Riding The Stone: Volcom’s Team Trip to Attunga

Nestled in the Australian Alps of Victoria, Australia, Falls Creek was established 70 years ago. Over the decades since, the resort has grown into a European-style ski village where no cars are allowed during the winter months, and the only transportation is via snowcat and snowmobile. Our cat dropped us off at a place called The Attunga, and after a 20-something hour flight and a seven-hour drive, it was time to crash.

The next day, Sophie, who heads up marketing at Falls Creek, hooked us up with Marcel, the park manager, and Bailey, the park builder. They toured us all over the large resort. On the last run, we dropped into a bowl, and the feature we had come to shred revealed itself. It looked amazing. Bailey had taken the notes from Chris and Gunny and created a shredable Volcom Stone. Marcel explained to us that the dimensions of jump were exact to the logo. The math was perfect, and the results were remarkable. I could see a huge wave of relief wash over Seth and Jeff’s faces as they saw the final product; their vision that started as a simple sketch had come to life. From this point, it was up to the riders.

For the next week, while we waited for the right weather, we settled in and got to know the town—bubble gum trees, wild parrots, wombats, and all. The locals took well to us, and after a few days, we were taken to a speakeasy that served drinks until dawn. The closest police were miles away, giving the town a sort of lawless feel. We were settling in and started to get invited to local hangouts like karaoke at the Trap House, where we had a song battle with the Rusty Toothbrush crew. Each night we stayed out a little later, really blending in, then it happened. The perfect weather report.We had finally drank it blue, and it was time to do what we came here for.

The plan was for a sunrise mission. We would be hitting the Stone as light crested the mountains. With little time to warm up, the sun began to pop, and we got to work. Seeing this variety of snowboarders, from all parts of our culture, come together to session the feature was something special. The idea worked perfectly. You could literally hit it from all angles, allowing the riders to really get creative. Someone like Marcus or Torgier could blast it like a tabletop, while a rider like Rav or Blum could come at it with an entirely different take. Three generations of riders sessioned the feature, all bringing their own flavor.

As I sat at lunch drinking my first Gary—see page 106—I couldn’t help but notice the smiles. This is what snowboarding is about. Just doing what you feel. Everyone had forgotten we’d woke at 3:30 am. We were already anticipating the afternoon session. The photos and clips we came for were in the bag, so anything that happened in the next couple days was just a bonus.

My mind snaps back to present. Feet from Rav, I’m following him off the lip of the Stone. I put down a 180—a small one, but enough to garner a fist bump from one of the lifties. He tells me he likes the open jacket, MFM style. I hit the jump in the smallest way possible, and it was awesome. That’s the best part about the Stone. It’s one feature that can be enjoyed by me and Marcus Kleveland alike, while someone like Rav or Blum can shred it witha special level of no-rules creativity. The Stone brought this crew together, and it’s the reason I was able lay carves and catch air on yet another continent on my list.

686 Hydrastash: Review and Backstory

Photos: Erik Hoffman

After testing 686’s new integrated hydration system, we sat down with the man behind the technology.

During a visit to the 686 office this summer, the crew there hinted at some new technology to come. They wouldn’t say much, just that we’d hear soon. What they were keeping under wraps until last week is called Hydrastash, and it places a water bladder–what is commonly referred to by its proprietary eponym as a Camelbak–in the powderskirt of your jacket, with a hose running parallel to the front zipper up to the collar of the jacket, where the mouthpiece sits. With an invite to test the technology, we showed up at Copper Mountain to a few fresh inches on the ground. There, we met up with the 686 crew: Brent Sandor, Pat McCarthy, Erik Hoffman, Michi Bretz, Sammy Luebke, and your favorite snowboarder’s favorite skier, Parker White. Water stashed and jackets loaded with pocket snacks, we wasted no time finding pockets to slash.

What is immediately noticeable about Hydrastash, as soon as you fill the bladder and fasten the powder skirt, is how unnoticeable it is. This was the pinnacle goal in the jacket’s design but something that took time to develop. A lot of time.

Water comes from clouds, then it freezes, and a well-hydrated Sammy Luebke turns it back into a cloud.

The story:
After drinking water all day, it was easy to justify a couple beers. So we sat down with the man who has put more into this tech than anyone, 686 Directory of Product Innovation, Michi Bretz, to discuss the tedious process that created Hydrastash over some Colorado Kool-Aid.

According to Michi, the Hydrastash story begins like most of 686’s innovations, with the brand’s founder, Mike West. “Mike really wanting to do something outside of the box,” says Bretz. “It’s so cool when you can bring your water without a backpack, so wanted to make that happen via a jacket. But it wasn’t as simple as it sounded. We had to redesign every component of a bladder system to make that happen.”

