Learning Your Roots
I just got done watching the series: Guy Mariano – Life on Video. TheBerrics.com put out this series showcasing a legend in skateboarding and how he has grown up in front of lens of skateboarding. I think this is something that needs to be seen.
Here is the link: http://theskateboardmag.com/videos/?__mr_id=82550 and all five parts can be found on that site.
There is a new trend in skating and snowboarding that is pretty incredible. No, it’s not triple kinks or triple corks, it’s not tight pants, minimalist shoes, strange shaped boards, or grabbing your board when you carve. The trend i’ve noticed is spotlighting the legends of our sports.
As progression dictates; get better or get left behind (or as the tat on Antwuan Dixon’s head says, “get wit it or get rolled over bitch!”). This mandate applies for the people standing sideways as well as those pointing a lens at them. And although we will look at just about anything if the trick is amazing or new, there are lensmen that understand their art will be revered and remembered only if they dedicate the same passion to their projects as the riders do in pushing the sport. I’m not talking about just buying the best new camera and getting a clean shot. I’m talking about the thought that is going into projects and the final product that’s constructed through painstaking detail, research, and planning.
Some of the amazing new projects I see come in the form of a full length movie, some are webisodes, and some are profiles. As our sports enter the grandest of stages the production values are leading them to be presented to an ever growing, unknowledgeable, entitled audience. While some are content to throw up a snow park edit that looks like they pressed record when they got off the lift and stopped recording 10 runs later when they got to the car, others are taking the responsibility of educating and presenting what we do seriously. These artists are finding a canvas for their visions in the form of our sports’ history and pioneers. I can’t tell you how many kids snowboarding now don’t know who Terje or Craig Kelly are. Thanks to artists such as Stacey Peralta, Lucas Huffman, Trevar Cushing over at Powder and Rails, the guys at Vice, the production crew at the Berrics, along with many others, the history of our sports and the stories of our legends are being told. The value of this history is immeasurable as our sports steer away from their rebel roots and plant themselves firmly in the mainstream.
So please take some time to learn about who and where your sports came from. That thing under your feet wouldn’t be as fun or mean shit to the world if it weren’t for those that rode it before you. The Guy Mariano series has a lot of insight into the mind of a pro. If you want to know what its like or you long to be a pro someday then this is a playbook that has so much information for you.
And when you’re done with that here are a few other suggestions (and links if I can find them).
“20 Years of Chocolate”, Epicly Later’d, Vice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws-_-6BhGT8
“Snow Craft: Pioneers: Episode 1, Huffman Studios, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8oEm5r6KYE
“Snow Craft: Generations: Episode 1, Huffman Studios, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx4m8EiA6ws
Powder and Rails, Trevar Cushing, http://www.vice.com/series/powder-and-rails
Nice!Gordon is the final movie I made for Boarderline. The movie premiered, with Jesse Burtner’s movie, on September 25th, 2004. Over the past season I have been re-releasing all the old Boarderline movies leading up to this one. Because Nice!Gordon was my final movie and this is it’s 10 year anniversary, I wanted to revisit the movie in some depth. Leading up to this I have been posting all the dvd bonus sections. I haven’t watched most of those clips in years. As a matter of fact, I probably haven’t watched Nice!Gordon in many years. As I’ve gone over it again I realized something: I FUCKING LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!
As you stop shaking your head and remove your face from you palm, I can tell you I don’t mean it how you think. What I realized, when I watch the movie, is how amazing it was being a part of what was happening during that period of time. I realized how amazing all the people were. I realized these things in a way that just isn’t possible when you’re living out those moments.
My hair was a tragic mess, the acting was bad, the plot is a rip off, along with a million other things that can be knit-picked about the movie. But I don’t care. What I care about is that when I watch it I smile. And I care that others smile when they watch it, remembering that part of their lives.
I usually write a book about each video but I’m going to save that for the next post. I will go over all my thoughts on the riders and the things that happened, hopefully attached to the director’s commentary version of the movie.
For now I just want to say thank you. Thank you to the kids that supported these movies. Thank you to people that broke themselves, day in and day out, to get shots for the movie. Thank you to all the talented skaters, snowboarders, and people that filmed and worked on the movie for sharing your individual gifts with me. Thank you for letting me be there as you showed hints of the people you would grow up to be. Thank you for letting me witness your talents as they blossomed. Thank you for carrying me when my talents couldn’t be found. Thank you for being calm and patient when I was a frantic mess. So many of you let me into your lives, some for only a day while some revealed the full spectrum of their passion and pain. Thanks to all of you for helping me turn my visions into reality. And finally, thank you all for making the Boarderline years of the Alaska snow/skate scene something that I will forever look upon fondly and with great honor to have been a part of. You all changed my life, you all made my life better, and I hope that one day I will be able to return the favor.
Nice!Gordon Extras: Mark Thompson and Cody Liska
So here are the extra clips of Thompson Tuesdays and the Scrode. I already touched on this previously but Mark Thompson has such natural talent on a board. When you watch him you can see how at ease and comfortable he looks. I went back and found footage of a skateboard trip to Fairbanks which had to be from about 1995ish and Mark looks just as comfortable and natural on a skateboard back then. I wish we could have seen more of his skating over the years but I’m stoked for what I was able to be around. Also, after Nice!Gordon, a few of the guys like Mark, Gus, and Spinelli went on to film with Think Thank so you can check out those videos to see how their riding progressed after this point in time.
I have been around Cody, in some way or another, for most of his life. I worked at Boarderline when he was so small that Scott or Sharon would bring him in and he would make a pile of jackets to take a nap on. Since I never had brothers I adopted a brotherly role around some of the people in the shop and as you know, older brothers don’t always set the most appropriate examples. I remember when Ride snowboards sent out condoms as promotional items. We would just give them away but mostly they were just to catch people’s eye, get a chuckle, and get them talking about Ride snowboards. Well of course I would give them to Cody and tell him to go ask Sharon (his mom) what they were for. I’ve known that Cody, I’ve known the Cody you see in these clips, riding with power and grace, breaking through as a snowboarder, and I’ve known the Cody that found new interests other than snowboarding. Cody found more than the desire to couch surf and worked his way through a degree at UNR (journalism i think). Now Cody has moved back to Alaska and started a magazine. He has gone from Derek and Jake’s whipping boy (with all the love possible as older brothers pull underwear over a younger brother’s head) to a well rounded, ambitious, hard working individual with a voice and a drive to forge his own path and create his own legacy.
Nice!Gordon Extras: Indo
This is a section of clips from Boarderline’s “Indo” skatepark. Do you know why the park was called “Indo”? Because the park was Indo not outdo. Pretty funny when you hear Scott Liska tell you. I believe Trevor Tenge was responsible for this edit. I imagine a number of people held the camera. Please feel free to correct me or add to the credits in the comments section.
The park was created when Boarderline moved it’s location from the Dimond Center Mall to a warehouse in an industrial area near the Bush Co. The building allowed there to be retail space, storage, and enough space for a small skatepark. The park was pretty rad for what Anchorage had to offer. One of the toughest parts about skateparks is that skaters dont want to pay to skate. Another tough obstacle is if the park is too compact then it’s very intimidating for novice skaters to try and skate and those are the kids that will pay. But the fact remains that this was the second time in Boarderline’s history that they built a skatepark for the kids of Anchorage. Most likely it was the second time they built a park knowing it would not make money. Consider the fact that a private business owner, whom was not overwhelmed with reserves of cash he didn’t know what to do with, gave that to our skate community while the city of Anchorage only seems to allocate funds to skaters in the form of skate stoppers.
I hope you enjoy the sickness that went down in that little garage. I hope you see the creativity and talent that skaters exhibit when given even the smallest canvas.
Nice!Gordon Extras: Gary
I met Gary some time towards the middle of the season when working on Nice!Gordon. If I recall he said he had been working on film stuff for his degree at UNR and wanted to get involved in snowboard movies. I was taking on the task of making the movie solo and knew I needed help filming so I asked Gary if he would help film. I told him I really had no money to pay but I would try to teach him everything I knew about filming, editing, and making movies. I figured all of that should be worth about $137. Anyway, Gary came up to AK and filmed a bunch during the spring and again in the summer, as well as spring in Tahoe. Gary was able to handle my stressing out most of the time and my constant onslaught of bad jokes and we ended up with some pretty good footage when the dust settled.
When it came time to do the dvd extras Gary gave me this little gem of an edit. My eyes were wide, my head shook in disbelief, and my jaw hung open in awe. I expected nothing less. Gary is always into having a good time and being funny even if its at his own expense and that’s a trait we shared and bonded over. This video really captures the essence of the Gary I knew at the time. I look at the edit now and hope the viewer can see the importance of keeping that spirit alive as the commercialization of snow/skate sports threatens to create a new breed of self important board jocks. Dont forget that we ride boards for fun not for fame. Cause if you do then you can expect to hear Gary blow the whistle and cry “FOWL!!!!!”
Nice!Gordon Extras: “Sellers, Pollard, Tenge, Stanfill, and Walker” and “Friends”
Two bonus sections for you today. The first features Johnny Sellers, Preston Pollard, Trevor Tenge, Shaine Stanfill, and Ryan Walker. Pretty rad skate section for just bonus clips.
The next is basically an extra friends section. It has skate and snow footage. One thing I always loved about “Boarderline Videos” was that not everything had to be a after black banger. Sometimes it’s just fun to watch the different places and the different styles of your friends. The videos I made were always pretty heavy with that element. After all, it’s this great big group that makes the scene what it is.
Nice!Gordon Extras: Slams
The kids went hard for this video and when the dust settled I had enough slams for two slam sections. This is the slam section from the dvd bonus material.
Nice!Gordon Extras: Borg, hot n fresh out the kitchen
I threw together some of the extras and funny stuff from the year of filming. And as evidenced by the last clip, I threw in some stuff that was obviously just me being a dork. Not much has changed in the dork department. The first clip of the rock in my hand was from a trip to Ohio/Pennsylvania. I jumped off the roof of a house, onto a little grass knoll, then rode it out into the street. On one of the attempts I crumpled at the bottom of the knoll, falling face first towards the street, and put my hands down to stop my fall. I had thick leather gloves on but noticed something about my palm felt strange. I took my glove off to find a small boulder wedged into my palm. The rock went right through the glove, barely leaving a trace, and was able to complete it’s task of creating stigmata.
