Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Sound : Foster The People’s Torches

This elegant band called Foster The People has everything you want when you listen to some Pop Rock. Great beats, nice lyrics to sing a long, and an ambient sound à la The XX. Torches is gonna make you dance all night and sing all day. The next great pop rock band comes out every month but only the best ones stick around. I hope this will be the case for Foster The People. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Sound : Opeth’s Heritage

The music of Opeth has evolved since day one. Heritage, their tenth opus, literally and figuratively translate the groovy-rock that Mikael Akerfeld, lead guitarist/singer, has been listening since four to five years. Prog Rock masters like Camel, Genesis and 1970’s-1980’s bands like Scorpions, Judas Priests, Alice Cooper and many more are the influences felt while listening to this album. Anyhow, Opeth manage to still hold its own edge without copying their heritage. Don’t look for growls here, there aren’t any. Just beautiful guitars, clean vocals, progressive rhythms, and a very organic natural feeling to top it all. Heritage is an album that will transcend time and it might be too early to say this but anyway I will, it is a masterpiece.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How To: Buy A Snowboard

First, there are many ways to buy a new or a first “stick” and there are many snowboards that can fit you well. But, many factors will enter in line and minimize the actual number of boards you can actually buy. Shopping for snowboards is actually the thing I like the most to shop, after shoes of course!

Money isn’t everything but...
Beforehand, you must check your wallet and see what’s available and what is a reasonable price so that you’ll still have the money to actually ride the board of your dreams. Don’t worry if it isn’t that much there are always many solutions. You also have to think if you have to buy bindings and boots. This has a huge side effect to your budget and the board you’re gonna ride. Paying a board 600$ and putting “shitty” 70$ bindings on it isn’t the right solution. Board, bindings, and boots are the holy trinity of your riding. So if your budget is low consider paying less for a board and balance your money on good bindings and comfortable boots. *I will be giving tips on how to choose the right bindings and the right boots in upcoming posts.
Knowing how much money you can spend on your equipment is the preliminary to your quest. If you begin by watching boards at first your head will confused by sellers’ speeches, cool graphics, and popular brands.

Now you know your budget, if it’s low, let’s say 300$ or less I would recommend to continue with the current equipment and keep you money and save for next year. Remember, next year models will be even better than the current year and you’ll have more money to spend on a new board.
But, if you are a little weasel I would recommend checking on eBay and your local used seller website. My current board, a 2007 Burton Supermodel was bought new on eBay for 200$ shipping included. There are deals to make if you know what you want and what to search. Sometimes you have to be patient to win the right auction. The best tip is to shop online during the off season. The best deals are out at that specific time. Shops want to clear last season’s products at less than the cost. Same thing for online used local markets, people (around September) want to clear their last year models or are quitting the sport so you can buy a Gnu practically never used for less than a 100$. A deal!
Now, I know what you’re gonna tell me: Mike I have to be lucky and patient to find my new board like this!

Choose wisely
Let’s pretend your budget is no problem, and you want the perfect board for you! First, there is the factor of length: not all the models and sizes are equivalent. It depends what kind of terrain you mostly ride and even if companies try very hard they don’t make polyvalent boards. In my opinion, you’ll be better with more than one board to complete one and another than having a board that is ok everywhere. What I mean is for example: you like to ride the park sometimes and you like to carve and speed up other times. An All-Around board could be the answer, but it won’t perform at its best, it will be ok in the park and ok to carve. You should instead buy board for freestyle and a board for freeride. They will be excellent in their elements. You don’t bring your cross-country mountain bike to do descent! It’s the same thing for snowboarding.

The Real Deal
You are going to the shop to buy your board, first never buy at the first visit. Because, even if the seller says it’s the best board ever. He may have never tried it before and he may haven’t even put his feet on a board at all. Sellers are sellers and they talk like they know everything. Don’t get me wrong, they know lots of stuff and they can give you the best advices you’ll ever have. But, they are sellers. I recommend you to visit multiple shops and retailers and get advice on which snowboard they will recommend to you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge the answers between the sellers. Because with more and more products on the market it is easy to lose focus and buy a board that doesn’t answer to your needs.