The primary problem faced in Hydrastash’s design lies in previously existing bladder technology. Bretz explains, “All the hardware out there commonly used for backpacks is simply too big. You would feel it.” This goes back to the goal: for the rider not to feel Hydrastash. “You would have hard pieces that could hurt you when you crash, so basically we looked into it and came up with the first prototypes.”

The bladder fastens into the powder skirt. It can also be easily removed.

And at this point, we’re talking about big picture concepts–figuring out the most efficient carrying system for the water. “After doing the first prototypes and figuring out that the concept itself of having it in a jacket is rad, we realized two things: we needed to find a way to do this without giving the user another task and that that you don’t want that weight to move around,” says Bretz. “With a vest configuration, for example, the weight swings. After trying all different placements and configurations, we realized that a powder skirt is something you already fasten like a belt. and it holds the bladder in place.”

Bretz explains that a bulk of the challenge from this point forward was in how to integrate the system cleanly–a task more difficult than it sounds. This is where the most impressive part of the story begins. Bretz says he went through nearly 50 prototypes in the process of finding one that is both unnoticeable and efficient.

Luebke lays into his edge with water around his waist.

“Looking at the backpack systems, one thing we realized is that the hoses are very stiff–they typically use a hose around 10 millimeters. But in their bite valve, there’s a small cross section there’s a section that doesn’t allow same amount of water through that would actually be able to pass through the hose.” Essentially there is a bottleneck here. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, as they say.

Bretz continues, “We realized that if we made everything that diameter it would actually provide the same amount of flow, so we started redesigning the whole system around the smallest diameter in the big systems, which was like a four millimeter diameter. In a backpack it doesn’t really matter how big the hose is,” he explains. “Maybe some people even want it bigger so it’s easier to grab onto, but we were looking at a next-to-body solution, so we wanted it to disappear completely into the background of the user’s mind.

The four-millimeter hose is less than half the size of that used in a typical bladder system and noticeably unnoticeable.

So where did they ultimately find the right diameter line? A bar. “The tube we ended up using is what’s usually used in bar tap systems. That’s where that diameter tube comes from: a beer tap line,” says Bretz. “It’s a quarter-inch diameter hose. It’s FDA food grade. But those hoses aren’t usually clear, and we wanted this one to be clear so you could see if there was any obstruction or residue left in there.

But the problem didn’t stop here. The bite valve is the component a user puts in their mouth to drink from, and that had to be rethought as well. “The trickiest part was getting the same amount of water through a valve that is only half the size. I started cutting it in half. That didn’t work,” says Bretz. “The bite valve is the limiter in a typical system. We had to make it smaller yet maintain the same water flow rate. The bite valve is one of the two components that we’re patenting on the whole thing because it’s a completely different solution from anything else that’s out there.”

It’s in there, but you can’t see it.

The bottom line:
Does Hydrastash work? Yes. If you’ve ever been thirsty on-hill or carried a backpack to mitigate this problem, you can appreciate Hydrastash. The system carries 25 ounces of water, the equivalent of midsize water bottle, and the result is less necessity to stop at the lodge. If you load up on pocket snacks, the midday lunchbreak, which can be expensive and lethargy-inducing, is no longer a critical component of a day at the mountain, which translates to more time snowboarding.

Sammy Luebke on the chairlift, not in the lodge.

There is no downside to hydration; the only potential negative is lugging water to facilitate it. What 686 has created with Hydrastash, however, is a system that allows the user to forget they have the ability to hydrate until thirst strikes. And if you don’t want the bladder in the jacket? It’s easily removable so the jacket functions like any traditional model without an integrated hydration system. Currently, Hydrastash will be offered in one jacket for the 2018/19 season, with an option for both men and women–an insulated, 20K option. In the future, we’d like to see Hydrastash available on a wider spectrum of outerwear options, and we wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the technology licensed out beyond the snow space. The more people drinking water, the better, right?

Super Subtle: A Profile of Louif Paradis

Louif Paradis’ recent Rider of the Year designation was a long time coming. The quiet Quebecois is not one of the most talented street riders to strap in but one of the best snowboarders to exist. Coming off a well-conceptualized film that is equal parts cinematic and gnarly, Lou represents what is right with snowboarding. His calculated and fluid approach shuns stunts in favor of aesthetically pleasing authenticity. Below are Louif’s thoughts on several subjects, from gardening to his choice in boots.

Winning Rider of the Year
I was told that I should come to the awards ceremony, so I was expecting maybe one award, like the Video of the Year. I was shocked to win Rider of the Year, ’cause Halldór and Nicolas had such amazing years. I wasn’t really prepared to give a speech in front of that many people. That was another portion of the shock.