Nice!Gordon Extras: The Chinterview with Walter Bombeck
While filming Nice!Gordon we headed out to Hatcher Pass a few times. On this occasion we set up a gap over the small creek that runs parallel to the road by the upper parking lot. The only problem is that the terrain is fairly flat leading up to the gap. This means a ridiculous amount of run-in to get the speed needed to clear the gap. The area didn’t have a ton of snow on it so tundra bumps littered the path. After forty days and forty nights of trying to pack down the run in and attempting to figure out the optimal speed pumping technique we gave it a shot. This is the story of one of those shots; the shot heard round the pass.
Basically Walt is the man and never afraid to charge.
Nice!Gordon Extras: Walt, Sunny, Jed, Andre
Pretty sick crew in this section. In no particular order, this section features the prince of anchorage, Andre Spinelli. The spoon man has had a lot of names over the years but B.A.D. (Big Air Dre) is probably the most fitting. Dre has a ton of pop and no fear when it comes to hucking. I feel like its pretty much just his stoke coming through as he rides.
Jed Hoffman has always been able to find some of the most unique and crazy rails featured in the videos. He transplanted from Fairbanks to Reno. Now a days you can find him crushing live poker games and tournaments in Reno and all around the country.
Walter is the third Bombeck brother that I have had the pleasure to spend a lot of time snowboarding with. I grew up around Abe and Kris Bombeck as we went to high school together and did our best to cause as much mayhem as possible at Arctic Valley. As Nice!Gordon came around so did the next generation of Bombeck rippers in Walter Bombeck. As you can see I would pick Walt up from school then head out to hit a jump or rail. I think Walt was only about 17 when we made the video yet he tackled some huge rails around town and went nuts on the AV hip. The Bombeck’s have always had an abundance of heart, talent, and siblings. I can look back now and see what a privilege it was to share so much time with this awesome family.
Sunny was a part of our scene for far too short of a time. Sunny passed away a few years after the movie and it hit our crew pretty bad. Sunny came to the shredfest events to ride for kids, tirelessly worked on jumps and rails for the videos, was present at anything that resembled a Boarderline snow/skate function, and made people smile because he was there. Sunny lived and breathed snowboarding and boarderline and created friendships that reflected that. We will always miss and love you buddy.
Nice!Gordon Extras: Travis Reid, Matt Wild, and David Blome
This is an edit, put together by Matt, for the Nice!Gordon DVD extras. It’s pretty true to Matt’s style back then. You can see that these guys always had a camera with them and always had fun. Matt and Travis were kind of a dynamic duo back in the day. Along with giving me footage and going out filming with me a bunch they also put together movies under Matt’s company known as Buttery Fresh Productions. Travis and Matt were never hesitant when it came to getting up early, picking up a shovel, or just about anything it took to get a creative shot. These two guys have always been among the hardest working snowboarders in Anchorage and you can tell that it all stems from just loving to snowboard.
Now David on the other hand…. haha. Just kidding. Dave has been around the skate scene for a long time and as you can see from the footage, he has skills.
Nice!Gordon Extras: Skit Outtakes
Here are all the bloopers, blunders, mess ups, and just bad acting that came with making the skits for Nice!Gordon. It’s such a strange, different world than what skaters and snowboarders are used to. Everyone is so comfortable in front of a camera when they are trying to skate or snowboard but once you ask them to say a pre-written line, everyone falls apart. Big thanks to Kendall Whelpton for flying up to AK to help film, light, and advise on all the skits. Also DK Johnston was a big contributor before his days of being a main player in the AK film scene and I really appreciated that.
We also traveled down to Newport Beach to film some of the scenes. Making the movie parts of the production were some of the best times I’ve ever had making snow/skate vids. When you watch the older movies you can tell that I always enjoyed making the skits and putting a lot of work into them. With Nice!Gordon I got to take that to a much higher level and it felt awesome. It felt like it gave the movie so much more than just video clips on boards. It felt as though it brought the group together more and gave the movie a uniqueness worthy of the the effort put forth by everyone involved. As I try to figure out how to put it into words I can feel any degree of eloquence slipping away. What I’m trying to say is that I fucking love the AK scene and felt like I finally made a movie that everyone up here could show people with pride; that they felt could represent what they loved about the boarderline movies and being a part of that scene for so long. Im really proud of all the movies but making this movie, the way I did, with the effort that we all put into it, felt like a new level had been reached. I know I’m still fumbling with my words here. Part of the reason I was making a video on my own was because I wanted to continue making movies that represented Alaskan skaters and snowboarders and what it was like to be a part of the scene that was created over the previous ten years. With Nice!Gordon I felt that was accomplished more than any other production or accomplishment I was a part of.
Seems like I just cant help but get all emo when it comes to this stuff. That’s me though and it has always been that way. I hope that comes through in these videos and I hope you get a lot of laughs from my awful acting.
Nice!Gordon Extras: “How to sticker a board” and “Summer Camp”
Today I thought it would be nice to throw out a 2fer and put up 2 Nice!Gordon DVD bonus sections.
One is a tutorial on how to sticker a board. The Boarderline skate team took the RV to Seward for the 4th of July and decided to help Preston and Deez sticker their boards.
The other video is an edit from the 2004 Boarderline Summer Camp. For around 7 years Boarderline put on a snowboard camp at Alyeska. The camp always took place a couple days after school let out for summer. Over the years the camp was visited by a pretty decent amount of pros as well as showcasing future stars. It was mostly a day camp but there were over night campers too and they stayed in RV’s, Military tents, and a year or two at Gus’s family cabin. The camp had hand dug half pipes, hand dug kickers placed around the natural features, and provided summer free-riding that couldn’t be found at any other camp. The more I think about it the more I feel like I should just save this stuff for a full post about camp. That being said I will get back to telling you about this edit. I tried to feature as many people as possible. I wanted the viewer to see how much fun camp was for everybody no matter a rider’s ability level. It was a time when we were still all there to root each other on and be fans of each other.
And DAMN that park was sick. I’m still blown away when I see the overview. How is it that 10 years ago, in the summer, Alyeska had a park that amazing? Compared to what the mountain gives us now I can see why kids leave the state to snowboard. Just look at the size of the crowds, look at how many people showed up to snowboard in the summer? Alaska is typically a place where people are done with the snow once May hits and yet the camp pulled that kind of crowd. It was because of how amazing the set up was. I wish the current management could see the forrest for the trees before they get too far behind the curve. By the time they realized that listening to park staff like Glenn and Tony about building real features it’s going to be too late. The kids are going to buy split boards or sleds and stop paying for sub par facilities. Ahhh there I go again on another tangent. Ok I’ll quit and just let you enjoy the videos.
Nice!Gordon Extras: Gus Engle
Here is some bonus footage of Gus from the filming of Nice!Gordon. Is that a 46 inch stance?
This is the teaser for Nice!Gordon. It features Chris Brewster as the little shredder. The teaser is from 2004 and marks the last movie I made for Boarderline. I love how this reminds people of the roots of snow/skate. It’s raw and its about doing what you love no matter what anybody else has to say about it. Please share, like, download, and tag anyone you know from the video or from that period.
My First (and probably last) Marathon
After my snowboard career came to an end I played poker for a living. I stumbled onto poker in Reno and fell in love with the game. So it might be strange to know I’ve never been a gambler. I am, however, a sucker for the romance of the history, colorful characters, and lifestyle of people that made a living playing poker and gambling. The mantra of many early poker players was that if something is worth arguing about then its worth betting on. This mantra has led to many a wager on just about everything from human feats of endurance to which sugar cube a fly will land on.
This summer I spent three weeks playing poker in Vegas. I was there to play at the World Series of Poker which originally was a gathering of the traveling poker professionals. While I was in Vegas I was watching the final table of an event which was won by Ted Forrest. When i first started playing poker, about ten years ago, Ted was among a handful of known names in the poker community. Ten years ago poker really hit the mainstream huge. The known players were on tv every other day. Books about the poker’s history and personalities were being churned out as fast as a hand of hold’em could be dealt. I was brand new to the game and devoured all I could on the subject; my favorite being the books about gamblers and the crazy bets they made. Perhaps it’s because I never really felt comfortable gambling that I got a thrill reading about others doing it.
One of those stories that always stuck with me was about Ted Forrest running a marathon. He bet $7000 that he could just go out and run a marathon with no training. As i sat in the Rio this summer that story crept back into my thoughts and I started to wonder if I could do it. Could I run a marathon? I hate running. I ran everyday in high school but that was 21 years ago. I’m in decent shape but I’m also 39 and again; hate running. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m 39 and hate running that the idea wouldn’t vacate my thoughts. Perhaps this is the point in life where an aging, former pro athlete has something to prove.
I started passing the idea around with friends and they predictably thought I was crazy. Crazy or not I knew the seed was firmly planted. I also knew that I wanted money on the line or it would be too easy to give up. The word “Marathon” held a grandness in my mind that commanded reverence. What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t take this lightly. I didn’t think it would be easy. Evidently my friend Brandon didn’t think it would be easy either. After a skate session in Girdwood, we were all sitting around talking and I brought up the idea of the bet. The terms would be that I had to finish the marathon in 5.5 hrs or less and prior to the marathon I couldn’t run or go to the gym. I couldn’t train for the marathon. Basically all i could do is what I would normally do and I don’t normally run or go to the gym. I could walk, I could hike occasionally with my girlfriend, and I could eat right. Eating right would be tough considering pizza was part of my diet about twice a week and I love pepsi. So Brandon said he had a friend that ran marathons and he was going to ask him about the bet. The next day I got a text, from Brandon, saying that he would take the bet at 3 to 1 odds. I laughed and said he must have talked to his friend. He said he had and we agreed to put up $1000 at 3 to 1. That means if I win then I get $3000 and if i lose Brandon gets $1000.
As the time leading up to the marathon passed, I began to really cut out the sugar in my diet and cut back on the fats. I basically got healthy fast and shed some pounds. Kelly and I have taken walks all the time but I tried to walk a lot. I hiked maybe a total of 3 hours in the month leading up to the race. I wanted to run soooo bad. I wanted to run a mile to see how fast I could do it. I wanted to run on the downhills of the hiking. I just wanted to find out what i was capable of but a bet is a bet and my word only means something if I stay true to it.
