Originally published in the November 2017 issue of SNOWBOARDER Magazine. Go pick up a free copy here!
In recent years, some pundits have claimed that team movies aren't as impactful as they once were. That skateboarding does it right in that realm, and snowboarding doesn't. That it's not worth it from a marketing standpoint to do it. Well, Vans has something to say about that. Two winters ago, Vans employed one of snowboarding's most talented auteurs, Tanner Pendleton, to curate their first-ever team video, and now, as the film, Landline., is set to be released in just a few short months, heads are certainly talking...and much more so than in recent memory. Not since Travis Rice's last film, The Fourth Phase, has a snowboard movie been so anticipated in our culture. It's that plain and simple. It's also a fact that Tanner and his cadre of filmers and editors--the likes of Jake Price, Harry Hagan and Skylar Brent--seemingly have the weight of the world on their shoulders, and rightly so. But they don't seem too stressed, because from all accounts that we've heard, the riding stacks up to all the hype. Focusing heavily on the resurgence of 16mm film, Landline. is an exploration of over a dozen riders' approach to riding.
From veterans like Darrell Mathes, Bryan Iguchi, Jamie Lynn, Wolle Nyvelt, Jake Kuzyk, Pat Moore and Chris Roach to relative newcomers and soon-to-be superstars like Danimals, Dillon Ojo, Mike Ravelson, Cole Navin, Blake Paul, Arthur Longo and Sam Taxwood, Landline. looks to be one of the most comprehensive portrayals of what is happening in snowboarding in quite some time. Much like they did with Propeller a few years back, their aim was to create a timeless classic and I'm nearly certain that they did, and only time will tell, but judging by the pedigree of the filmers and riders tapped for this Herculean task, it's safe to say that Landline. will be a game-changer when it comes out. In this feature, Pat Bridges and I sat down in a roundtable discussion with the less-veteran Landline. riders over dinner to talk to them about the last two years of their lives, what it was like being a part of such an anticipated project, how they changed as snowboarders and human beings, influence, expectations and so much more. It's a meaty one, no doubt, clocking in at just under 12,000 words, so take your time with it. Don't devour it all in one sitting. And enjoy it, because projects of this magnitude are few-and-far-between in our sport these days, so dig in and don't be afraid to come back for seconds.
Pat Bridges: How did you guys all get involved with Vans? Like how did you get picked up? Let's start with Sam.
Sam Taxwood: Well, I worked at the shop in Salt Lake at Milo and I obviously became pretty good homies with the Vans rep. They came to the shop all the time. And then, I think like a couple people randomly just like tagged Kevin on one of my Instagram photos and then we became in contact with eachother and then push came to shove and we just kind of got the ball rolling there. But, yeah, it was kind of a random spur of the moment thing but I pretty much basically started through Milo and the rep Shaun.
Pat: Is Kevin, Kevin Casillo?
T. Bird: What about you, Rav?
Mike Rav: My story starts at a Vans Hi-Standard at Loon Mountain, which I came in second place to Dylan Dragotta, and Darrell Mathes was judging it. I won like a pair of boots and I talked to Darrell afterwards. I'm probably like 19 at the time. He's like "dude, we're going to get you a pair of boots." I was like holy shit, I'm gonna ride for Vans, this is going to be sick. And then I never heard from Darrell for a couple years. So you know, different ventures happened, but this is the funny part, it goes full circle. In Government Camp at Charlie's and everyone was like, just classic night at Charlie's. And Darrell was there, Jake Kuzyk was there, and I don't know I guess maybe they had seen me snowboard during that period at Mt. Hood and that night, Darrell was just like, "Hey so what do you think about riding for Vans?" Obviously I said yes, because you know, I had been trying to ride for Vans since that Hi-Standard or pretty much however long, and then kind of just got the ball rolling at Charlie's that night. That's about it.
Pat: What about you Dillon?
Dillon Ojo: I was already pretty good friends with the Vans Canada rep. So at one point he just hit me up asking if I wanted to be part of the project and that was just an obvious answer, of course I want to be part of Vans. And so yeah, I just started talking to him. I started off with Vans Canada before I actually started going through Kevin, and then once the idea for the movie came around, Kevin hit me up and we worked it out and I was like yeah I want to part of this thing. All my friends got onto the company so I definitely wanted to be filming in the same video as them. And that's pretty much how I got onto Vans.
Bird: So how is that all different when someone says I'm on Vans Canada? Do you go through the Canadian distributor?
Dillon: Yeah, everything goes through Canada so budget, product, whatever, which they wanted to do that at the start because it was just easier because they were bringing a bunch of people onto the team so it was like, oh you'll do that budget and then they'll do this budget and then we'll start working it out once the team and everything settled. But I still, even now, go through Canada just because it's easier to get product and I'm friends with the guys so I can just go up to the office and whatever. Yeah it's just different budget, different people, but still the same company.
Bird: Cole, what about you? You're from Mass, so that was probably a pretty small market, you probably went through the rep?
Cole Navin: Yeah, I started going through the rep. I think it was pretty much the year that we filmed Rendered Useless and the year just after that, I started getting flow, and then I filmed some stuff between then but it was really like at the beginning of the video that just knowing other people on the team, Blake for example and I knew Tanner, so those guys kind of put in a good word for me and made an effort to have me more involved and so it happened pretty quickly but it just changed from getting flow on the East Coast to like kind of doing it on a bit of a more inclusive scale, I guess.
Arthur Longo: I guess that it's a while back now. I stopped riding for Nitro maybe when I was 16 or so and then I started riding for APO which were not making boots. And that was the first time that I got Vans boots maybe when I was 17. Yeah, more than 10 years ago. And that was cool, that was in the French team and I don't know, the Euro team really started to get stronger and stuff over the years and it was pretty cool to be involved at Vans so early and to get started with all the team, Wolle and all the guys.
Pat: Nice. Blake?