I didn’t prepare anything ’cause I didn’t know what was going to happen. I know that if I prepared something I’d probably stumble or make a mistake. So it was just full improvisation. I was pretty intimidated; I can speak in front of a small group of people that I know well, or I can have a good conversation one-on-one, but publicly speaking, well, that and dancing and karaoke, are my not strong suits.

I think both awards are amazing. I think both show a huge appreciation for Beacon and where we went with it.

An enthusiastic Halldór embraces Louif as he stands to accept the Rider of the Year award both were nominated for. PHOTO: Mark Clavin

Halldórs reaction
I kind of blacked out for a second and the people I was sitting with looked so excited and to my right, there was Halldór hugging me right away. Halldór’s the man.

Film conceptualization
I tried to pitch them the idea, but it didn’t really work cause of Bode’s project, so we had a full year to think about it. The year after, Bridges came to me and said do you want to do something? We have the support of your sponsors and you can do whatever you want to do. So I talked about it with Hayden, and we knew that we wanted to make something more flowy, with as many lines as possible, with all natural speed. No winches and no bungees. And I told Hayden that I wanted do chase locations that have only natural speed. So that was kind of the whole concept. We wanted as many moving shots as possible and to make it look like we’re moving the whole film.

Lou threads the needle, mid-line. PHOTO: Oli Gagnon

Lack of talking in the movie
That’s just our style, I guess. Hayden and I are both quiet guys I guess. Also with the natural speed stuff, I didn’t want to try to make a point or talk about it in the film. I was just looking for the result.

Hayden Rensch
We started working together years ago. He was working for Roxy, and I was doing TransWorld SNOWboarding’s These Days. We crossed paths at the Olympic stadium at Montreal, but we didn’t really know each other. I think we just said hi or whatever. Then years after, I realized it was him. While he was working on In Color, I think, I went on a trip with Keegan Valaika, Jed Anderson, Harrison Gordon, and Tyler Verigan and those guys. We went on a super fun trip and just connected there. He was around Quebec working with Frank [April] and Phil [Jacques] and Ben [Bilocq] on some other TransWorld projects and Enlighten, that I was involved in. So we stayed connected that way, and when I got the opportunity to film a Real Snow part, he was my first pick. That was the first time it was just him and I fully working on a project together. There weren’t too many chefs in the kitchen. So I think after that we worked together for the next four years, and we just connected pretty well. It didn’t take any effort. I feel like we have similar taste in a lot of things, like in music. I always like his suggestions, and I think he likes my suggestions. It’s just a natural fit.

Above: Louif’s 2012 Real Snow part. His and Hayden”s first major collaboration.

Younger riders
Yeah, this last season I worked a lot with Mark Wilson and Tommy Gesme. Also Mammouth Durette and Frank Bourgeois. I really like to ride with them, and I like their riding. I tried to find people that I knew could ride without artificial speed. I was trying to go with people I knew were already applying that. Of course it’s ideal when we share a sponsor, but I also knew that my sponsors didn’t care if I went outside those parameters. I had such a big list of riders I wanted to work with, but we only did like five or six trips, and a winter goes by quick. A winter goes by quick. But I’m really happy with the people that were able to come, and I wouldn’t do it any differently.

The current season
Right now I’m on a quick BC trip with a little bit of heli time. After that, it’s open. I’m going to do some different things with different people–maybe film with Tommy Gesme, who’s doing an adidas project, and then maybe do something with Derek Lever and Jake Durham for House Call.

I was going to go on a trip to Iran, but it seems like it’s getting complicated to go there for Canadians. So we may cancel. I’m going to try to stay on the move, not really concentrating on one big project, but I would like to get on another one as soon as possible.

Classic Louif. Serialized scenario, size large. PHOTO: Oli Gagnon

Getting started with adidas
I remember thinking how cool it would be if adidas made boots, and I thought it would be cool to get on that program, so I started trying. But it didn’t work. Then when Evan got the job, he contacted me at some point. And I thought, “Wow, that’s unreal.” He asked me if I would make a portfolio to send over so he could present it to someone higher up. And from then it took almost a year before it actually worked. He would call me every now and then and just say, “I want to let you know I haven’t forgot about this.”

I’ve never felt like I needed one. I’ve always worked with people I get along with. I think if I had gone the energy drink route I might have needed an agent.

