When I go on feature trips it’s always the filmer who has the best stories. Seriously. In the ranks of snowboard media there is just something about this lot that makes them the most colorful of the bunch and within this sect Kurt Heine reigns as one of the biggest characters. I was first introduced to Kurt when I was just an outsider admiring his aggro riding style on the pages Transworld. Today, there are riders who can triple cork but probably couldn’t torque their knee until it touched their topsheet like Kurt could. A day-glo outfit, coifed hair helmet, and Oakley Factory Pilots filled out the kit for the young Kurt. In the early 90s, Heine transitioned to his current role behind the lens. Since then he has captured most of the riders and much of the trickery that has defined snowboarding for the last two decades. Terje Haakonsen, Peter Line, Jamie Lynn, Pat Moore, John Jackson, JP Walker, Jeremy Jones, Jeff Anderson, Devun Walsh, and Jake Blauvelt are among the icons who have found themselves framed by Kurt. Beyond the realm of filming, Kurt has further impacted snowboarding by conjuring up some of the most progressive man-made terrain features ever seen by developing Heine Slope Tools. From mailboxes for jibbing to hand-crafted tow-in winches, Heine Slope Tools have facilitated all manner of progression both for professional riders and weekend warriors alike. Though Kurt has come a long way from his Mt. Hood hesh roots and he no longer flexes his knee into perplexing positions, he is still just as tweaked as ever.
Home Mountain: Mt Hood Meadows
Film companies worked with: Mack Dawg Productions 1991-2000, Strait Jacket Films (my own Company):2001-2004, Poor Boyz Productions(ski movie): 2005, Forum snowboards team movies:2006-2012 current
Gear: Canon 7D, Panasonic DVX100, Tri-Pod Gitzo carbon fiber legs (GT3531LSV), Tripod head Bogen 504, Snowmobile Ski-Doo 800 renegade 137″
Movies Filmed For:
1991: “Stayin Alive” Kurt Heine video/ MtHood locals video
1992: “The Hard The Hungry and The Homeless” Mack Dawg Productions
1993: “Upping The Ante” Mack Dawg Productions
1993: “TB 3″ Standard Films
1994: “TW Video Magazine” Volume 1 videos 1-4.
1995: “The Melt Down Project” Mack Dawg Project
1996: “Stomping Grounds” Mack Dawg Production
1997: “Simple Pleasures” Mack Dawg Productions
1998: “Decade” Mack Dawg Productions
1999: “Technical Difficulties” Mack Dawg Productions
2000: “Amp” Mack Dawg Productions
2001: “Unleashed” Strait Jacket films
2002: “Road to Madness” Strait Jacket Films
2003: “Daily Dose” Strait Jacket Films
2004: “Committed” Strait Jacket Fims
2005: “War” Poor Poyz Productions (ski film)
2006: “That” Forum team video
2007: “FYI” Forum team video
2207: “North South East & West” Special blend & Foursquare video
2008: “Forum or Against Them” Forum team video
2009: “Forever” Forum team video
2010: “F-IT” Forum team video
2011: “Vacation” Forum team video
2012: “# Forum” Forum team video
Do you shave your head in an effort to try to erase all evidence of your legendary mullet from the 80s and 90s?
I was known in the 80s and 90s as the “Mt. Hood Rocker” because I had big hair. There are several reasons why I cut my mullet off and shaved my head. First, I’m not in the 80s anymore. Second, I don’t listen to Bon Jovi anymore. Third, Mark Hibdon (pro snowboarder) told me to cut that hair. Fourth, I used to self-bleach and dye my hair all the time. One time I bleached my hair for six hours and I burned my scalp so bad from the bleach that all my hair fell out.
Why did you decide to put aside the mute stiffys in favor of a life behind the camera, and why focus on filming instead of photography?
