Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bummer It's Summer 3

Louif Paradis: 5 Favourite Tricks Ever Filmed

The Man, the Myth, the Legend; Quebec's finest talks about his favorite clips

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jody Wachniak 20 Tricks At Camp Of Champs

Never puts out a bad edit. Mr. Wachniak at COC

Monday, June 4, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

E-Man Whistler Park Slayfest

Fuck, how good is this dude? Style for days.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DOPE 3 Teaser

These guys do it right, and I'm always stoked on the vids they put out. This one, as the trailer suggests, should be no different. The countdown is on!

DOPElll Trailer from DOPE INDUSTRIES on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Campfire Confessional With Kevin Griffin

One of my favorite dudes in snowboarding breaks it down.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Bloody Mary With a Splash of Awkwardness

 Before I begin to even write anything in this post I just want to say one thing. Don't get me wrong, Peter Line is Peter Line. In my opinion he can pretty much do/say whatever he wants as far as snowboarding is concerned and it's fair game. The dude has undoubtedly paid more then his dues within the progression of snowboarding and as a staple of the culture itself and this alone gives him a green light to do whatever he wants within snowboarding. It definitely seems as though he too has recently came to that realization, which is evident in his Heated Discussion segments on the Snowboardermag site. The series has recently wrapped up and I'm still not quite sure to make of all of them, which I'm sure is the same way the guests feel about the episodes. They are weird, really weird. Not really even funny weird, just weird. I'm all for a good dose of daily weirdness in my life but these segments find themselves in some entirely different category all by themselves. Being a journalism student myself, I totally understand that the traditional model for conducting interviews; one in which the interviewer poses a pre-prepared question only to wait for an appropriate response from the guest, is stale, uninteresting unless the guest is actually interesting and for the most part been done to death. That being said however, I'm not sure what it is with the snowboardermag's affinity for strange and awkward interviewers talking to people that I'm pretty sure most snowboarders are actually interested in hearing from. The internviews were equally awkward in their own right, but I felt as though at least in those segments Jade was legitimately trying to evoke interesting answers from the guest, for the sake of the viewer. Unfortunately the same can't be said about these kooky clips. I get that Line is laced in these clips and that his laissez faire, I could give a shit about you attitude is supposed to elicit a hilarity from the viewer, but I don't think this was ever actually achieved.

Every single episode I watched, I was waiting and waiting for him to at least ask some kind of comprehendible question to the guest, but alas this never came to fruition. At first the continual references made to his clanking collection of X-Games medals was surprisingly dryly funny, but this wore off quick. After each successive mention I found myself wondering even more intently why I keep watching this shit. I'm a snowboard nerd though and much like a flame engulfed car crash, I couldn't look away.

The list of guests he had throughout this series' short existence was actually pretty bowsey and that's why it's a bummer we didn't actually get to hear from any of them. Louie Vito (he was unsurprisingly definitely not stoked lol) Pat Moore, Eddie Wall, Louif Paradis, Jamie Anderson, Elena Hight and Dan Brisse all took a spot on the couch infront of the fireplace, with not so much different results.

Vito was obviously confused as fuck, and as I could give a shit about contests and predominant contest riders, I actually thought this was pretty funny for the first episode. Then I realized that it wasn't Vito that was necessarily the kook factor in this interview, but perhaps the interviewer himself. Re-watching these I really get a Jake Phelps vibe from Line in the interviews. As much as Phelps too is a fucking whacko, at least his insanity is genuine and doesn't seem forced. Kind of lame.

Pat Moore seemed a bit more familiar with Line's personal brand of retardedness and seemed to take the whole thing a bit more lightly, but as a far as an actual interview is concerned, still super whack. At least Moore joined in on the festivities, even cheersing Line with a bloody mary. I don't blame the dude, I would have to be absolutely shitfaced too to sit there and talk to this dude, without busting his ass. It was kind of strange when Moore was trying to describe in the inclusion of Real Street only to have Line reply "Do you often speak for kids who live in cities"and kept pushing the point. I give Moore a lot of credit for not giving a shit, a true testament to how mellow this dude is. He actually tried to engage Line into speaking more coherently by asking about his own contest runs and cab 5's etc. I'm guessing these guys are homeys and shit so it makes a bit more sense to bust Moore's balls but dude still comes across as pretty lame. Sooo rad at the conclusion when Line asks Moore if he wants an autograph only to have Moore crumple it up and toss it in the fire while claiming "maybe if you gave this to me 10 years ago it would have been worth something." Killed it, best part of any of the episodes hands down.