I’m definitely attracted to that. I’m also still attracted to the crossover. Like whenever I can find like a mix of human structures or things that I can do a little bit of street-influenced riding but into powder, where you have like only a few tries, that’s a challenge that I’d like to find more of. I still want to do some street trips, but I want to work with as much snow as possible, and find flowy scenarios with lower impact. I’m not into full impact anymore. Lines and whatever feels… I keep saying flowy but there must be another word for it.

Metal and powder. PHOTO: Oli Gagnon

Mountain biking
I really like mountain biking. This summer, I didn’t skate as much as usual and ended up mountain biking more ’cause it just kind of felt right for the body and the soul.

Other activities
I like to be out in the woods and pick mushrooms. I like cooking a lot and growing food.

The garden
It’s doing ok. I think if I had more time I could get it going, But the sun goes down early behind some trees at our house. Maybe doing a greenhouse would help.

Lou, setting up. PHOTO: Oli Gagnon

Boot: adidas Tactical ADV, 10.5
I like that it’s low-profile. I’m a size 10.5, and I can still use medium bindings, and when you look down it doesn’t look humongous. It feels like you’re just wearing shoes. They’re super comfortable and have the right flex for me. Some boots have a more square toe, but these are nice and rounded.

Board: Salomon The Villain, 158 and 155
I ride the 58 for bigger stuff. That’s mostly what I rode in Beacon. Then sometimes I ride the 55 for street stuff as well. I just find it’s a super versatile board. It ‘s definitely on the softer side of things, but it’s still got a ton of pop.

The guy’s got an eye. PHOTO: Oli Gagnon

Binding: Salomon District or Hologram, medium
It’s got ShadowFit, which is the softer heelcup. I like it ’cause it’s got sort of a skate or surf feel where you can move your ankles left and right, but front and back you still have really good support. It’s definitely a softer binding, but I like it. It has a lot of freedom of movement for tweaks.

Goggle: Smith Squad XL
They’re just a simple goggle, but they’ve got the ChromaPop technology. They’re easy to take care of and remove the lens. I just like the look of them. They’re simple.

Shoes: adidas Blauvelt boots and Samba ADV
They’re really durable. They fit well. The Samba ADV kind of feels like an indoor soccer shoe. That’s kind of how they look and feel a little bit. They have the gum sole, which I like. The Blauvelt boots are nice after riding.

Behind the Cover: October 2017 with Halldor Helgason and Pat Moore

Halldor Helgason graces the front cover and Pat Moore holds down the flip side for the exclusive Vans’ Landline. section in the October 2017 issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding Magazine, shot by Daniel Bernstal and Aaron Blatt respectively. Check out what went down behind the scenes in order to nail the shots below, and watch the Behind the Cover video to see Halldor get the news above. Don’t forget to check out TransWorld’s latest movie, Arcadia, and pick up a copy of the latest issue for an exclusive look at Vans upcoming movie Landline., an interview with Halldor, plus much more in the second stacked issue of Volume 31!

TransWorld SNowboarding Cover October 2017

One of the hardest working snowboarders out there, Mr. Coverboy himself. PHOTO| Daniel Bernstal

Getting to the spot can sometimes be a struggle. PHOTO| Daniel Bernstal

“I had a couple of days off from other jobs and took the flight to Riksgränsen to hook up with Halldor, Victor Daviet and the BYNDxMDLS boys. Due to bad weather in Riksgränsen we took the RV down to Kiruna which is a small mining town in the northern parts of Sweden. We all went out scoping for spots and “Kuske” and Halldor found an old mine outside the town with different spots in it.

Halldor found this spot where you had to gap over a cave and then in to a super steep wallride. I first shot it with a long lens so you could see what was going on but the spot didn’t look so good from that angle so I decided to go for a more artsy one. I picked up my fisheye and went in to the cave. The cave was really dark so I put a flash in there to lighten it up and add another dimension to the photo. After that I had to throw a lot of snow in to cover the traces from me. When I first saw the photos on the camera I was really excited on how it looked. I remember running over to Halldor showing him the shots to get him pumped after he had taking some heavy slams. He did a couple more tries and then just stomped his cab hardway 270 to the nasty wall/rockride.