Blake Paul: Mine happened pretty organically as well, I feel like. I just kind of saw Sam and Ojo and Kuzyk get on and Rav and film their little welcome to the team video and just knowing Tanner was in charge of all the video stuff and Kevin was pretty ambitious with revamping the whole program and doing a big push and it was just kind of like, damn it would be sick to get on that because I didn't have a boot sponsor or anything. And it was kind of just like a year or something of Kuzyk or other team riders asking or whatever and I actually moved to California where Casillo lived. I didn't really know him that well, we had kind of talked on email but there wasn't really talk of much. So I'm outside of the bar and I'm wearing Converse and he's was just walking out of the bar like, "What kind of shoes are those? These are wack." Or something, and I was just like, alright well what are you gonna do about it? But we were just kidding and then yeah, he invited me over for a barbecue within a few weeks and then I was still wearing converse, he hadn't given me anything, and he just went into his house and was like, "Dude, we gotta get you off those, don't worry, you're going to get on the team here in the next couple weeks" and gave me a pair of his shoes. It was kind of funny because there was this whole barbecue happening and I'm changing shoes because he's making me.
Bird: That's a pretty aggressive approach, I like it.
Blake: I was trying pretty hard too, but yeah, it just happened like that and then I had heard of the movie and heard of all the filmers involved and was like, if I'm going to film for anything, I want to film for that.
Bird: What was the significance of videos to you guys when you guys were coming up and what are some stand-out video parts that you guys got stoked on?
Blake: I think basically the first video I owned and got for Christmas was Lame and Afterlame and my brother got Shakedown and he was hyped on JP Walker and all that and so I would always watch those and even watch the older movies like Decade and Simple Pleasures. But I think it was like Lame, David Benedek, Travis Parker, that whole vibe and I think that was probably pretty influential to everybody.
Bird: Arthur, what about you over in Europe?
Arthur: Robot Food was big for us as well. I remember there was one thing with Method Mag, there was a tape coming out I think every second month. There was just a report of what happened on the contests and like small parts as well. That was pretty cool. You had the VHS with the magazine coming out. That was pretty sick. But yeah there was that Method tape coming every few months and you had like a magazine but that was on video at home. But yeah the magazines were so important, but I think maybe TB4 was my first video I had and I watched it a lot.
Cole: I've seen all the classics and really appreciate that stuff now, but definitely when I was younger, I kind of grew up, I don't know I was just super interested in street snowboarding and I was watching a lot of Videograss films. There was a bunch of riders that I liked watching that I'd draw inspiration from. They're all still relevant, like Joe Sexton and Scott Stevens and the list goes on.
Blake: Did you ever watch Burning Bridges or did you not even see that?
Cole: I mean, I've seen it now, but the first stuff I was watching, I maybe saw like Mikey LeBlanc stuff first. But then what I actually grew up watching was Videograss stuff.
Rav: I feel like I didn't even have access to all that stuff for so long, maybe until like the last couple years. I grew up like basically I saw something on Fuel TV. I literally recorded it on VHS and I would just re-watch it every day. It was White Balance I think and it was these parts with like Terje, there was a part with John Jackson that I was like obsessed with. Just like downloaded all the music and everything like that. And then later on I was introduced, this girl that I went to high school with that was in my grade, her older brother was a snowboarder and he gave me my first copy of Iron Maiden, or no, Iron Curtain. And once I saw that, cause it was these spots that I had seen just driving around Whistler and stuff, and I saw the accessibility of what these guys were doing and where I was and that was the first time I was like, okay this is crazy that these people probably live in the same area as me. I remember watching that for the first time and being like holy shit, this is some really crazy stuff.
Bird: Yeah like the Terje and the John Jackson stuff, growing up somewhere like Massachusetts, it's inspiring but it's not very attainable. Once you bring that down to a regional level and you see people riding stuff that you live near you're like, damn they're doing it, I guess I can too.
Rav: And it just looked like fun too. Just seemed like a cool group of people to hang out with and we would just basically try to emulate what we saw in those videos, how they acted, mannerisms, music, everything like that. It plays a really important role in shaping all of our lives I'm sure.
Bird: It's cool how it's all regional like that, like your story is probably different with the videos you watched.
Dillon: Oh yeah. I grew up watching a lot of Quebec films, so like Brothers Factory, Bandwagon, all the French homies and then only recently have I started trying to find the classics and things. I started snowboarding at 13 years old so when I started snowboarding it was like Videograss and all those films coming out, so I never really tried to dig into the snowboarding history. It was more just what was coming out right now was what I tried to watch and based all my favorite snowboarders off of them. Like when I started snowboarding, I didn't know who the OG snowboarders were or anyone. I just knew the Quebec snowboarders and then the like most recent pros and upcoming ams and stuff. Even now, my snowboard history and knowledge is pretty bad. I can't have a full on conversation with Pat or you about snowboarding back in the day because I don't know much about it, I just know the recent stuff. I'm from Montreal where snowboarding is pretty hard to do because we have small hills so it's kind of just local heroes around Quebec, so yeah, coming up it was just Quebec-based videos I watched and my favorite snowboarders were just the French guys. Recently filming for them for Encore was a dream come true. My favorite snowboarders who I grew up watching I got to film with them, which was insane.
Bird: Stax, you come from the mecca of the west, Salt Lake City. You must've been exposed to so much of that stuff not just on video, but in person, too.
Sam: Yeah, so I grew up riding at Snowbird obviously living in Salt Lake, and Aaron Biittner and Mark Edlund would always be up there, and then the first premiere I ended up going to was Afterlame and Moment Of Truth, the Finger On Da Trigger video. It was in a pretty big theater and I had really never see a snowboard video at that time, you know. It was those two videos and all the guys were there and people were kind of going nuts in the theater and I was almost like overwhelmed, because I think I was like 8 or 9 at the time, super little. J-Kwon song is on and Biittner is like in the elevator and his name comes on the screen and the whole theater goes crazy. After that night, I was like, "Dude, this seems like the coolest thing ever," and that's all I wanted do, just somehow get into that part of snowboarding rather than just doing contests or whatever. I think from that point on, I was watching snowboard videos on the regs.
Pat: Sam, what do you think was your big break up to this point? What do you look back on and say that's a pivotal moment that brought you to this?
