words: Bryan Fox
photos: Bryan Fox and Mark Welsh
I’ve spent most of my snowboard career traveling with at least one or two good friends on every trip. I remember the first trip I went on that was with randoms–nice dudes, but not my friends–and it really made it feel like a job. Just out there trying to do tricks, not a lot of joking around or shit talking, just work-style snowboarding. I figured out quickly that the thing I like most about snowboarding is the sharing of these experiences with close friends.
When Austin and I first started talking about making a movie, we never really talked about who would be in it. We both knew it would be an all-homies-no-nerds type of affair. We just figured whoever wanted to be in it would just end up hanging out with us and that would be our crew. Obviously, some people have to do company projects, or are hurt, or have their own projects to work on, so that limits the field a little bit.
Austin and I came to Japan a couple years ago and had an amazing time. We knew it would be a great place to start the movie out with some heavy stoke. During the Dirksen Derby we threw out a casual invite to a bunch of friends, basically, “we’re going to Japan and everybody is welcome to join.” Tim Eddy was first to give 100% confirmation on the spot, McKay soon after, and Turkey (Alex Yoder) gave us a “hell yeah, I want to go, do they have quinoa over there?” So at this point we had five riders and Liam Gallagher to handle media and production. Austin called Welsh to see if he would come shoot it and got an instant yes from him. Boom, trip is happening, tickets are booked and all we are hearing is that it has been non-stop snowing in Hokkaido and doesn’t look to be slowing down.
Now word gets out and people start calling Austin and I to see if they can join. As a good rule, we decided to not turn anyone down on trips this winter. Always seems like people are trying to get the “right” number of people on trips to be most productive. We’re going for the opposite approach: have all the homies and see what happens. Couple days before the trip, Curtis called Austin “crying,” asking why he wasn’t invited. I guess he was in the other room when we told everyone we were going, so now we had another rider on board. To add to this list, the “Yoda of stoke”, Rip Zinger was set to be our guide and all around life guru while in Japan.
I wrote a version of this where i ramble on for five paragraphs about all the little details of this trip; The crew, the zones, the snow, the hot springs, the food, the people of Japan, etc, etc. You know the drill, “we live an epic life and we’re all spoiled brats,” but it’s trips like this one that will stand out in ten years when I look back on the years traveling the world with my snowboard. This trip was special. This trip was unique. This trip was ours, we owned it, no bosses or team managers or movie makers calling all the shots….It was all ten of us making decisions, and the end result was one of the best damn “work” vacations of my life.
Do yourself a favor, book a trip to Hokkaido next January.
Stay tuned for more in Dispatches: Pathology in Japan Part 2.