Growing up, I read snowboard magazines all the time. Inspired by Swedish photographers like Vincent Skoglund and Anders Neuman. When I Got in to snowboard photogaphy seven years ago I could only dream about getting covers on big magazines, especially TWSNOW. As the mags get fewer it is an honor to have one of my works on the front. Hopefully I can inspire snowboarders and photographers like others have done with me. Keep shredding!” – Daniel Bernstal

Halldor is also excellent at taking heavy slams. PHOTO| Daniel Bernstal

Halldor working on the landing in front of my camerabag. PHOTO| Daniel Bernstal

First try! PHOTO| Daniel Bernstal

“This one was heavy for Pat. FS invert on a mental wind feature up in British Columbia. There was a huge rock formation above the inrun where it would have been more ideal to drop so he had to pick to start from the left or the right. It was probably a good 500 ft. vertical run and with the added door number one or door number two scenario, it was hard to tell the best way into it. Standing under this thing was powerful and from the bottom it was just like looking at a big white wall. Took some figuring out for sure. Once he found it though, it came together pretty quickly. Just in the nick of time too, because the shadow line was creeping down. It all lined up and Pat was right on the money. The highest one on the backdoor of the new TWS.” – Aaron Blatt

Eyeing up the great wall. PHOTO| Aaron Blatt

Door number one or door number two? PHOTO| Aaron Blatt

Cha-ching. PHOTO| Aaron Blatt

Check out the latest issue for more and check out more from TransWorld SNOWboarding online here!

Adventuremobiles: Jess Kimura’s 1983 Bigfoot Camper

Jess Kimura AKA @danger_p is no stranger to sending it. As a past Women’s Rider of the Year and Women’s Video Part of the Year recipient, it is obvious she doesn’t take a lot of down time. That is why we weren’t shocked when she showed up at our office the other day on her way down to Mexico for a month long surf trip with her brand new adventuremobile, freshly gutted and fixed up this past summer. We hopped in for a few miles down the I-5 and caught up with what she has going on under the hood.

If you want to keep up with her travels and see pictures of the camper’s condition when she first bought it, check her out on Instagram @danger_p.

We heard the engine coming from pretty far down the Pacific Coast Highway.

So, tell us what you got.
It’s a 1996 Ford F150, 4.9 liter inline 6 cylinder. One of the most reliable engines ever made. The camper is a 1983 Bigfoot 8-foot fiberglass camper. The floor of it is 4×8 and the cabinets extend. I also have a 100 watt solar panel with two 6-volt batteries to make a 12-volt system, 500 watt inverter for non 12-volt items. There’s a sink that works with a water pump and a water tank, pretty basic. And there is a furnace in there that I’ll never use.

And why did you decide to go for it?
I’m sick of sleeping in a tent and I don’t like sleeping indoors. It’s awesome, I’ve been sleeping in the backseat of my truck for so many years and before then I was sleeping in a Subaru station wagon… so to have everything, it’s just so sick.

A handmade shelf full of necessities when traveling across the border.

And where are you taking it?
I’m taking it to Mexico to go surfing, undisclosed location. This time for at least a month. I’m gunna go down and just live on the beach on a dirt road, edit the upcoming movie (The Uninvited Project), do all my physical rehab stuff and otherwise, just be in the ocean every minute that I can be. Be in the water for sunrise, come back, play guitar, read books, edit, go to sleep, and repeat 30 days in a row.

Sick! Will the project be out this fall?
It’s a two-year project but were releasing a four-part series in the fall. The first is the teaser for the two-year, and then three full parts or something.

Part-time editing bay, part-time studio.

How is editing in the adventuremobile?
Well it removes all distraction. Like when I’m at home, I cannot sit down and edit. I have been trying to edit this teaser for six months now and I didn’t start until two days ago on the road. I just put my table out in the middle of the desert and just zipped through it. Because at home I just always have to do this or that. It’s just total focus. If I was ever going to write a book, or if I was an artist and needed to make a life-altering painting, I would do it out of something like this because it removes all distraction. I totally understand now why writers go to random hobbit houses on a secluded island somewhere to write their books, like lock in.

And we understand there is a Bigfoot connection is?
The Bigfoot connection is that I’m from Vernon, and the factory of the camper is in Vernon.

Another handmade shelf full of necessities. Check the initials on the axe.

How did you score it?
I missed a couple ones on Craigslist, I would email them and be like, “I’ll give you exactly what you’re asking,” and by the time I got in my car they were gone. So this one I just got in the truck and started driving as soon as I saw it and I got it for really cheap, but it was a total tear down, rebuild.

How much work did you put into this thing?
Hundreds of hours, for sure (laughs). May, June, July, it was two months at least. And then Ben Bilocq, who is like the Bigfoot specialist, cause he did his already and his hobby is campers, probably put in a solid month of being in there every day before and after work and all days on weekends because it was right after my surgery and I was still on the couch for the first bit. We completely gutted it and redid everything. All the lines, all the electrical, put in a solar system, painted it obviously, put in a new floor, ripped out all the old cabinets, and put in a new bed. That’s about it.

Does it have a shower?
Shower is a bag of water with a hole in the bottom, and the ocean.

