Published in Onboard Magazine Issue 121, March 2011
It would seem that even snowboard’s movie industry is suffering in these times of budget cuts. At the Nike 6.0 Twisted Tricks sessions in Barrèges, La Mongie, France Marco Smolla played human dolly for Martin the filmer from the Pirates. He as all tied up and ready to go. “Lights, camera, dropping, Action!” Rats! “CUT!” “Can you do that trick again please but with more emotion!” What happened next?
(Deep newsy voice like CNN)
“This month’s man on the battlefield is young Isenseven ripper Alex Tank. From the icy streets of Hells-inki to the nose deep powder of the Austrian peeks, Mr Tank reports on risking life and limb. Alex?”
What’s up haters? I’m in Oslo right now with Ludde ‘Birdman’ Lejkner and Isenseven’s Tom Elliot trying to get some snowboarding on tape. Before that, the season started pretty early this year. My first real trip was a Head shoot in Helsinki right before Christmas, where Ludde was also part of the crew. I’ve never seen so much snow in a city, Helsinki is snowboarding’s Barcelona for sure. Spots and crews everywhere. Came home on Christmas Day, and had a mad dinner with my family. After that it was girlfriend time for a few days – it doesn’t get any better than that after a hard street trip – before we left for the famous Ruhrpott in western Germany. Ruhrpott is awesome when it comes to snowboarding. So many spots all over the place. Rails, banks, walls, you name it! But, you’d better not hit a rail in Duisburg in the middle of the night and leave your car 500m away in a dark parking lot. Chances are that someone’ll break into your car and steals iPhones, iPods and wallets. Not such a nice ending of the trip and the year of 2010! After a chilled New Year’s Eve with my girl it was time to get some shred on at home. The crew was the Atagge homies: Benny Urban, Flo Geiger and me. Just shredding with friends, lots of high fi ves and a few beers. Good Times! Now I’ve switched from slushy park mode to street mode again. Oslo is awesome, it’s a sunny morning! Okay fellas, gotta run now. The guys are already waiting in the car! Take me to the spot!
Ask the Expert
How to score the best job in the industry?
Perhaps the question is a little inaccurate when asked like that, but apparently it sells, so there you go. In fact, what we want to know this month from Jon Weaver (former British rider, now Nike 6.0 team manager and moonlighting by writing a column for our site and MCing events), is how can you make a living involving travel, meeting people, and a bunch of shredding from your true passion.
How did you moved from being a pro to team manager?
A pro? Well, I was never really what you would consider a ‘professional snowboarder’. Think more a 3rd division footballer, and that was me. I moved from being a rider to a team manager as I helped doing some events, working at ISPO, and on a few things like that, and after a few months was offered a role doing events, which eventually moved to being Team Manager.
Can you describe your job? Your tasks?
There are two sides really. One is the team manager-side of organising riders, travel arrangements, payments, accommodation, making sure they have the product they need, hassling people like you for coverage for them and then making sure they know where to be and when. Then you have the more brand-related stuff like organising photo and fi lm shoots, and organising advertising campaigns. Then you also have stuff like if you do movie tours you basically become a dad for the week, getting people out of bed, kicking girls out of hotel rooms so riders can make fl ights, and getting people where they need to be. I have some great stories from the movie tours, but maybe that’s not for print. Kareem El Rafi e was always one of the guys to look out for.
What essential qualities do you need to be a good TM?
To be organised, to be able to give positive and negative feedback when it’s needed to ensure riders learn for the future, to be a friend, to be someone who riders can ask for advice, someone they know always has their back. I like to pride myself on the fact that I also cook for riders at events. Even if at times it goes slightly wrong… for example my homemade hamburgers a few years back went down in history. But a good Ruby Murray [curry] will always ensure happy riders.
How do you spot talent? What do you look at in particular?
Nowadays it’s a rider who actually knows how to use his edges. So many kids now can skid a front 10 round or do some spinny trick onto a rail, but for longevity in the sport you need to have board control down. Look at guys like Müller, Blauvelt, Haakon, they all come from a pipe background, and so have the ability to mix it up anywhere. Then they have to know how to travel, as you can easily fi nd some amazingly talented riders but if they don’t want to ever travel or leave their resort, they won’t make it. It’s funny but the one thing that no one realises is that to make it “pro” it’s maybe only 40% riding, the rest is about personality, psychology to do well in contests and in front of cameras, and then just not being the junk show kid.
What would be your advice to the kids out there who think it’s the dream job?
It is. No fronting. Getting to travel with a great bunch of riders, seeing the best contests on earth, going to places like Norway for shoots, I mean what could be better? The only tough parts are missing your lady, and then having to be the guy that, no matter what happened last night, has to get the riders up and moving. We did a premier in Munich two years ago, and I went to bed at 6.30am and had to get the riders up at 8am, so you can imagine… that stuff you have to be super strict on yourself. I remember the fi rst trip we ever took Niki Korpela on when he was 14, we were in Austria somewhere, and he was so eager, so one night we stayed up kinda late, and ended up waking him up at 3am, saying it was time for a shoot, and being mad at him that he was late. 30 seconds later he was ready with goggles, boots backpack on and then he slowly realised that we were all kind of halfcut standing there, but props to him for getting up.
