Archives for Snow

My Ambitions as a Rider: Echoes from the Dirty South

Picture me rolling on my Never Summer SL, Vans Mantra Boots half laced and a Foursquare shell. Flask full of Jack to calm the nerves, I got these hand-me-down goggles just so my eyes don’t burn.

Buttermilk presses. Nose boinking off a skier’s head in front of me while he tries to regain his balance from that Beiber flip he just pulled. Telling tales to the young bloods about missing my window as a pro to pursue my rap career. Hi-fiving a group of MILFs dressed in all white cruising overhead on the lift while I tweak a super juiced McNasty Air – which is so monsty, one hunts me down later just to tell me I’m way better than her boyfriend whose been snowboarding his whole life. He might even be pro. Whatevs. And my hair’s better, too. Tell me something I don’t know! That’s why I don’t wear a beanie, babe.

I let her buy me a drink afterwards. Because I’m an even more accomplished drinker and it’s the least I could do.

That’s what I imagined as my first time snowboarding. But, I slowly woke up from that wet dream.

I soon realized my ego was bigger than the Special Blend pants I was wearing at the time. And the scene became more ominous and apparent the very moment I pointed that directional camber Lincoln Log towards the finish line – looking more like the sled scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

We’ve all seen that buster. Some Joey Pickle’s about to gnarfle his garflock all over the hill. Shred ready with his flannel shirt, Levi’s jeans with no stretch, rental boots that are a size too big because that’s all they had left, and a pair of Oakley Half Jackets that makes him look like JP from Grandma’s Boy.

When people call, without fail they ask, “Where are you guys located?”

I know they are waiting for something magical. Something sexy. A place where you and your little chipmunk have been talking about going since you finally updated your Facebook status. Instead, you’re hit with a vision of the movie Deliverance when I proceed to drop the realness – Atlanta, GA.

But does it make me less of a snowboarder because I’m from the South?

Driving 5 hours to the nearest disappointment on my only day off. Ending up with 4 screws and a rod in my ankle the first season I started spitting hot fire on the ant hill. Breaking my back a few years later tossing a Mgerk layback grab (a trick I made up. No big).

Does that stop me? Hell, no. Actually, I might just want it more.

Growing up with a bunch of surf turkeys and skate trash, a board was always on my feet. If I can smash a lip on head high sets, muster up a steezy kickflip or a crooked grind, what’s so hard about snowboarding?

Yeah, I’m miles away from the nearest ice trap, but in the words of a Brooklyn philosopher know as Biggie Smalls:

Sky is the limit and you know that you can have what you want, be what you want, have what you want, be what you want

All I know is when I first saw people swimming through powder, tail tapping pillows, dropping from Earth’s ceiling, and jibbing everything that got in the way, I told myself, that’s cool as shit. I’m doing that.

Yeah, yeah, I get it. If you’re a purist I need to talk like you. Dress like you. Be like you. Possibly have long hair like you. Maybe even smell like you. Work at a Starbucks just to scrape enough chump change to get by. But, as long as I have that season pass, I’m a snowboarder! Keep telling everyone how rad you are, dork.

Well, I’m not you…and I hate Starbucks.

Do you think people hated on John Cardiel when he started snowboarding? Do you know how far the nearest mountain is from San Jose, where he’s from? Do you know who John Cardiel is?

OK, obviously, I know my capabilities. You won’t see me hit huge gaps, throw delicious backside lipslides down stair sets, or see me blaze through an avalanche because I’m about calculated risk.

But, I bleed more passion for snowboarding than the powder puffs want to give me credit for. I’ve earned the zippers on my body. I’m half Wolverine, half Zoolander.

The truth is, as much as I wanted throw in the towel, I never let snowboarding beat me. Not once. Just like I didn’t let the purists beat me.

I’m more educated on the latest and greatest. We can chop it up about product knowledge or even Godfathers like Craig Kelly or Terje Hakonsen. Sharpen that Crayola bro beans.

Fast forward to now. I hold it down with my Burton Nug, Thirty-Two boots, and my relentless desire to stick what I can with mad swag juice. Most of all, I’m having fun. That’s what all of the snowboarding jocks forgot about. I’m not here to be the best or get sponsored, I’m just here to be a part of something that makes life worth it. And it is.

Even if I still can’t hang on the other side of the cafeteria with all of the cool kids because I‘m in the ATL surrounded by a concrete jungle, gold teeth, and candy paint time machines sittin’ on 20’s, that’s fine.

But, I suggest wearing a helmet the next time you’re on the mountain, cousin, because that nose boink finally came together.

Where Are They Now? Part 2

Remember those neon colored snowboard jackets, the wild hair, and brands like Avalanche and Look?  The ’80s and ’90s definitely were a flashy time for the sport.  The snowboarding pioneers were in their prime during these decades and livin’ the dream.  So where are they now?