Get back home and don’t forget to ask for written down prices, models, sizes, etc. Then grab your buyer’s guides or the Internet to check them out. Try to find user reviews of the boards you are looking for. Remember, it is the customer that really tries and live with the product. Even if the seller tells you something about a board that he tried. The guy who has been riding the board for six months knows also what he is talking about.

Commit to the moment
Remember, that shops are there to make money. It’s like when you buy a car you should not be afraid to bargain and ask for a price. At the end it is your money that you spend. A final price isn’t always a final price and if you feel you have been answered rudely ask to talk to the manager. You‘ll see the nineteen year old seller shit his pants. If it’s the manager that’s been rude tell him that your are displeased by his behaviour and that you are gonna tell everyone to never go back to this store. Remember, bad publicity can hurt. And please, don’t buy your board there if he stands on his “attitude”.

Final thoughts
Sometimes, it’s not the Pro Model that you wanted that fits you better or the cool graphics that adorn the board you buy, but buying the right board for you is worth the shopping and bargaining. It helps you to enjoy and love the sport even more. We are in a world of consumption and it is easy to spend too much money for products that are “cool” in the moment. Don’t get too influenced by publicity and your favourite rider’s equipment. Even I dream of the Forum Substance Peter Line’s riding!

X-Mas is coming!
I love the Holidays but I must warn everyone out there who’s asking for a board from Santa, be sure to tell exactly what board/size you need or to go shopping with Saint-Nicolas to find the right item for you.

New Sound : The Naked And Famous’ Passive Me, Aggressive You

Even if this album isn’t as new as this chronicle is entitled, the music of The Naked And Famous has this fresh, breezy, and deep sound that reminded me of The XX, Metric, The Killers’ premier effort Hot Fuss, and the capable superb MGMT. This is Rock with an electronic touch, or indie pop electro, call it what you want but this band has a sound that stick in your ears and gets you into the mood to work or to ride. The Queboarder page of Facebook used Punching In A Dream to mix the footage of a demo of ULC in the new Skatepark of Quebec City: it fitted really well. I think this band is gonna be in my ears to get me pumped up to shred this winter. Their 80’s sound, well it’s been a while since this sound as been revived, however it is not too quirky nor too nostalgic; just well balanced and addictive.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Sound : Mastodon’s The Hunter

Since their first release, Remission, Mastodon have evolved faster than any other band of the first decade of the 21st Century. Hard to define, their sound is a modern mix of Sludge/Hardcore/Metal/Psychedelic/Prog-Rock. The Hunter is an intriguying album in its simplicity and beauty of production. The raw aggressive sound is still there but the structure of the songs matured in a good way. Another interesting aspect of their music is the fact that there is always place for experimentations, listen to The Creature for example. An album that grows stronger with every new listen and that is definitely Mastodon’s most atmospheric offering to date.

2011-2012 Video Season part 2

Wow, surfing on dist made me realise that I completely forgot about many important titles going out this Autumn! I’m sorry for those omissions here’s the deal:

*Please take note that all of these titles are available thru Platinum Dist in Canada and most of them thru KidsKnow in the USA.