Sam: For me, I think coming up to Hood actually. I ended up meeting Harry Hagan and Rob Balding and they wanted me to film with the Keep The Change dudes, and I had never really filmed for a video at all at that point, and I think I filmed with them for two years, and that was kind of I feel like the first time I had actually gone out and filmed at some spots and hung out with a few of the dudes and started traveling a little bit. And I met Rav and kind of the whole crew and I think that was maybe the biggest point for me for sure. I got to go on a couple trips with Blake as well actually early on and I thought that was cool like going up to Baker and riding powder for the first time pretty much on a trip rather than just at home at the resort or whatever. I think that was my first time traveling on my own without my parents. It was a pretty good experience to just get away from home and not travel around with my folks because forever it was like that for me, just going to small contests and stuff and I think coming up here, I was able to meet enough people and figure out how to branch out.
Rav: We filmed those edits called Loonatics back at Loon. We just had the right person that wanted to film and he was really good at what he did and we just had the right crew and we had fun going to Loon everyday and filming and put together a couple edits. I think that was the first transition over from just having fun, filming, whatever to we could maybe do something with all this, because they got good feedback. And from that, we were all pretty motivated to keep doing them and filming and kind of just learn how to film and all that stuff. I think that was probably the first thing.
Blake: Was Skylar the first one?
Blake: So Skylar was like early Loonatics? Other than your part or something.
Rav: Yeah, it kind of went full circle.
Bird: That's really cool, you guys kind of came up together. A lot of times that's how it happens. A filmer finds a dude that he kind of jives with, that dude is a really good snowboarder, and they just kind of elevate each other.
Rav: It was just fun. We were both going to Plymouth State, so we were 30 minutes away, and we would just drive to the mountain and film whatever we could during the day and then he would edit what he could and that was just it. At the time, it was just for us but it kind of branched out.
Dillon: It's funny how much impact a video like that can have. Because still up to now, one of my favorite videos is Loonatics Episode 9. That was one of the best park edits I've seen. It was so good.
Blake: That was like prime time internet age, like, this edit is going to drop, no Instagram video.
Dillon: And it was just fun to go to the park and bring a camera but watching that is like, this is one of the coolest things. It just looks like fun and that's what we're doing, just having fun and that video is fun with homies but still so good.
Bird: Look at the Yawgoons. Those dudes have like 400 vertical feet to work with--maybe--and they're some of the most popular snowboarders on the planet.
Pat: Dillon, I also remember you showing up at Last Call.
Dillon: Yeah, the first Last Call I went to I think was maybe 17 and that was the first time or second time even ever going to Loon and that was because of those videos and everything, I was like I need to go this place.
Pat: And I remember you there because I knew you from the Shakedown.
Dillon: Yeah, you invited me, because that was the first time we met was the Shakedown and then I got the message like, "Yeah come to Last Call, everyone is going to be there."
Pat: I invited you to Last Call?
Dillon: Yeah. (laughs)
Bird: What would you say in the video realm got you to this point? What was that first big break where you felt like you got more motivation to film a big video part like this?
Dillon: I don't know. I know we were filming little park edits with me and my friends, the crew The Bruners from our local hill, which is Mt. Saint Bruno. That was the first time we ever picked up a camera and started doing things. And then one of our friends, he had a video production company called Nowamean and then I filmed my first part with them at like 15 or so. It had been like two years on a snowboard and I was like I just want to go straight into the streets.
Bird: I think that's when I first kind of caught wind of you was Nowamean.
Dillon: Yeah, well my first part was just a split part with my friend, I think I had like five tricks in there at my first ever rail spots. And then I filmed another part with them for--I can't remember the name of the video--but I remember putting out that part and then next year got invited to do the SNOWBOARDER Mag thing.
Rav: Can I interject real quick? We went on a trip with Keep The Change, it was like Colton Feldman, myself, and we went up to Montreal and we met up with Dillon. I remember we were filming random tricks on that trip and Dillon brings us to this spot that he wants to film something at, and just blew our minds. I couldn't even believe this rail that he hit. It was the first time we were all just like, "Holy shit this guy is going to be a pro snowboarder, easy, no problem." He showed us around, filmed an insane trick, and then we went to that restaurant afterwards. Just the whole day was just like, "Okay, this guy is legit."
Bird: Hell yeah. What about you Cole? What do you think was that first big step? Because your story is interesting because it went from Rendered to like Real Snow. It escalated so fast.
Cole: Other than filming friends videos, I mean, I had a good crew of friends to film with at home when I was real young, so I kind of got experience filming some street stuff early on and I still hang with those guys, but Rendered was a big step for me. I knew Rav and Stark and some of the filmers, and they invited me to participate. And then before doing a Real Snow, the TransWorld awards was a pretty big piece of exposure for me.
Bird: Oh yeah, Rookie Of The Year.
Cole: Yeah, and that played itself into getting asked to do Real Snow, which is another big piece of exposure for me. So those two things kind of opened the doors in a sense.
Arthur: For me, I think it was pretty natural. It took a while but one big thing was going to contests, and doing well at a few of them.
Bird: Did you find it more difficult being a French rider to break out in the States? Do you feel like there's a little bit of a disconnect between those two scenes?
Arthur: Yeah yeah, there's a bit of that, for sure. I think for the people that really want to do it, it's pretty easy or they can do it for sure. But I'm not sure it's something that French people really want to or anything. There's for sure a Euro scene and Euro world on it's own and you don't really necessarily want to come overseas more, but it's still like maybe for the Scandinavians it's more in their culture to come overseas. As a French, it was yeah, a bit, I had to just leave my French friends or whatever and come speak English and always be in the mix of different crews and stuff, but I always liked it. It was always pretty natural I think. I filmed my first part when I was 18 I think. It was my first trip in the states. It was good to learn how it works and first step in the backcountry and all of that. But yeah, year after year, just took it slow.
Bird: And Blake you're interesting because I remember meeting you at the Launch years back. Would you say that was a big first step for you or was it a certain video or maybe web series?