Terje Haakonsen

Terje Haakonsen

Terje Haakonsen

Terje Haakonsen was one of the most influential snowboarders from the ’90s.  Born in Norway in 1974, Haakonsen was one of his country’s most elite in the snowboarding world.  He won the ISF World Championship in the half-pipe from ’93-’97 (three times in a row!).  Terje also won five European Championships in half-pipe during his heyday.  But, he wasn’t just a half-pipe guy.  His ability to ride practically any terrain set him apart from other pro riders.  Terje is the man behind the Haakon Flip and is also credited with the development of the Burton T6.  As far as mentors are concerned, Terje felt Craig Kelley was his and looked up to him for both his riding skills and his passion  for life.  What is a pro athlete without a little scandal?  Haakonsen’s comes in the form of boycotting the ’98 Winter Olympics, the year snowboarding made its debut at the games.  Instead of participating in the games, he engineered the Artic Challenge , a snowboard event focused on the riders that has been held annually since 2000 in Norway, with Daniel Franck.

So where is he now?  Well, probably still up on the mountain somewhere riding fresh powder.  Haakonsen, now 39, is still on Burton’s Pro Team and filming snowboarding videos, probably the most noteworthy of which is First Descent, a documentary featuring Haakonsen that covers the progression of snowboarding during its early decades.  He is still not a fan of snowboarding being in the Olympics, particularly because of his belief that snowboarding should be rider-controlled culture.  He has worked closely with Burton in developing boards like the Landlord and Fish, which are total game-changers when it comes to conquering freshies.  Terje is still competing and taking titles such as all-time high quarter pipe airs and Mt. Baker Banked Slalom wins.  Burton has begun releasing a new four-part web series, BACKCOUNTRY, where Terje’s free riding  is highlighted. Haakonsen is a family man with 3 kids.

Jim Rippey

Jim Rippey

Jim Rippey

Jim Rippey, born in 1970, turned pro in the ’80s and was sponsored by Burton.  He is best known for his big mountain freestyle riding and his fearless front and back flips off of large cliffs.  Rippey is credited as the first person to land a backflip on a snowmobile.  Rippey retired after 13 years of professional snowboarding, but he stayed involved in the snowboarding community for a while afterwards.  He announced the play-by-plays for the snowboarding events at the ’98 Winter Olympics.

Since his retirement, Jim Rippey has found a closeness to God.  He has become a minister of Grace Church in Reno, NV in 2011.  He is a family man, too, with a wife and one son.  He is active in both his church and his community and attends Elevate Camps regularly.

Damian Sanders

Damian Sanders

Damian Sanders

Damian Sanders is known as one of the pioneers of snowboarding.  He was easily recognizable up on the mountain with his wild hair and audacious style.  It has been said that he was the original rockstar snowboarder. Damian was also one of the only advocates for hard boots in that era.  Pretty much everyone else thought he was crazy for loving that style of boot…even back then.  Sanders was featured in a number of snowboarding videos including, Powder and Rails and Critical Condition and also got the cover of the first ever issue of Snowboarder Mag.  His pro days dwindled after a little over thirteen years in the business.  Back then he was recently married to a playmate named Brandy and they moved to California to settle down and party with some of Hollywood’s elite.  Sanders quickly realized he was pretty good at throwing parties and went into business with Jon Huntington throwing elite parties in California and Las Vegas.  Once the event business took off, Sanders and his partner started Spiritworld Productions.

Once Spiritworld Productions took off, the sky was the limit for Damian.  He took the Pimp N’ Ho party from house party level to club level and took Club Rubber one step further to the Galaxy Concert Theater.  He also has Monster Stage to his credit, a company that specializes in building stages and producing events.  Some of the events that Sanders is known for have have fizzled and come back to life, and some are considered to be the wildest and most elite parties of the year.  But, after an active snowboard career and an even more exciting night life career, Damian Sanders is now making his mark in the fitness industry.  He has recently launched a new fitness product line called XBAR Fitness by Damian Sanders.   A pre-sale is happening now and the first shipments are expected July 2014!  Check it out:

Dave Seoane

Dave Seoane

Dave Seoane

Dave Seoane saw himself as a 2nd generation snowboarder.  He was sponsored by Look and good buddies with Steve Graham, who was also sponsored by the brand.  Seoane is not someone you would have seen in many competitions, though he did well.  His rise to fame in the ’90s was through appearances in snowboard videos like Snowboarders in Exile.  While his pro career was short-lived, Seoane found a love for film and stayed relevant in the industry from behind the camera.  His first film experience was during Critical Condition where he was assigned to wear the helmet cam because he was the only one on the crew who could keep up with the riders on a snowboard.

Seoane has come a long way from being the lowest guy on the totem pole wearing the helmet cam.  He is an accomplished filmmaker and cinematographer, as well as an established artist.  He founded Cinemaseoane Inc. in 1997 and has created films such as The White Album and Subjekt: Haakonsen.  When it comes to his artwork, you’ll find that Seoane creates functional structures, spaces, and furniture.