I used to be a sponsored pro snowboarder for seven years in the 80s and early 90s. I gave up snowboarding and started filming because I blew out my knee skating a vert ramp, so I picked up a camera and starting filming all my friends at Hood and at all the contests. I think in 1991 I ran into Mack Dawg (Mike McEntire) at Mt. Hood in the summer. I was filming all summer and he came up to me and wanted to see my footage. He was stoked on my footage so he bought it from me. The following year he hired me full-time. I used to shoot a lot of snowboarding photos but I gave it up to focus more on filming. I made my first video back in 1990 called “Stayin’ Alive.” It was a Mt. Hood crew video. I worked for Mack Dawg for years, for Standard on “TB2,” Strait Jacket Films for years (my own company), and I have been currently filming the Forum movies for the last eight years. It’s been a great job.
Given your propensity for day-glo have you ever shot anything with black and white film?
I shot a few rolls of black and white 16mm film back in the 90s. It was cool to shoot with black and white film when the light was bad.
What is the craziest thing you have ever seen done on a snowboard?
The first one I think of is John Jackson. Every time I film him he does shit that scares me. He’s always pushing the limits and is going bigger than anyone else. Another thing I remember was building and filming the loop with Tom Gilles. It was the most stressful thing I have ever done. The first loop collapsed and smashed and buried my girlfriend. We built another loop and Tom pulled off the first snowboard loop. One more thing that stands out is Daniel Ek catching his edge on the take off of a thirty-plus foot tall hip. Daniel did a sixty foot air to flat and blew out his ankles. That was so gnarly. Daniel’s wreck was a lot bigger then Jake Brown’s mega ramp bail.
Of all the pro snowboarders you have worked with, who was the laziest and who was the hardest working?
Out of all the hundreds of pro snowboarders I have filmed over the years the laziest was…I don’t want to be rude, but I’m going have to say Peter Line. Sorry. Pete. Second place is most photographers. One of my favorite snowboarders to work with is Eero Ettala because he lands every trick first try and will do it again if you ask him. The hardest workers are Pat Moore and John Jackson. They will do whatever it takes to get the shot. Work horses.
You have filmed more team videos than any other cameraman in snowboarding. How are they different than traditional ensemble projects with multiple sponsors involved?
I have been doing team videos for the last eight years. They’re a lot easier because there is one Team Manager to help organize all the shoots and babysit the riders. Plus, the travel/film budget comes from one company, not ten. Another plus is that it becomes more of a family when you’re working with the same team every year.
Do riders in the digital era have more of an opportunity to land their tricks than they did back in the era of expensive film and processing?
Videos have gotten better because I can film a lot more snowboarding using a digital camera. In the past I was using 16mm film that cost $140 for every three minute rolls.
Having built the first snow loop are there any features that you still want to try to build?
I have built a lot of cool first time snow jump/features in the past. I have some secret stuff that I want to build this season. I hope the bosses at Forum let me do my own shoot and build a cool feature. I can’t wait, if it happens.
What snowboards are you still looking to add to your collection?
For the last four months I have been trying to collect some of my old favorite boards that I used to ride. I probably rode over fifty snowboards from ’85-’95. It’s been fun finding and buying some of my old boards. I have ten-to-fifteen of my favorites all ready. I’m trying to find my old Sims board 1630 Switchblade (wooden sidewalls) and 1710 Blade. When I get a few more I want to post a picture of all my boards. It’s addictive and costing me some money. I think I need to pump my brakes and slow down on buying so many boards.
How has Heine Slope Tools evolved over the years?
I have a company that I started in 1988 called Heine Snow Tools. The things I first made were rakes and shovels specifically designed and made for jumps and halfpipes. The tools that I have been making a lot of right now are snowboard winches used to whip riders into jumps in the city or wherever it’s flat. Another thing I make are snowboard racks for snowmobiles. These racks have been selling really well. A lot of the pro snowboarders have been rocking them. Check ’em out on my website, www.heinesnowtools.com.
Can you send us a copy of the page you had in Blunt?