The day of the race it was rainy which was a big advantage for me, or so I thought. I figured it was better that it was cooler but with the first steps of the race my legs never felt so tight and heavy but more about that in a minute. As the race was about to begin I was decked out and ready to run. I had a self made wrist band with the time I need to hit at each mile to finish on time. I had my interval timer (I read about a technique where runners run for an amount of time then walk an amount of time. In my case I would run 1 minute then walk 1 minute. The idea is to keep that up the entire race and the body will erase the fatigue during the walking portions). I had my gel packets for energy and my beats to keep me moving fast.
I got dropped off, near the starting line, about 10 minutes before the race started. I felt pretty excited and nervous. I was also anxious about not getting to see Kelly and my mom before the gun went off. As the announcer counted down the final seconds I resigned myself to not seeing my ladies until later in the race. Bang! And we’re off. I was warned to start slowly but all i wanted to do was run. I even missed the first two beeps on the interval timer because I was just soaking it in and feeling the run. Then, just as I started to get ready to turn the first corner, I spotted Kelly. She was holding a sign and it said, “I get 2 marry bib 141.” The strange part was that I was big 249. Haha just kidding. The truth is that tears welled up as I saw the sign. There are moments in life when you feel overwhelming love, when you really understand how special what you have is. This race brought me a couple of those moments.
Like I said before, my legs never felt so tight and heavy as when I first started running. Since I haven’t run in a couple decades I couldn’t tell if it was from the cold, damp weather or just nerves from the enormity of what I was embarking on. I also had to pull the reigns back a bit because I wanted to run too fast. I felt good though. I felt strong and light and excited about it.
The first thing I noticed was the different types of runners and different paces. Oh wait, rewind a bit. So the race starts downtown, with lots of spectators around the town square area, and wraps around a few blocks. When I got my nerves under control and decided I better heed the advice I was given, I got onto the interval program and began to walk for a minute. The problem was that the first minute I walked just happened to fall right as the course wrapped around in front of the big town square crowd. Great, now I look like the guy that’s winded after running one block. Haha, not an ego boost.
Back to the runners. As i ran then walked, I would notice that pace kept me even with a number of people and actually passing others. I even had one guy tell me that I walked faster than he ran. I noticed people pouring sweat after 3 miles and I noticed people pretty much out for a sunday stroll. I don’t really remember what mile marks I saw my friends at but i do remember that I began to feel my right knee hurting somewhere between mile 3 and mile 5. The pain in my knee was on the outside and felt like it was on the bone rather than the joint itself. Also around mile 5 my right arch started to hurt too.
The interesting part about a run like this is having nothing but time to think about everything. The time can be great if it’s used to work out social issues or a new tax platform that balances the needs of businesses and individuals. The time can be a little less constructive when every second is used to dwell on the pain shooting through a knee. My thoughts, at least in the first half of the marathon, weren’t completely dominated by what hurt. It’s funny to think about how much my thoughts changed as the run went on. In the early miles I felt like a pit bull on a short chain; I just wanted to break free and attack the course. I thought about how I would cross the finish line like Steve Prefontaine. I thought about what mile I would just break free and run the rest of the way; mile 22 seemed like the time I would strike. Needless to say my thoughts changed a little further down the course.
Around mile 10 I started to notice how much of a cushion I had built up. By mile 13 I was about half an hour ahead of schedule. I was having little dreams of breaking 4.5 hours and might even have entertained breaking 4 hours for a split second. Obviously these dreams of grandeur were crowding my mind on the intervals when I was walking because the pain was getting a lot worse when I was running. For a long time I felt no pain when I would walk and a lot when I would run. When my knee hurt I would just think about Danny Way (because I’m a skate nerd) and how when something hurts you just have to keep going because the real pain sets in once you stop. I also brushed a lot of the pain off, telling myself “It’s just pain, it’s just another feeling that’s part of the experience.” After a while the sharp pains were also joined by a weak, light feeling in the knee; almost a wobbliness. It was the feeling when something feels like it might give out.
I’m not sure what mile markers it happened at but my friend Christian was there, rooting me on, holding gear I might need, and just being positive at a number of spots along the course. About the third time I saw him I was super excited about how far ahead of schedule I was and he was telling me to slow it down. I thought that was odd. It wasn’t odd because I didn’t understand the logic or strategy behind it, it was odd because I don’t process the idea of not pushing myself very well. If I grasped that concept then I certainly wouldn’t be doing this in the first place. Prior to the race I approached things in a very logical and analytical fashion by breaking down my time/pace, planning my nutrition, planning my markers for hydration and refueling, and my gear. Once the race started and I felt the road under my feet, the dreamer took over. Once I got on the course the part of me that dreamed of being a pro snowboarder took over. I saw big things in my future even if that future was only 4.5 to 5.5 hours away. Christian saw the face of the dreamer up to this point. Around mile 20 he saw a completely different face. Through it all I’m just really grateful that he was there as a calming positive friend.
As I ran the early stages of the race I noticed that the 1 minute intervals passed so quickly. The longer the race went on the shorter the walking intervals seemed to get while the running intervals appeared to have stretched into half hour blocks. That was purely due to the knee pain but yet another interesting piece of data to analyze in this 5 hour study of my physical and mental resolve.
Mile 18. That was the point where I knew that if I ran any further that I would most likely not be able to finish the race. Both my knees were in excruciating pain. My legs weren’t heavy and my cardio was just fine. I had simply encountered a wall of pain that I couldn’t climb over. Mile 18 marked the beginning of the mind games. Mile 18 was when I knew I couldn’t run any further so I knew I wouldn’t gain any more ground on a faster time. I knew I was just in a race to finish rather than improve and for me that was gut wrenching.
Every mile slowed down considerably. I would come around a corner and expect to see a mile marker and it was not there. Mile 20 was the second turn around and as I got there I saw my mom and Kelly waiting for me. Suddenly my eyes welled up again. I was starting to get really emotional about it all. It was all happy emotion but none the less the tears came close to spilling a couple times. As I crossed the bridge I turned off my music and heard a number of people clapping and saying, “Come on Jason, you can do it!” I didn’t know most of them but they knew who I was because of Kelly’s sign that said, “Jason, you’re kind of a big deal.” Something that struck me was how positive everyone was during every part of the run. This experience gave me a peak into a world that I am not a part of and I was really impressed with the positivity. Everyone rooted everyone on. Kids from the high school x-country running and ski programs posted up all along the course and cheered just for the sake of being supportive (and they probably got some extra credit). There wasn’t any trash talking, no soccer/hockey moms, no negativity. It didn’t matter if you were first or hobbling in last, people were there to cheer you on. Perhaps there is so much positivity going on because people can sense how much darkness, doubt, struggle, and negativity can be going on inside the runners head. For anyone that pushes themselves a marathon will test you. There is simply too much time to think, too much time to question yourself, too much time alone with the truth. Most challenging events are over before you have time to realize if you left it all out there or held back, but not a marathon.
At the 20 mile turnaround I walked by and gave Kelly a kiss. She asked me if I was ok and I said no. I said no because of the pain and because I knew I couldn’t run anymore. Perhaps I should have given a more detailed description of my condition. A girlfriend (soon to be wife) doesn’t take the one word answer of “no” very well when her never running, no training guy is 20 miles into a marathon.
When I passed Christian again at mile 23 I still had half an hour cushion but my mind lingered on the pain. He was not seeing an excited energetic face. This was the point where I just wanted it to be over. I no longer had thoughts of dashing through the finish line with a thoroughbred’s stride. Now all I could think about was wanting to lay on the grass at the finish line. I just wanted to stop moving my legs, stop hammering nails into my knees. The thought of my legs just giving out became a serious fear. I started to plan out what I would do if that happened. I figured I had that half an hour to rest and try to work it out or I even thought that I could hop/limp in if I had to. One thing I never planned for was quitting. That was never an option.
As I came to the last uphill, about a quarter of a mile to go, I heard someone say, “that doesn’t look like running.” It was Beki Kelly and she was with Paul Kelly. Also along for the final push were Jason Moore and his daughter Lucy. Some of my snowboard friends had come to root the old guy on. They walked me to the corner of 6th ave and gave me the final push of encouragement to the finish line. I wanted to run the last block and a half straightaway and that’s what I attempted to do. I’m not sure you could call it running; more of a wounded shuffle. I started to feel and see my calves dimple in. The muscles were trying their best to cramp and lock up. I started to worry that I would be one of those people that collapses right before the finish line (only hours slower). I shuffled across the finish, standing up, and stopped the second my foot crossed the line. I walked a few steps and had to grab the rail to stretch out my calves so that I could keep moving. Then it was straight over to the grass in all its glorious refreshing coolness.
I did it! I finished with a time of 5:03:46. I won the bet and I proved to myself that I could do it. I know this blog is about riding boards in Alaska and you might think betting on running a marathon has nothing to do with that. You might even think it was kind of jock-ish. Well let me tell you how I think the event relates. Skating and snowboarding are activities that I am passionate about. They are also activities that push me. Every day I spend on a board I am faced with something I shouldn’t be able to do. Either I’m told I can’t do it or I question myself. I try and fail and fail and fail and fail. But I still get up and try again. I risk looking stupid and embarrassing myself. I deal with social stigmas. The point is that I DONT GIVE A FUCK about any of that stuff. The battle I face is within myself. The same way I pushed through the pain of this marathon is the same way I hang myself over a rail and push through to get a shot. The same way I want to quit running but won’t is the same way I want to quit trying a trick after the 100th try but I won’t. The same way people thought I was crazy for trying this run is the same way people (and sometimes myself) thought I was for trying to be a pro snowboarder. Everyday on a board is a test, a battle within yourself. Everyday on a board is a chance to quit. The choice is yours.
I just want to say thanks to all of those people that were so supportive. I really appreciate it. I’m really happy my mom was there to see this and I’m grateful that she has made sure to be there for so many of my events through the years. If I didn’t have such a great mom and family pushing me to follow my dreams then I never would have made it. Thanks to my wonderful bride to be for showing me every bit of how much love you have to give.
Steezin’ For No Reason<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/98078174″>STEEZIN2</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6413922″>jason borgstede</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
It’s taken me so long to upload this for a number of reasons. I guess I really dragged my feet because this video, while one of my favorites, carries a lot of pain with it. Steezin For No Reason is the 7th and final movie made as a collaboration between Jesse Burtner and myself. Just after the movie premier in September I was informed that the partnership was being dissolved. More about that later.