Circe Wallace

Circe Wallace

Circe Wallace

Circe Wallace was born in Oregon, where she first fell in love with board sports at age 13.  She started out skateboarding and entered the snowboarding world in ’85.  Wallace was introduced to the sport through a school program and quickly became a pioneer for women’s snowboarding.  Being one of the only females on the mountain back then, the guys pushed her physical abilities and helped her become a better athlete.  She dated Jamie Lynn, her first love, and helped to get him sponsored by Wave Rave.  Wallace was the first Roxy Girl snowboarder in the United States and the first female to earn a pro model boot.  She worked tirelessly to carve the path for women in board sports to make the salaries they currently earn.

Towards the end of her pro career, Wallace became an advocate for athletes.  She is a self-taught sports agent, with no higher education involved.  She now holds the title of Senior Vice President at Wasserman Media Group.  Her clientele includes Paul Rodriquez and Nyjah Huston and formerly Eric Koston.  She also has her own boutique outerwear company called Circe Snow.

Arbor Snowboards FACE/OFF at Boreal

On April 15th, 2012 Arbor Snowboard‘s FACE/OFF event was held at Boreal Mountain Resort near Lake Tahoe. Some of the riders included the defending champ from last year’s FACE/OFF event, Erik Leon, along with Ben Ross, Kai Wiggens, Colton Morgan, Alex Hereford, Jeremy (Lemi) Landy, Jordan Welter and other standouts. The battle for first place was between ended up between Kai Wiggens and Colton Morgan. After multiple battles it came down to a backside 270 to fakie, the trick was finally landed by Colton Morgan, and he took top honors and $600 making him the winner of the 2012 Arbor Snowboard‘s FACE/OFF event.

This is the order of tricks that went down in the final game of S.N.O.W.: Frontside lipslide, nollie back lip, switch frontside boardslide, switch backside boardslide, frontside 270, hardway backside 270, switch backside 270, switch frontside nosepress, and the winning trick, backside 270 to fakie.


1st: Colton Morgan  2nd: Kai Wiggens 3rd: Jeremy (Leemi) Landy  4th: Erik Leon


1st: Kate Barrett

(866) 268-7669

[email protected]

January | Learn to Snowboard Month

Humans were never meant to hibernate. That’s why January is the official Learn to Snowboard Month (LSM). LSM encourages kids and adults to get off the couch and take lessons from professional instructors while also challenging established snowboarders to take their skills to the next level. Besides being a perfect excuse to get outdoors and learn something new, LSM is also a way to share our passion with future boarders.

Over 300 resorts in 32 states participate in LSM by providing special learning programs  during the month of January. For a full list of participating resorts, visit the interactive Google Maps page HERE.

For more information on LSM, visit For questions regarding equipment, getting started, and anything else, email [email protected], call (866) 268-7669 or visit Happy learning!


Behind the Scenes: 686|Fallen

Learn the inspiration behind independent outerwear brand 686 and Fallen footwear’s 2012 collaboration. This collab is the hottest thing since Jay-Z and Kanye West.

The styles mimic Jamie’s own personal collection of flannel shirts while also drawing inspiration from some of Fallen’s past lines of hooded sweatshirts.

This video takes you behind the scenes with Jamie Thomas (Fallen) and Michael Akira West (686) to discuss the genesis  behind the collaboration.



La Niña: What does it mean?

It seems that la Niña is back for another year…so what does that mean exactly?

According to meteorologist Joel Gratz, “La Nina means that water temperatures in a large area of the central Pacific Ocean (around the equator) are below normal.” Gratz explains. “These below normal water temperatures influence global weather patterns, and for the U.S. this typically means more snow falls in northern areas while less snow falls in southern areas.”

This is Gratz’ regional breakdown for 2012:

• 125-150% of average. La Niña strongly favors the Pacific Northwest with lots and lots (and lots) of snow.

• A typical La Niña produces about average snow for Tahoe and below average for SOCAL.
• However, last season the storm track shifted south over California and hammered Tahoe with 150+% of average and buried Mammoth. Anything can happen.

• Northern areas like Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming should do very well (125-150% of average).
• Utah and northern Colorado should be above average (100-125%) but there’s less confidence in this outlook since these areas are in the middle (not too far north or south).
• Average or below average snow is typical for La Niña in southern Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. But last season southern Colorado did OK as did Arizona.

• Northern areas (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan) could see very heavy snow and cold weather.
• Further south from these areas is harder to predict – could go either way (don’t you love when a weatherman says that?)

• Northern New England should see the best snow (125% of average) while southern New England could see snowfall closer to average levels.

• The highest mountains of the southeast could see a bit drier winter with temperatures above normal. But it only takes one big storm to drive cold air south and crank out a few feet of snow for the Appalachians.


*Joel Gratz is a meteorologist and founder of the website Open Snow, dedicated to providing riders and shops with quick, accurate regional snow reports.

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