Filmed almost entirely in Switzerland. Take a wild ride on trains through the Swiss Alps with some of the most epic snowboard legends on the planet.
Starring Kurt Wastell, Chad Otterstrom, Adam Dowell, Nico Muller, Freddy Kalbermatten, Chuck T, and a special celebrity guest. Text from Platinum Dist

Bottom Line
This seasons production called Bottom Line is a remarkable version and shot sharp in 16:9. Europes finest riders with Europes biggest production is claiming the next decade of Snowboarding with this flick. This is the 10th year of the PirateCrew and theyre right now preparing the cake. You can expect a nice action movie with impressions from our travels. The movie won’t be the typical part after part snowboard porn and you might be surprised... Bottom Line. A true Pirate movie that you wanna watch over and over again. Riders list: Gigi Rüf, Marco Feichtner, Kalle Ohlson, Markku Koski, Arthur Longo, Juuso Laivisto, Tyler Chorlton, Chris Sörman, Hans Ahlund, Björn Hartweger, Danny Larsen, Teo Konttinen, Victor Teymurov, Stian Solberg, Gerome Mathieu, Erik Botner, and Werni Stock. Countries visited: Austria, Japan, Sweden, USA, Norway, and Finland. Text from Platinum Dist

Day And Age (Sandbox)
Sandbox is Kevin Sansalone and Clayton Larsen, along with a team of very talented, snowboarders, filmers and designers. With over ten years of film production experience, we are creating films for everyone to enjoy. Kevin has been snowboarding for over twenty years, and has been completely involved with every aspect of the sport, from competing, filming and marketing, to snowboard construction and design. Clayton is the principal filmer, editor and music supervisor with an innovative vision for snowboard filmmaking.
Riders: Rusty Ockenden, Andrew Hardingham, Mikey Pederson, Clint Allan, Trevan Salmon, Cory Gallon, Steve Cartwright, Matt Belzile, Beau Bishop, Dave Short, Dwayne Weibe, Ryan Hall, Layne Treeter, Wiley Tesseo, Matt Butel, Rupert Davies, Scot Brown, Logan Short, Kevin Sansalone. Text from Platinum Dist

Kaleidoscope (Isenseven)
Isenseven presents their 10th consecutive film Kaleidoscope. The DVD comes with the full length feauture film, an one hour bonus travel movie, loads of bonus parts and a DVD booklet. The companies that made this project possible are Pleasure Magazine, Burton, Nike 6.0, Foursquare, Oakley, Head, DC, Volcom, Ride, Zimtstern, O’Neill, Vans, Fiat Freestyle Team, Planet-Sports, Snowstyle.
Riders featured: Fips Strauss, Tobi Strauss, Ludwig Lejkner, Fredrik Evensen, Alex Tank, Tom Klocker, David Bertschinger Karg, Colin Frei, Benny Wetscher, Peter König, Simon Gruber, Christophe Schmidt, Wojtek Pawlusiak, Dani Rajcsanyi, Christian Haller, Ethan Morgan, Kevin Bäckström and some special guests. Countries traveled: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Norway, Sweden, Finnland, Poland, Czech Republic, Japan, USA and Canada. Text from Platinum Dist

Familia 2
The movie Familia was one of our best to date. With new additions to the FODT family we are stronger than ever. Loyalty and trust is what brings a family together, and this past season really tested the bonds of ours! From the streets of Montreal to the earthquakes in Japan FODT heavy hitters such as Lucas Magoon, Dylan Thompson, Marc Frank Montoya, Andrew Brewer, Jake Devine, Johnny Paxon, Derek Dennison, Jonah Owen, and more, bring you the heart pounding sequel, Familia 2! Text from Platinum Dist

GOOD LOOK (People Creative)
People is back at it again with our 2011 release GOOD LOOK. Filmed in HD digital video around the globe and showcasing the most progressive snowboarding from individuals with heart and personality,
GOOD LOOK is: JP Walker, Eero Niemela, Eric Jackson, Joe Sexton, Simon Chamberlain, Shaun McKay, Lauri Heiskari, Heikki Sorsa, Aaron Biittner, Torstein Horgmo, and friends. Sponsored By: Transworld Snowboarding, DC, K2 Snowboarding, Thirty Two, Etnies, Lib Tech, Oakley, Nike Snowboarding, Nomis, Dakine, Bond, and Stepchild Snowboards. Directed by: Pierre Minhondo, Justin Eeles, and Sam Hiltner. Text from Platinum Dist

