The Kids Are Doing it For Themselves

Tom Copsey Tom Copsey
The Wangl Tangl - a perfect example of what snowboarders can achieve by getting off their arses.

Jon Weaver is back with another installment of Gossip From The GoodLife, this time round he’s drumming up some pro-active get-up-and-go mentality to push snowboarding onwards.

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.
- John F. Kennedy

Now think of this mantra applied to snowboarding?

Ask not what snowboarding can do for me, but what can I do for snowboarding.

After all, snowboarding is responsible for giving each of us reading this a shift in our life’s direction, whether that be a simple decision to spend a week in the snow each year, or if you have given everything up to do seasons, or further still if you are traipsing the world as a pro. Snowboarding has given us all an amazing passion and having such a thing is a hugely positive for your life. People who don’t have a passion for something can seem a little, well, empty.

So going back to my first point, I have heard so many riders say: “What deal can I get? What video will you put me in?” etc etc, from riders around the world and more often than not I just think, “Come on. Do something yourself,” whether it be starting a movie project with your friends online, a blog about your travels, an event at your local slope or something to get new kids into riding.

The great thing about snowboarding is that we have a very creative platforms whereby the sport can progress. If you want to do an event, you can easily just start it up and maybe even get it into the TTR. The very best events have started small and grown huge – think about Air&Style. In 1994, founder Andrew Hourmont wanted to have a small event for friends and to grow snowboarding around Innsbruck, and before he knew it a few thousand had turned up to watch. Every year since it has progressed to the point we see now, with three of the biggest events ever going back to back this season. It’s similar with the Wängl Tängl in Mayrhofen (easily the best independent event out there and started by the Ästhetikers) – this contest is a showcase of what creativity, snowboarding and progression are all about. Those two events are only there because of the amazing work from both crews.

The Air&Style started off as an idea to bring a few dudes together in Innsbruck. Look at it now - Innsbruck, Munich and, on Saturday, Beijing.

It’s not just events, either. After making two of best snowboard films of all time with 91 Words for Snow, and In Short (and playing a huge part in the Robot Food Trilogy), we hear that David Benedek is months away from releasing a book on the world entitled Current State. I know, it wasn’t enough that this guy reinvented snowboarding a good few times over, produced some amazing movies, invented some new tricks (double corks in a quarter, switch back double 12 etc etc), he is now coming back with a book to adorn all of your coffee tables this winter. David is the perfect example of a rider not content to sit back and let things happen for him.

So what got me onto thinking about this whole thing? Well, a couple of weeks back we were doing our thing for Banterbox down in Schladming for the Pleasure Jam, and one night there was a premier of the new movie from Seppi Scholler, Loveolution 2, featuring Marc Swoboda, Dominik Wagner and the rest of the crew over there. Now the movie didn’t have the big budget of Travis Rice and That’s It That All, didn’t have helicopters, and I think the closest they came to rolling in Hummers and using sleds, is Swoboda’s Mercedes that has been around longer than Marc has. So what does it have? It has a tight crew of friends, travelling the world, doing it purely for the love of it, and just putting it out there for all the kids to watch for free and get stoked on their local heroes. Anyone who has seen Swoboda’s part will also know that his riding would stand up alongside any of the world’s best in any video.

Seppi Scholler knows where the love is at.

The Love movie will help build the scene in that part of Austria, and for that matter the whole of Austria, which is great, as we are still stuck under the rule of the FIS who don’t seem to understand the snowboarders amongst us. They are getting it, but it’s taking a while.

So next time your complaining or thinking why someone didn’t get a deal or someone isn’t filming with a crew, think to yourself, why don’t they just stand up and make a difference for themselves? Much the same as Seppi is right now: it helps build a scene, gets more kids into snowboarding, and supports what it’s all about. Start small and core, and grow from there.

I made a snowboard movie a few years back, called Hungerpain, (which I will make free for the world to watch soon enough, if anyone wants to see how British Snowboarding was looking a few years back) with a group of friends dedicated to making it happen. As I say it’s not groundbreaking, it didn’t smash any world records, and, damn, I must have lost about 6000 euros in the whole project… but would I change anything? No, I would do it all again, and probably spend even more on the premier parties. The thing it makes you realise that with a little get-up-and-go anything is possible in our industry. After all, how easy do you think it would be for me and you, and a bag full of cash, to say to FIFA: “Ok then, we have a new event which should rival the World Cup. We shall call it the ‘Onboard League of Nations’”. See, no chance. Whereas we could easily set up any event we want and get it on TTR pretty quickly with the right backers…

So anyways, lesson for this week? Grab a camera, start a website, start a magazine, build a following where you live, encourage more people to get into it, and just go from there. You will never regret building something for yourself.

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