Would a Snowboard Movie Like This be Popular?

Imagine a snowboard movie with no kickers, rails or boxes. I’m not just talking about the snowboard park – no street rails or backcountry booters either. Just riding. Natural stuff. Would that be popular? Would that interest you?

OK – so that’s a pretty ambiguous scenario. What exactly am I excluding? What counts as a jump, for example? Let me explain the background…

I read two things recently that prompted this thought, both in Whitelines. One article, titled A Jib Too Far? asked the question “are the stakes getting too high?” The direction of our snowboard movies is taking riders to bigger and more dangerous urban jibs. The other piece, A New Breed, asked “has freestyle snowboarding become glorified gymnastics?”. Controversial, maybe, but again it’s looking at the general direction of tricks on kickers – they’re getting bigger and really technical. The Playstation era said Tim Warwood…

It’s the emphasis of snowboard films…

Many snowboard movies are filled with this stuff. Bangers. Even if they’re not in the snowboard park, the emphasis is on single hits or tricks, each more wow that the year before.

So it’s more the emphasis of the film that I’m interested in – rather than the elimination of kickers and rails. Because I think the same can be said for Big Mountain riding.

The last Absinthe movie I watched had numerous big-mountain lines that certainly didn’t include and kickers or rails. But they’re going in the same direction too. More gnarly every year. I know they’re not, but some of the faces look near vertical. It’s like the aim is to have an even more crazy descent in the new movie.

Examples of a different emphasis

On the topic of big mountain riding, did you see the Follow Me Down movie? I found that really interesting. For the riding, there were some killer lines and some slightly shitier lines. It was the adventure and exploration that was awesome to me.

Back to park riding, what is the emphasis of a top to bottom run? I’m sure most people have seen Torstein’s top to bottom run from Northstar. Now, this thing is packed with sick tricks, and it’s all filmed from a single run through the park. Kickers and rails. But is the emphasis different from your regular sequence of individual banger after individual banger? Take a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GZubw9JE_k

When I watch that I think: wow, that guy’s amazing on a snowboard. Not too different from a regular snowboard movie. But I also think: so consistent. I’m also interested by his choice of tricks throughout the run. Which ‘easier’ tricks does he use in-between the harder ones. It looks fun – it looks like he’s having fun.

Do we see enough action from the regular piste? After all, the pistes/trails are where most of do most of our riding. Check out this game of “in your face” – it’s from Torstein again.

http://vimeo.com/20533381

I’m always interested when I see pros riding “regular terrain”. What would it be like if they spent a weekend shredding with you and your friends? How would they use the same features on the mountain that you typically ride. Almost always the emphasis for these types of clips are on fun. Joking around and making the most of the piste or trail. And that’s what a lot of us do with our snowboarding…

When it comes to backcountry riding, I think Terje’s section from White Balance is an excellent example of the top-to-bottom run. Here the emphasis is on picking a good line, being able to spot what the terrain has to offer and connecting it together to make something that flows. This is an awesome section:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbRBtpE3rPk

Removing the single-trick emphasis…

So, if you took out the single-trick shots, removing the emphasis on bigger, gnarlier, more technical, more dangerous… what would you be left with?

  • “Fun riding” – like the stuff from the Robot Food films and DC MTN.LAB
  • Pros jibbing around the piste, playing around? Like Torstein above playing “in your face”
  • Top to bottom park runs, like Torstein’s, or an awesome halfpipe run?
  • Backcountry lines with natural features, like Terje in White Balance, or classic sequences from the likes of Gigi and Nicolas
  • Personal and documentary material. And breakout films, like Drop Stitch from Chunky Knit

I know that things like that have been done before, as parts of a movie, sometimes significant parts. But would there be enough to fill a full movie? Would people like it – would you? These days there’s no shortage of snowboard movies, so there’s still plenty of space for the traditional trick-flick. Would you like to see more of the opposite?

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Comments
14 Responses to “Would a Snowboard Movie Like This be Popular?”
  1. R120 says:

    Perhaps a little something like this?

    http://vimeo.com/21010358

  2. Gavin says:

    Hey R120,

    funny you should post, that, I’ve been watching the 1st episode…

    Yeah there’s some great stuff in there, I really like watching the natural stuff in the backcountry, and they both do it really well. There were a few shots of Eero Ettala in the middle somewhere – they were pretty impressive too!

    Cheers.

  3. Alf says:

    I’d also suggest the genius of “Doggie”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i957uXk0K08&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/user/keijiro634#p/u/10/iRzYhYAWU_c

    he’s does bike stuff too – but generally he visits a resort & sessions it with the locals

  4. I’d say there would be mixed views. A bit of both would be my preference, I think if I saw a movie that showed some kickers, rails, and boxes, AND some natural riding that was still interesting, then yeah, I think it could work.

    I think other people would say the whole point of snowboarding movies is that they’re exciting and if the element of danger is taken away, then it limits the impact on the viewer!

    Maybe we’ll get a few films like this over the next few years? Who knows.

