Nike Snowboarding Project Chapter 3 – Gigi Rüf & Danny Kass Interviewed

The final installment of the Nike Snowboarding Project is live. Directed by Absinthe’s Justin Hostynek, this lo-fi, pow heavy part features Nicolas Müller, Gigi Rüf, Danny Kass and Eric Jackson and will make you want to ride your snowboard. We hit up Gigi and Danny for some chat…



Gigi Rüf. Photo: Cole Barash

You’ve had a long relationship with Absinthe films. How did that relationship begin?

I have know Brusti as a photographer for many years, before he switched to a film camera and became part of Absinthe Films with Justin Hostynek. That was in the year 2001 when I filmed one day in Laax with Nicolas Müller. Absinthe helped many European riders to get recognition.

And what is it about Absinthe’s movies and methods that makes you want to come back for more each year?

As you propose the history that encompasses us and I must say it’s an evolved group dynamic with the same sort of vision to go about an experience.

A big part of chapter 3’s aesthetic is the lo-fi, analogue feel of the edit. How would you explain the virtues of this kind of moviemaking to a kid who’s been accustomed to seeing cineflex, 1000fps phantom cam, ultra crisp HD footage?

I would suggest to look at it the way you perceive it. It is black and white, so love it or hate it.

In the edit, you’re riding with Nico, Danny and Eric. How’s the dynamic between you when you’re riding and shooting?

That’s easy because together we have the best time possible. We know that we are some lucky fishes. So there really is not one dull moment.

For you, where do those dudes sit in your all-time list of awesome snowboarders?

High fivers no doubt.

Not only do you usually lock down a heavy absinthe part each year, you also usually produce an equally heavy part in your homies the Pirates films. Plus now you have things like this Chapter 3, and the X Games Real Snow Backcountry… we want to know: do you have an identical twin or two? How the hell do you manage to be so productive?

I probably take this snowboarding thing way too seriously.

As if you didn’t have enough to keep you occupied, last year you started your own snowboard brand, Slash. What made you want to go there?

Must be some sort of thrill that I get by constructiveness.

How has year one gone for Slash? And do you have plans you can share for year two already?

My focuses are within the four boards, refining each boards ingredients for distinct character that could divide the most relevant genres of snowboarding.

Finally, resorts are set to open imminently. Where is the first place you’ll go snowboarding this season, and do you have an idea of how this winter will pan out for you?

Well I spend the joy of the seasons splendor sucking in that clean fresh air while playing in the snow with my kids, riding my home mountain, drinking tea and eating cookies for now.


Danny Kass. Photo: Frode Sandbech

You’ve only just begun your relationship with Absinthe films. How did that come about, and what was your impression of the crew and their movies before you filmed with them?

I have always watched Absinthe videos not just for there epic camerawork but the riders and terrain they focused on. I loosely made a plan with Brusti at ISPO and once getting on a trip with Justin for the Nike project it was on. I spent most of my winter bouncing around the Austria and Switzerland with Brusti.

As we asked Gigi, how do you explain analogue filming to a kid raised on a diet of ultra crisp HD? 

It’s the complete opposite feel to something with extreme slow-mo and over set up tricks. It’s about riding in the storm and catching the shot while enjoying the ride. When I watch I can feel the trip as I’m there that moment. It’s a real movie when you shoot all year and get to see the shots put together with no replays or second trys.

In this edit it’s you, Gigi, Nico and EJack. How was that for you?

We had such an amazing crew. It’s rad cause everyone has there own style but everybody sees stuff differently. Eric is always flying off of something that turns out to be so fun. Shredding with Gigi is like going to a punk show on hill with so much good energy you know something nuts is going to happen.

For you, where do those dudes sit in your all-time list of awesome snowboarders?

For filming videos and riding backcountry/resorts they are at the top of my list. They have a style of riding that is the blood of snowboarding. Nicolas has a way of painting the slope and finding every bump and shoot to air off of.

From what you said hooking up with Absinthe happened pretty late last year. Would you be stoked to hook up with them to film this coming season? Is it already on the cards?

Yeah, I am excited to film more with them. Gonna be doing a few projects but after last season I look forward to more trips with those guys.

When we interviewed Louie Vito a while back he said you told him to ‘ride the contest train as long as you can – there’s plenty of time to film after’. Are you now at the stage where you’re wanting to devote less of your energies to competing and more to filming stuff like you did with Absinthe?

I have done a lot in the contest circuits and still enjoy riding parks and pipes. I feel like there’s a lot of arenas of snowboarding. For me right now I can dedicate more time to learning and progressing my filming side. As a snowboarder we are always chasing the storm and I would like to keep riding wherever that snow falls.

Finally, where are you going to go snowboarding next?

Mammoth mountain, CA. Come get some, the mountain’s open.


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