Heart Films vol.5
Heart Films, a Japanese film crew founded by Tadashi Fuse, and filmed and produced by Keiji Tajima - the mastermind behind the series starting from HEART Films vol. 1 - brings you this seasons endless pow and breath taking backcountry with - HEART Films vol. 5.
Featuring: Futa Adachi, Yutaka Muraki, Tomohide Inoue, Yuta Watanabe, Kazuumi Fujita, Takafumi Konishi and Akifumi Hiraoka. Text from Platinum Dist

The Shreds Remains (Rome SDS)
The Rome SDS presents a documentary about the 100 day perspective. The Shred Remains. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate, and with that, the third full length snowboard filming following up Any Means, and No Correct Way.
Riders: LNP, MFR, Bjorn Leines, Lucas Debari, Stale Sandbech, Rusty Ockenden, Johnny Lazz, Marie Hucal, Will Lavigne, and the AM Army Text from Platinum Dist

Tabarnac (Brothers Factory)
Winter 2011. As most people are locked up in their offices or migrating south to escape the nasty weather, the Brothers Factory kids are taking over the deserted streets and urban outdoors. Their art; turning rails, walls and rooftops into sick features. But it all comes to a price, as they will be facing many dangers, such as the great protectors of the city! Rider list: Jason Dubois, Charles Reid, Anto Chamberland, Yan Dofin, Zach Aller, Jeremy Cloutier, Louif Paradis, Max Legend, Frank Bourgeois, Nic Sauve, Frank April and Guillaume Marquis. Text from Platinum Dist

Thriteen O’Clock (Alterna)

Yes. It’s A Movie (Yes Snowboards)
Riders: Romain De Marchi, DCP, JP Solberg, Tadashi Fuse, Frank April, Benji Richie, Trevor Andrew, Helen Schettini, Mike Peterson, Stian Solberg, and friends.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Favorite Board by Michaël Parent

My Favorite Board by Michaël Parent

It was in the fall of 1996, I asked my parents to receive a snowboard for Christmas. I never played Hockey and I finally was living in a city where resorts were near. I also bought my first Transworld Snowboarding magazine at that same time; it was the Buyer’s Guide Issue. I still own it somewhere in my stuff, it has many pages cut and pinned on my bedroom walls. This sport meant more than just slide on fresh snow.
For this 11 years old boy it meant freedom, lifestyle, and infinite fun. So, in November we took the car and started bargaining with the local shops of Quebec City. The final bargain was at Québec Sportif (R.I.P.) for an orange K2 HC 149 cm, with black plastic bindings, and Crank boots for 430$. A great deal at the time since there wasn’t many shops selling snowboard goodies around. I kept this board for 3 years until it got too small for me. I sold it to a friend of a friend for 80$. When I got rid of it I was tired of it and I just wanted a new and better board. Well, that’s another chapter but just to say that I bought a Type A Jeff Pettit 155 cm for 150$. Another great deal.
Let’s get back to my HC from K2. It was a nice little board that was a pure pleasure to ride in resorts as for the many kickers we were building on every slope we could find. I even rocked rails when Resorts started to include them in their snowparks! In fact, my HC was the best board I ever had to do rails. The buttery flex and the detuned edges were great for those frontside boards. I remember how much fun it was to hit jumps and do backside spins and huge methods. it was a freestyle board made with torsion box contructions. Well, at that time our main riding (me and my friends) was freestyle and I didn’t even bother to throw lines or to downhill: the two weaknesses of the board. It was a very soft board and trying to ride the halfpipe wasn’t a success.
Another reason why I got rid of it was also because like any other item of consumption the graphics were bland and at 15 years old image and brand is everything. Moreover, K2 was mainly a ski-related company and I wanted a snowboard made by a snowboard oriented company. Probably lots of riders of this age nowadays think like I did. But everyone has to do his experiences. However, in the near future I would love to find a snowboard that will remind me of my first love, my K2 HC. Even if I love my Burton Supermodel 159 cm, a freestyle board would be interesting for those late season mellow snow quarterpipes and rails sessions!