Being a huge Eddie Wall fan since I was a little kid, I'm always stoked to see any coverage of the dude, whether it be web content or not. So when I logged onto Snowboarder and saw that he was one of the guests, I couldn't help but hope that this episode utilized a slightly different narrative strategy. Once again I was completely wrong and Peter Line was no more interesting or engaging then he had been in any of the previous eps, maybe even more so. As whack as Line once again is here, I'm glad to see Eddie Wall not take part in the stupidness and actually talk like a normal person, kind of rad. Eddie Wall, unlike Peter Line is actually funny, I'm always psyched to hear him talk and the shit he talks about preparing for judging the X-Games was legit hilarious. 

The climax of this sentiment that Peter Line, when not on his snowboard, is fucking annoying as shit, is best displayed through the interview he conducted with Jamie Anderson. This chick was so over it, she didn't even try to hide how lame she thought the whole thing was, which I can definitely respect.  She straight up told him he was whack then peaced out. Best reaction I saw the whole time.

The only dude who actually seemed to relatively enjoy, or not even enjoy, but not end up being completely annoyed was Dan Brisse. I don't actually think that he enjoyed the experience or that he was indifferent in some way, I just think Brisse is actually just way to nice to do anything but laugh and smile. I like it that he can't really get a negative reaction, makes me like Brisse even more.

This website is not here as an outlet for talking shit. I don't even like talking shit at all. I think there are a lot of positives in snowboarding these days and that's the stuff I want to talk and write about. I think all the snowboarders that sat down for these fireside chats are relevant, respectable and legit snowboarders (perhaps with the exception of one who will remain nameless) and I truly would have enjoyed hearing about their seasons and about their lives in general. So I'm not necessarily talking shit about Peter Line, more so just saying that I think the show had the potential to be something rad but somehow it turned out being super lame. But I suppose this is often the case. Jamie Anderson said it best "This is, come on, retarded." Truer words have never been spoken.

But oh yea, Dude did rip!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Real Talk Son!

I saw a cool clip on SBC today. It's definitely worth a watch. A snowboarding legend saying some real shit without being an asshole. I agree with a lot of things Scotty says here, but I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who think he's full of shit. Whatever the case maybe, if you give a shit about snowboarding, it's important to listen to other people's opinions about it. Especially people who have played such an impactful role in the culture as a whole.

Scotty Wittlake talks about energy drinks from BuoLoco on Vimeo.

I think much of what is said in this clip is pretty poignant and on point. I know in the grand scheme of things it's only snowboarding and whatever but I think as responsible human beings, we really need to step back and look at these kinds of things objectively. The prominence of energy drink logos and the overabundant availability of these beverages to children who should have nothing to do with them is worrying to say the least, straight up crazy to be honest. When I was a young skater, I use to emulate my idols equally as passionately as today's youth, walking down the street with the tongues hanging out of my shoes like Stevie Williams or a backwards Braves hat trying to look like the Boss. The difference was that these fashion choices I pursued, which were directly influenced by the skaters and snowboarders I looked up to so fervently never for a moment's time threatened my health. That's gone completely out of the window as of late however and kids idolizing the Coles or Shecklers and the Rencz or Cravens feel as though the most effective way to follow in their footsteps is to drink the very poisonous beverages that these dudes are sponsored by. My local hill banned energy drink sales from the cafeteria last season due to the amount of kids who were going bonkers, spending all their money on Monsters and getting picked up at the end of the night by their parents completely wired. What else does this sound like? Kids are without a doubt the most susceptible target audience out there for marketing strategies and by setting a precedent at an early age for a culture dependent on stimulating and addictive substances can honestly go nowhere from here but down hill. That's why it's tight that Wittlake took the time to speak his mind about this whole issue, someone has to. The young people most responsible for supporting the livelihood of these energy drink corporations are unfortunately not yet able to recognize the vicious cycle of which they have become a part of. However there are enough of us out there, with solid heads on our shoulders, riding with the Monster or Redbull snapback hat kids on a regular basis who should take it upon themselves to clue the little shredders in. I'm definitely not being preachy or advocate being preachy, I'm down for everyone to make their own decisions in life. I think it's important though, to come to the best decision, information is paramount. So let the kids know what is really going on with these drink companies; they're are targeting young kids with an insanely aggressive marketing campaign, to sell them a product that is insanely unhealthy and at the end of the day the people who motivate these kids to throw their money away on these drinks, probably don't even drink them themselves.