What are you most stoked on in it?
Well the thing I’m most stoked on came the other day when I was way out taking it on its first test run way out in the wilderness. There was like this super steep ditch that I seriously would’ve been screwed crossing in even a dirt bike, but I was like “Let’s see what she can do!”. Put her into 4-low, hit the gas and it was like vertical, I didn’t even have to press the gas, it crawled up the hill by itself. As I came up over the crest I was like “Yeah motherfucker!”. Not only do I have this house but it’ll go anywhere, ya know? It’ll go places I can’t walk!

Are you going to take this out in the winter afterwards? Or are you keeping this in Mexico?
I’m not sure yet, it depends if I feel like doing the drive back up. I got this thing for dirt cheap. I would like to get another one and redo one for winter, with winter in mind. This one, I didn’t put spray foam and there’s gaps in the insulation. But from doing this one, it was like my practice model. I’d like to make a really pimp one one day. This camper was $1200 American. Well, $1800 Canadian.

Last question, bathroom?
No, I have a poo shovel and I shit in the woods.

Properly playing “Surf Wax America” as she leaves us on her way to Mexico.

Crafted: Owner Operated

Steven Kimura and Peter Sieper are building their vision of snowboarding.

Steven Kimura is juggling. He’s raising a family, building a snowboard brand and an outerwear brand, and starting a trade show at which to exhibit his softgoods and hardgoods, along with a number of other brands his size and larger. Steven is an outlier in the snowboard industry. He didn’t leave a job at a big brand to start his own thing. He was a weekend warrior who paid inordinate attention to snowboarding growing up. Many people in this industry can relate to that concept. You’re an outsider looking in until you’re not, and suddenly you’re part of this thing you had only voyeuristically observed. Once behind the curtain is generally when you start seeing the problems. But Steven saw those problems early on. It’s part of what drew him in to begin with. The further in he got, the more problems he noticed, and he’s done what he can to work around them and create solutions.

Of Steven’s ventures, Owner Operator was first. It launched in 2008—arguably a low point for outerwear stylistically and less arguably a low point for the snowboard industry in terms of revenue. Holden had been creating products that diverged from the loud norm for a few years, but if you flip open a magazine from that era, you’ll notice an overwhelming amount of allover print adorning ill-tailored pieces. Steven and his childhood friend and snowboarding buddy Pete Sieper were unsatisfied, gravitating more toward vintage thrift-store finds than what was available in snowboard shops. Steven explains, “Pete and I were traveling a time or two a year to go on snowboard trips together. I remember being at this shop; I needed a jacket, and Pete needed pants or something. But nothing there appealed to us. When you grew up looking at Jeff Brushie and old Burton stuff, outerwear from then [2007] doesn’t look that cool. That’s where the idea for Owner Operator sparked.”

It’s been a struggle since. The brand has encountered about every hurdle imaginable—by default as a small business and due to the fact neither Steven nor Pete came into this endeavor business-savvy. They’ve learned the hard way about pre-booking, manufacturers’ minimums, the scary power of Amazon, and generally what it’s like to be little fish in a big pond. Trial and error led them to the decision that selling direct and on-demand is the only way to deliver the quality of Owner Operator product they strive for at a price that their consumer can afford.

Steven and Pete’s subsequent endeavor, United Shapes, is a product of learning and skepticism developed through their first. A prominent snowboard brand was interested in producing a collaborative board with Owner Operator, and after a series of meetings the co-branded board neared production—until Steven got cold feet and pulled the plug. If you want something done right, do it yourself. That’s what he and Pete did, and the timing was right. As snowboarding tired of the same twin outline dominating a brand’s entire catalog, and riders sought directional and unconventional profiles, United Shapes showed up offering nothing but the latter. Instead of an existing brand adapting to a changing market, United Shapes arrived on-trend, representing a growing consumer demand. Steven believes, unlike Owner Operator, that United Shapes makes sense within a retail model.

Of Steven’s three distinct endeavors, I would vote United Shapes “Most Likely To Succeed.” Look at Welcome Skateboards. If you told the skateboard-industry illuminati 10 years ago that one of the most successful board brands today was going to be launched by a name they’d never heard, have no traditional popsicle-stick-shaped deck in their lineup, and no prominent pro on the team, they would have laughed you out of their proverbial temples in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Welcome’s website is now the top result on Google when you search the generic word “welcome,” and the brand consistently outsells some of skateboarding’s most established players.

