boarding in Alaska

Nice!Gordon

Nice!Gordon

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: “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.