. It doesn’t hurt that Travis Rice does the first double cork 1260. Basically, everyone agrees he’s insane.

2008. The North Face Masters of Snowboarding brings a return to competitive big mountain snowboarding.

2008. After sitting more or less dormant for years, Yobeat is revitalized when Nick Lipton shows up on our doorstep and refuses to write about wakeskating.

2008/2009. Camber, Rocker whatever. Everyone gets in on the action.

2009. Kevin Pearce crashes and suffers a TBI training for the Olympics. Snowboarding safety is called into question by “experts” like Christine Brennan.

2009. People in snowboarding really start paying attention to the Internet. Some love it, some hate it, and most realize this is going to change everything.

2009. Videograss drops it’s self-named “Videograss.” Hipsters and rail junkies rejoice over not having to fast-forward through any parts.

2009. Double corks are common place in the halfpipe. Since halfpipes now measure 22’, most sane people just give up their Olympic dreams.

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2009. Louie Vito was on Dancing with the Stars. While it’s not really relevant to snowboard history, it’s a a fun fact none-the-less.

2010. SIA Moves to Denver. The trade show becomes remarkably less fun, even if it is a lot “closer to the mountains.”

2010. Torstein Horgmo does the first triple cork. It’s all downhill, and really dizzy, from here.

2010. Burton Closes the BMC and replaces it with “Craig’s,” an R & D Facility to make up for the fact they get all their snowboards from China like everyone else now.

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2010. Vancouver Olympics. Scotty Lago keeps it real for snowboarding, leaving the Olympic village early after some scandalous photos of him and his medal surface.

2011

2011. Pat Burgener does the first switch backside triple cork, and we’re pretty tired of counting rotations.

2011. The much acclaimed Art of Flight is released and we can generally agree That’s it, That’s all was better.

2012. There are 8.2 million snowboarders in the USA, a 10% increase over the previous season, accounting for more than 30% of all snow sports participants.

2011. Splitboarding, which has been around since the mid 90s, begins to grow in popularity. Brands add split boards to their lines and bros everywhere start talking about “going splitboarding” instead of “snowboarding.”

2011. Bryan Fox and Austin Smith start writing Drink Water on their snowboards. The movement grows and soon they’re selling lots of $60 sweatshirts.

2012. David Benedek releases this three-year book project, Current State snowboarding and the news is in: Snowboarding is just fine.

2012. Jed Anderson’s drops a hell of a part straight to the Internet, and while the purists may complain, the online video part is a trend that’s only looking to grow.

2012. Snowboard pioneer Tom Sims passes away on Sept. 12, 2012.

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2012. Burton pulls the plug on Forum, Foursquare and Special Blend, and also nixes RED, moving its helmet proram under the Anon umbrella.

2013. It’s the year of the Banked Slalom. Mt. Baker’s legendary one turns 30, and every podunk hill from Washington to NH holds its own banked race.

2013. For the first time in 30 years, the US Open is held somewhere other than VT. Vail, Colorado to be exact.

2013. The Elan Factory, manufacturer of many brands, closes, but is saved from certain death by CAPiTA.

And that brings us to now… What does the future hold? Well, you’re gonna have to wait another 18 years or so to find out.