Monday, March 12, 2012

You Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone

The season is unfortunately beginning to wind down here in Toronto and all the hills in the area are closing up shop in the next couple of weeks. It seems like only days ago I was getting the pre season itches, counting down the days until I could strap in and spend another winter making memories. Unfortunately that dream winter never quite materialized and at this point I have resigned myself to the fact that it's never gonna happen, the season is almost all said and done. In retrospect however, although due to weather the frequency of my snowboarding this winter hasn't been what I had hoped for or what it's been in the past, this has been one of the most fun seasons I can remember.

In the past I've spent countless consecutive days on the hill snowboarding, never giving a passing thought as to whether the weather would permit me to head out again the next day. With that mindset, I took advantage of the long, snow filled days with the homeys, knowing there would be more to come tomorrow. That definitely wasn't the case this winter however, and every moment spent snowboarding was legitimately appreciated and stored away in the mental memory bank for future review. The snow was never ideal this season, but every day out was amazing and fun and probably more progressive as far as my riding is concerned then most previous year's day packed into one. I think this was because I didn't know when the next time I'd ride would be. I didn't know if I'd wake up to temperature's in the upper teens and resorts not even able to make snow and open there doors.

This year we took a different approach. Not sitting in the chalet, taking extended breaks and indulging in all the over priced delicacies the cafeteria has to offer. In seasons past, the beers and other words beginning with B often took precedence over the actual snowboarding, which is normally pretty fun in it's own skeezy and counterproductive way, but before you know it any chances of doing any actual snowboarding have all gone cattywompus. But this year we rode for hours and hours on end, stopping only for the occasional smoke or to slam down a piece of pizza or can of coke only to strap right back in and make our way back to the lift line.

There were the finals of a contest series at my local hill on Saturday and the park was closed to the everyone but the competitors for the day. Naturally I was bummed at first as Chicopee doesn't have a whole lot else to offer, but I ended up meeting up with my young nephew whose still not confident to gets lap in at the park. We spent the day just cruising around, being dumb asses and enjoying being out on the snow. I can honestly say it was one of the best days I had this season. So maybe this global warming tainted season has been a blessing in disguise. I mean it definitely sucked it in it's own right, but in an attempt to keep up the glass half full mindset , it's been a positive eye opener. It's really made me realize how pretty much everything else to do in the winter is boring as shit and that I'm super fortunate to be a snowboarder and have that aspect of my life to retreat to.Thank Fuck for that!

I feel as though it is often the case, and I am among the biggest offenders for this, that we as a culture abuse snowboarding as a commodity, failing to recognize that all that really matters at the end of the day is what happens on the board, and that everything else we talk about and consume on a daily base as far as snowboarding is concerned, can actually be left to the wayside. Don't get me wrong, I write about snowboarding because I love it so much and it's something that consistently frequents my thoughts. The beauty of this shit winter has been though, that it's reminded me that all these videos I watch, magazines I read, time spent buying gear, laughs had in the chalet bar; are all irrelevant. All that is important is me and my snowboard.

That Was Wicked! Says a Native Lady to a Camera

Nick Visconti was slated to have his own web series on TWS Snow next after the season's conclusion entitled ReCreation. However, as he was quoted as saying on the TWS site " This season I have been working on an exclusive TransWorld SNOWboarding web-series and video project with intent to fuse web, video and print media. However, due to some unexpected events and the limited snow season, this project has been reinvented and we decided to release now in season."

I caught a lot of heat at the beginning on the season when I put Nick's Think Thanks parts as one of the parts that gets my stoked for an oncoming season. I'm into the dude though, I won't deny it. I know there are tons of people out there who would love to disagree and revel in their hatred for this guy. I think he's a rad snowboarder. In a culture where "what is cool" is held at such high regard, I'm backing anyone who is out there doing their own thing, differently, originally and with a creative and stylish approach. I'd say Nick Visconti is just that and I was super hyped to see he had released a new 4 minute video part.

This part has seriously heavy rail destruction in it, Visconti undeniably has skills on the board. I kind of think of his trick and spot selection in the same vein as someone like Scotty Stevens, and I enjoy that kind of weird, strap in strap out riding (shuv its a certain point) approach. I'm not gonna name off every tight trick he did in the part, they're all pretty craze. There is some super weird shit and some straight up tricks done on some sketchy rails, a pretty nice variety. Watch the part, then re watch it. Then probably watch it again. 

