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Flashback – Apocalypse Snow

Pure 80s French madness in this week’s Flashback as we dust off the 1983 classic, Apocalypse Snow… You need to watch this.

If you don’t have the time to watch the full thing right now, make sure you at least dip your eyes into these highlights just below. But the full 25-odd minute movie is a piece of snowboard cinema history that deserves your attention – as well as being utterly bonkers, it was also partly responsible for introducing snowboarding to European shores. That and Regis Rolland still manages to SEND it despite being on the kind of equipment that even rental shops would hesitate to hand out these days…

The story goes that in the winter season of 1981-1982, Winterstick (one of snowboarding’s earliest companies) team was invited to showcase their snow-surfboard as part of the recently-opened Les Arcs 2000’s marketing push. One of the local ski instructors, a dude named Regis Rolland (who would go on to start the iconic 90s brand A. Snowboards and, later, APO), was pumped on the idea of surfing snow, got himself a board, started making his own, and would later go on to be a huge influence in the development of European snowboarding.

Style right there. Regis Rolland in his element.

As part of the Les Arcs 2000 PR push, they hired Chamonix filmmaker Didier Lafond to make a movie called Ski Espace. Regis and his snowboard featured prominently. But the following winter saw Lafond and co. fully followed the white rabbit and embarked on an all together more ambitious project that would become Apocalypse Snow.

Released in 1983, this saw Regis, the snowboarder, hounded by futuristic zombie skiers from hell. Well the ski zombies would also be on monskis, in hangglide skis and – most insanely – Zorbs, chasing Regis as he hacks down Les Arcs’ pow-filled inclines.

Cutting edge equipment right there!

For many in Europe this film was the first contact we’d had with snowboarding – undeniably helping kick-start the sport on this side of the pond – and, despite the fact that it’s completely mental, Regis can sure shred.

They’d follow this up with Apocalypse Snow II in 1984, III in 1986, and in 2008 the gang got back together to drop more of the brown acid and produce Apocalypse Snow, Le Retour. Depending on your tolerance for psychedelic lunacy you might want to check them all out or leave them alone, but the first Apocalypse Snow stands on its own as a definitive moment in European snowboarding.

Enjoy!

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