View Full Version : year in snowboarding

April 30th, 2013, 04:45 AM
A Year in Snowboarding-2012 James Stentiford (http://daily.epictv.com/blog/author/stenti/)
December 28, 2012

Well it looks like 2012 is ending the way it started with a shed load of snow! Our relatively young sport is another year older and I’d say another year wiser. More diverse than ever each thread seems to be going from strength to strength. From the Olympic movement – which saw the first qualifying events for slopestyle this year where if you haven’t got a triple cork in your bag you may as well kiss your Olympic dream goodbye – to the jib movement, which with the innovation of the bungee no longer looks like a cheap imitation of skateboarding but a crazy urban stuntman show. And finally freeriding which is starting to get the attention it deserves thanks to people like Travis Rice, Xavier de Le Rue, and Jeremy Jones to mention a few as well as the popularity of the Freeride World Tour.
Eiki Helgason getting crazy. Check the front flip at 4.25 mins!
Innovation Travis Rice has been at the forefront of our sport for the last few years be it pushing the boundaries of riding the backcountry, innovating new tricks or changing our perception of what a snowboard movie is. This year together with Red Bull he brought us SuperNatural. Basically Travis with the help of a team of lumberjacks turned a 40˚ face at Baldface Lodge in BC into a video-game-like run, invited 18 of the world’s best riders and waited for the perfect powder day. The result being the most innovative competition to date and some crazy ass next level riding. As he poetically puts it, “A culmination of the last 30 years of snowboarding has lead to this.”
http://daily.epictv.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/super-natural.png (http://daily.epictv.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/super-natural.png)
Under Construction.

Travis Rice’s winning Run.
Competition 2012 finally sees the two competitive freeride tours united meaning 2013 will see the strongest lineup to date with the Euro’s taking on the best from the US. Jonathen ‘Douds’ Charlet took the men’s Freeride World Tour crown in 2012 reestablishing France’s domination but look out for the US riders next year with Ralph Backstrom a strong contender.
Hopefully the changes will lure Xavier de Le Rue out of competitive retirement to see if he is still the man to beat. Margot Rozies nearly made it a French whitewash in her rookie year on tour but was pipped at the post by Mt Baker’s Maria DeBari.
Ralph Backstrom’s winning run Courmayeur 2012.
Adventure After his Deeper project the ‘king of adventure’ Jeremy Jones this year brought us Further featuring some pretty crazy out there locations but also a few closer to home, reminding us all that there are plenty of nooks and crannies in our backyard just waiting to be discovered. And that the humble splitboard makes adventure accessible to all.
I can’t fail to mention Xavier de Le Rue in this category freshly back from a mission to Antarctica. Probably the best freerider in the world when it comes to gnar and speed (sorry Jeremy), he also put out his own film this year called White Noise, showing us that it’s not all about powder but that ice can be fun, too!
There are plenty of other adventurers out there getting after it with maybe slightly smaller budgets. Julien Herry, for instance, had an epic trip to Pakistan and the crazy Aussie crew of Clint Allan, Mitch Allan and Nick Gregory went to Afghanistan.
Snowboarding in Afghanistan.
I’ve nominated Clint, Mitch and Nick for EpicTV’s Adventurer of the Year award (http://daily.epictv.com/awards/people/clint-allan-nick-gregory-and-mitch-allen/), which has a cash prize of €5000. If you think that kind of money might help the Aussies insire us with their next adventure then get over to the Adventurer of the Year webpage (http://daily.epictv.com/awards/) and cast your vote.
Style Watching Nicolas Müller snowboard makes me happy. Yes it might be a slight man crush but in an age where a lot of riders are chasing the robot-like drudgery of the contest circuit where more spins mean prizes, Nicolas is forging his own path and showing people the importance of style and fun. His section in this year’s Absinthe’s Resonance is off the hook, with some of the most innovative, natural, stylish and fun snowboarding ever.
Jake Blauvelt has quietly been taking backcountry riding to the next level. Here’s a guy who dropped all his sponsors including Burton (they usually do the dropping), dropped out of the contest scene and decided he wanted to go freeriding. A little trip to Japan with Nicolas Müller might have had something to do with it. Anyway he’s been honing his skills for a few years now and has blown everyone’s minds with his Naturally section this year. This is next level shit, probably the best backcountry freestyle to date.
Soul Sometimes it’s easy to forget where snowboarding came from with mass produced snowboards, massive manmade parks, Inner City comps and the Olympics. Well if you are searching for the soul of snowboarding you could do a lot worse than looking for it in the magical mountains around Niseko Japan, where Gentemstick founder Taro Tamai is turning the snowboard industry on its head. Founded in 1990, Gentemstick produces beautiful, handcrafted snowboards of all sorts of peculiar shapes and sizes. Bored with conventional snowboard design, Taro set out to take more of a traditional surf shaper attitude towards his snowboards, producing boards specifically shaped for the snow conditions around Niseko. Taro aims to take snowboarding back from the businessman, although that might be a tall order. However, the popularity of Gentemsticks in 2012 certainly shows there is plenty of soul left in snowboarding.