I really feel Steezin hit a spot in snowboarding, and skateboarding to a lesser extent, where it became fun to break out of the mold of accepted fashion. You might say that is what skating and snowboarding have always been about but you would be fooling yourselves. Skating and snowboarding started that way and tends to recreate itself every so often but there are armies of kids out there closely adhering to the dress codes of their peer group. Just watch most snowboard edits on TWSnow or Snowboarder Mag and you’ll see the clone wars are in full effect. First off I’m not saying because a kid clones out that they aren’t talented. Most kids these days are waging a full assault on anything the mind can imagine. Second, I’m also not saying that my time period was free of the flock mentality. In my time it was the JP/Jeremy look and I was certainly influenced by it. All I am trying to say is that I feel Steezin played a small part in saying, “Fuck it, flare out and wear what you want.” Every so often the reset button needs to be pushed so people can express themselves how ever they see fit.
As usual I think we have one of the best “Dogs” (Friends) sections in the game. I also can’t get over how sick the skaters are. Micah always makes me want to get out and skate and always makes me disappointed that nothing i ever do will look that effortless. Jerry just crushes and has such a unique bag of tricks. He really is all terrain when it comes to skating. I also think the viewer can see how far ahead of the game Kooley was as he just toyed with the rails with a bag of tricks that today’s pros would give up smoking for. Steinbaugh crushed… really crushed it. I want to say Mark Thompson could be the Jamie Lynn of Alaska in that both are sooo talented yet I get the feeling I never got to witness their full potential. It’s just a gut feeling but I really don’t think the world got to see Mark in his full glory. What the world did get to see was pretty amazing though and I’m thankful for that. And let’s not forget that Spoon Man goes hard in the paint. Andre Spinelli was always exciting to ride with. I never knew if I would see a sick corked 9 or the craziest flying fish impression. B.A.D. (big air Dre) didn’t get his nickname by coming up short on jumps so when Dre was in the line up riders had to be ready to give’r.
I will tell you some interesting notes on the filming done at Arctic Valley. I contacted the guys at Arctic and they were super helpful and friendly. They agreed to let us film up there when the place was closed, to let us bring our rails up, to move snow around for us, and to allow us to ride the back deck. Riding the back deck was a huge deal because they found and attached angle iron to the top rail for us. They didn’t so much as wince when the perpendicular section of the rail was run into and broken. Those guys just cheered us on and smiled. That attitude, that support, that approach is the same spirit exhibited by the early (late 80’s/early 90’s) Arctic Valley, both on the civilian side, run by the Hodges family, and the military side, run by Jeff Barnhart. Arctic Valley has supported snowboarding as long as it has been around in AK and their support during Steezin contributed heavily to the movie. Thank you to everyone involved in the glory years of Arctic Valley.
I got off on a “thank you” tangent there. That’s the problem with aging, I get so nostalgic and emo over it all. Let me get back on track. So in the hopes of promoting our movie and gaining some media hype we found someone at the Anchorage Daily News that was willing to go with us on some filming missions and write an article about it. In the sense that an article was written about us it was a success. In the sense of portraying the truth and giving a real sense of what it was like to be filming our movie, it was an epic fail. The reporter basically painted us as barely being able to strap into our boards or hold a video camera because our middle fingers were constantly pointed straight at society as we brashly stormed our way into any area we wanted while giving zero fucks. When I read the article I was surprised there wasn’t a quote from an old lady saying that we pushed her over and dug up her rose garden.
During our filming we decided to go up the opposite side of AV and see if the old abandoned (and yes that is a very key fact here) bunkers held anything for us to ride. The area at the top of the hill is fenced off as it is part of the military site. I know there is some sort of missile site further up there hill but I have no idea the condition or if it’s still in use. What I do know is the area we were trying to check out could have been a set location for “Chernobyl Diaries.” The fencing was falling apart with huge holes in it and gates that were open so we walked in and checked out the area. We found some cool spots to ride and there are shots in the movie from there. After getting our shots we packed up and left. The article came out shortly after that while Jesse was back in Washington and I was back in Tahoe. The season came to an end and I returned to AK for the summer to find out that the JAG (basically the legal branch of the military) had visited my mom’s house a few times requesting to talk to me. One morning there is a knock on the door and I am greeted with a subpoena to appear in court. It’s been a long time so i may have some of my jargon/facts a little bit off but the important part is that the JAG unit told me to be in court and I was in trouble. Turns out the military does not like articles in the news paper that say people can freely walk in and out of their sites. Also turns out that I wasn’t in that much trouble. When I got in front of the judge and explained what we were doing, why were were doing it, and that we didn’t have malicious intent (other than shredding) he let me go and said not to go back. I might have had to pay a fine but it was no more than $75 bucks. I think they just wanted to make make an example of me to let people know they can’t just run all over the military grounds and flaunt it in the paper. Of course that is not what we were doing but that is certainly how we were portrayed by the ADN reporter, Josh Niva. Thanks Josh. I guess any press is good press.
I mentioned in the beginning that this video carries a lot of pain for me. What i’m referring to is the break up of JB Deuce. After the Anchorage premier, outside the 4th Ave theatre, I mentioned to Jesse that we need to start talking about next years movie and I dont remember the exact response but it was not overwhelming enthusiasm. A little while later he told me he was going to do his own thing for the upcoming season and that JB Deuce was not going to continue. This blindsided me, although in hindsight there were signs, and really knocked me on my ass. As I pushed Jesse for answers I got an email breaking it down for me. Basically the email said that i didn’t contribute to the movie; in filming, in cultivating the next generation of riders, etc. This isn’t something I need to argue about through this blog. I am secure and confident in what I brought to the table over a 7 year period and, just like at the time it happened, arguing about it won’t change the other persons mind. It was very much like a break up where one person has their mind made up and the other wants to keep it going.
Jesse and I always saw things a bit differently and sometimes a lot differently. We shared a common love of snowboarding, skateboarding, alaska, and movie making. But if the parts of the movies done solely are compared there is a stark difference. I saw that difference and honestly appreciated it. I felt the movie needed it to balance out and better represent the range of people we were making the movies for. As time went on I could see that there were inevitabilities that I was fighting such as consumer buying trends. Our movies did really well in AK but only really sold outside of that because of the names we could get on the box or personal relationships with shop owners. We were told that consumers didn’t want a video that had skating and snowboarding together. These are ideas I knew were true but fought because I held close to the idea of why we started to make these movies; to showcase Alaskan snowboarders and skateboarders the way we wanted to see them (meaning more creative editing, etc.).
Jesse had gotten hurt and I think that reality set in that he needed to get this video thing to another level if it was going to support him. I on the other hand still held onto the idealism of it all. Don’t get me wrong; I am not pitting money vs ideals but it played a role and that is undeniable. And I certainly don’t speak for Jesse on this. I am just speculating and telling you my thoughts and feelings on the topic.
Jesse was always far more of an art person than I was and as Steezin came along he was spending a ton of time with Genovese whom is a very accomplished artist. I think some of Jesse’s artsy ideas ran into resistance from me and were nurtured by Geno and his other NW buddies like McCarthy that he was around all the time. Like I said, i dont have an issue with Jesse’s different view of snowboard movie making and I was happy those ideas gave the movies variety. And I don’t have an issue with Jesse wanting to hit the reset button on movie making and follow his own path. My issue is with how the break up happened. After being really close to someone for 7 years, not just close but really vested with that person on a number of levels, it truly broke my heart with the way it was all handled.
During my snowboard years I may have had an intimidating presence (not a tough guy obviously) and Jesse was definitely very non confrontational. I can only imagine that is why things went the way they did. By that I mean with no real communication of the issues he had with me. I was never approached with any of it. I never got an email or a second hand word or anything that let me know he didn’t like the path we were going down or that he wanted to make a change. I was never approached with the idea of changing any format or line ups or making it a snowboard only movie. I really feel that stems from his non confrontational nature facing squarely against my stubborness and knowing I was pretty set on the videos featuring Alaskans as well as both sports. Regardless of how uncomfortable it might of felt I believe he owed it to me to at least bring it up at some point rather than just walking without a word.
When the AV stuff went down with the JAG people and going to court Jesse didn’t seem to be involved. When I asked him about it,. it turned out he had a lawyer and talked to them independently, never mentioning it to me. That was pretty weird. When the crew came to tahoe to film they went on a mission to film a rock jib. I was told that half of us couldn’t go. I see this happen in big time movie crews but with us it was always more family style and we just let the shot quality dictate what got in the movie. When we were at Mt. Hood and the opening scene was shot, with the kids wearing different clothes, I wasn’t consulted about it and wasn’t even told the shoot was going on. Another rider came to the house I was at and asked why I wasn’t down there when they were shooting. Usually both creators of a movie come together to decide something important like the opening skit. Jesse decided that on his own and decided not to tell me he was shooting it. When the movie premiered he waited until the end of September/start of October to tell me he was out and I was on my own. If you’re familiar with making movies this doesn’t give me much time to pick myself up and figure out what to do and how I was going to do it. Jesse already had his movie plans in motion. I felt like someone challenged me to a race and fired the starter pistol while i was tying my shoes. When I got the email about how I was not contributing anything to the movie, after realizing arguing with that would get me nowhere, I offered up some alternatives but it was clear that nothing was going to happen. One of the alternatives was that JB Deuce could be the umbrella company and I would make the AK movie while he made a snowboard only movie with fresh faces. Jesse was not interested in being partners with me at all and told me that I could work for him and he would pay me for clips i submitted. That was a bit of a slap in the face.
All of these things hurt, the dissolution of the company hurt, the idea that the era of Boarderline movies had just ended hurt, but what hurt me the most was that I felt that friends don’t handle situations like that. I don’t mean friends don’t go different directions and it was clear that Jesse needed to go in a different direction. What I mean is that friends, and I truly thought Jesse was a close friend, don’t go about things in that fashion. I felt that after 7 years I was owed more than that. Maybe I’m wrong and really it doesn’t matter to anyone but me. I am just expressing where the broken heart came from. I know I can be hard to deal with and a pain in the ass but I also know that I went to bat for Jesse and a lot of people because I cared about everything we were doing and everyone involved. I know that if the shoe was on the other foot that I would have handled it differently. It’s been almost 11 years since this happened and it is something that saddens me to this day. Our movies were a unifying force in the Alaskan community and when we split things changed a lot. Couple that with Boarderline’s decline and closing two years later and our scene took a big hit and hasn’t been the same since. Changes happen in life and people go different directions. I don’t know that I’ll ever fully get over this because what we did together meant the world to me. Many people will just consider it a few videos but for me, it was so much more. We helped develop a community, give kids something positive to strive for and be a part of (and not just sponsored kids, any kid that could get in front of a camera), promote Alaska and Alaskans, and create something that represented everyone in our lifestyle. We used to pack the theatre with well over a thousand people because what we created touched skaters, snowboarders, their friends, their families, and maybe even two skiers.