This new column in The Wire will help you discover a hot spot of the Euro resorts nightlife. Let’s start with a classic, and in fact probably where après shred was invented, according to the number of posers on the streets talking with a strange accent and in the bars who don’t really snowboard, and certainly not on the local steeps: Chamonix. It’s the only resort in Europe we know there’s more drunkens at night than on the slopes on a blue bird day… Let’s call it the Easyjet syndrom.
The ultimate place for good vibes, local ambiance AND epic music is at the Soulfood Bar, Rue des Moulins. Local owned – the two friendly but bald brothers used to own the infamous record shop of the same name back when Onboard was based there. Sick old funk tunes, raging live concerts and fi ne beer (a famous Bavarian one that I can’t really name here).
Alternative places in Chamonix:
Bar’d Up: Classic seasonaire hang out with sports TV, imported beers, and raging parties. No food inside but amazing pizza and sandwiches from the little food stall across the road.
MBC: Snowboarder friendly restaurant a bit outside the centre with the best veggie burger ever and a choice of self brewed beers.
The Vert Hotel: Great venue for food, drinks, music and staying, with a full range of DC boards that hotel guests can take for a test ride on the mountains.
The Office: Authentic locals’ bar in the beautiful village Argentiere a bit up the valley to hide from the tourists.
Munchies: Best restaurant in town, period. International food. Also on Rue des Moulins.
Apart from another heavy Absinthe part and his cover last month, we’ve not heard much from Bourbouss lately. Let’s set that straight – here’s his handslap…
We were wondering what was happening with you, then, “bang!” suddenly a cover. How did you prepare that come back?
It’s not a come back! And I intend to be around for a bit. You know, the older you get, the more stupid you get!
Yes we know, you’ve been around, videos and shizz but it seems you were less present in magazines. We thought maybe you took on a Canamerican nationality?
I’d love to have a US or Canadian passport, it would help a lot! Live the American dream, haha! But I’m not complaining, Europe is cool, it’s just there’s more snow here in Canada right now.
As a major nudist enthusiast, when was the last time you got your kit off in public?
At the DaKine meeting in Chamonix, but I was forced to! I must say I can’t wait for my friend’s wedding this summer to strike again…
The Onboard cover last month, how did that feel?
It felt great! I was stoked, the cherry on the cake. Appreciated it to the max!
What would you like to improve in your part this year?
A lot of things. Go higher, go further, get more style, more rotations, more corks, more fun, more originality, and a lot more powder!
“My home spot is called Montafon. Montafon is valley in West Austria close to the Swiss boarder. We have five ski resorts in the valley and all of them have something special – from big mountain riding to parks, you can find everything! I like it there because I grew up in St. Gallenkirch, a little village in Montafon, so I spent many days searching for some sick spots up in those mountains, and I found tons! If you guys want to see some shots from mountains, check out my homepage www.marcofeichtner. com. We shot a lot of stuff with the Pirates there! You just have to watch out for the police and hunters, they aren’t that pleased if you’re riding the special tree lines in the closed areas! If you guys want to shred some sick stuff you are more than welcome! See you around!”
COLLABS STRIKE BACK
Vans will present something rather ‘so hot right now’ for the 2011/12 collection: a boot and shoe collab with outerwear brand, Holden. Seeing as these two brands are generally at the cutting edge of style, it’s hardly surprising to see that they both look set to become cult. The Vans/Holden boot features premium leather and the same innovative recycled nylon found in the Holden outerwear line, with all the usual top Vans features and medium flex. As for the Sk8-Hi shoe, the vintage leather is there too for extra style and it just begs for a good skate session.
NEXT LEVEL STREETWEAR
Started in 1995, Loreak Mendian is a Basque company making sweet clothing and accessories. Art, music and architecture are the root of their wild inspiration, not forgetting the surf and skate roots, but what is really noticeable here is that if you chose, like us, to be a responsible consumer, you’ll be happy to know that Loreak Mendian produces everything within the European Union. Not only good eco-wise, but also philosophically focused and, no, we don’t have shares in the company: we just love it. The brand offers a wide product range including more than 350 items (most of them produced in Portugal) for each season’s collection. www.loreakmendian.com
Xsories is one of those companies that brings you the tiny components you’re missing in your quest for the perfect geek set up. From slick media players, to all kinds of accessories for your GoPro or Contour camera, they’ve got it all dialed. All well and good, you might say, but what happens when your electronic equipment runs out of battery on the hill? Well, that’s when the genius hits with their unique solar charger, which works universally with all kinds of phones, camera batteries, GPS… you name it. The keychain design allows you to lock it outside your backpack, so it charges while you ride, but you can also charge it in advance. Compatible with all lithium batteries, camera, DV, phone, GPS batteries, and for most digital devices: mobile phones, MP3 players, PDAs, GPS… This brand also have a lot of different waterproof and shock-resistant cases for your media unit of choice, as well as heaps of accessories for GoPros, like this U Shot extendable pole. www.xsories.com