Words: John Cavan, Rome film director and team manager
“I’m driving like a maniac, driving straight to hell and back, another room another case to pack…We are the Road Crew." – Motorhead
Madness has set in. With no snow in Calgary we said goodbye to MFR, Bjorn, Yan and Lazz, pointed the van east, and hauled ass across the Great Plains of Canada. The drive was a mission to say the least. In order to stay on schedule, we drove the van non-stop over night, and all of the next day to make it to Winnipeg. Driving this way is crazy. You end up listening to the playlists of whoever is driving, you eat and drink a lot of weird gas station food, and you tend to zombie out. There really isn’t too much out in this part of Canada. It all seemed to blur by (except at one point when I was awoken by a certain driver asking if we were supposed to be coming up on the border. He had taken a slight wrong turn which added a few hours to our trip). We arrived in Winnipeg to find not much snow and the city was terribly flat. This place is probably a gold mine for skateboarding, but as far as snowboarding goes there wasn’t going to be too much going on here. We then made the brutal decision to keep heading another twelve or so hours east to Thunder Bay, Canada.
By the time we got to Thunder Bay we were broken. All of us were exhausted, dirty, cranky, stinky, and basically over the drive. We checked into a local shop named “Static" and some of the locals gave us the heads up on some spots in town. We had a look at a big down rail that Will had hit when he drove cross country a few years earlier, but the snow was really sketchy so we ended up riding some features in a small park. We hit up a cool down rail to down rail that you could gap from one on to the other. Max and Marius got some cool stuff pretty quick, and you could tell they were super stoked to be out of the van and actually riding. Will went to work on the rails getting three shots that were all really sick, which helped out the group vibe. He nabbed an awesome shot of a nosepress to nosepress that you’ll definitely be seeing soon.
After Thunder Bay we cruised straight to Ottawa to pick up LNP, shred some rails and hit up a local ski area. The drive from Thunder Bay was long and filled with lots of Metal including a stint in which we listened to Marius’s Norwegian Black Metal band he played in while he was in high school. Finally, we arrived in Ottawa, picked up the one and only LNP who was bag-less at the airport and headed straight to the local ski area Edelweiss. At Edelweiss the conditions were pretty savage—straight ice-so we hung with a couple of our friends Max and Kevin that we met there riding. We shredded the less than perfect conditions, stickered the mountain signs, and then headed back to the airport to try to find LNP’s bags. The next morning we met our Ontario rep Bill Moffat and his crew at “Top of the World" snowboard shop in Ottawa. We hung out with Bill’s crew and caught up with what everyone had been doing for the year. After a good hang in the springtime warm weather we barged on through to Quebec.
As the van crossed into the Quebec province a huge cheer erupted in the van. We were pretty much home. We stopped into the first of many St. Hubert stops, and Rob, Marius and I battled the instant explosion of French speaking people. Max piloted the beast to his home in Montreal, and we then our goodbyes to one of the original crewmembers. Max had been on the trip from start to finish, he drove a ton of the miles, logged shots at every stop, and probably smiled more than anyone on the trip. It was weird pulling away from Max’s house without him in the van, but we made the final push up to Quebec City and arrived at the infamous Ozone Hotel late that night.
Our final day of the trip was spent at one of the most famous rail spots in the world—the Battlefield rail in Quebec City. The Battlefield rail has been in nearly every snowboard movie for the last several years. It’s a perfect down rail that our Quebec crew has been hitting for years. To say it’s played out for filming is kind of an understatement, but we figured it would be a great thing to all go and session at the end of a long road trip. When we arrived there was a local crew hanging out riding and filming together, and when we walked in over the hill you could almost read the kids minds. I don’t think anyone expected to see a huge part of the Rome team show up there that day. It was awesome to see arguably some of the best rail riders in the world riding a perfect down rail together. Max and Will did all kinds of 270s, Eiki and LNP were doing back to back bs 180 combos that were sick, and even Marius was riding the rail with everyone (something that had all the French Canadians super hyped to see the backcountry guy riding a street rail). During the session LNP built several different pole jam obstacles. He had a bike rack pole jam, another one with a picnic table, and still another one that involved jumping from the rail to a barrier. It was pretty sick to see how creative he could get at such a well-known spot. Also at the Battlefield, Yan unveiled his new Bungee, which ended up being really funny as the whole crew would stretch the bungee and then fire Yan out of the tunnel and up the Battlefield rail. It didn’t quite work out the way Yan had hoped, but it was really humorous to say the least.
So that’s it for FuGnar, it was a long and winding road, it was a really fast charge across the country, but one I’m sure no one will soon forget. We drove exactly 14 days, logged a few thousand miles, consumed a bunch of tanks of gas, had way too much junk food, spent four all nighters in the van, but made some all-time memories. Grab some friends and hit the road; it’s a lot easier than you think. Marius told me that when he went to Iran earlier this year, he was sure that that trip would be the craziest one of the year for him, but he claims now that the FuGnar trip was crazier. Thanks to everyone involved with this trip especially Rob Mathis, the team riders, all of the reps involved, all of the locals we rode with, and anyone else that helped get the van across the country.