Onboard's Top 20 Moments in Snowboarding in 2014
What happened in 2014? Well, there was an outbreak of one of the most deadly virus' on the planet, Scotland almost tuned Great Britain to just Britain, Possum Torr found love on Tinder and we managed to lose a plane. Strange year all in all.
There was some damn fine snowboarding as well - from comps, to street and the steep, it really was a strong year for snowboarding. Whilst there'll always be controversy in our sport, we're of the opinion that the discussions and debates that we've been having this year have been ones that are positive ones that allow change to happen.
So, in NO particular order or style, here are 20 of the top moments in snowboarding of 2014.
One for the books we reckon.
Pathology: A Movie About Snowboarding and Humans
Bryan Fox and Austin Smith are the thinking snowboarder's crumpet. The film as the title suggests, is about both snowboarding and humans, so there's a fairly decent amount of lyrical waxing about goals, life and existentialism.
But neither of them are preaching hot air as they back it up through their stories of snowboarding. Pathology is the thinking snowboarder's film.
Onboard Send Off Session
Forgive us whilst we give ourselves some time on center stage for this one. The Send Off Session this year was a struggle to say the least. A limited time-frame, more snow than we'd seen all season and a crew of riders descending into madness with not being able to ride made it one of the most challenging weeks of the year.
Still, in the infamous words of Billy Ocean "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going" and when the clouds cleared and the clouds lifted - the riders did exactly what it says on the tin: They sent it.
Christian Haller's 'Memoires Memoires' Pipe Edit
Halfpipe has had a rough time over the last few years. A steep decline in interest from rookie riders, coupled with the perception that every run looks the same, has given the ol' stunt ditch a rough time.
Christian Haller dropped a beautifully filmed and super stylish pipe edit from Corvatsch earlier this year. Alongside riders like Taylor Gold, Danny Davis and Ben Ferguson, Hitsch is leading the charge in the new wave of pipe renaissance.
Dylan Gamache - Yawgoons Part
Dylan Gamache is a boss beyond words. His approach to hitting features is second to none, combining creativity, technicality, old-school flavour and some insane tricks.
There are too many highlights to mention here but a few of them include the road tail drags, the infamous revert to switch toeside carve and the chunky chain jibbing.
Frank Bourgeois - Brother's Factory
Frank Bourgeois‘ Brothers Factory part threw us for a loop. Hit play above to witness some of the darned heaviest street riding we’ve seen all year, if not ever.
Frank’s part continues the trend of ground breaking urban parts from French Canadians that we’ve seen over the year from The Headstones to Jeremy Cloutier’s Bro Fac belter to Louif Paradis’ ridiculously sick Deja Vu b-roll edit, and it makes us wonder what they put in their breakfast cereal over there. Speed-laced milk?
Gigi Rüf - Perceptions Full Part
You can always rely on Gigi Rüf for a banger backcountry segment and this season was his 15th film with Pirates Movie Productions so was obviously no exception.
In a scene that would make Travis Rice weak at the knees, Gigi can claim to be the first man to handplant and backside air on an iceberg. Backing it up with some skills on the Alaskan faces and the Alps, we're sure Gigi's gonna have a sweet 16th next year as well.
Sebastian Tootant - Backside 900 Off-the-Heels
The estranged brother of the frontside off-the-toes rotation is the backside off-the-heels rotation. Whilst off-the-toes is arguably the cool older brother, the off-the-heels could be compared to the geeky younger brother. Maybe not as good looking, but TECH AS FUCK.
Mr Sebastian Tootant threw down a hell of a backside 900 off-the-heels in Australia over the summer.
Rumour has it that Seppe Smits was also throwing 'em that day as well, but as the mantra goes 'If a Belgian throws a trick and there's no GoPro footy to see it, was it really stomped?'.
Jamie Nicholls - Top to Bottom from Forged in Steel
Britain's favourite rug rider and carpet enthusiast Jamie Nicholls, put down a sterling top to bottom run at Hemel Hempstead indoor snow center for his Forged in Steel mini-documentary.
Whilst there are more than a few top to bottom runs that are longer, most of those don't take place at a grand elevation of 88m where Hemel Hempstead lies.
That's some True Detective style taking right there...
We touched on it before with Herr Haller's pipe edit, but we're really excited about the direction that halfpipe snowboarding is going right now.
There were a myriad of competitions and events that took the idea of the pipe, and used it as a base to build something else. From Arctic Challenge, to Double Pipe to the infamous Peace Park - it felt like 2014 was the renaissance of the halfpipe.
For a long time, it felt like there was a lack of up-and-coming riders heading into the competitive pipe world. We think one big reason for this is that with Shaun White dominating for so long, what motivation was there for riders to turn up and compete for second place?
But now we're seeing talented riders like Taylor Gold, Ayumu Hirano, the brothers Ferguson and Chloe Kim beginning to develop and put down consistently huge and stylish runs.
We're pretty dammed excited to see what happens with pipe in 2015, and we're going to go out on a limb and say it might be the best season for it yet.
