Would a Snowboard Movie Like This be Popular?

by Fraser

There’s been a lot of talk recently about snowboarding movies and professional snowboarders. And by the way, is Shaun White Retired? I heard a horrible rumour he was!

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

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

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

It’s the emphasis of snowboard films…

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

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

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

Examples of a different emphasis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Removing the single-trick emphasis…

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

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

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

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You might also want to check out: What Do You Look For In A Snowboard Movie?.

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