We did great things with those movies and every bit of my heart is in them. And please understand that they wouldn’t have been what they are without Jesse. My pain comes from how Jesse dealt with our relationship, not with his artistic talent or choice of direction. Jesse is a great dude and has done so much for snowboarding. He has taken the idea of inclusion from our videos and presented it to the world with his continued works. He has made snowboarding accessible to the masses rather than just trying to shock the audience like the big budget movies do. And I want to congratulate him and Pika on their new child. They will be great parents.
I’m sorry if my venting of this rubs some people the wrong way but feel free to talk to me about it. On that note, I hope you enjoyed the video and again i’m sorry it took so long to put up. See you next time when I put “Nice!Gordon” up.
In For Life
“In For Life” is the 6th video I did with Jesse Burtner as the JB Deuce team. The video was released in the fall of 2002. I don’t think any title represents snowboarding and skateboarding better than this one. Any true skater or snowboarder is in for life. I first stepped on a skateboard around 30 years ago and my first run on a snowboard was about 25 years ago. To this day I still can’t put either of them down and I know a lot of the guys in this movie are the same way. These useless wooden toys have embedded themselves in our lives, becoming a necessity, as important as air or water in maintaining life. And what better use of life than to have and follow a passion relentlessly?
“In For Life” was our first experimentation with holding a consistent theme throughout the movie. The titles, the music, the voice-overs, the interviews, the chalk bodies and blood were all symbolism referencing the commitment to riding a board. It’s not just the commitment to riding a board, it’s the commitment to the lifestyle, to the ups and downs, the good and bad that come with riding the board. This movie also marked a more experimental approach to the construction of the parts. The abstract can be seen when you look closely, such as switching songs in the middle of a part, but were put together in a way to only be noticeable subconsciously. We’re not talking about groundbreaking “walking on the moon” type stuff but it was new for us and we put it together in a way that was different than what was being put out at the time. I’m really proud of it.
Let’s talk about some serious standouts. I feel as though I almost don’t need to mention Adrian Williams because it is just a given, like the sun rising tomorrow morning, that he will put out a beautiful part that makes me feel like a hack when I’m on a skateboard. The skating in this movie really surpasses expectations. I know I say that every video but that is a testament to the heart that Alaska skaters have. The skaters keep up with the industry standard and keep crushing when it would be so easy to fall back on all the excuses Alaska provides to not be able to skate at the best of their abilities. Brandon Chenault tightens up the manual game straight out of the mean streets of Nikiski. Mitch Edmondson throws down a ledge to flip out onslaught that would be bangers today and he does them on areas that people aren’t hitting now. Mitch did such a phenomenal job of mixing raw and smooth together. Anthony Black’s style and tricks were getting tightened up right along with his pants. They say that a goldfish is the type of fish that will grow larger if you give it a larger surrounding. If you take it out of the glass bowl and throw it in a pond then it will grow much larger. Jerry Smyth ventured out of the Alaskan glass bowl and into the big California pond and damn did his skating grow to the size of his surroundings.
Jon Kooley learned frontside board slides. Haha. I think it’s safe to say he put them on lockdown. At the time we teased him a little because of how many he had when the footage all came together. It was only two years before that, when he lived with me in tahoe, that he barely knew how to do them. Fast forward a bit and he was at the front of the street-cred line. But don’t let the fs boards cloud your view of the well rounded part Kooley puts out. It’s no doubt why he went on to film parts with Mack Dawg and other big film companies after parts like this one.
I really love the idea that the guys that would normally be stereotyped as pow riders would be out in the streets, on rail missions with us, at any given session. Spinelli, Ashley Call, and Draper all kill the backcountry and are most known for their free-riding skills yet each of them can be seen in the movie on pure rail missions. Riding everything was a common factor among our crew. We didn’t really have any single terrain riders and i think that really speaks to the heart of our crew and to the fact of being from Alaska.
Brady Farr and Brent Tumbleson really started to show what they where capable of. James Reeves stepped on the scene from Fairbanks and started the procession of Fairbanks military dudes that rip. All three feet of Jorge Comelli came out firing and left everyone yelling, “OH MY GOSS!” I have to say one of the most impressive parts came from Angel Williams. When Angel focused on his skating and not on telling us how buttery he was he could destroy any spot. Angel was a good guy with just a little too much Wu Tang in him. Haha. I hope this isn’t coming off wrong because I love him and think he had a lot of skill. One of my favorite tricks in the video, and perhaps one of the most underrated, is when he front side 180’d up the second step at Hanshew and switch flipped off. He had a style that was really light footed with just enough wild in it to make it interesting to watch. I’m really grateful he was a part of our scene for so many years.
Ami delivers pure butter in the style department. It’s rare to find such a tall rider that looks so smooth and polished on a backcountry jump as well as rails. Kirk Stinebaugh was another guy that rode with us for years and I think I just took for granted that he was pretty good and left it at that. The beautiful thing about watching these videos years later is that they can be looked at through fresh eyes. Twelve years later I’m a much different person than I was when we made this movie. I am in a different spot in life. I have had a so many life altering experiences that even though this is the same video, it is completely different and means different things to me. I love Kirk’s style and I love that I can now appreciate his talent so much more. The thing we always tried to do with the videos, and given a thousand tries we would still come up short on, is to convey the personality and attitudes of the riders. Kirk was a glowing light shining on any session we were in. “WHAAAAAT UUUUUUP?” in a baritone voice would belt out from where ever he was. The only time I didn’t see that from Kirk was during a shoot for this movie. Sullivan arena has a double kinked rail that is pretty harsh. That rail sits right across from the old Ben Boke skate park and has just stared snowboarders in the face for a long time. There are security guards there a lot of the time as well as constant events, making it tough to set up and hit. My grand plan was to go there on New Year’s Eve, hoping that the security would have the night off. I was correct and we got the rail set up and started to hit it. The time got close to midnight and Kirk started talking about how he wanted to go and party. Haha, YEAH RIGHT! I was so anti party and so aggro snowboard that I couldn’t get on track with that. To me there was no better way to celebrate the new year than with a shot snowboarding something I’ve wanted to hit for years. Well I think I should have taken Kirk’s advice and packed it in earlier because I ended up separating my shoulder that night. The crash is in the slam section where I come into the kink at a 45 degree angle and eject from the kink to the concrete on my shoulder. Kirk was about the fun and that night I’m sure it seemed more fun to celebrate new years than to dodge security guards and get wrecked. Love ya Kirk. IN FOR LIFE!!!
I filmed a lot of Micah for this video and that will always be a cherished memory. I have to say that really rings true for the entire crew. Each guy had their own style and their own plan of attack that really complimented each other in the overall stranglehold they put on the AK skate scene. Sometimes you just end up spending more time with certain riders and micah was one of those guys I spent a lot of time around. For this video we took a trip to Fairbanks and searched for new spots. I think we found some stuff that really let Micah shine and I was happy to do the filming rather than having another part delivered to us. The one wheeled manual to ollie to manual and the shuvit to left wheeled manual at Hanshew are a couple of creative gems from the Maestro. The brilliance of Micah’s “creative” skating was that it didn’t come off as forced for the sake of being different. Micah’s creative side always seemed to come from the pureness of a skate rat; a kid that lived and died for skating and just wanted to let it pour out of him.
I wanted to come up with a bunch to say about Lando but really, after watching his part, all i can do is smile. It’s been great to watch how much he stepped up his game from each video to the next. It’s amazing to watch as he catapulted himself from another kid riding jumps to the top of snowboard royalty and most of that leap happened in front of our cameras. Just sit back and enjoy the craftsman at work.
As for my part, well the intro was a little throwback to a reality show I was on and my fleeting career. If you think some of those dance scenes were sketchy then you should have seen what they looked like without the filter on them. We’re talking Chris Hanson creepy. I was a little embarrassed as I shopped the thrift stores of Seattle for the stripper costume; luckily I already had the shorts. Haha. One funny story concerns the one cliff shot I have from a day filming with Robbie Sell in the backcountry about an hour outside of Mammoth. I took my sled back and turned it off after one of our first stops. When I went to start the sled back up the pull chord pulled out. The sled started but the chord was dangling loose in my hands and no longer connected to the sled. Back then this was a fairly common occurrence but it meant either a lengthy ordeal to fix or a fairly lengthy half assed ghetto fix each time I pulled it. So the rest of the day my sled never got turned off. I would shuttle myself up to a spot and leave it running while I hit the drop then get shuttled back up to it later. Luckily I had a full tank of gas to keep the sled going all day.
Hope you liked the video and stay tuned for “Steezin for no Reason” next.
The 49th Chamberhttp://vimeo.com/87724262″>49th Chamber</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6413922″>jason borgstede</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Lets see if I can get this one out there in under 4000 words. The 49th Chamber was an idea I came up with while on an airplane. Obviously we were all pretty into Wu Tang back then and it influenced the initial thought for the video. I’m having a hard time remembering who did the art work but I believe Jesse lined that up and put that part of the concept together.
As we released more videos we became more comfortable in the process. The 49th Chamber really let us start to step out with different titles and musical choices. We really peppered in a lot of graphics. I also feel the overall look of the video became much tighter.
I think one thing that really shines through for me was how important and valuable snowboard camp was. The set up, at camp, was better than anything we’ve seen in Alaska to this point. With all the technology and industry direction towards park building and promotion, it’s still a little board shop summer camp, with a 150 kids, that has produced the best man made terrain ever seen in AK. I know there are cat drivers that can build the stuff so I guess we have to question the mountains and the value they put on providing for a consumer. I’m sure they will tell us that there are a million reasons and rules that prevent them from making a decent park. My answer to that would be that not only do numerous lower 48 mountains do it everyday but ALASKA has done it before. The mountains that deny us today have previously provided us with the best terrain we’ve seen. Gotta wonder where our hard earned dollar is going. Anyway, i’ll step off the soap box for now and get back to the video.
