Two weeks ago there may have been no place on earth more aptly named than Waterbury, VT, as Hurricane Irene literally left much of the town's main street and surrounding community buried under water. The second leg of my east coast movie premiere odyssey took me north from NYC to the Green Mountains for not only a friends and family leak of “The Shred Remains” but also to see for myself that the epicenter of Rome Snowboards itself still remained. Having pulled into the Waterbury office in the late afternoon, I arrived just in time to witness a company ritual that led me to believe that everything at the SDS was business as usual…in its own unusual way.
With domestic can in hand, I stood alongside a dozen people holding various duties and titles, all of us snowboarders and all of us steps away from the resilient Vermont farmhouse, which serves as Rome's headquarters. With the hum of industrial fans brought in to dry the recently flooded first floor ringing in our ears, we cocked our necks back and swung our elbows to the sky in a communal shotgun salute. It was practically on arrival that I answered my own question: Rome does in fact remain and apparently, so do the suds.
The movie's creator, John Cavan, was the one who extended me the privilege of getting this early glimpse of his latest project, “The Shred Remains”, which is not only his third release for Rome but nearly his tenth since making his “Iron Curtain” debut. In that time, Cavan has developed a subdued cinematic style that has always put next-level riding at the forefront.
In lieu of a red carpet this premiere began at a backyard barbeque at the house of Rome's George Eget, complete with Tennessee bourbon, remnant cans of micro brew from the recently flooded Alchemist Brewery, and a glass jar containing a highly questionable and potentially illegal quantity of clear liquid. The latter concoction is what kept the host from lasting past the opening credits, which ironically means the bag and glove guru of Rome found himself in the bag. Yet Goerge wasn't alone amongst the revelers, as every department of Rome was represented in the pickled procession that made its way down to Waterbury Wings for the first big screen TV showing of “The Shred Remains”.
The Rome squad is amongst the most diverse crew of riders fielded by any brand. Standouts from the first two team videos, “Any Means” and “No Correct Way“, trade tricks alongside one-time rookies who have risen to the top of the marquee, including Lake Tahoe's Johnny Lazzareschi who opens The Shred Remains. Still labeled as a spaz, Lazz has channeled his youthful angst into a breakthrough part that is heavy on the jibs but well-rounded nonetheless. So Cal riders will be particularly pumped on his settling of a high-profile multi angle Bear Mountain flat bar which is adjacent to the main quad chair at the resort.
To simply say Bjorn Leines has "still got it" is to do a disservice to this Midwest/Utah legend. Bjorn's brand of riding pioneered a backcountry freestyle realm now populated by the likes of Müller, Blauvelt, and Jackson, yet Leines is still breaking trail and breaking ground with mid-line moves to and from fakie. Like Lazz, Stale Sandbech has emerged from the Am Army to a well-deserved spot in the pro ranks, and despite a halfpipe resumé that includes an Olympic appearance he has legitimate urban chops and a park jump repertoire that includes double corks. Newest Rome recruit Rusty Ockendon brings it from Canada with aggressive backcountry double corks, big flat spins and an Egg Flip transfer on the Devun Stump. Will Lavigne is perhaps the most adaptable pro on the Rome roster. During his first season sledding in the backcountry Lavigne translated his tech urban approach to the pow and once again produced.
MFR redefined women's video parts in “Any Means”. In The Shred Remains, she expands upon her recent Absinthe backcountry exploits with Helsinki jib shots including the Eero rail, multi kinks, and a concrete crippler. These tricks edited alongside three of the four fives into pow reaffirm her place amongst the most well-rounded female pros in the history of snowboarding.
Having grown up in Glacier, Washington, Lucas Debari was practically ordained from birth to one day rule the alpine kingdom and a,s such this prince of the off-piste has another jewel of a part to place in his crown with “The Shred Remains”. Hokey metaphors aside, when it comes to Debari there is no hype, it is all true and in this movie he once again finds himself seeking out hairy situations and emerging unscathed. Lucas consistently picks his way down faces with no obvious exit, barely pausing long enough to give the fractures a head start. His ender is a perfect example of this where lesser riders would have scrapped the shot once the slope began to slide, yet Debari kept his constitution intact and continued his momentum beyond the mandatory air above the run out.
“The Shred Remains” comes to a close with Laurent Nicolas Paquin. This is the part that fans of this French Canadian have been waiting for since the last Rome team vid. LNP came up as a member of a crew of Queebs hell-bent on redefining urban riding and he still has that Tabernac ethic. Multi kinks both regular and switch are but a few of the jibs Laurent lands. Inbounds transition lines and uncommon gaps round out a part that delivers on the LNP promise. His ender is literally off the chain, a 270 off the chain to be exact. In other words, it is serious riding from a rarely serious rider.
Unlike other releases that choose to invest heavily in dazzle to bolster delight, this video relies on a purity of purpose to parlay the passion of the film's participants. The end result is a piece of moviemaking that is more than enough to keep the faithful stoked. Make no mistake, “The Shred Remains”. Check it out in a snowboard shop near you or on iTunes on September 29th.