Words: T. Bird
Photos: Laura Austin
In the early 2000s, Forum changed the game with "True Life" and "The Resistance." By changing said game, the brand that centered its focus solely on the elite squad strapped into their boards raised the bar in terms of how not just a team video, but a snowboard video, was to be produced. It's about a decade later now, and Forum and its filmers still have that focus and it's still centered on an elite squad, and though the names have changed over the years, the level of riding has not, as the brand's ideology is still all about progression.
Last night, at a packed house in the Lido Theater in Newport Beach, California, hundreds of freestyle fanatics flocked to their seats in anticipation of what would unfold on the screen in front of them. After a brief introduction and a product giveaway, the credits rolled, and in size 1,600 font, the audience was introduced to "#Forum."
It's only fitting that Forum would incorporate the social media craze into their film this year, as their team is one of the most talked-about in snowboarding today. One of those team members is Andreas Wiig, who, after being picked up by Forum a few years back, produced what I believe his best video part to date since riding atop the coveted F. The intro to the video is quick, and the cinematic flare is tossed out the window in lieu of straight-to-the-point-let's-start-this-film action. And Andreas capitalizes, coming right out of the gate with a flurry of tricks. Wiig is one of the most worthy jumpers of all-time (not just our time) and in "#Forum," he cements the legacy he's left in the air. Intermingled with a slew of crazy double corks off of hundred-foot backcountry jumps is a trick that defines the new-age Andreas and shows that he's willing to adapt to the changing landscape to stay in this day and age. Andreas rides up a fifteen-foot tall tree and double backs off the side into the landing. The crowd went apeshit, and it was then that I knew that after years of riding at the level that he has, Andreas is officially a living legend.
Austen Sweetin and Cameron Pierce shared the second part. As younger members on one of the most exclusive teams in snowboarding, the two of them could easily be overlooked until the spotlight shines down directly on them, but these kids work for it, and force said spotlight to shine down due to their undeniable skillset. Their part is a high-speed, rapid fire assault of closeouts, redirects, and gargantuan rails. Sweetin executes a front board pop over and the way that his tail dips just enough to increase the trick's danger shows that his latter years in the streets have paid off. Though he's only about five-foot-three, Austen's all grown up and it shows in his riding as he put down tricks that most seasoned vets would tip their cap to. The kid's sick. Cam had hands-down my favorite trick of the video, and I truly mean that. When he came maching into a U-shaped concrete ledge at god-knows-how-many miles an hour and boardslid up, around, and down (mind you, the top of the ledge is two stories high), I almost lost it. I'm not one to make a scene at movie premieres (read: redheads try not to bring a lot of attention to themselves to begin with), but I was hooting and hollering like I had just seen the world's first quadruple cork on Chad's Gap. Yeah, it was that impressive, mainly because it was so unexpected due to the sheer size of the feature. Nice work, guys.
In my opinion, Jake Welch in one of the best ten all-around riders in the world, yet somehow, it sometimes slips past people. Maybe it's because he's quiet, humble, and not as self-serving as some pros out there. Maybe it's because his style is so smooth that it looks as if he's not trying that hard, yet he's still hitting bigger features than most. Whatever it is, his part–which falls third in the film's itinerary–is not to be overlooked in any way, as Welch takes to the streets and the backcountry like a man possessed. In one clip, Jake back sevens one of the biggest backcountry step downs that I've seen in any video clip or still shot this year and the next thing you know, he's front boarding a step-up rail that's twenty feet off the ground and sixty feet from the takeoff. His last two clips are fucked, too. I won't give them away, but I will tell you this. They involve gigantic walls and even more gigantic balls. Jake walked away with one of my favorite parts of the year.
Enter the Euros! I love these kids. They're loose in a controlled way and their style is unique and can only be comprehended when one has crossed the pond and witnessed firsthand the way that European riders session in the backcountry. Mario Kaeppeli has some insanely worthy clips off the piste as he proves that it's no fluke he's backed by Forum. Nines, tens, you name it, and Mario fires one off. Daniel Ek, on the other hand, has been one of my favorite riders to watch in the past few years, mainly because he's unpredictable and he goes absolutely mind-blowingly huge. Daniel's approach is what makes his riding so exciting, and there's something to be said about a kid who will film for one of the biggest movies of the year with a lift ticket still attached to his jacket…not to mention hitting a four story road gap and doing a double backflip over it in the process.
Nic Sauve came back from an injury last year that pretty much put him out of contention for an X Games Real Snow medal and logged clips that most certainly would have put him on the podium if he had done them in December. Sauve is a street phenom, rising in the ranks of snowboarding with his Quebécois contingent of Laurent-Nicolas Paquin, Phil Jacques, Frank April, Alex Cantin, Ben Bilocq, Will Lavigne, and Louif Paradis. But Sauve has carved out his own niche like his friends and introduced himself to the masses as one of the world's elite urban riders through his unique take on the terrain he rides. Sauve is calculated, yet it looks as if he's scared of nothing. One can tell when they witness his riding that he's confident, and in his "#Forum" segment, it's clearly evident that this kid's credence is still shaping his career. There's no filler. Nic puts down hammer after hammer, a formula that the French Canadians have incepted in order to push both themselves and snowboarding itself in order to put themselves one step ahead of those who ride rails for a living. Sauve's schtick is a fine blend of riding gigantic features while executing them to absolute perfection. Oh yeah, and he frontflips out of a wallride from twenty-feet up. It's insane.
Surprise, surprise. Pat Moore has the ender. New Hampshire's favorite son did it again by waging all-out war with everything that stood in his path. After winning a bronze in X Games Real Snow with forty-foot step-up 270s to flat bars, front fives on urban step downs, and frontside inverts on the top of buildings, Pat heads to Whistler to huck his carcass into some pow…and boy does he do it well. One of the standout tricks that is burned into my memory is Pat's Cab three into a chute. First of all, jumping into a chute is crazy in and of itself, but when you factor in the fact that Pat is taking off and landing switch, it's simply batshit crazy to me. It also speaks to another point, and that is that Pat has successfully transitioned from being one of the most promising young upstarts on the Forum team to being recognized as one of the world's ten best snowboarders. He started as a Youngblood about a decade ago, and now Pat Moore is leading this team…and for good reason. From double corks to double kinks, Pat's part has it all, and I'm going to go ahead and claim that it should and hopefully will, put him in the top ten this year.
"#Forum" hits all the marks and there's something for everyone in this flick. But more importantly, this year's release maintains the reputation that Forum holds within our culture. Plainly put, Forum has consistently produced the best snowboard videos for the longest period of time. It's the team-centric brand's mantra. No gimmicks. No bullshit. Just amazing snowboarding. And "#Forum" adds further to the legacy that to film for Forum, you simply have to be one of the best riders in the world.