This video contained a lot of riders that threw down. Some went on to pro careers, a couple of them are team managers now, and all of them left a mark on the scene. I know i’ve said this before but its really hard to believe what people were throwing down back then. Representing our scene and our riders spurred my drive to make the videos. There was so much talent that just never got a shot to be seen. These movies were about showcasing their talents in a package we put together. As riders, Jesse and I got to do our snowboarding but making the movie brought the real happiness. When the premier night came I was excited about my footage but nothing like the excitement I felt for the movie. I was never much of an artist as far as traditional art. I cant pick up a brush and create anything more than a mess. I never learned to play musical instruments. But what I felt like I was decent at was putting together a few minutes of footage in a way that really let people see the light inside someone. It might sound corny but it is the truth. Making videos has always been my art.
Like I was saying, this video had quite a pool of talent. I think the “Dogz” section was one of the best we ever had. I also think the skate section with Brant Schalk, Belcourt, and the others really opened eyes, if you wanted to see it, to how good a bunch of Alaskan kids could ride a wooden plank. Brant and Belcourt were great examples of sick skaters that really never got any attention outside of AK. I filmed most of Brant’s section and you can notice that we never had shots at the same spots. If you knew me as a skater, at that point of my life, then you know that I went for it. I was willing to slam and willing to drop off big stuff. So when I went to film Brant it’s not like I didn’t think about or try to skate the stuff he skated; I just couldn’t. I just wasn’t in Brant’s league when it came to skating. The spots were so difficult to skate because of cracks, short runways, rough ground, etc. When you have true talent it just doesn’t matter. The thing about videos is, if filmed right, everything looks easy. I want to let you know that it isn’t. Belcourt was the same way but being from Juneau kept him and I from skating much together. You can see from the footage that he is just a pure natural. I’ve had the pleasure of watching a lot of naturals ride skateboards and that is an art that I can truly appreciate.
Speaking of naturals, Micah didn’t have a long part but as usual it was gold. Micah has an aesthetic to his skating that is best described as natural. I skated with Micah a lot over the years and I noticed something about his skating. When I show up to skate a spot I try to figure out what tricks I can do at the spot. Usually the routine of trick selection consists of running down the list of tricks I can do and seeing what can be made to fit the spot in question. Micah’s trick selection seemed to follow a different path. Nothing Micah did at a spot looked forced. On the contrary, the tricks Micah chose looked as though they were the absolute best choice to flow with the spot. The tricks he did belonged at that spot. He just uncovered the tricks and let them happen the way nature intended.
Darian “Double D” Draper was the first person I ever saw do the double backside rodeo (his opening shot). I guess the trick could be called a double backflip backside 180 or a double roll 180 but no matter what you call it riders are doing it in events today. Darian is one of the greatest people you’ll ever meet until you need your face pushed in. Seriously though, Double D dropped hammers in this part and had no sponsors at the time.
Jon Kooley moved to Utah for the winter this video was filmed and ended up parlaying that choice into a full blown career. Just last week, at Alyeska, I ran into Jake Randazzo ( an old snowboard friend from high school) and he told me how stoked he was on Jon. He said, “I told Jon he’ll never make it in snowboarding by riding rails.” That’s a pretty funny story considering that Jon did exactly that and even funnier that Randazzo was giving snowboard career advice. Also of note, Jon is one of the first people that ever did a proper one footed board slide on a street rail.
My section was a pretty fun one for me if you try to forget the fact that i was no longer really sponsored by anybody. I went from head to toe burton to grabbing a few sponsors like Pro-tec, osiris, and oakley. I know, poor me. I’m just saying it was a new experience after 7 years on burton. Another new experience was shaving my legs for a skit that probably made a few people throw up in their mouths a little bit. Once you get past the vomit there were some fun sessions in this part. The picnic tables with a rail in the middle was a session at Boreal. The people at Boreal have always been so cool about letting riders set up interesting things. Boreal has backed snowboarding to the fullest from the start. This video also marked a session at the infamous rail gardens in SLC. I did a one footed 5050 on the rail and kept it proper with my unbuckled foot never touching my board while it was on the rail. I also managed to do a frontside crooked press on the flat rail at boarderline camp. It wasn’t a trick that ever caught on but it was an idea that I had to see if I could figure out.
The video held some real standout moments that I want to share. Matt Wild doing a one footed backflip pretty much made him Bode Merrill before Bode was around. This video has the best crash section hands down. Lando’s pillow hop to backside 180 could be one of my favorite shots ever in a movie. Drinking a cup full of water wrung from the gloves of every summer camp attendee in the lunch room will go down as a tough but respectable path into the video. And I don’t think HCSC will be holding “Marine Sit-up” contests anymore (in the credits: hold a kid down with a towel over his eyes and forehead. Tell him to try as hard as he can to do a sit up while someone moves their bare butt over his head. Remove the towel letting the head take it’s natural course and watch as hilarity ensues).
There was just so much “good” in this video. It’s impossible for me to mention everyone and how great they were. Just watch the video a few times and try to wrap your head around how rad it all is. Thanks again to everyone that was a part of it.
Survival of the Tightest
Survival of the Tightest from jason borgstede on Vimeo.
Here we go with the 4th video from JB Deuce Productions. SOTT was a really special movie because it marked the taking of the reigns. Up to this point our first three videos were made with us directing someone else (an editor) on what we wanted. The first movie was edited by us but had no real effects or edits to speak of. I was personally influenced a great deal by skate videos of the time and Transworld was really setting the benchmark. TWS vids were so progressive in their edits and film angles. I was just as impressed to watch the editing as I was to watch the skating. So when our editor gave us resistance on trying new things we decided it was time to pull up stake and set out to make our own future. It was understandable that Karl resisted our inundation of requests because each one just meant a lot more time, resources, learning, and effort for not much more money. We were young and progressive and wanted to explore and create so we new it was a change that had to be made.
I went out and bought a laptop (my first computer that was all mine), final cut pro, an external hard drive along with Jesse and I both investing in new cameras (the vx2000 that I bought is currently still capturing action in the capable hands of Brendon Hupp and you can see some of it at http://www.magichourmoves.com ). In the fall we both went down to southern California and planted ourselves in a hotel room, near newport beach, for a week and made a movie. In true JB Deuce fashion there are plenty of skate shots that came from breaks during the editing. Also we shot my skit in the hotel pool.
There is something really special about so-cal no matter how much everybody bags on it. I think thats the first time I had Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, i skated spots from videos with the homies, practically OD’d on Jamba Juice, and laughed a lot. We were just a few blocks away from Derek Liska’s short career at community college and he was always riding his beach cruiser to the motel trying to get spoilers for the vid. Leathard came out for a minute and dropped some skate magic.
we also spent a lot of time with Andy Simutis. I really can’t explain how important Andy was to the video. I met Andy years before at Mt. Hood. He took photos and shot video and was from the east coast. Eventually he moved out to Tahoe and also produced his own video magazine. Andy got a lot of pics of me published in mags and put me in his videos too. He was/is super cool and a tech nerd too. What i mean is he really knew his stuff when it came to everything we didn’t know about making a video. Like I said, I just bought my first computer and set up my first email just months before making this movie. Andy was our go-to guy when it came to anything we didn’t understand and let me tell you that editing programs and computers were so much more difficult to work with 14 years ago. Andy was our user manual and got frantic calls at all hours of the day and night about why something wouldn’t work and how many times we needed to hit the side of it before it would work. Andy lived in the Newport Beach area and that’s why we made our editing residence in that particular location. Thanks Andy, the vid would have never come together without you.
So you will see a lot of crazy edits; lots of rewinds, chops, and screws. I’m proud of these, not because they were ground breaking but because we figured out how to do them and by doing them we really stepped out of shackles. JBjango unchained! We also saw the quality of the riding and filming go way up. JB Deuce was gaining momentum. The crews in AK really started to take things seriously. We established something that the community knew was there for them and they worked hard to be a part of it. And by no means was that one sided. The relationship was symbiotic. I wanted to create a platform to showcase Alaskan talent. I wanted to represent the kids that busted their asses as best I could. All the kids that were in the movie made that possible. Without all the kids that had even one clip we would not have had a movie. Year after year the skaters and snowboarders of AK stepped up their game far above the expectations of anyone outside of Alaska.
So lets talk about the video. Here are some interesting things, at least I think, about the movie. Khris Bombeck, Jon Kooley, and I all lived together in Tahoe that year. We started the year living in a Motel 6 for three weeks while I was trying to buy a house in Truckee. Bombeck drove down from Montana with a rail he made. He figured out how to place the supports on the bumpers of the car and secure it with tie-downs. Bomber always had the spirit of making things happen, janky or not, against the odds or not. We would drive the rail up to tahoe, from our Reno Motel 6, ride it and then load it back on the car and head back to our cramped quarters. That rail is the rail you see coming out of the pond skim in some shots. This little pond forms in Truckee every year and as it melted I saw a little peninsula of ice left on it. I thought that we could build a jump on the ice where we would pond skim to the ice, ride up on it and hit the jump onto the rail and over the rest of the pond. So we placed the rail at the end of the pond and began to build the jump on the ice. As we built it the weight of the jump sunk the ice leaving us with a jump coming out of the water. This ended up being so much more cool than the original idea (although not much different). I had never seen anyone do this before but i did see some of the canadian guys do it a year or two later.
Oh and there was some fun being had at the pond. Mark Thompson stopped by for a session on the skim to rail and killed it as he usually does. The cops eventually busted up the party because they saw someone having fun. We also had another session on the pond skim without the rail. During that session a friend of Bombeck’s, Julian, came down to ride with us. On one of the skim runs Kooley stopped just short of the shore and Julian came in hot behind him laying down a carve that barreled Kooley like he was Rick Kane at the finals of the North Shore Pipeline Masters. As fans of Kooley know he can have a temper (usually displayed during a frustrating rail session) and he was PISSED! I’m sure matters were not helped by Julian talking shit and laughing the entire time too. That day also held one of the greatest wipeouts ever when Bombeck tried to half cab into the skim and did a full speed quarter cab to Scuba Steve impersonation. I hope I’m not mixing it up with a different trip but either way he came up with the pond’s version of sea weeds all over him.