Part of the reason I began skateboarding and subsequently snowboarding was that everyone who I met who skated seemed like they were a bit more in tune with the world then everyone else, like they knew something that people who didn't skate didn't know. I see snowboarding populated with less like this more and more as the years go on, but Nick still reminds me of my older sisters punk friends who would come over with their skateboards and talk about all this cool musical, philosophical and political stuff and the intro to this part on helps to strengthen that perception I have of him. In the fast paced, highly competitive society we currently find ourselves living in, it's always refreshing to see someone whose able to make fun of themselves, take things lightly and still get ahead in the world.

I think maybe sometimes the importance of creativity, which is paramount to keeping the vitality of this culture alive and preventing it from becoming another run of the mill, fandom filled, competitive sport, is lost in the mix these days. Whether the tricks he's doing and the gear he's repping is something you like or not, I still think it's important to recognize people like Nick (among numerous others) who are constantly out there, pushing the boundaries of the creative mind and keeping snowboarding fresh in the wake of what seems to be pinnacle in snowboarding' mainstream popularity.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Hairy Snowboarder

I've been wanting to post about LNP's TWS Pro Spotlight since I got it in the mail a month ago, but school work and the rigors of having fun with my friends on the hill have prevailed until now.  I was, am and probably always will be a fan of Laurent Nicolas Paquin's snowboarding. Dude's amazing. His skill level is fucking nuts, but what has always seperated LNP was his sheer creativity and originality regarding the tricks he does, which is in a whole other league. There's quite a lot of lifestyle footage and coverage of him floating around out there and I've never really known what to make of the dude as just that, a dude. This interview however was the last small push it took for me to go from fan of his snowboarding to full blown fan of the dude himself. His passion for snowboarding is so undeniable and apparent from the way he talks about it and how he expresses his relationship with it to the level of success he has garnered for himself within the industry. LNP snowboards because it makes him happy, and it always hypes me up to see pros out there doing it for just that reason. I think it is pretty safe to say that the motivation to get himself to where he is at today stems from the right reasons (or at least what I think are the right reasons) and he has continued to embody this pure love of snowboarding throughout his career.

Recently someone turned me onto the Living Louie Vito web series and I have to be honest I can't say I was too stoked. He seems like a nice guy and he definitely rips on the board but I'm personally not really down to associate snowboarding with coaches, training and workout schedules. As a snowboarder the show is obviously entertaining as it's always pretty funny to get an in depth look into this choreographed side of things. After watching the web series, I re read LNP's spotlight and the dude just seemed even that much more legit.

His answers are pretty enlightening and let the reader really know where his priorities lie, not only in snowboarding but in life as well. When asked why he didn't take part in the Real Snow contest this year LNP put it bluntly " I was really looking forward to filming with the Videograss crew cause they're all my friends. For this year I just wanted to do another good part with Videograss, that's not on the internet, has all my shots and that kids will be stoked to see."

LNP is a snowboarder's snowboarder and a good reminder that no matter how many Livin Louie Vito reality series episodes there are out there, there are pro's still shredding with the homies whether the limelight is on them or not.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