Steven’s latest project, Parts & Labor, has yet to deliver a product. When it does, that product will be in the form of floor and wall space. It’s a new take on a snowboard trade show, and its debut is set for Denver in late January—the exact same time as the SIA trade show, which has been all but requisite for a brand looking to play ball in the ski or snowboard space. Like Owner Operator and United Shapes, Parts & Labor is ultimately a result of frustration with the status quo. In this case, the dissatisfaction stems from the idea that brands— especially small ones—are being priced out of the industry’s most prominent business-to-business display of product and ideas. “I think more than anything else it’s a way to put more dollars back into snowboarding,” Steven says.

Somewhere right now at a table in a creative agency or a large brand’s marketing department, someone is throwing around the term “disrupt.” It may or may not apply to the concept they’re pitching. Meanwhile, Steven Kimura and Pete Sieper are putting that buzzword into practice. “For us, it was kind of like, ‘Hey, if we don’t really dig into snowboarding and make our own thing within it— something we can get excited about—in a few years we might not even be doing it anymore,’” Steven explains. “Our friendship was rooted in snow and skate, and it was something we wanted to keep doing together.” In that regard, it worked. According to Steven, he and Pete are spending more days on their snowboards than they ever have.

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding. Check out more from the magazine here.

Park Poll 2017-2018: Help Decide the Year’s Best Terrain Parks

The investment in and presence of a thriving terrain park is perhaps the strongest indicator of a resort’s dedication to snowboarding. Freestyle terrain is an incubator for progression, which pushes snowboarding as a whole. We’ve partnered with Snow Park Technologies to determine the top North American parks through the TransWorld SNOWboarding Park Poll, but we need you to help us in sorting the best from the rest.

If the features you rode this season were primed for sending, flawlessly groomed, and creatively built, take five minutes to fill out the poll below on your phone, tablet, or laptop. You’ll be entered for a chance to win a next season’s CAPiTA Outerspace Living or Paradise, a Never Summer Funslinger or Infinity, or a RIDE Warpig—these boards aren’t available in stores yet.

If the parks you hit weren’t on point, we want you to fill out the survey as well and let us know how they can be improved. We collect all your answers and send them to participating terrain park managers, helping them build the best setups possible. Stay tuned for the release of the Park Poll results coming in our November 2017 print issue and online.

Take the poll now to be entered to win one of five boards including a 2018 CAPiTA Outerspace Living or Paradise, a Never Summer Funslinger or Infinity, or a RIDE Warpig. Full rules here.

SurveyGizmo is a exceptionally powerful survey tool. Please take my survey now

About Park Poll: This is the third year we’ve partnered with Snow Park Technologies to collect the hard numbers on parks. You can see the results of last season’s poll here: TransWorld SNOWboarding’s 2017 Park Poll

This year, we’ll once again combine your input with the results of the Park Poll Data Program, which we’ve sent to terrain park managers across North America, making this snowboarding’s most accurate park ranking.

15-Year-Old Jack Coyne Probably Goes Bigger Than You : Season Edit ’16-‘17

For years Jack Coyne has been making waves in the contest scene as a grom. Now he’s a full-fledged 15-year-old and continues to push his progression in contests and beyond.  His season edit is stacked with supreme trickery and shows his unique talents on a board. We caught up with Jack for the highlights of his season and what he’s got planned for the summer.

How old are you these days?
I am currently 15 years old, so I’m actually street legal (with a parent).

Where are you living, and what’s your home mountain?
I’m living in Vail, Colorado, but I mostly ride Copper and Breckenridge, CO.

What were highlights from your season?
A couple highlights from this season are getting third in Rev Tour in slopestyle, and getting to go to Austria and placing second in World Rookie Tour halfpipe event. Being able to travel all the Rev Tours is awesome.

What’s your favorite edit you’ve seen from this season?
My favorite edit from this year is tough to choose. I love the Sunday in the Parks, Bear has such a sick park. Also Ben Fergusons video from Aspen recently was pretty sweet also.

Off season plans?
In the off season, I’ll be skating a bunch, I’m gonna ride Mammoth for a week in June and I’m hopefully gonna make it up to Hood in July or August sometime. I’ve also been super into painting lately and I have been selling them online.  Check them here.

Check out more of the latest snowboard videos here.

Mammoth Mountain’s Monumental Season : Views from the 614”+ Winter

Winter 2016-2017 has been good to Mammoth Mountain. In fact, it’s been one the best seasons the California resort has had in years; perhaps maybe even ever. The resort received numerous dumps throughout the season with big snowfalls happening early in November all the way through May. Now, as most all other resorts are closed down for the season, Mammoth continues to chug along, with a snowpack that still feels like mid-winter.

The resort has received over 614” inches as of May 10th, and the depth at the summit is still over 300”. With this much snow and conditions still so good, Mammoth is planning to stay open past the Fourth of July and well into August.