Blake: I think it was just coming up and meeting Sam and Griffin [Siebert] and then connecting that with the Warbington brothers back in the day. That wasn't any USASA contest, that wasn't any sort of big break but just like a foot in the door of traveling and having a group of friends. And then yeah, getting invited to The Launch and then probably similar like Keep The Change, meeting those dudes here and being in their video. Well I guess before that, Aaron Robinson asked me to do his video, Manifest, so that was kind of the first time I was ever in a movie that maybe a lot of people saw online or anything like that. Just kind of like a big point in my career meeting him and going to Chile with him and everything that happened just kind of being like a turning point in your life. And then after that, Lucas Debari asked me to do Go Boardin' and then we did the Keep The Change the same year, and so that was kind of like a TransWorld video but kind of just Lucas Debari, who was a big pro in my eyes and asked me to be in his video. And then yeah, Keep The Change the same year, and then I think it was the next year that I did Foreword with you guys.
T.Bird: When did you guys start hearing about or when was the first time you heard about the Vans movie?
Sam: For me, at least, we were making the Welcome To The Team video. I think it was three years ago now, and we all were just really stoked on the trip and it just seemed super natural and really productive trip, and I think the whole time all of us were kind of joking like, yo should we make a team video next year? And then I don't know I guess that was, for me, like the first thought in my head of maybe there being a video. Then later on down the line, it just came to be a real thing I think. That was a really cool trip though to start the whole thing off.
Bird: Was there a big team announcement that you guys were all at or were you all reached out to individually?
Dillon: I think it came pretty late. It was like throughout the summer I think when everybody was trying to figure out what they were going to do for the next season. And then Tanner was still talking to everyone like, oh I think we want to make a team video, but had to figure it out with [Kevin] Casillo and do all that. And then one day it was just like, okay we're going to do this, we're going to go to Colorado and have a team meeting for a weekend in this house, figure out what we're going to do. It took a few weeks, and we were up there, everyone came, and it was like, alright we're going to go here, we're going to go here, we want to snowboard with these people. We just kind of organized to make it a real thing and Kevin came out, all the filmers, all of us, and we just went for it.
Blake: I think a big part of it was Kevin and Tanner kind of rallying the filmers. I think having Hayden the first year and then getting Harry on board and Jake Price the next year. There's definitely a lot of filmers shooting film and all that. Just getting that type of filmers to go there was definitely like alright, I think everyone on the team probably wanted to do the video. It wasn't like, oh there's gonna be a video and asking people to do it. It was everyone like this is sick, these people doing it, whatever, you know. Everyone is friends and a team.
Bird: It's definitely a dream team of filmers. I think I heard the filmers before I knew who exactly all was going to be in it. We just kind of started hearing rumblings of Tanner, Hayden, Harry, Jake Price, and you're like holy shit this thing is going to be insane.
Dillon: Well it was cool because we're all friends, we have chemistry together but they do also because the year before that they did Encore, all four of them together helping each other out. I think they just always like working together and they know who films what and how to film, so it was just perfect. It was like those are the guys, they know what they're doing. It was a no-brainer.
Blake: They had already made the stuff that we love to watch. With Encore and 9191 and everything that Tanner has made. Now they're all working on the same project.
Pat: How is the approach to making a team movie different than projects you've worked on in the past? You know you've worked with Pirates in the past. Arthur, how is this different than Pirates because you're filming for your sponsor?
Arthur: Yeah, I mean individually it was really different because it was maybe the first time I was really committed to a full winter on one project. So that was really different for me and I was really excited to come into this winter doing this. But I think, I don't know, we really feel like one team and in our interview we met up with so many at some point, like 6 riders. You just feel more of the team vibe and the family vibe that I really like. If we work on a project, we'll always want the project to look good on the entire thing but even more so on such a project I feel.
Dillon: It's a pretty stressful thing because when you film for an independent company or whatever, you're filming your own part for yourself. But when you're filming a team video, you want to film the best stuff you can film because you're filming also for the brand and for the team to look the best that they can look. It's a cool feeling altogether but it is a little more stressful I feel like.
Pat: It's also like Vans is playing to their roots, because in skating, all the main videos are team movies.
Dillon: I feel like that's a cool thing because I feel like right now snowboarding is kind of going into that direction where companies are like, "Okay we want to do our own thing and be the best company," so they take their team and they try to get the best riders and I feel like it's fun because it kind of buys into the whole skateboard part where it's like a team battle filming videos, but at the same time it's fun because you're filming with your friends and who you like to film with and who you like to know.
Blake: I think it's cool because I feel like all of us, especially right here, we're friends before any of us were even on Vans. And so it kind of makes the team a little more authentic and legit to be like we all got asked to be on this team and to do this video, but we all already are homies and have snowboarded together and are fans of eachothers snowboarding.
Rav: And I also really like that because we worked together in the past, we already got that out of the way sort of, because like for me, the past few years I've sort of taken a different approach. I feel like in the past when you're at a lower stage in your careers and stuff, you're doing it with everybody but you're doing it because you want to keep going, you want to keep doing it. You want to do it for you and you want to do it for everyone but for the last few years, you pretty much are doing it with everybody else and when they land a trick, it's part of your movie, so everyone is feeding into this whole, you know, something bigger than just every individual part. It's like creating this timeline that is just for all of us.
Sam: And it's more than just putting a sticker on your board or something. It's like you feel actually a part of the brand. It's a team video and we're all going on these trips together and it's one huge thing we're all doing together, not just filming our own video parts, necessarily.
Bird: There's more ownership to it.
Sam: Yeah exactly. It's not just like, I'm trying to film this video part just for me, or whatever. We all want to make this video as good as it can be and experience the trips and the moments all together rather than just to be there to get a trick.
Cole: The thing that I really appreciated besides being friends with everyone in the project, I felt like there was a common thread where we all had kind of the same goals. If you were tired or uninspired for some reason, someone else was still trying so the fact that we all had a certain level of commitment because it's a brand project, it felt good to know that you weren't just out there with your friends and then all the sudden you're kind of confused as to how committed you are to it.
Bird: A big part of this movie of course is Tanner and all the filmers wanting to use a lot of 16mm film. Have you guys filmed 16 before?
Sam: Definitely not.
Dillon: I don't think so. I think I've filmed Super 8, but never 16.
Arthur: I have because I'm older than them. You don't know what you're filming or you don't have an instant playback. Actually we do now with iPhones, we all film each other and we can tell each other if it's what we wanted to get or not, but yeah, it's really different and I think it's different for the filmers, too.
Bird: How about you guys riding street stuff shooting 16? Were there challenges you faced?