What was your favourite board? Send your contributions here to be featured on Powder Lines. 300-500 words texts telling us why you liked this board so much. If possible a picture of the board.

Interview with Terje Haakonsen

 Probably the most respected snowboarder of all time since Craig Kelly in a great interview with Russel Winfield for YoBeat.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2011-2012 Video Season

With the new releases this year and the multitude of offerings, more than a dozen I calculated from the ads in Snowboarder and Transworld Snowboarding, I will try to do an overview of them all. Don’t worry you will find the links to their official websites and sometimes later I will review each of them properly. Feel free to add other films if I made an omission. I will also try to indicate when a film is available on iTunes and with which distributor you can purchase it.

The movies are sorted by alphabetical order and I won’t be “selling” one more than another it depends on how much info I can get for each release.

20 Tricks Video Vol.5 (TransWorld Snowboarding) iTunes
The fifth offering of these “educational” videos from TransWorld Snowboarding feature trick tips from: Seth Huot, Sage Kotsenburg, Tim Humphreys, Nico Cioffi, Cam Pierce, Joe Sexton, Scotty Arnold, Charles Reid, Johnny Lazz, Forest Bailey, Scott Stevens, Will Lavigne, Louif Paradis, Jeremy Thompson, Eric Willett, Marko Grilc, Bode Merrill, Jack Mitrani, Luke Mitrani, Dan Brisse.

The Art of Flight (Brain Farm) iTunes
Travis Rice and Curt Morgan unite once again to release to follow up to the great success of That’s It That’s All (Read more about this here). This Red Bull sponsored movie may hold the title of the most anticipated Snowboard flick of all time until their next release...
Riders: Travis Rice, Nicolas Müller, DCP, Scotty Lago, Jeremy Jones, Pat Moore, Jake Blauvelt, John Jackson, Mark Landvik.

Defenders of Awesome (Capita)
Not much is said about this release except that it will feature freestyle snowboarding from the Capita team.

One (Givin Vids)
The ad for this feature looks a lot like the ads for the brand Dinosaurs Will Die. Really DIY attitude and an amateur collage. I have the feeling that there is a lot of street footage and many young strong riders performing in One. It will be interesting to check it out. Riders: Forest Bailey, Keegan Valaika, Wyatt Stasinos, Timmy Ronan, Cody Rosenthal, Doran Laybourn, Alex Stathis, Robbie Walker, Mason Aguirre, Brendan Keenan, Nick Russell, Jake Koia, Jonas Michilot, Benny Urban, Shayne Pospisil.

Ransack Rebellion (Think Thank) iTunes
Riders: Jesse Burtner, Chris Beresford, Matt Edgers, Austin Hironaka, Sean Genovese, Blair Habenicht, Pat Milbery, Chris Larson, Nick Visconti, Ben Bogart, Tim Eddy, Sam Hulbert, Mark Thompson, Jason Robinson, Andre Spinelli, Austen Granger, Ted Boland, Sean Black, Brendon Hupp.

Retrospect (Videograss)
Presented by Monster and Transworld Snowboarding and sponsored by many big names of the industry (Burton, NikeSnowboarding, Salomon, Volcom, Nitro, Quiksilver, Ride, and K2. I’m looking forward to see what this Videograss association has to offer.

Shoot the Moon (Videograss) iTunes
The other Videograss film this year is probably regarded as the next to best movie of 2011. Riders: Chris Grenier, Darrell Mathes, Gus Engle, Jake Olson-Elm, Jed Anderson, Louif Paradis, Jon Kooley, Jonas Michilot, Jordan Mendenhall, Justin Bennee, Mikey LeBlanc, Nick Dirks, Johnny Miller, Nima Jalali, Will Tuddenham, Zac Marben.

