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.
Ryan Stassel US OPEN slopestyle qualifying.
Here is Alaskan Ryan Stassel doing his qualifying runs at the US OPEN slopestyle. Ryan is killing it and hopefully he caries this qualifying run onto big things. The US OPEN has been a springboard to the careers of many snowboarders including myself. Lets all root him on even if he is wearing snow pants from 1989.