King Snow's Ryan Stutt Interview

In an industry where the average cost of participation monetarily is far more than I'd like to admit, any relative product that is offered to the public for free is welcomed with over burdened arms. When said product, the likes of which can not be found anywhere else, is of the highest quality, the industry as a whole tends to stop and take notice.
King Snow mag, along with it's sister magazine, skateboard counterpart King Shit, have been causing a stir with snowboarders and skateboarders alike,  for the last three years. Not only is the magazine informative, entertaining and extremely well written, but it approaches the whole idea of snowboarding with much needed more laid back approach then other magazines in the industry (Transworld, Snowboarder, SBC you know who you are).
With no hesitation to shine the light on the scatalogical aspects of snowboarding (as the name might suggest) that oh so often permeates the industry, King Snow talks about snowboarding the way the snowboarders I know talk about snowboarding. Not like a bunch of guys sitting around a conference table might talk about it, or my older sister might talk to her friends about it. King Snow consistently sees the lighter side of things, and with so much depressing and goofy stuff going on in snowboarding these days, this is undeniably refreshing in it's own right, and enough alone to make the mag a success.
What has impressed me the most about King Snow since I first started reading it a few years ago was that, unlike the overwhelming and never ending daily onslaught of snowboarding media that is available, King Snow goes the extra mile. As a media source, the content is well thought out and provocative, relative to what snowboarders want to read about and look at, and always features the established and up and coming riders that people want to see.
Although King Snow is Canadian in origin and features an abundance of Canadian content, it doesn't limit itself to Canucks and at the end of the day is a just a snowboarding magazine, a really good one. The fact that the people working behind the desks at King Snow are able to do this all and present it in a physical format that is of the highest quality and unmatched by anything I have seen, puts King Snow heads and shoulders above all other snowboard media offered today, free or not.
That was a lot of praise and ass kissing I know, but for anyone who has ever read the magazine they know it is all well deserved and warranted.
I recently sat down with King Snow's owner and editor Ryan Stutt to ask some the questions to which I haven't found answers to anywhere else.
TBOS: Can you give me a bit of history of King Snow. I know Dave Carnie is involved, is the magazine considered an offshoot of Big Brother?
Ryan: We started the skate mag King Shit first, back in 2009. I had gotten shit canned from SBC skateboards, and long story short a bunch of friends of mine in the industry why don't you start another mag? I had know Dave for a fair amount of time, just from the industry. He had written a hockey column for me over at SBC so we were just kind of pen pals or whatever. He had nothing going on and he was stoked on the idea, that it was a little more raw then what was out there, pretty boring and just kind of vanilla. Nothing really appealed to either one of us so we started the mag together and 6 or 8 months later we started King Snow. We started off with just two skate mags for the first year but it kind of made sense that okay if we do 2 skate mags we better do 2 snow mags just so everybody had something.
As far as the snow mag, I talked to a couple of friends of mine in the snow industry and got introduced to Crispin Cannon, so we created the snow mag with him as a sister magazine to King Shit.
TBOS: Ya it is for sure, it's awesome. I showed the magazine to one of my teachers at school and they were blown away by the quality of the magazine, especially considering it is a free offering. You are you guys able to make that work?
Ryan: Well it's kind of a dirty secret, but what a lot of publishers don't want people to know is that a lot of news stands are really dying, especially for niche publications. Corner store news stands are shrinking and a lot of these corner stores will take US magazines that come out more regularly then take Canadian magazines. So you really have to fight to get on news stands with magazines and then you have a distributor telling you what you can do and what you can't do, which is a big negative for me. But from a financial stand point, we print 20, 000 magazines and we give them out for free in snow and skate shops. Some of our competitors will print 30,000 magazines and give maybe 5,000 away at skate shops and put the rest on news stands . But what they don't tell anybody is that the sell to rate at best go to 30% for your average snowboard mag or niche publication so you're basically dumping 70% of the mags you print and they're just going in the trash, there's nothing you can do with them. So for me it was like I can either pay to print the same amount as my news stand competitors or I can just give it away for free and cut out the middle man and all we're doing is helping out the shops. It makes more sense then putting it on the news stands.
TBOS: I guess you're also going to get a way bigger readership that way too?
Ryan: Ya 100%. We're just entering our fourth year and we're basically the number 2 skateboard mag in Canada and climbing and there's only a few snowboard mags in Canada, but we're number 2. If I did put it on news stands I don't think I'd bother with both skate and snow
TBOS: You said that some of the motivation for starting your own mag was that most of what was out there already was pretty stale and vanilla. I'd have to agree and King Snow definitely goes in a different direction. Have you faced any negative criticism or feedback from readers or parents in regard to the exposure of drug and alcohol use in the mag?
Ryan: No, because 1, it's pretty prevalent on t.v. It's pretty prevalent fucking everywhere nowadays. It's not something we necessarily glorify. Most of the time when we're interviewing somebody and they're talking about smoking weed everyday or how they spent 20k on weed last year, we're generally making fun of them for being an idiot. Most of the stories we've run that have drugs in them, they're normally cautionary tales of bad choices.
You'd be surprised, especially in earlier days, I don't think we were consciously trying to push the envelope, we just honestly didn't think it would last more then a year or two. We ran some risque stuff and I was comfortable running it because it's true, we're being true to the culture, how things really are. We're fortunately in a position where we don't have to sugar coat anything for anybody. The only angry letter I got was from a Mom who was mad that Russ Borland, who was a guest art-director had drawn a little green creature that you couldn't really tell was male or female except it had boobs and it was licking one of it's own boobs. The Mother just got irate at that cartoon.
TBOS: That's hilarious that of everything that's been in the mag that's what bummed her out. The only thing I've heard is that I know a girl whose Mom who found the tranny issue of King Shit ( King Shit Mag Issue 3.1; available for online reading at lying around and freaked out about that.
Ryan: I lost sleep over the tranny issue just because even for us I thought that might be pushing it. There is a lot of homophobia in skateboarding.
TBOS: Really? I can't see the negatives involved with you guys publishing that?
Ryan: Ya, I mean it just depends on peoples personal beliefs. I've had photographers say they have to run photos with us under a pen name because they come from a religious family. I think for the most part though it's just the name of the mag that throws people off. By and large most of the content in King Snow or King Shit even is harmless. It's just got this reputation for being crazier then we actually are.
TBOS: Do you think the reputation the mag has also contributes to it's popularity though?
Ryan: Oh yeah absolutely. There was no way we would have been able to come into a crowded snowboard magazine market and make it if we were called something else, nobody would have cared. But if you start a magazine called King Shit people are going to notice and obviously that was part of our intent. Plus we just thought it was super funny to name a magazine King Shit.
TBOS: Do you picture King Snow being around for a while, is that in the plans?
Ryan: Yeah, against all logic. We're thriving and growing. The skate mag is bigger then it was last year, page count wise. Snow is looking to go the same way. We just added an extra issue of Snow and of Skate for 2012 so we'll be doing 5 skate and 4 snow.
TBOS: That's awesome, well I can't wait to see what you guys have in store. Thanks so much Ryan.
Ryan: No problem, thanks.