  5. Mark says:

    I’ve been thinking the same, especially as more clips of ground breaking new tricks are getting posted on the internet I’m getting a bit bored of it. As impressive as things like 1440s and triple corks are, I find them ugly and not particularly enjoyable to watch. Certaintly doesn’t get me pumped to ride like seeing a rider on a sweet powder line.
    I like the documentary side of Deeper, was interesting to see the commitment of guys when they camped out in storms for a week to get one day’s filming. But it does emphasise the pressure they’re under to get big new lines.

  6. Reneator says:

    http://www.angrysnowboarder.com/?p=6983
    Robot Food, Afterbang at Angrysnowboarders Blog!
    nice post by the way ;) also had some of your thoughts about tricks getting bigger and more dangerous. I like the movies most, where people have fun, riding on the pist, without unsocial behavior and just riding piste like many many people are doing it^^

    peace and love
    Reneator

  7. Gavin says:

    @Mark – that’s very true about the vast number of trick/clip videos that are available online. Does that take away from the excitement of new movies each season? I guess it does – but there’s still something satisfying about a movie that’s really well designed, filmed and edited. That said, there’s more and more of that online too.

    @Rene – did you know that my blog was names after Robot Food’s original movie, afterbang? Have you seen it? You really should – but it’s so hard to get hold of now! Yeah, the fun riding is something that I like a lot. I also really like watching top pros do “normal” stuff on normal terrain. So good.

  8. Gavin says:

    @Nick – yes, the excitement does come from scale and danger of tricks, that’s true. And a sequence of big, technical tricks does make for good viewing.

    As I commented to Rene, personally one of the things that I like a lot is seeing a pro rider do something normal, on the terrain that we all ride. They make it look so good.

    I think that you’re right, in general, if the big, new tricks were taken out, many would be disappointed. And I would be too. I just don’t need the majority of new videos to be trick fests.

    I haven’t bought as many new movies recently as I used to 3 or 4 years ago – so I might be wrong in saying – that I’ll look forward to something akin to the Robot Food style again. A good mix!

  9. Beno says:

    Not sure if you’ve seen them, but I’ve been really liking the Isenseven movies the last few seasons. They seem to capture the fun aspect of riding that the average person can relate to, albiet with absolutely rediculous riding thrown in! Also really like the Airblaster films from a couple of years back (April, August etc). A lot of good mini clips/webisodes around on t’internet these days as well. Will be checking them out all summer no doubt, waiting for next winter to come round!

  10. Gavin says:

    Hey Beno,

    a lot of people keep mentioning the Isenseven movies and I haven’t seen a single one yet! Gonna have to get hold of some, and, next seasons too – if they’re working on one.

    As you say, there’s so much to look at on the Internet these days, and some of it really good… maybe it helps a little to shorten the gap between winters ;)

    Cheers, Gavin

  11. Reneator says:

    Hey Gavin,

    Just checked your website again, and thought this one here would be a new post, because of the really good thoughts about the movie style. I really cant watch “normal” snowboardmovies too long, without getting bored of it (one trick after another, “360 over hill *cut* 540 of a rail *cut* 900 over kicker *etc.*”. The first few tricks are interesting, but then its getting monotone.
    Therefore i think Snowboarding is not just something u have to do harder and harder, it’s like parkour. You can do the harder and bigger and more dangerous things for getting more views and being cool. Or u can try to make it beautiful. Therefore u dont need big tricks or something. And for me it’s way harder to let things flow and perfect instead of stacking one trick after another.
    I was at the Premiere of the Absinthe Movie Now here (or Nowhere, how u want to read it xD) and the first couple of minutes were interesting and exciting, but after 1/2 of the movie i got bored. Not that the rider’s weren’t doing a good job, and those were reaaallyy sick tricks. but it’s like formula one. After a little time, also u neeevvver rode a car this fast, u get used to the speed of it, and u begin to talk and comment like as if u were. (same situation with soccer^^ (think this situation everyone knows best)).

    By the way Gavin, how are u doing? Is your leg healthy enough, so u can give us some footages this winter? :D

    Greetings
    Reneator

  12. Gavin says:

    Hey Reneator – yeah I have a bunch of friends that really like snowboarding, but also find it hard to watch normal snowboarding movies for too long. Different films from time to time seem to stand out, and are attractive to those that want a change from the norm…

    Do you have any thoughts on the new movie – Art of Flight?

    About my leg, I’m planning to snowboard next Friday, 30th September. That will be the “first time”. Check out the blog for some of my plans for the coming season…

    Take it easy,
    Gavin

  13. James says:

    I would say “december” the airblaster/TP road movie pretty much embodies “ordinary joe” type riding. Most of it is filmed on pistes (sketchy ones at that!) and jibbing on tiny little features…but a big part of the film is just about mucking about and slashing piste…It’s one of my favourite films because I watch it before riding and can see myself trying those little jibs and tricks…I think it’s easier to relate to from an intermediate boarders POV.

  14. Gavin says:

    Hey James,

    you’re not the first person to recommend that! I’m making it my mission to hook that up, and BikeCar too if I can find it… maybe they’re available on iTunes?

    I’ve just had a quick look for December – parts of it are available on Mpora…

    Definitely good to relate to that style of riding.

    Cheers