Currently, Snowboarder Mag’s Superpark 21 is going off at Mammoth, and the world’s best riders are throwing down on behemoth features sculpted with actual tons of snow. The mega snowfall Mammoth has had this season definitely helped with the build process of these monsters.

For the stats on this season and just how big this snow year has been, we reached out to Mammoth for the scoop.

There’s still over 300″ of snow at the summit, and over 150″ at the base. Photo: Peter Morning

When was Mammoth’s first big dump this season, and how many inches was it?
Snow really started to come down in December this year (75 inches for the month) in one huge period (12.14 – 12.15)  over 56″ fell. 

What was the single biggest storm total Mammoth had this year?
In early January we got that absolute whopper with 7+ Feet that really got the month rolling. January set the record for snowfall in a month in Mammoth, with 245.5″.

How does this year compare to last year?
Last year was a good year, 362″ total, but obviously this year was a different animal: 609.5″ and counting. 

For much of the season, this sign was coated in white. Photo: Peter Morning

Is it safe to safe that this is one of the best season’s Mammoth’s had in the past five years?
2010-11 set the record, with 668.5″ but outside of that this is the most snow the mountain has ever received, and the sustained base this year in a lot of ways made it a bigger year than 2010-11. It sure feels like there’s more snow this year than ever before.

When is projected closing date?
Don’t have a projected closing date, but we’ll be open through at least July 4, likely into August .

Check out more Weather Stories here.

TURN & BURN 2017 Episode 3: Home Runs

After a season of travel and exploration, the boys are hanging at home
around Whistler doing what they do best: stacking blocks, sending wedges,
dropping pillows, ripping sleds, tearing up groomers, slashing pow and
catching air. Even T&B lensman Dave Craig gets in front of the camera.
There’s a refreshing quality to each TURN & BURN episode—- it’s pure
gimmick-less, bullshit-free snowboarding. Take note of the video
part-worthy features and trickery, and taste the two-stoke and cheap beer
as you watch this one.

Riders: Beau Bishop, Andrew Burns, Scot Brown, Dave Jacques,
Leif Jones, Rhett Haubrich, Dave Craig
Filmed by: Dave Craig, Andrew Burns, Gary Milton
Edited by: Andrew Burns

Check out more of the latest snowboard videos here.

Chasing Japow – A Money Making Japanese Adventure

For the past two seasons, Evan Wilcox has found a way to live and work in Japan to satisfy his deep desire for fresh powder. Despite not speaking Japanese, Wilcox found a job, secured housing and lived the life many of us dream of. Check out his recap from his seasons in Japan, along with

The post Chasing Japow – A Money Making Japanese Adventure appeared first on TransWorld SNOWboarding.

These 7 and 8 Year Old’s Home Training Zone Might Make You Jealous

Callum and Makai Gelvezon get it done on hill and at home in Ohio.

The post These 7 and 8 Year Old’s Home Training Zone Might Make You Jealous appeared first on TransWorld SNOWboarding.

High Noon Duel 2017: The Wildest Snowboard Contest You’ve Never Heard Of

The High Noon Duel is what results when you combine a hula hoop, a horse statue, and four riders on one course at a time.

The post High Noon Duel 2017: The Wildest Snowboard Contest You’ve Never Heard Of appeared first on TransWorld SNOWboarding.

A Different Take on Snowboard Coaching: Team Utah Scores in Japan

Typical snowboard coaching focuses on contests. Team Utah goes to Japan to ride pow.

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Pro Boarding & Motherhood – How Maria Thomsen Balances It All

From breastfeeding at spots, to helping shovel, Maria Thomsen tells us about her creative and relaxed approach to parenting and pro snowboarding.

The post Pro Boarding & Motherhood – How Maria Thomsen Balances It All appeared first on TransWorld SNOWboarding.

Snowboarding Deregulated: Love Games 2017

Love Games is a contest with entirely hand-dug features and no rules whatsoever.

The post Snowboarding Deregulated: Love Games 2017 appeared first on TransWorld SNOWboarding.

Snow Totals: Resorts with the Most Snowfall this Season

There’s no denying the 2016-2017 winter season has been monumental. Historical snowfall fell at many resorts and created record-breaking snow totals. The bulk of the storms took place in January and February, but some resorts still had major dumps in March and April. Resorts operations are winding down, but several resorts are planning to stay

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Snowboard on the Block 2017: End of Season Special — $10 Tickets

Mark your Calendar, on October 14th 2017, Snowboard on the Block is coming back to Denver, CO.

The post Snowboard on the Block 2017: End of Season Special — $10 Tickets appeared first on TransWorld SNOWboarding.