King Snow and King Shit are available at all legit skate stores across the country PEEP GAME!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

5 years in: Classic Part Max Legend Together

Down but not Out

This is one Gnarly Muthafucka!! Glad to see you're back on the board Beau!! Steady Crushing!

Westbeach | 'Beau's Back' | Spot from The Solidarity Union on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Salvation in Limbo

The Kentucky Winter in Toronto continues and my weariness and frustration only grows stronger by the day. I can't remember the last season I rode so little, even when I was a little kid and finding a ride to the hill was like finding a hooker with a bank account. Even though there isn't any snow it is still wet as fuck, and skating is also an impossibility. In this current Canadian climate I have once again been reduced to living vicariously through the video stars whom I have watched admirably through the years. Although I've admired and even obsessed over these video parts in the past, I have never depended on them; until now. Watching snowboarding is the only form of snowboarding going on in my life right now, and thank fuck there is something. That being said, I came across a part last night that I haven't seen in a while, and I forgot how fucking steezey and proper this dude is. He doesn't get crazy tech, doing ballerina routines on rails, nor is he within the realms of the gnarly and legendary back country riders we have come to worship in this culture, but the fact of the matter is that Justin Bennee is a fucking good snowboarder who does stylish tricks at gnarly spots. Glad I got a reminder of this shit last night!!

The Mobb Deep clip at the beginning obviously sets the stage for what is to be expected in this video part, and much like Mobb, it takes a lot for Bennee to get shook. There is undeniably a huge divide in snowboarding, between two dominant styles. It's silly and who really cares, but the divide is there. A lot of people would place Justin directly in one category, referencing his clothing and song choices as evidence of his gangsta influenced, baggy pants, wigger style. The whole word wigger is sooooo ridiculous and it pains me to use it, but that is the word I most commonly hear used to describe this faction of snowboarding. I personally disagree with those people who are quick to place Bennee within this category. I can see the comparisons and it's not a far stretch, but I'm far more a believer that in this cookie cutter industry, Bennee truly stands alone. He is a mixed bag and his style is equally as such. Justin Bennee does not fit into one single category, other than snowboarder. That is what he is; a snowboarder, and any other judgment calls about the dude are for the birds. He's talked openly about his injury and subsequent addiction to pain killers from which he quit cold turkey, dealing with the terror of withdrawal like a beast. It's inspiring to know he's come back from that to keep moving forward with one of my favorite styles in snowboarding. Watch the part, watch the tricks, watch the style. Dude has shit on lock!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back to the Basics

I was in out tonight and two of my friends who are girls and who snowboard were getting super fired up telling me about all the new gear they got for Christmas. They got totally new setups and a bunch of softgoods and shit, all pretty legit stuff. I can't even begin to hate on them for being psyched on getting hooked up with tight presents, and I definitely can't hate on them for wanting to ride decent boards. I realize that the livlihood of the the snowboard industry is entirely dependent on these purchases. Expensive boards are out there and people are buying them, that's totally understandable, but I also think it is important to remember that it is not the board that matters but more importantly what happens on the board.