Brandon Davis - Double Butter
Whilst Jussi Oksanen, was arguably the first snowboarder to master the buttered tricks, our two-planked brethren have been perfecting it for the past few seasons.
This year young ripper Brandon Davis stepped up to take on the nosebutter cab double 1080 and breath new life into the butter combos.
Nine Queens - Snowboarders Storm the Castle
The Nine Knights and Nine Queens competition have been a staple of the freeski world for almost a decade now. The setup is normally half architectural masterpiece and half multi option feature that has seen some of the most progressive freeski-ing on the planet.
This year snowboarders were invited for the first time with rider like Silje Norendal, Kjersti Buass, Jenny Jones and Elena Könz getting the chance to launch an aerial assault on the castle.
Elena's backside rodeo surely deserves a place in the history books of snowboarding.
Oakley - Snowboarding for Me
A rather unexpected trailer dropped back in September. We say unexpected, because we didn't have a sausage that Oakley were actually filming for a new project, so it was really a nice early Christmas present.
A veritable jungle mix of old footage and new crisp HD goodness, the film reflected on the past, present and future of snowboarding. JP Walker cried, Kazu Kokubo did 20 seconds of slashes that made us tingle and everyone sent it to the solar system.
Air and Style Beijing - A Triple Too Far?
The revamped Shaun White Air & Style took place in Beijing for the first time since it was taken under new ownership. For many watching, including Belgian Judge Christophe De Groof, it seemed to be a triple cork too far with 10 riders throwing them.
Christope raised the good point of how this happened due to the nature of the Air and Style's format. To go head to head in a knockout format means to win, you need to throw your best trick...16 times.
The next stop is the Air & Style Innsbruck in January and it'll be intersting to see how the European leg of the A&S will pan out.
Never Not Nike-d
In ancient Greece, Nike was the Goddess that personified victory. In snowboarding, Nike was the brand that split opinions, views and allegiances.
Then, after long-term rumblings, Nike announced they were pulling out of snowboarding after the 14/15 season. Some riders were vindicated, some stuck it to the swoosh and some kept schtum.
Katie Ormerod - Backside Double Cork 1080
Young British rider Katie Ormerod became the first girl to lay out a hefty backside double cork 1080 this year.
We'd heard that the 17 years young rider was looking for a suitable kicker to put one down on for a while, and she found her goldilocks kicker high on the glacier of Stubai.
With a World Rookie Tour title under her belt and a backside doublw 10 under her belt, we think you'll be seeing a lot more of Katie O in 2015.
Sina Candrian - Frontside 1080 in Competition
Sina Candrian landed the first ever female kicker front 10 at the end of last season and decided to chuck it in her second finals run at Sochi 2014.
While she didn’t get it super clean and only managed 4th place when the dust settled the moment was definitely overlooked on the grand scheme of things and is more than worthy of being featured in this list. Another monumental moment for the progression of women’s snowboarding.
Sochi Olympic Games 2014
There was a competition in Russia. It was the Olympics.
Lots of stuff happened. Jamie Anderson and Sage Kotsenberg won Slopestyle. Kaitlyn Farrington and Iouri Podladtchikov won Halfpipe. They won medals. It was controversial for some. It was fine for some. Lots of stuff has been written about the Olympics. Look at that.
Nitro Snowboards - The Bad Seeds
Rather than going the super-slick, super high-end production route, Nitro Snowboards opted to continue the momentum that they brought with their last movie ‘Hyped!’, focusing on making snowboarding look more fun than riding a unicorn through a shopping mall (pretty damn fun then).
Bringing together the undeniable snowboarding talents of their extended international team – the likes of Eero Ettala, Benny Urban, Markus Keller, Sven Thorgren, Anna Gasser and Bryan Fox, we could have told you three years ago that the riding in this would be great.
Nico Müller Goes From Burlington to Mount Weird
Just the other day, it was announced that the long standing partnership between legend Nicolas Müller, and the Big B had come to its end. Nicolas will now be rocking GNU snowboards.
"Life never stands still and we’re here to make the most of it. Riding for Gnu is a fun adventure I can not miss. The decision came naturally when I found Mt.Weird. I am very excited to climb it and ride it every day." ~ Nicolas Müller
Jeremy Jones - Rides a Himalayan Line at 7000m
Jeremy Jones returned for the third instalment of his Tolstoyan 'Deeper', 'Further', 'Higher' series this year and if you haven't yet seen 'Higher', you should probably request it from your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/anyone for the next present-worthy occasion.
Jezza J managed to score the cover of Transworld Snowboarding Magazine with one of the darned heaviest lines we've seen in a while.
It's no joke hiking and riding a 70-degree line that's over 7000m in altitude, and even more so when after finally making it to the top, you have to wait hours for the clouds to clear and ultimately walk all the way back down again to try again the following day...
Needless to say, it was all worth it in the end. Check out the full film to see the un-cut footy. Gnarly, gnarly stuff.