There are some real standout parts for me. Lando’s style of big mountain domination shows it self more in each video. Mark really started taking his part to the back country yet at the same time he’s getting mixed in with some nasty kinked rails. He’s also doing tricks that rails kids of present would be stoked on. The best snowboarders have the foundational skills to be able to rip anything they come across and Mark is no exception. Another really special rider out of Juneau is Chris Currier. I feel like Chris epitomizes Juneau riding. Hard working, hard riding, no nonsense rippers with a lot of talent. Juneau always held the underdogs, the under appreciated riders. I’m sure i’ll miss someone but Lando, Firmbiz, Collard greens, Bubba, Chauncy, and just about anyone else that came out of there were really good. You could see what a difference it makes when people grow up free riding and learning how to ride their boards. When ever snowboard camp came around and the Juneau boys showed up they were a force to be reckoned with, on and off the hill.
The people’s champ also emerged in SOTT. “Double D”, Darien Draper came from Seward with a background in wrestling. After crushing kids on the mat he would crush the jumps with our crew. Darien rode with the stoke of a little kid and the power of a giant. Darien was the first person i ever saw do a double backside rodeo. I also believe that if he hadn’t gotten mixed up with a shady board company things could have really blown up for him. Darian is one of those guys that would give you the shirt off his back while breaking his back working hard for you.
Jerry Smyth also had a breakout part. Yet another skater that grew up with us from video one. He’s also in the list of guys that some how developed insane skills riding a skateboard in Alaska. Jerry always brought a laugh. The only thing that eclipsed his ability to have fun was his ability to backside tail huge ledges. Some of those ledges were practically chest high for Jerry.
Micah and Adrian continue to amaze. Micah’s skit really was as brilliant as his skating. If you know Micah then you know that he truly was in love with skateboarding. Everything revolved around skating and that was true rain or shine, good times or bad. Adrian started to blow up. This was the time that a lot of skaters that we first met when they were little started to get bigger and stronger. They grew into their frames and were able to use their talents to the fullest. When you watch Adrian’s part please remember that this was 14 years ago and that he skates almost fully in Alaska.
Pete Iversen….too smooth. This was the year that I got Pete in on some filming with Mack Dawg. So Pete and I got to go on some filming missions together and that was really rad. Everyone from AK knew Pete had the best style and serious skills and I was really stoked that the world got to see some of that. The funny thing is that Pete was in a frat at UW so I would come up to film and have to stay in the frat house with him. Im surprised he stayed friends with me over all the shit i gave him about secret handshakes and circle jerking initiations. Actually its not a surprise seeing as how Pete is one of the best people you could ever be friends with. I’ll tell you the truth about how I felt concerning Pete and I probably never told him this. We all wanted to do tricks like pros. People want to do a Chris Roach method or a Jamie Lynn cab 5. But at that time I was a pro and i just wanted to do tricks like Pete even though I knew I couldn’t. I would think about it at the top of jumps just before dropping in the same way any kid imagines themselves doing a trick like their favorite rider.
Also some other stand out moments; Jay Kuzma’s priceless commercial. Are those puka shells Jay? How about Mitch’s 180 nose grind on the round down rail at Mulcahy park? Did you know before Robi Gonzales was a famous drummer that he had snowboard skills like this? Before Andre Spinelli officially became the prince of Anchorage he was a rodeo master. And a big thanks to Kris Schutte for a solid box design.
As for my part…well I just wanted to usher in the year of the man capris the best I could. As for the skit, I have always been a fan of making myself the butt of the joke. If you can’t make fun of yourself then you have no place making fun of others and boy do I make fun of others. Back then TRL (total request live) was a video request show on MTV. I’m not talking about requesting internet videos, this was when they played music videos. You might have to check wikipedia to understand what a music video is if you’re under 20 years old. Anyway, I had fun doing the skit with the exception of having to buy that shirt and play that song loudly at the pool.
All in all this was a groundbreaking video for us but it felt like every year was groundbreaking in some way. I know that we finally started to feel a bit professional about it. I’ll wrap this up with a huge heartfelt thank you to everyone that was a part of the video, in front or behind the lens. You contributed to some of the greatest memories of my life. See you with the next video: The 49th Chamber.
100% is the third video effort between Jesse Burtner and myself. When I’m going to post these old vids, I like to watch them again and try to get reacquainted with them. When I share them I want to be able to share some of the insights or unique parts that people might not have known about the vids. At least thats the idea when I first pop in the video. What really tends to happen is I find myself smiling as the feelings of the moments captured, of that period of time and of my life wash over me. When we made the videos I think my mindset was pretty focused on delivering a package to the public. For me that package was a bundle of local talent, skilled tricks, fun, and camaraderie. What I didn’t realize until ten years later is that the importance of these videos was not in how sick a trick was or how gnarly a rail was, but rather in the feeling that was delivered when someone watched the video. The true gift comes in realizing the place in time, the place in peoples lives that the feeling will reside in. These videos will act as a bookmark in peoples lives. A dog eared page that they will hopefully turn back to, over and over, to remind themselves of what a great ride life can be. I’m really not trying to make these videos into something more than they are; please don’t think that. I know we never cured cancer or even a hangover. But i get a feeling when i watch them and that feeling is something special that I hope others feel too.
Ok, now that i’ve dried the tears, lets talk about this movie. This video marked Boarderline’s 10th year in business. I first walked into the shop just after they opened in 1989 and got my first hook-up two years later. I think thats another reason there were such deep feelings connected with the video. Many of us that were in the video, or around it, were part of the shop from it’s beginnings.
If you check out the pictures of the cover you can see that this was the first year we actually made a cover. Prior to 100%, the video covers were just a monotone cardboard cover. Jesse and I decided to go with the name “100%” because we felt that was what we gave to… well i was going to say to our riding but really it was so much more. We gave 100% of our lives to everything involved in the world you see in the video. Everything was about skating, snowboarding, making the video, being at the shop, putting on summer camp, doing demos, and hanging out with each other. If i wasn’t out skating or riding then i was at home watching videos or thinking of ideas for the movie, or driving around looking for spots. That feeling of being 100% involved didn’t just apply to me. I felt that coming from so many of the kids. Hell, even Liska was still around almost 24/7 at that time. But back to the cover. I came up with the idea to film the bloody 100% scene in the opener (We were so Dexter before Dexter) and I took that footage with me to a Burton catalog shoot in Chile. This catalog shoot was for the following season so Burton had a guy or two from their marketing company there to consult/oversee/understand the direction of the product for the catalog. One day, after getting off the hill, I showed the footage to the JDK Designs guy and he loved the concept and offered to help out. Shortly after returning from the trip I got an email with the 100% logo from Rich and Randy at JDK. I might be mistaken but I think the blood splatter was done by Chris Schutte (apologies if it was someone else). This was a huge step for us. We were starting to feel legit.
100% seemed to mark a time when some of the riders associated with the video really started to come into their own. A lot of guys really started to find themselves as riders and really let the talent bloom. Jon Kooley really shows some jumping skills. Jon is on a Burton board, which i believe means he was sponsorless. It was right after this that Jon came to live with me in tahoe and got sponsored by Atlantis. The point I’m trying to make is that he’s a super talented snowboarder and 100% was a glimpse of that just as it was starting to become really obvious to everyone that watched him. Mark Landvik was also getting on the scene quite a bit more. The free ride element that catapulted him into super star status was still a mystery to those outside of Juneau but the rest of us knew there was a style that we couldn’t turn away from.
This video also held parts from a couple close friends. Scott Leathard and I spent a lot of time riding and skating together since I was living in Tahoe and he was going to school a half an hour away in Reno. I’ve talked about Scott’s talent before but what really stoked me out and made me proud of him was that he put together a full part. Scott’s always been sick on a board but it was really impressive to see him get together a full part. I don’t know how he feels about it, I imagine he would tell you it all sucked, but there has to be some sort of satisfaction in knowing he was able to let so many different areas of his skateboarding shine.
Khristian Bombeck was one of my best friends during the last couple years of high school and for a number of years after that. After he graduated, he moved to Montana for college. I always loved riding with Khris. He was a frontside spinner while I was a backside spinner so I always got to see a different perspective when it came to attacking the hill. Khris also had a different idea of what type of tricks to do. I still cant figure out what the trick is that he does off a Montana jump, in his part, but my best guess is some sort of switch backside rodeo 7. I always rooted for Khris more than anyone. I wanted to see him make it in snowboarding because he was a good rider and an even greater person. A couple side notes about Khris and his part; Khris punctured a lung on a crash that is in the crash section, Khris had a little notoriety in snowboarding but moved on to become super successful with inventing a new type of coffee press ( http://alphadominche.com/steampunk/ ) , Khris had a hernia during one of our snowboard camps and would grunt super loud in the air when ever a trick went weird, causing a strain on the hernia, and I really miss riding with him.
Something pretty cool to think about is just how unreal the skating was back then. Maybe it’s because the park was better or maybe it’s because i’m not around it as much but Jerry, Mitch, Micah, Ant, and Adrian threw down stuff that I still don’t see being done at the rec center park 15 years later. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are a lot of really sick skaters in Anchorage. I’m just saying that I feel like i was privileged to be a part of something that was special. I got to be there, firsthand, to see some future pros and magazine cover holders really go hard in the paint. These guys were on the grind 24/7. I know Zak’s has some skaters that rip and I bet they approach it about the same as the old b-line crew (as evident in Ted Kim’s video “VX Days”) so I look forward to what comes from that camp. But I urge you to take a close look at what was really going down with the B-Line crew of old.
To be honest with you I was really blown away by the random radness I saw in the movie. There were so many people that had gems, even if only one or two, that are hard to believe now. I’m not saying every trick or line would have Jamie Thomas picking his jaw up off the floor. What I’m saying is that if you knew the person now then it might be hard to believe they once threw down that trick. For instance, Bill Preston has a 50-50 up the double kinked round bar at the skate park. If you know Bill you know he was much more known as a snowboarder and even though he skated, that trick was something rarely seen at a heavily populated skatepark. I just want to give some shout outs to some of the tricks along those lines. Burtner for one of the largest drops and funnest lines at what I think was Steven’s Pass. Deez for a sick free ride line. Randazzo for a huge blindside half cab at camp. Artie (don’t remember his last name) for a proper front flip, not one of those weak-ass nollies where the rider grabs behind their thighs like they’re a gymnast. The guy with the gold medal sun burn in the credits is also Artie. Blair Mitch’s one foot nose blunt slide on the pick nick table. There really are a lot of gems so I’m sorry if I didn’t mention them all.
