"Austen Sweetin, Ozzy Henning, Bode Merrill, etc. etc. etc. I will be living in a van hunting for pow for the rest of my life because of this movie." - Chad Otterstrom
Justin Hostynek is a master, and the cinematic legend has done it once again, winning our Movie of the Year accolade with his latest offering, "Heavy Mental". If you’ve seen the film, you more than likely know why it took the top spot, and if you didn’t, then take it from three-time Rider of the Year and one of the most prolific figures that freestyle snowboarding has ever seen, Kevin Jones and au naturel sensation Jake Blauvelt, who both voted for "Heavy Mental" to win this award. From Austen Sweetin’s mind-melting two-song opener that featured one of the most well-rounded parts of the year capped off by what may be the biggest backcountry jump that’s been hit to date, to Bode Merrill’s soon-to-be iconic ender where he one-footed Pyramid Gap, double Miller flipped a natural British Columbia goalpost and shut down street spots across the globe, "Heavy Mental" is just that. In fact, this may be the most aptly-named film in the history of snowboard movies, as it is both heavy and mental. Absinthe has always done an exceptional job of showing a vast variety of snowboarding and while guys like Mathieu Crépel, Wolle Nyvelt, Mat Schaer, Victor De Le Rue, Manuel Diaz, Jason Robinson, Rusty Ockenden and Blair Habenicht showcase their unreal talent off-piste, other guys like Scot Brown and Ozzy Henning scour the streets and produce insane clips in an urban environ, while guys like Bode, Sweetin and Nils Arvidsson put out well-rounded, all-terrain segments. Though he’s more notably known for his exploits in the pipe rather than the pixel, Ross Powers, the gold medal winner at the 2002 Olympics, exclaimed, "Amazing filming. The riders charged everything from big mountain to urban." Jeremy Jones, a rider whose larger-than-life big mountain career in front of the lens was catapulted by failing to qualify for the Nagano Games in ’98 when halfpipe snowboarding was introduced to the world, summed up "Heavy Mental" in one concise sentence. "Full throttle snowboarding at its best." In a world where webisodes and online releases are becoming more commonplace in snowboarding media, Absinthe’s "Heavy Mental" is a blatant reminder that old school snowboard cinema is alive and well. Go buy it. We promise you won’t regret it.
Blair Habenicht. Photo: Oli Gagnon