Photos: Mike Yoshida (Unless otherwise credited)
In snowboarding today, there exists a cogent argument that the gulf between a "pro" snowboarder and an "am" is rapidly draining. It should be cut and dry, right? Pros get paid and ams don't. But that's not the case, and therefore it makes the latter wrangling more difficult to fully comprehend when laid out as a black and white issue. The fact is that the discerning line is thickening and becoming increasingly gray, but tonight, at Sole Technologies' headquarters, the film may have been in color, but said synopsis was as black and white as it gets.
Ammo is a full-length amateur snowboard movie. Now, I don't know how much its stars do get paid, but I do know this: If they were in Ammo, they were most certainly ams. Filmmaker Jeff Heit was tasked with trailing the ThirtyTwo tykes all winter and documenting their first season of filming a team movie. The subjects were Brandon Hobush, Spencer Schubert, Chris Brewster and Dylan Alito. Rabble-rousers, mischief-makers, "rookies," if you will. Granted, I'm almost positive that their off-hill shenanigans were predictable during the project, but as far as the riding is concerned, I wouldn't go so far as to call these kids rookies.
Hobush had the opener, and as far as I'm concerned, I think the kid's one of the most unique riders that's making his mark. He opened the movie in fine fashion and his quirky eye for terrain blended well with a balls-out attack that I've never seen from him. His High Cascade summer clips have helped to get his name recognized, but if anyone wants to know what Hobush rides like when he's not lapping the HCSC lane, they're sure as shit gonna see it in Ammo. Switch boardslides through heavy kinks, hardway 270s, switch back 180s onto down rails, and a switch 50-50 on a kink that any "paid" snowboarder would surely question before shoveling the lip. The crowd was hyped, and the opening section got massive applause.
The two montage sections were rad. I love montage sections. They're fast-paced, lend variety to a part-based flick, and most importantly, get more riders into the mix that otherwise may not have the chance due to other obligations one is busy with during the winter. Riders like Tyler Flanagan, Jared Jordan, Frank Knab, Justin Mulford, Parker Worthen, Dominik Wagner, Stale Sandbech, Brandon Larson, Mike Rav, and Johnny Brady all made appearances alongside the Ammo roster, and it made the movie all the more well-rounded. Long live the montage section.
Spencer Schubert had the second section, and though he's the most "up-and-coming" of the crew, you couldn't tell by the part he put out. What I liked most about Spencer's section was that although he's obviously most comfortable on rails, he wasn't afraid to find time to build a jump. He had a good mix of both, but the street stuff shined. Notably, his back threes on and one of the craziest 50-50s I've seen in quite some time on a behemoth kink. Spencer's no doubt going to have a nice little career ahead of him.
Chris Brewster might be the most veteran of the riders in Ammo and his segment is reflective of that. Brewster just seems to have his shit together. Not that the others don't, but his precision is noticeable in his approach. I could watch his stale to boardslide and his 50-50 to donkey dick smash on a down-flat-down on repeat, and a cameo by Johnny Miller never hurts in my opinion. Brewster showed that he can log footage with the best of 'em.
Before Dylan Alito's ender, the film featured a fitting "Pro" montage featuring Chris Grenier, Scotty Stevens, and Chris Bradshaw; three riders who are some of my favorite to watch snowboard. The montage gave the movie a team-like feel before Colorado hellraiser Dylan Alito took to the screen with a hefty ender. When not snowboarding, Dylan has little inhibition, but that lack of reserve is what makes him one of the most compelling snowboarders in today's current crop of talent. The kid's loose, and the kid's good, and that makes for some profound boardin'. His part was by far my favorite to watch as Alito took to both the streets and the backcountry with reckless abandon. His back 270 to fakie on a roof ledge drew the greatest praise from the crowd, and his one-foot boardslide on a wooden rail stoked me out the most, while a 50-50 to frontflip made me laugh at its looseness, but it was his ender trick that no one could quite explain that capped off Ammo and left the thirsty crowd baffled in the beer line while they were waiting for Videograss's Shoot The Moon to come on just minutes later. Seriously. There's no name for the trick. You've gotta see it.
Ammo delivered on exactly what I wanted it to. I didn't want to see anything fancy. I came into it wanting to see raw, unabashed snowboarding from a group of hungry young kids, and that's exactly what it gave me. It was fast-paced, fun to watch, filled with bangers, and made me want to go make some turns, and in the grand scheme of things, isn't that what a good snowboard movie is all about? Well, if so, then this is one damn good snowboard movie.