Dillon: I think because I was new to it, I didn't know how I felt about it because a lot of times Tanner would be like, "Okay we're going to film this angle which is the angle I like the most on 16." So in the back of my head I'm like, "Well that shot might come out and might not come out, just because it's a film camera, that's how it is." I remember even [Jake] Kuzyk, both of us would always be like, "Should we just tell him to go digital?" We didn't want to hurt his feelings (laughs) so we would kind of try and tell him but then he would get mad because he loves his 16 but it was still new to me. It was kind of hard to get used to but then once I started seeing actual clips come out on the timeline of the 16 stuff they would get, I was like, "This is the coolest thing ever." It looks crazy. It looks so real.
Bird: You guys saw the turn around process of the film in real time. Was it really quick?
Sam: I think it was usually a couple weeks.
Bird: That's pretty quick.
Rav: With these guys it's quick because it's like they're filming it and they're like, "I need to see what this looks like," so they send it out immediately and expedite it and everything like that.
Dillon: They had a lot of trouble with it, though, because at the airport they always wanted to open up the film but you can't or else you ruin everyone's clips from that trip. So a lot of the time it would be hell at the airport.
Cole: You can't send it through the X-Ray scanner with the possibility that it could mess it up.
Rav: Oh yeah, Skylar got swabbed at the airport and he had some form of explosives on him at one point or something. They tested him and he had something, I don't know what it was.
Bird: Was it because the footage he was sitting on was the bomb?
Rav: Exactly. (laughs)
Pat: You guys all spent a long time filming this movie but you also got to go to some amazing places I imagine. What were some of the peak experiences that you got to take away from the filming of the movie here?
Dillon: I think for me would be Japan was my all-time favorite place to snowboard just because there was one day where we were two crews, one powder crew and one rail crew, and then there was this one day where there was this big snowfall the night before so we all met at the resort and went snowboarding and that was probably the first real time I actually got to ride powder. I was trying to look cool, I brought out the dragon tail hat and the directional board (laughing). Proddi, Kuzyk, Darrell, they knew what they were doing and then you'd have me and Cole out there in like ripped pants and a sweater, and we'd be trying to impress them so we would send it off them same stuff as them and that was the highlight because it was just something so new for me and everyone was having the greatest time. Everyone was together.
Bird: You need those days, too. Full reset days where you're not taking anything to seriously and there's no pressure.
Dillon: And when that reset day is in Japan riding powder...
Pat: Was that your first time in Japan?
Pat: And how was the culture?
Dillon: Oh, I loved it. Everything was so good. The people were so nice. The food was amazing. The places we went were really cool. The guides we had were the best, they did everything for us, they made our lives so easy. They brought us to the best spots. It was a really productive trip for everyone. It's one of my favorite places. And then the last two days, we went to Tokyo just to hang out and that was crazy. That was so fun to see.
Cole: I'm in the exact same boat as Dillon. We were on the rail side of things and then simultaneously Blake, Jake, Hayden and Sam. So I think collectively we had like 15 people at the resort I wanna say. Between the two crews, the guides, the filmers, we had like 15 people and that was probably the first time I rode legitimate powder, too. Anything more than eight inches.
Pat: Blake, were they holding you back? Were you giving them pointers?
Blake: No, we were just going nuts because everything was so soft, basically it was mandatory to flip off of any jump that you came to.
Cole: Tanner flipped.
Blake: Yeah, we would come to something and someone would hit it and try like a Rippey Flip or something and then everyone would get hyped, and then we would start hiking it and then we would start filming with our iPhones.
Bird: Arthur, how about you? What was one of your most memorable experiences?
Arthur: I wasn't on this trip in Japan, but we were in Canada. Everything I filmed for the movie was in Canada. I was there for 3 months straight. I never really experienced that full program of sledding.
Blake: The Jake Price program.
Bird: I heard you bought a sled before you even came over to the States, landed, picked it up, and just disappeared.
Arthur: Yeah. Jake was in the backcountry so he couldn't really reach me but he just shot me a text and was like, "Yeah call this guy and get a sled." And I couldn't reach Jake anymore, so I was like, "Alright I'm just going to call the guy and try to get a sled" and I bought one over the phone and by the time I arrived in Canada, the sled arrived at Revelstoke at the same time as me and the next day we were riding.
Bird: How about you Rav? Do you have any really memorable trips or sessions or anything that stands out?
Rav: Yeah I have so many, but I think for me, it's more about the collective. Like all these trips together. This was the first time that I was able to travel like I did. The last few years I've traveled more than I have in my entire life and basically every trip was just this learning experience. Learning how to problem solve. It's hard showing up in a different country and being comfortable because you have to be comfortable to film at the potential that you really want to. So it's like you almost have to get into this mindset. Basically, just figuring out how to work through all the stuff that comes with travel and that, for me, was the biggest thing that I took from the last two years; just learning how to problem solve and how to travel.
Bird: Which is a pretty crazy life lesson. That's an incredible thing to learn.
Rav: Changed my life forever. For sure.
Pat: How was Russia?
Dillon: It was an experience.
Dillon: It was very different. You kind of just restarted. Everything you knew didn't apply in Russia. Any foods you knew, anyway of driving, they have their own way so we had to adapt to everything. Other than that, it was super fun. We had contests out there for the kids. Our hotel was on one of their main resorts which is a rope tow that's a little longer than High Cascade's. It was a cool experience because we felt like we were these rockstars out there.
Rav: Very out of place.
Dillon: We didn't know what we were doing out there, where we were going. We did have a really cool guide named Danny but he was 16 years old so it was kind of hard listening to a 16 year-old tell you where to go and what to do and he had to deal with all the adults that didn't want us to be there and everything. He would sometimes get frustrated and get into these little arguments with the people trying to kick us out and we didn't know what he was saying so we just had to stand there and be like, "Yeah, Danny's in charge, let him do his thing."
Dillon: The mornings were crazy because we didn't have guides in the mornings because Danny had to go to school. We just had to get in our van and drive around and try to find spots and try to talk to people. I think the best one out of all of us dealing with people and everything was probably Rav because he knew more words than all of us and he was super interested in learning.