Standing Sideways (Burton) iTunes
In the world of snowboarding Burton always have been the brand that developed boards, bindings, boots, outerwear, etc with big budgets and always in fashion. The promotion of Standing Sideways is huge and even if I find it a little overwhelming I think that it will be one of the best movies of the year. It has Terje in it! Riders: Terje Haakonsen, Nicolas Müller, Jussi Oksanen, Jeremy Jones, Danny Davis, Mikey Rencz, Frederik Kalbermatten, Keegan Valaika, Mikkel Bang, Kazuhiro Kokubo, Mark Sollors, Zak Hale, Mark McMorris, Ethan Deiss, Alex Andrews, Stephan Maurer.

TB20 (Standard)
Standard films are an institution. TB stands for Totally Board and Mike Ratchett and Travis Robb are passionate about snowboarding. Their Volume 20 looks like to be one excellent big mountain adventure. With celebrated riders like: Halldor Helgason, Sammy Luebke, Kevin Jones, Gjermund Bräten, Kazu Kokubo, Blair Habenicht, Mark Carter, Xavier De Le Rue, Kimmy Fasani, Ryan Tiene, Torstein Horgmo, Lonnie Kauk, Raewyn Reid, Mathieu Crepel, Leanne Pelosi, Eiki Helgason, Gulli Gulmunsson, Mads Johnson.

Twe12ve (Absinthe Films) iTunes
The new Absinthe films starring many amazing riders: Gigi Rüf, Dan Brisse, Nicolas Müller, Lucas Debari, Romain Demarchi, JP Solberg, Annie Boulanger, Johnnie Paxson, Mat Schaer, Bode Merrill, Sylvain Bourbousson, and Wolfgang Nyvelt. This amalgam sure promises great stuff.

Vacation (Forum) iTunes
Since The Resistance in 2000 the Forum movies have been an institution. With a team of young riders Forum wants to keep up to what they always did best: Freestyle snowboarding and street jams. Riders: Peter Line, Pat Moore, Jake Welch, Stevie Bell, John Jackson, Nic Sauve, Andreas Wiig, Daniel Ek, Cameron Pierce, Niko Cioffi, Austen Sweetin, Alek Oestreng, Mario Kaeppeli.

Winter Wars (Peep Show Productions)
Since more than a decade, the snowboard industry wanted to target a wider audience in including more women in their magazines, teams, and designing boards and products for their beautiful bodies. Pro riders like Tara Dakides, Tina Basich, Kelly Clark paved the way for those females that rocked the parks. Winter Wars is the continuity of this revolution of women in snowboarding.

*So what release are you waiting for the most? What do you expect? Triple Corks? Big Mountain? Legends? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section!*

Video Review: The Resistance

The Resistance (Mike McEntire, 2000)

Released the year after the acclaimed Technical Difficulties, The Resistance is the first Forum snowboards video of a great series that is still going on today with the recent release of Vacation. In 1998, Peter Line, one of the most influential freestyle snowboarder of all time recently started his own brand of Snowboards: Forum. He put together his dream team of progressive freestylers: JP Walker, Jeremy Jones, Devun Walsh, Joni Malmi, Bjorn Leines, Chris Dufficy, and Wille Yli-Luoma also known as the Forum 8. They were the stars of The Resistance, and needless to say that it was one of the most anticipated videos of its time. The combination of the Forum 8 and Mack Dawg productions was already a success with Technical Difficulties and Decade. But now, they were alone in this release and every rider had to put a strong and longer part to fill the thirty minutes or so of riding. It was also a hard task for the riders to assemble well balanced parts of freestyle snowboarding that doesn’t get too repetitive and that displayed a great range of tricks.
The greatest parts are from Jones, Walker and Line. Personally, I’ve never been a biggest fan of Joni Malmi’s style, his flow is different and I prefer the style of Devun Walsh for many reasons, we’ll get back to Walsh later. Yli-Luoma has a short but strong part in The Resistance while Bjorn Leines throws impressive airs and strong tricks. He flights like an alien and represents one of the most skilled riders of his time. Sadly, Chris Dufficy and Devun Walsh were injured during the season so their parts are shorter. Dufficy was probably one of the greatest spinners out there: he could throw a 900 like nobody with no difficulty. On the other side, Walsh has this smooth easy looking style. His part was shot in just six days! They could have doubled the length of his part and it would have been perfect. But a busted knew ended his season.
I don’t like when people describe a video part by part or trick by trick because this is the kind of media that you have to see to fully appreciate. However, The Resistance was the culmination of the Forum team and it probably never been as great as it was. It started the institution of the Team videos for Forum for our great pleasure! 

