Words & Photos: Pat Bridges
2011 could go down as one of the best years in the history of snowboard cinema. I can't recall any other season in which so many videos were delivering on their hype. In addition to Rice's Art film anyone looking to purchase a new video can't go wrong with Capita's “Defenders Of Awesome”, VG's “Shoot The Moon”, 32's “Ammo”, Think Thanks’ “Ransack Rebellion” and several other options on sale now. Burton Snowboards latest team video “Standing Sideways” has made its debut and it finally lives up to the Chill legacy making it another contender for everyone's must see list. For those unfamiliar with the above video reference let me explain. Released in 1990 Chill was Burtons 3rd team video and it highlighted a legendary squad which counted Kelly, Brushie, Ford, Wallace, Jacoby, Brandon and Davis within it's ranks. In addition to halfpipe, carving and that sweet, sweet pow Chill has been credited by many as containing the first jibbing ever filmed.
In the two decades between Chill and Standing Sideways Burton has released many other team videos, including For Right or Wrong, The Big B, Guy In The Sky, It's Always Snowing Somewhere and others whose names I forget. While each of these projects had their standout moments they garnered little acclaim. Few can argue that Burton has always had a team of riders unrivaled in terms of variety and depth of talent. Yet capitalizing on this means having as much skill behind the lens and in the editing bay as you have in front of the cameras. It could be argued that they've had that to but it always seemed like something was missing. To that end there are several elements that distinguish Standing Sideways from Burton's previous efforts. The first is the editing and art direction. Unique and less kitchy than in the past the intro's here look pro but remain light-hearted. In terms of editing the parts and tricks are tighter as well. It appears as though the token clips have all been cut and so have any riders/segments which didn't reach a higher standard. Actually there isn't one mini shred shot in the whole movie. Every trick is stepped up. Lastly, the soundtrack to Standing Sideways is on it's own level. Not since Fly Like An Eagle accompanied Jim Rippey in TB3 has the Steve Miller Band been set to snowboarding as well as when Mikey Rencz shralps to Serenade. Other tunes are provided by Martha and The Vandellas, The Stooges, Queen and David Bowie, Boston, Joy Division and even the Kinks!
Kazuhiro Kokubo opens Standing Sideways and from that point there is no looking back. Kazu only has one halfpipe shot in this whole part. It is a triple overhead method but the point is that he is more than a two-wall trickster. While Kazu has a handful of jump/hip shots from Mammoth and Sun Valley the majority of his footage is from Bralorne and Terrace, BC. Cornice drops and pillow lines abound in what could be his breakthrough film part. From there Mark Sollars continues to accell on all terrain while defying categorization. If anything the size of his booter tricks sets him apart but really Sollars is equally adept sliding a multi-kink as he is sending a FS 1080 off an 90 foot kicker.
Jeremy Jones once again produces. Though people typecast him with the jib label his parts always have backcountry elements and this one is no exception. Cornice and cat gaps are the standout off-piste elements of this ensemble but for sure where Jeremy is really pushing progression is still on the streets. In Standing Sideways Jeremy is still dabbling with shuvits as he does a front board 270 shove it out and a redirect corner wallride 540 shove it. Ridiculous. Contrasting Jeremy's vet status is the rookie trio of Alex Andrews, Zak Hale and Ethan Diess who each bring their own brand of new school tech to the program. Virtually each trick these three do is a spin in or out, gap to or redirect. Nothing stock here. Similarly Keegan Valaika fires. His first trick is a slob nosepress and like Alex, Zak and Ethan, Keegan has much of the same variety of gap-to's and kinkers but his section is a little bit more stylish and the features a lot sketchier.
Several riders have shared segments in Standing Sideways and this is a good thing. It means that only the best stuff made the final cut. The fact is most riders had a limited amount of time to film and rather than milk it the production team decided to just keep the bangers. Jack Mitrani, Mark McMorris, Danny Davis, Seppe Smitts and Charles Reid all slaughter their abridged sections. Mikkel Bang is particularly memorable. Not only does Nickel Bag punt the highest switch method of all time but he also chucks an askew axis boned out FS 7 that defies conventional spin logic.
Closing the Standing Sideways spectacle is Jussi Oksanon. Depite being a pro for over 13 years Jussi is still bringing new moves into his repertoire. Here he stomps a FS double cork on his second attempt ever alongside his usual variety of solid backcountry freestyle. Jussi's first shot is actually on a Bralorne, BC pat down double line that was first made famous by Nate Cole in the late 90's. From cornice skirting step up spin offs to tree jib cat gaps Jussi's onscreen output in Standing Sideways is arguably one of his best parts to date.
For the Standing Sideways premier Burton hooked up the Ogden Theater in downtown Denver. A crowd of over a thousand sat spellbound by the show when not laughing at Preston Strout and Terry from Fubar who MC'd the evening.
All in all Standing Sideways is a new type of Burton Team Video. Unlike their past releases this one wasn't created by committee and it shows. At 40 minutes it actually seemed too short which is always good thing. That means I was left wanting more instead of wishing for an intermission. If you like hip hop or punk instead of classic rock then for sure the soundtrack might not be your thing. If you are keen on jibbing then Alex, Ethan, Zak, Jeremy and Keegan won't disappoint and the same could be said in regards to backcountry freestyle with Jussi, Sollars, Terje and Kazu. So while the name may be Standing Sideways I believe this is a significant step forward for Burton Team movies.
Want to watch the movie for yourself RIGHT NOW?! Download it on iTunes.