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.
This week’s Throwback Thursday is from the fall of 1991. This is a trampoline contest. Back then it was all the rage to duct tape your edges up and hop around on the trampoline. When a bag of tricks was composed more of grabs than corks and flips (corks hadn’t even been invented yet) the trampoline helped develop some serious game. As you can see from the photo, it didnt do much for developing the wardrobe.
All the snowboarders from Eagle River would gather at someone’s house each day after school and the tramp sesh would be on. Due to the fact that people dont really jump on trampolines with their snowboards much may lead you to think in a different direction when I say “tramp sesh.” Fear not, we weren’t on the football team so it was just practice for snowboarding. I also had my own trampoline and was on it all the time, mostly because Craig Kelly once said in a video that it helped with your balance and improved your snowboarding. Who was I to argue with the living legend?
As the fall grew colder and Boarderline announced the contest , we all got excited. It was the time when the air grows crisp and termination dust starts appearing on the mountain tops. Kids would start buying and watching the few videos that came out each season and talking about what tricks they would throw down as soon as the mountains opened. The trampoline contest was the time when all the shred clans from every area came together and felt the hype of the upcoming season. Talk of who would do well in the contests that year, who had or would get on the Boarderline team, and who was going to throw down filled the air like the flakes of a dumping snowstorm.
The day of the contest I can remember that Jay Liska and Jimmy Halopoff were judges. I also remember that when the trampoline dust settled I ended up in second place. I believe first place went to Jake Liska. Naturally I was convinced that a conspiracy on the scale of the JFK second shooter had occurred for those results to have been posted. I tried my best to pick up my dignity and my new Kombi gloves ( which were awesome because they had Kevlar on the fingers in case I needed to stop any further bullets coming from the grassy knoll) and headed back to Eagle River in time for my shift at Pizza Hut. Oh the glamorous days. Haha.
Oh and one last thing. I want you to notice that the Boarderline sign had Bart Simpson on it.