The girls are real cool and I listened patiently as they ran down their wish list turned reality, because as it's mid January I was excited to hear about any riding they had done this season and actually talk about snowboarding. Unfortunately this conversation was never realized and their excitement turned to indifference as they told me that the shitty weather as of late had prevented them from making it out at all this season. They're totally right, the weather has been absolutely beat all winter, if you can call it that, but at the end of the day there is still snowboarding to be had, it's out there! If I had gotten a whole new setup on Dec. 25th, which was almost a months ago, who knows what I would have done to actually ride the thing. My piece of shit board is getting even more piece of shittier as this poor excuse for a January drags on, but I'm just thankful I've been snowboarding at all! But I digress, there was a point to this post, and being preachy about all of this wasn't it. Everyone snowboards for different reasons, I get that, and who am I to judge someone for having other priorities in life? I'm just glad to know there are people out there hiking through slush with hand me down boards all in the search of getting some.

When in doubt and in need of some reassurance push play on Kael Hill's Dope 2 part and all is right with the world.


Monday, January 16, 2012

The Internviews: Love em or Hate em...Wtf?

I've been watching these internviews pretty closely over the last few weeks, and wow what a unique and perplexing beast they are. After reading the comments posted on each video it is pretty hard to deny and ignore the fact that the majority of the people viewing (or at least the majority of the viewers posting) hate these videos. I can't necessarily say that I agree with this hatred, I mean the videos definitely are pretty weird, but I kind of dig them. The guests are pretty top notch (Bradshaw, Rice, Gabi Viteri, Eero Niemela, the Mitranis, Gigi, LNP, Gretchen Bleiler, E-Jack, Eddie Wall, Jussi Oksanen, Scotty Vine, Lauri Heiskari, Tim Humphreys and Gooner)  and for the most part, snowboard interviews are relegated to the print medium, so it's cool to see some video footage of these shredders just talking. It is not the guests however who fuel the fires of hatred as far as these videos are concerned, but rather the stony and laid back interviewer herself, Jade, who the masses seem to find most disagreeable.

I personally think she's funny and although her delivery might be more then a little non traditional, I think the questions Jade asks are actually pretty well though out, and for the most part allow for insightful answers from the subjects. As a journalism student myself, I would imagine it would be no easy task to secure an internship at a tight mag like snowboarder, so I'm guessing the girl has a true passion for snowboarding if she was able to pull this off and I think she deserves it. She obviously makes the subjects comfortable, and it looks like they are totally at ease when talking to her, and I've heard this is the toughest thing to accomplish as an interviewer. Her upbeat and not too serious attitude make the interviews an easy, lighthearted and entertaining watch, while simultaneously we get to learn some random things about our favorite snowboarders.

During the interview with Travis Rice, Jade mentions that she wants to go in a heli for her 21st. This girl is super young and I think the viewers should take that into account when they rip her a new one with all the negged out comments. Her age perhaps also explains her hilarious lack of knowledge about certain aspects of snowboarding and some of the ridiculous yet chuckle provoking questions she throws out at the snowboarders. For example when Eero is talking to her about Whistler, she asks "That's in Canada right?" lol hilarious. She also asks "who's Curt?" (Curt Morgan), asks Scotty Vine "So you're an Indian?" and asks Tim Humphrey's "Is there a difference between East coast and West coat riding", which was definitely the most knee slapping moment of all the interviews. I think the fact that she asks the questions is super endearing and only makes me think these interviews are even funnier. I've read comments where people are ragging on her for not knowing certain things but I think as an interviewer it's super rad that she doesn't pretend to know shit that she doesn't and that she is open and acknowledging of this.