Running Time: 30 minutes
Riders: Peter Line, Devun Walsh, JP Walker, Bjorn Leines, Jeremy Jones, Joni Malmi, and friends.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Video Review: That's It That's All

That’s It That’s All (Curt Morgan, 2008) 
With the release of the new feature by the BrainFarm films production, The Art of Flight, I wanted to get back and catch-up with their previous offer That’s It That’s All: this is a marvellous film to get pumped to. Well, this is the first of a series of Sports related media releases I will be reviewing on Le Mot du Cinephilaque. My major concern on this modest Blog is to talk about films. Snowboarding is a big part of my life since 15 years or so. The commercial vehicles that are the snowboarding movies took many looks during the latter years of this somewhat young sport. Directly related to its bigger brother Surfing, snowboarding followed some of the paths of the sport of The Beach Boys. Surfing was the first sport to actually shot videos of professional athletes and release them to promote their brands. Then skateboarding, another part of my life, followed and then snowboarding also did. The latter sport is an hybrid of surfing and skateboarding, the attitude of the sport and the fashion is way more influence by skaters than surfers but the three sports are interconnected and many athletes like Shaun White, Terje Haakonsen, Todd Richards, JP Walker, etc. Managed to master two or more of these sports. During the 1990’s snowboarding movies were handheld cameras by other riders who were filming each other and put it in segments with punk rock soundtracks. It gives an amateurish look to the whole package or as we call it in the milieu a Do It Yourself approach. A very counterculture underground vibe to it all. It came from skateboarding and punk rock. Slowly companies understood the strength of this almost free promotion.

In 1998, came something that helped commercialize and popularize the sport, for some people it represented the ultimate recognition for a sport for others it was the beginning of the end. The Winter Olympics, with the Halfpipe qualifications held by the FIS(ski federation) instead of the ISF(snowboarding federation). It represented to many times Halfpipe World champion Terje Haakonsen an insult to the sport, even if the Norwegian was the favourite to win the gold he boycotted the event in protest for that decision.

After the Olympics the sport never been the same, Shaun White two times Gold medal winner makes almost 10 million of dollars per year while guys like Peter Line, who practically wrote the book of freestyle snowboarding, had to sell Forum/Foursquare to Burton to survive.

Snowboarding has an incredible history and even if the sport is populated with major sponsors like Red Bull (the main sponsor of the BrainFarm films) it still is reserved to a small group of outcast in our society talking about jibs, pipes, boards, dudes, etc. This is a lifestyle and a passion.

The film, That’s It That’s All elevates how snowboarding films were made, almost entirely shot from helicopters from Red Bull, filled with National Geographic-like scenery of Backcountry Mountains, short commentaries by the featured riders this is more than just a juvenile DIY movie. The strength of it all is because it makes you want to go out and actually go snowboarding instead of the latter years where the video parts are filled with street rails and no actual Mountain riding. Street snowboarding is the combines the most spectacular aspect of skateboarding into snowboarding. But for most of the riders out there we don’t actually do rails all winter long. Most of the consumers of the sports are still going to resorts trying to kill it in the parks and last pipes. However, the greatest days of snowboarding I had in my life were the ones I went with some friends in a mountain with fresh snow and powder. We call it backcountry and this is the best you can get. That’s it that’s All concentrates the riding in those areas: New Zealand and Alaska.