Rav: Wherever we went, I was trying to learn a couple words so I could just have a basic conversation. I really don't remember any of the words now, but I was trying to submerse myself in these cultures that I know nothing about and learn from them.
Bird: What's the craziest thing that happened in Russia? Everyone I've ever talked to that has gone to Russia has at least one wild story.
Rav: Alright, I'll tell a story and this is like the first time that one of the factors will be exposed. Do you guys remember when we were at the tube thing that I was sessioning? Remember when those people were all around our van? So basically, we were at the spot, it wasn't working, and I decided that I didn't want to hit it anymore, so we were going to leave and go to another spot. We're all in the van and all the sudden, up the road comes two guys and two girls. They're walking up the hill from a distance and we don't really know what's going on, we're just like, "Okay...two guys, two girls." The guys have a vodka bottle and a Coca-Cola bottle. And the girls, they have something in their hands and we weren't really sure. Do you guys remember what they had in their hands?
Cole: They had books like bibles or something.
Rav: No, they had guns. And everyone thought that the guys had bibles, but they weren't bibles. I didn't say anything at the time but these were not bibles, these were--and I read it as we were coming out--Mein Kampf. They were holding Hitler's book and waving it around and everyone thought it was the bible but it wasn't. I clearly read Mein Kampf. At that moment I was like, "We gotta get out of here. I don't know what's going on."
Blake: Sam, you gotta tell the Bulgaria story.
Pat: You guys went to Bulgaria too?
Sam: We went to Bulgaria. Meanwhile the other guys were in Germany and the Czech Republic, but Bob Plumb came with us and he was taking photos on that trip. He ended up adopting a stray cat from Bulgaria off the street. There were stray dogs and cats everywhere. And Bob loves animals, you know, he's got like multiple pets at home, and he was feeding these cats at all the spots we were going to. And we went back to a couple spots multiple times and the same cat would come up to him and he was like, "Dude I'm gonna adopt this thing. I'm bringing it home."
Rav: What was the name of it?
Sam: Melosh. So randomly he thinks he's gonna take this cat home and then end of the night we were getting food and walking home from dinner and this random cat just ran in front of our hotel and we went inside. Next thing you know, Bob walks in with his sweatshirt and a tail dangling out from underneath his sweatshirt. He just became really attached to this sick, frail cat and brought it back home. It wasn't the original cat he was expecting to adopt, though.
Pat: He brought it back to America? How?
Sam: He got papers, he got vaccinations, the whole nine. Our guide helped him get a cat carrier. It was insane. After it got vaccinated, we go pick it up and we're driving to go look for more spots and the cat's in the van. It puked and pooped in the carrier and the smell is just wretched. It was the gnarliest smell all of us have ever smelled. We just hear Bob like, "Oh guys, I think she just puked," and this wave of stench just hit us all. We pull over and jump out of the car and we're in this industrial area and this random guy is yelling at us. Meanwhile, the cat is doing its thing and we're laughing and borderline puking on the side of the road. It was just this huge fiasco.
Rav: We had a guide on that trip named Mural and he was the coolest person ever. He made it a thing that every night we had dinner--any leftover food--he was bagging up to give to stray cats and dogs, so we always had so much food. The first night we got there, Skylar Brent ordered chicken hearts from the Bulgarian menu. It's a specialty in Bulgaria. They were good but we had a ton of chicken hearts left over and we had them in the van for like two days, stinking up the whole van.
Blake: What are chicken hearts?
Sam: Literally chicken hearts, fried.
Bird: How about you Blake? Anything memorable? Any crazy experiences in the backcountry from this winter?
Blake: Nothing that tops that or drunk people or cats or anything.
Arthur: The quick session was fun.
Blake: Yeah, I think towards the end of the last year we just had a lot of fun. Jake was follow-camming us while driving a snowmobile and the weather was so in and out. A lot of it was just weather madness. We'd go out and not know if it was going to be sunny or what was going to happen so there are a lot of antics that come along with that. [Aaron] Blatt bringing bow-and-arrows and whiskey and just random shit like that. We went to Chatter Creek, BC and we had to camp up there. It's a cat operation that shuts down but it lets snowmobiles, slednecks--specifically, gnarly slednecks--come in and use their terrain. We rented RVs and went down this gnarly dirt road for an hour, full mud, and we show up at night and there are rednecks everywhere and this guy is like, "This your first time at Chatter Creek?" and we're like, "Yeah for sure." And he's like, "Yeah, a lot of boys come here from oil money and you might see some people walking around with shotguns late at night but they love you snowboarders, you guys will be cool, just keep to yourselves." That was a funny scenario. Arthur and Jake rented a little baby trailer, a Little Bigfoot. It was so small and I can't even believe it got out there. It was kind of like a last hurrah mixed with the worst weather. It would be dumping snow and then sunny an hour later, and then as soon as you get something ready to hit, it's dumping snow again. We spent maybe a week-and-a-half and me and Arthur built a hip, and it was Arthur's last day. Cloudy all day. We barely even went up. We were just like, "We'll go up and we'll just take fun laps, whatever." We left the parking lot at 9:30am, took these fun laps all day and we were in a completely different zone than this hip was that we had built and we had written off that we would ever hit it. Around 8:00pm we could just see it clearing up at the hip so we went up to hit it. My sled almost ran out of gas but we made it and we hit it for an hour and it was the last spot in the whole mountain range that had light. Everything was shaded but the hip had this pink light and it lasted way longer than anything else. It was just a funny, cool time I guess.
Arthur: We got back to the camp spot at 11:00pm that night.
Blake: Yeah, it was the longest day ever.
Sam: The sleds were overheating on the way back because it was that frozen.
Blake: It was warm, too, because you sled on dirt to slush to maybe a little snow then on complete ice then you go all the way up. Only where the hip was had good snow. You just have to go there and laugh about it and experience it.
Pat: A lot of you guys have been around for a couple years now and done a lot of filming but compared to some of the crew, for the most part, you guys are all on the come-up. How was it to be part of a roster with legends like Jamie Lynn, established pros Pat Moore, Mark Carter, Wolle Nyvelt, Bryan Iguchi, John Cardiel, Chris Roach, Darrell Mathes. You've got a heavy roster of dudes who have been in the game for a while. How did it feel to be filming with these guys and did you guys get out there with them?