I know this write up is long but I can’t shut it down without mentioning a few more people. Joe Hededus is now a loan originator but in 1999 he was another underrated Alaskan snowboarder. I really didn’t appreciate how rad he was until now. Ant came through like gang busters with the Miami Vice part. Isaac Abbott should have been called big smooth. Isaac is a stoutly built fellow that went huge on a skateboard and did it gracefully. Jason Chatfield came out of Eagle River Alaska along with Jon Kooley and myself. Chatty really got more graceful as time went by. Everything Adrian Williams skated turned to gold. Micah had the pound for pound biggest shoes of anyone and led the tech charge among anchorage skaters. Jerry crushing back tails and front blunts as well as two full moons.
I think thats about enough for now. I hope you enjoy the video and as always, please follow the blog and share it with as many people as you can. See you in a couple weeks with Survival of The Tightest.
This is the second video that Jesse Burtner and I put out. It was released in the fall of 1998. This video really represents us picking up steam and figuring things out. After Polar Bears, Dog Sleds, and Igloos we gained a bit of a following. We also realized that we could take this serious and make something of it. By something I don’t mean a lot of money. When I speak of making something of it I am talking about really representing our scene to the fullest. Polar Bears was made after the fact. It was a movie that we decided to put together after the season had started and really more so when the season was just about over. We went out and got some skate footage, mixed it with our own personal stuff we had shot and threw it together with what ever submissions we could get from anyone we knew. The videos following Polar Bears weren’t much different in that approach but the difference was starting out with the video as an end goal. As you can see this was the start of marketing (stencils spray painted on boards) and planning (with an actual logo). We were kids with a dream. Haha.
This was the year I won the X-Games big air and despite not getting an actual paycheck from Burton yet, I was able to not have to work in the shop during the summer. I was free to skate, film, and work on the video. This was really the same time that I was finally getting a taste of being a true pro snowboarder.
As I watched the video today, i really got a feeling for how amazing our scene was at the time. It was so strong. We didn’t have a great divide between the skaters and snowboarders. It felt like everyone really had each others back. The video became a centralizing component that drew everyone together towards a common goal. Boarderline was also a unifying element to the scene. Actually we can just go ahead and lump the two together because I think thats how most people saw it. Jesse and I always wanted to have it be our video that Boarderline sponsored but really it was the Boarderline video that we made. I’m more than fine with that assessment. All I really care about is the feeling I get when I watch the movie and knowing that so many others felt that as well. I know that the video captured some of the best times of my life.
Now let’s get to some stuff about the movie. First off let’s just talk about how sick it is that Belky, whom I still see all the time, started off a skate line by jumping off a two story house. I’m not talking about onto an airbag or mattresses. Belky jumped off a two story house using only the trusted tuck and roll as his exit strategy. He then popped up and ran to his skateboard and nailed a trick. Then there is Pete Iversen, Jesse, and myself onstage with Blink 182. This was back in the days of big air festivals. A promotor would set up a venue at a mountain which would include a big air jump, an area of tents for vendors to show up gear, and a stage featuring live acts. Say what you will about Blink but those guys were cool and they were down for our people back then. The video also features some people you might know before they were stars. Jon Kooley, whose name was misspelled in just about every video but his skills and style could never be forgotten. Burtners ambidextrous snowboarding was really starting to take off. A tiny Gus Engle can be seen ollieing off the first step at Hanshew along with Cody and Colton Liska. This is also the video where I think the world can really start to see the magic on a snowboard that is Mark Landvik. My old partner in crime, Stan Marsh, threw down some skating that surprises me more today than it did 16 years ago.
And if you watch the credits where I am rolling around the Girdwood park, with a boom box to my ear, you can see a tiny grom by the name of Sammy Luebke cruising behind me. Boy did that kid every grow up to make a mark on snowboarding as well as crushing it on a skateboard.
I think it’s important to think about some other standouts in the video. Pete Iversen was an inspiration. He was the original second coming of Jamie Lynn before Mark Landvik was the next Jamie Lynn. Pete was always smooth and controlled, a style that landed him on the am program for the early Ride snowboard team and some parts in Mack Dawg movies. Pete always had a great attitude and put on a fakie spinning clinic for all of us that weren’t so skilled. Sometimes you just don’t know how special someone is, and their riding, while you share a slope with them. Sometimes you have to put the footage away, in a plastic tub for a decade or two, before you realize just what they brought to the table. You were always one of my favorites Pete, and you always will be.
The skateboarding was always my favorite part of the early vids because I wanted to be as good as the other kids but just wasn’t. It was like getting to watch the unattainable right before your eyes. This video was where Adrian really hit a growth spurt and you can see that his skating showed it. Suddenly he was up on much bigger stuff and hopping off much bigger stuff. Northern Exposure really showcased the early Micah that many know as a creative genius on a board. Anthony Black also came into his own and forced everyone to see what he had to offer. I have to mention how stoked I am that i got to be good friends with Scott Leathard. We skated and shredded together and he always had the patience to try to help me move forward with skating no matter how easily it came to him.
As for me, well, I was angry. I was probably angry because I still pushed mongo footed. Haha. That was a time where I was 23, raised on punk music, and spent everyday in the streets. I’m not saying I was in the streets like I came from the hood or anything like that. Im just saying that as a skater, I was out there everyday, in a time when skating wasn’t really cool and people generally didn’t like us. I was pretty aggressive and super protective of the skaters I was with (which were always younger). So that meant a lot of run-ins with cops, security guards, jocks, drunks, and others. Just a great time to be alive and a part of what was happening in the Alaska skate/snow scene. So that’s a long winded explanation of the music selection. Haha. Don’t worry, it gets better in later vids. And for some reason I wanted to jump off everything on my skateboard. Classic case of balls being bigger than skills.
The main thing I love about this movie is that it brought us all together. There were great kids from Fairbanks, the Juneau boys were amazing, and when you throw in the talent pool around Anchorage it made for a thriving scene. I don’t know where that went or if it can be revived but I’m forever grateful that I was a part of it. I want to say thanks to every kid that held a camera, rode a board, or supported those that did. I also want to say thanks to all the parents that drove your kids to the skatepark or the hill and brought them into Boarderline or to one of our movies. You people should all be proud of what you helped make and know that I sincerely love you all for it.
Hope you enjoy the vid. Subscribe to the blog, share it, download the vid and do what ever you can to get it out there. See you in two weeks with the next one.
Polar Bears, Dog Sleds, and Igloos
This video was the first collaborative effort between Jesse Burtner and myself. I graduated high school in 1993 and went back to my shop/technology teacher, Mr. Bernard, and asked to use the video editing equipment. Abe Bombeck, Khris Bombeck, and myself made a horribly janky video, filmed almost entirely on a full size vhs camera, from the 1992/93 winter, and titled it “Against the Grain.” Well, I was hooked after that. I would film skating and snowboarding when ever i had spare time and would produce a video each season of myself and a couple friends. The vids were only a couple songs long but I loved making them and would send them out as a way to show my sponsors what I was doing.
We first showed “Against the Grain” before a Boarderline movie premier at the now defunct Mia Culpa coffee shop. You’ll see how rough the video was when i post it in the near future. The part i remember most about that premier was that despite how low budget and ghetto the video was, I was so proud of it. I was proud of it because I knew the Bombecks and I were onto something. I knew we were pushing snowboarding and we were doing it from a tiny hill. We were hitting street spots and all kinds of things that people just weren’t doing in AK. Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. The point I am trying to get to is that was the night Jesse Burtner showed a movie he made too (if my memory serves me correctly). I knew, actually i think we both knew we had found a kindred spirit in the desire to make these videos.
We didn’t come together for a few years but when we did we formed something that was magic. It wasn’t magical in the camera work or ground breaking riding. It was magical in that it became something that unified the community. When i say the community i’m speaking of the snow and skate community in Alaska. We were able to capture our friends, our mountains, our town, our home. We were able to capture, box, and present that thing that makes people fall in love with riding a board in Alaska.
There are kids that will watch this that didn’t snowboard before gopro was invented. They just won’t understand how a grainy video, with sketch riding, could be anything other than a waste of server space. Hopefully most of you will look a little deeper and catch a glimpse of what it was like when everyone in the scene knew each other and rode together. Hopefully you will crack a little smile as you are reminded of what it was like when every mission was just piling into the car and bringing the camera along to catch what ever you stumbled upon.
This video was made at a time when I was still working at Boarderline. In the summer, when I came back from my pursuit of being a professional fun-haver, I would go back to my position of board slinger at the shop. It was before I ever got a paycheck from a company or had a computer to edit on. Actually it was made before we even edited on computers at all. Jesse and I returned to Chugiak High School and Mr. Bernard’s Technology lab to edit this video on a linear system. For those that don’t know what that is it is basically playing a tape in one vcr ( and if you don’t know what that is then we might be in trouble) while recording the shots you want on another vcr. You have to record each clip in the order you want it to go (in a line) and there is no going back and inserting. Think of it as putting together a string of train cars.
As you watch this video I hope you notice some things so I’ll point them out just to make it easier. The video showcases the skating of Think Skateboards pro Adrian Williams, Big Brother magazine cover shot holder Micah Hollinger, and Thrasher cover shot holder Jerry Smythe. Notice how small Adrian and Jerry are back then. Also this video has shots from what I believe was the first ever Boarderline snowboard camp. Another notable fact is that I am indeed pushing mongo in my skate shots. As a former Mongo, I can tell you that its like being left or right handed; its just how you set the board and start pushing. I can also tell you that I am proof that Mongo doesn’t have to ruin your life, it can be overcome. The first few movies I pushed Mongo then I taught myself to push the right way. Its never too late to learn to push correctly. There is plenty more to enjoy with this video but I’ll let you explore it for yourself.
Road Trippin (the movie)
This is the video of the three week road trip Kelly and I took this summer. We skated every park we could find along the Alcan. We went through Seattle, Portland, Tahoe, Vegas, LA, Venice Beach, Camarillo, up the PCH to Santa Cruz and San Francisco, and back up to Anchorage. Trip of a lifetime. Get out there and see the world.
Editors note: By no means does the author represent this to be great, or even that good of skateboarding. Its just to show the fun of a road trip. I know you can all skate better than me so don’t trip. HAHA. This video was shot entirely with GoPros and an iPhone.