Another interesting topic is the fact that they went to meet legends of the sport that retired from the big spots and continued to ride for themselves and the love of the sport. Bryan Iguchi, Terje Haakonsen, and Jeremy Jones are the legends in That’s It That’s All but the star of the film is Travis Rice the most versatile and complete athlete of this sport today. His style flows superbly and his bag of tricks is just unbelievable. The soundtrack is grandiose and fits the perfect images that populates the movie.

As I stated earlier this is the first of a series of reviews of Snowboarding films I will be watching to get me into the vibe for the beginning of the new season that is approaching. The Art of Flight the new feature from the makers of That’s It That’s All is the most awaited video since the brighter days of Mack Dawg Productions. I hope to see it soon since it is already available on iTunes.

Special Mention
*The greatest snowboarding film of all time*

Running Time: 64 minutes
Riders: Travis Rice, Nicholas Müller, Bryan Iguchi, Terje Haakonsen, Jeremy Jones, Mark Landvik, John Jackson, Pat Moore, Scotty Lago, Kyle Clancy, Jake Blauvelt, Danny Kass and many more.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Video Review: Technical Difficulties

Technical Difficulties (Mike McEntire, 1999)

More than a decade after the release of Technical Difficulties this Mack Dawg productions still holds the run pretty well. It was the film that pushed us to do more rails, go higher and try corked spins and flips. With the dream team that Forum snowboards (read Peter Line) put together: JP Walker, Jeremy Jones, Wille Yli-Luoma, Bjorn Leines, Joni Malmi, and Devun Walsh and the top riders of the time: Chad Otterstorm, Kevin Jones, Jason Brown, and many more Technical Difficulties had to surpass the success of its predecessors of the same production company: Decade. TD had to be even more progressive while presenting new tricks with an even greater approach. Well, for this blogger it hits its goal with great fashion. This is the snowboarding video I watch the most often. When I received it at Christmas of 1999, I remember that I used to watch it every time I’d go out and ride, which was every day at that time.

The cinematography looks like a skateboarding flick, a handheld camera by a rider following the rider doing his run. While other parts are shot from a stable point and zoomed. This is mostly for the rail sessions and the backcountry parts. Which by the way are a great amelioration from the videos shot in the early years of the 1990’s where the camera used to move quickly and in an amateurish way.

The parts by the riders are well balanced and the editing surely makes it dynamic and quite enjoyable. The variety and the quality of the soundtrack is so efficient that I even made myself a mixed tape of it. The best parts are from JP Walker, Peter Line, Kevin Jones, and the closing part: Devun Walsh. Why did I choose those guys? First, because every rider has a variety of tricks, many different terrains, and possess a fluidity in the execution of their parts. The riding displayed is progressive and does not only involve street or backcountry, it has the perfect mix of them all: a great balance between resort, big mountain, street. It doesn’t denature the sport and stays true to itself.

As I stated with my review of That’s It That’s All big budgeted by Red Bull, a film like Technical Difficulties did very well with a small budget. Even if expectations were very high from the previous film Decade.

Special mention
*Technical Difficulties was a turning point in the craft of making snowboarding movies. It set a new standard.*

Running Time: 35 minutes
Riders: Peter Line, JP Walker, Devun Walsh, Chad Otterstrom, Chris Brown, Joni Malmi, Bjorn Leines, Mikey LeBlanc, Dave Downing, JF Pelchat, Todd Richards, Kevin Jones, Josh Dirksen, Wille Luoma, Jason Borgstede, Brian Thien, Chris Dufficy, Tara Dakides, Blaise Rosenthal, Allister Schultz, Jeremy Jones and many more.
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