Blake: I guess luckily since Guch lives in Jackson--and Mark Carter--he's kind of helped bring up me and show me everything about the backcountry and spots to go to. If it wasn't for Guch and Carter, I definitely wouldn't be snowmobiling or riding in the backcountry or even getting footage in Jackson, so I think they played a huge role in just bringing me up in that way and so it was just natural for them to come out and we would go check out little remote towns and stay in shitty hotels and it was just kind of fun to be with Guch staying at a hotel rooming with him. He's like 20 years older than me and it's just an epic experience to be on a trip with him. And then Wolle was on a couple trips here and there. I had never filmed with him before or even met or talked to him much. When you're on a trip with those dudes, everything seems natural but then every once in a while you look at them and you're like, Yo! I grew up watching him."
Bird: I think everyone in this room has been there where it becomes the norm to hang out with people that you've watched in your formative years of snowboarding. But every once in a while, I don't know what triggers it, you just kind of come to and you're like, "This is crazy, this is nuts that I'm hanging out with this person." Have you felt that Cole?
Cole: Yeah. It was pretty cool to ride alongside Darrell. We spent a lot of time together both years. Having grown up watching him and then getting to see the way that he works and taking notes of all the things that he does, like he'll shoot photos when the action isn't on him and he has something that he can contribute in a lot of different ways, so it's nice to see that. And it's sweet that when he's at a spot, he's really calm and sensible and a really good decision maker when it comes to what spots he wants to hit and how he's going to approach them. It's sick to kind of just pick up the pieces and take note of him doing that.
Rav: Yeah I agree with Darrell. Like what we talked about in the early conversation was how we got sponsored by Vans. When I met Darrell at that Vans Hi-Standard at Loon, I was like 19 years old, and just meeting him that day...you know you have your favorite snowboarders but when you happen to be able to meet one of them and then you go home that night, it changes your whole perspective because you met them and they were cool, so they take on a different role for you, you know? It's like even more of a role model or even more of an inspiration. So you go on these trips and go overseas with Darrell Mathes and it's pretty cool. Just to think about all the steps that come from these early inspirations and then you get to go on a trip and see how everyone works.
Bird: Stax, who was that dude for you that you rode with this winter that you just really look up to?
Sam: Darrell for sure because I definitely got to spend some time with him on street trips but in the backcountry, Pat was a huge help. It was really cool to be able to experience the backcountry with Blake, Arthur, Pat and I even got on a trip with Jamie as well. But I was super new to that whole experience and it was definitely eye-opening so I definitely had lots of questions for all those dudes and Pat was definitely there every step of the way.
Pat: Arthur, you got to ride with Jamie, didn't you? I know you've met him before but had you ridden with him that much until then?
Arthur: Going on a filming trip with Jamie, that was the first time and that was funny because we're all very excited to have him on the team and Jake and Tanner just wanted shots of Jamie, and it's funny, you know, I rode all winter with Pat and it was very much organized and with Jamie, he didn't have the same routine as Pat with filming.
Blake: We had to rent an RV and drive it down a bumpy road with low clearance and Jamie was just like, "I love driving RVs, I'll drive the RV the whole way. I'll do it all." We were like, "Alright. We just didn't know what he was going to bring to the table and we had many a night where we were in the garage of the house we stayed at and Jamie was painting paintings for everybody, painting the hood of Jake's truck and Guch was painting and we're all just sitting there like, "This is friggin insane. We're in Canada, it's dumping out, Jamie is painting..." I don't know.
Arthur: It's really not only about snowboarding. It's just life experience. It's really sick.
Pat: And Rav, you had a pretty crazy experience at Squaw Valley, eh?
Rav: Yeah. I was on a trip and I got to ride a couple resorts with Chris Roach. We rode Boreal and Squaw. We were also there for the Noah Salasnek memorial day and John Cardiel was there so I got to take some laps with those guys. I got to ride with Chris a bunch. Chris and I have a lot of fun together. We're into similar styles of snowboarding right now so it feels very fun, just cruising. It's different than filming in the streets. It's very loose. But he also knows exactly what he wants to film so when I see him pick and choose what he wants to do, it's inspiring to me because he just knows how to divert his energy to the stuff that he really wants to do. He doesn't take it super seriously so it's nice to see that side of things. And Cardiel, it's John Cardiel. It's this crazy energy of a person; it's indescribable.
Bird: What's he like in person?
Rav: I don't know how to even describe it. It's electric. We were walking up through the parking lot and you know that John Cardiel is going to be there and you're like, "Alright, I'm gonna keep it cool," but as soon as I was walking down towards the chairlift and he's literally the first person I saw. You shake his hand and he's just a regular guy, but you can just tell he's got this spark to him. You can tell he's living, and his snowboarding shows that as well. He's using his whole body and everything he has and putting it into it. And just being there with all those guys on that particular day for Noah Salasnek's memorial was really inspiring.
Pat: Do these guys ever tell you stories about back in the day?
Arthur: With Jamie, it's nonstop. The stories go on all the time. And he tells the stories so well. It's amazing to be with him because he shares so much.
Blake: I enjoyed being on that Revy trip with Jamie and Guch on the same trip and Guch doesn't get to travel a whole lot to go on extended filming trips because he has a family. But to see Jamie and Guch staying in the same room and going out and heli-ing every day and coming back to the house and getting dinner and drinks, just having fun together again, you just see the friendship and the camaraderie and you're just like, "Yo, these guys have been filming together for like 20 years. Just being present and watching their friendship, it's insane.
Bird: It drives home the idea that snowboarding does create lifelong friendships.
Blake: And they're just giddy kids again when they're together filming. It's pretty sick to watch and learn know all the history behind it all.
Bird: Who is the one dude on the Vans crew that you guys all kind of secretly fanned out on when you got to session with him? Full disclosure.
Dillon: I think Kuzyk. Just from coming up in the Videograss days and he's always been one of the main guys filming for them and he always had the craziest parts. I didn't know him very well and now that we're filming in the same video, I got to know him more as a friend. Still now, I watch him snowboard and I'm like, "Dude, it's Jake Kuzyk."