All in all I liked the series, I mean come on this is snowboarding, the interviews shouldn't be serious Barbara Walters 20/20 affairs, and Jade is perfect for communicating this lightheartedness which is inherent in snowboarding. All the subjects seemed super cool and were great sports about doing these videos. Bradshaw's interview was tight and it was rad to hear Jade talk about him being himself and riding for the kids instead of sponsors and even radder to hear him talk about this himself. I love hearing LNP talk and this interview was no dissapointment, especially the Frank April and Oli Gagnon shout out. Everything in Eddie Walls interview was pure entertainment and seeing her try to talk to Timmy Humphreys about video games was pretty awkwardly funny. All in all with such an over saturation of web content in the last few years, it's refreshing and reassuring to see some quality stuff like this come out, and I can only hope there are more to come in the future!! Stay up Jade!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I haven't posted in a while, for a number of reasons. First and foremost I was on a break from school for the holidays so was back at home stuffing my face with a variety of culinary delights. To be honest blogging was the last thing on my mind. Snowboarding however, is never the last thing on my mind, and that is the second reason I have not posted. It is still dry as a bone here in Toronto and although we have had a few light snowfalls, the hills are in dire straights and the conditions are complete shit. I only made it out a few times over the break, as my local resort wasn't even open most of the time and I was too broke to road trip anywhere that actually had a decent base. That being said, I found myself consciously trying to avoid snowboard media. At the beginning of this drought videos and magazines were the only thing getting me through as I anticipated the eventual snowfall. As I am coming to terms however, with the reality that this eventual snowfall might not actually happen this season, the more I watch other people snowboard the more bitter and disgruntled I get with my own situation.

That being said however, I am back in school and the Real Snow competition video parts dropped today so I figured what better time to get back on the proverbial blogging bus. I normally wouldn't concern myself with anything to do with ESPN, especially in regards to skateboarding or snowboarding, but in all honesty this competition is actually pretty legit. I am definitely not a fan of competitions in skateboarding or snowboarding and don't really back them. I can completely understand from a financial standpoint why someone would find it necessary to compete in them, but as fan of snowboarding, they are normally something I pay no attention to. The Real Snow competition however is unique and interesting in it's own right. Unlike the traditional snowboarding competition formula, which is consistently regimented, stale and repetitive, Real Snow breaks away from that and does not pit the snowboarders directly in competition with each other in some sanitized resort setting. Rather Real Street requires that the selected snowboarders only film a short video part, on which they will be judged. This format allows for a far greater degree of originality and increased potential for progressive snowboarding in a contest setting. The videos are voted on by the public and the snowboarder with the most votes rightly wins the comp and 50k. This is a competition however and much like any competition there can be only one winner. Competing this year were Dan Brisse, Bode Merrill, Scotty Stevens, Pat Moore, Louis Felix Paradis, Halldor Helgason and Jed Anderson.

I'm sure a lot of you expect me to back either Louis or Jed by default based on their Canuck heritage, but alas I am an objective journalist and this plays no bearing on who I voted for. Plus Louis is French Canadian and Jed wears a helmet, vote for them? I think not.

In my opinion the best part comes courtesy of Atchaboy, Scotty Steves wabowwww!! This dude rips and I've been a big fan of him for a while now. I truly believe that a lot of snowboarding and a lot of the people within it take themselves far too seriously. I think this level of seriousness and lack of clarity is detrimental to the culture as a whole and it is fundamental that snowboarding has sub sects that counter this unnecessary seriousness. Scotty Stevens is one of these snowboarders who snowboards because it is fun and helps keep the movement grounded in the roots that let it flourish. The proof of this is in the pudding of this competition. While everyone else used super serious folky or rocky songs in their parts, Scotty kept it lighthearted and within the snowboard world by using Canadian snowboarder turned musician Trevor/Trouble Andrews to shred to. This is insignificant I know, but it is the details like this that keep snowboarding fun and will keep snowboarding fun, from a fan's perspective.

People's opinions of his riding are quite divided with a lot of hate getting thrown at all the one foot, finger flip, shuvit stuff he puts out. I don't get this though. In my opinion snowboarding is all about originality and progression and Scotty is doing this in every bit of coverage he puts out. This part is no different. He blew my mind with the fingerflip hippy jump, bs 50 power box gap to nosepress the power box front flip out, 50 to one foot layback slide on the picnic table, front flip handplant on the pole, one foot step hop on the pole, sw noseblunt tap to fakie front board to regular, the 5050 on the crazy close kinked rail and the back flip onto 5050 the power box. In regards to every other part in this competition, it is not to say they aren't amazing, and that every rider in there isn't fuckin gnarly as shit, but the thing is that the majority of the other riders tricks could be interchanged in any of the other parts seamlessly. This is definitely not the case with Scott Stevens, as his snowboarding and his video parts are unmistakeably Scott Stevens. Here's to win, I can only imagine what he would do with a 50k prize.