Rav: Yeah and he's such a professional. Not only are you going to get clips but he's going to get clips and he may even pick a spot for you. He'll be like, "Oh, this looks like something you would do," and you're like, "Yeah, that's exactly what I would do." (laughs)
Sam: I remember when I got to Revelstoke and Wolle was at the place and I had no idea he was even there and I walked in and was like, "Oh my god that's Wolle Nyvelt. This is crazy. I'm staying under the same roof as this guy right now." It's just a very surreal moment being on a trip with someone that you've watched snowboard for your entire life.
Blake: I like riding with Arthur. It's not only someone who I know from snowboarding but also because he's just from France and he's competed in the Olympics and it's the complete opposite of what I've ever done. I feel like we talk more beyond snowboarding about other types of stuff. Also, I love watching his style of riding backcountry with the skillset of riding pipe. It's pretty mind-blowing to watch in person.
Arthur: That's very kind. We had some really cool sessions.
Pat: So this is a multi-year project. Was that a really refreshing change of pace for you guys? Did your expectations change over the course of the filming?
Dillon: I think it just gives us the chance to actually snowboard on what we want to snowboard on, instead of trying to rush through the winter getting as many clips as we can for that one year part. We actually got to take time and find a spot we were hyped on or instead of having to rush through it and be like, "Okay, I need to do this because I only have ten clips and we're mid-way through the winter." It actually gave us the chance to build up a part we're hyped on and not have to stress about a deadline.
Blake: I think it's the best way to do things, especially when you're taking on a full-length team movie with so many people in it. It really gives the filmmakers a chance and the riders a chance to curate the stuff that they really want to put in the project--to put in front of people's eyes--rather than just kind of build something out of what you get.
Rav: It's nice to take a break for a second and give the people that look at your riding a break, as well, because you can get old if they see you every year doing the same stuff. You take a break for two years and you put out different stuff and then it can be more impactful than just putting stuff out constantly.
Dillon: It builds a hype.
Rav: Yeah, you take a hiatus for a little bit and you might work a little bit harder and do some different stuff that you wouldn't normally do in one winter, so I think there are a lot of benefits to it.
[Dan Liedahl walks in]
Sam: Dan what do you think about two-year project?
Dan: I thought it was fun. It was for us. We knew what we were doing the entire time, so it was pretty mellow. You don't have to figure out who you're going to go and film for the next summer or whatever.
Pat: Dan, what are you most stoked on as far as what you accomplished with your involvement in the Vans movie?
Dan: Probably any time that I get to go and ride powder with any of these guys because I don't really get to do that that much, so getting any shots like that--if it even gets used--I'm pretty psyched on that stuff.
Pat: And you got to go ride pow for the movie?
Dan: A little bit, not a whole lot. Last year when we went to Japan and I went to Whistler with Pat. That's an experience I don't get to do very often and doing it with Pat was like, you definitely see how it's done.
Cole: I was really happy to be a part of the film and how much we got to travel and how much we got to learn. Not just in snowboarding but in general, that kind of stuff is lasting for me and then to have something that speaks for it, it's gratifying to have completed it and everyone made it out alive and happy.
Dillon: I think for me, it was getting to spend two years on a project with the people I wanted to snowboard with the most. I couldn't ask for a team or a crew that I wanted to snowboard with more than the guys on the Vans team and getting to spend two whole winters with them was the best thing ever because those two years, especially at my age, are probably the most key two years I'm going to have in my whole career.
Rav: For me, it was just taking my snowboarding to what I think is the next level for me. It still may not compare to a lot of the guys in this room but for me, I feel like I took it to the next level and I'm happy about that and I'm hoping to keep building off of that. It's a good project and it was the right scenario to do it and I'm thankful for that.
Sam: This project definitely gave me the opportunity to be able to branch out a little bit and see lots of new places and experience all sorts of new things. Thus far in my snowboarding and in my life, it's the number one thing that I will never forget because we got to do a lot of really amazing stuff and see some really cool places. I just feel very fortunate to be a part of this whole group and I think the fact that we had this opportunity was one-of-a-kind. It was a really, really good couple of years.
Arthur: I've done projects before where I was only doing a few trips or I wasn't as committed as I was in this and I'm glad I was full-on. I'm glad I went all in.
Blake: It's two years of your life and 22 to 24 are pretty pivotal years as a snowboarder and as a person. Now, it's come to that point where I can look back on it and almost feel a little older, a little wiser. It's like a turning point.
Bird: Do you have any guesses as to who you think might have opener/ender? Who has some psycho footage?
[Dan points at Dillon and Cole]
[Cole points at Blake]
Dillon: I think Cole for ender, Proddi for opener. That's what I'm saying.
Blake: I know Cole has fucked up footage and Rav, too. But that's just from Tanner showing me a clip on his phone and I got a quick glimpse and I'm like, "Is that Cole going down like 100 stairs? Or Rav doing a 5-0 back 3 creeper?" I'm hyped to watch it and see what they do with it. I feel like everybody has dope footage.
Dillon: I think everybody has such different parts. Like, Proddi has a backcountry part that is almost completely 16, which is so sick, and then you have Cole which is a mix of these huge spots and also his new tricks that he thinks up, and then you have Rav who has so many cool, fast-looking clips. I feel like everyone has something to bring to the table so the whole video is going to be something different every part. Even if you don't have opener or ender, I feel like you'll still have a part that has such a good impact on the video.
Blake: I think everybody brings something to the table that's unique and a lot of these snowboarders in the video are pretty particular to what they want to film and what their vibe wants to be and what they want to do. Everybody has their spot selection and their trick selection and tricks they like to do and their own style. Some people have standout parts or whatever, but I think the overall goal is just to make a timeless, relative, relatable snowboard video that people will hopefully revisit in five, ten years. I hope that someday, someone will be like, "Landline., I remember watching that." I think that's more important than a lot of people doing a lot of fucked up tricks. I hope that this video transcends and the overall goal is to make people want to snowboard and to watch it and enjoy it.
Dillon: The snowboarding all-around is really good and I think the magic is gonna come from Tanner, Harry, Skylar, Jake. I think they're really going to make this project as magical as it can be.
Cole: The End