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Our esteemed editor in chief Ed got an email recently from a reader which read:
As you're now adopting the BuzzFeed style “list journalism" format, it's exposed me to some of the sport's history that I wouldn't have known, in particular, video parts. I'm 29 and it's only the last year or so that I've purchased the latest films from Absinthe/Burton/Standard etc. I usually just watch whatever teaser was online.
So with that in mind, and off the back of 1) the discussions around this year's releases and 2) the "greatest method"/"craziest tricks" etc. articles... if you were going to put together a shred flick retrospective of the last 10/20 years, which rider/video parts would you put together to create the ultimate snowboarding movie?
PS. Is it winter yet?!
This inevitably sparked a big ol' debate in the office, and safe to say not much more work was done that day. But while we couldn't agree on a final all-time list, there were a few that all of us thought should be in there.
But before we could pull together as something like this, we thought we needed your input too. Here (in no particular order) is our list so far - what would you add? Please let us know in the comments!
[part title="Devun Walsh - The Resistance (2000)"]
As one of the original, untouchable Forum 8 and Canada's third greatest export (after BC bud and maple syrup, obviously!) Devun Walsh's place in the pantheon of snowboarding legends was assured way before he joined the DC team. It was this part, probably more than any other, which helped elevate him to that position.
The fact that he managed to get that many bangers down on celluloid in just six days is incredible. The fact that they are all stomped super-cleanly, with his signature unflappable style just beggars belief. Even 13 years on many people would argue that snowboarding doesn't come steezier than this.
[part title="JP Walker - True Life (2001)"]
Another epic from the Forum archives (damn they made some sick movies didn't they?) this is one of the parts that cemented JP Walker's reputation as the MAN when it came to rail riding.
Jibbing may have come on in leaps and bounds since this was shot - a lot of these tricks might not make the cut for today's rail riders, and those baggy-as-fook pants certainly wouldn't. But the impact of this part at the time is hard to understate, and there's no denying the sheer thrill of watching him launch onto that first ledge as that tune kicks in...
[part title="Terje Haakonsen - TB2 (1993)"]
Obviously no all time list would be complete without a Terj part - we've gone for this, his classic ender from Standard Films' TB2. There's a reason why this man is known as God, and this part goes some way to explaining it. While this video was clearly uploaded by someone pointing a camera at their TV, it's hard not to get excited by the riding here.
Some of the spins look a bit flappy by today's standards, but the steezed out late frontside 180s, the massive pokey shifties and that backside 180 method at 1.10 are just a joy to behold. As is the exuberance of the young Terje, who just looks like he's having so much fun!
[part title="Jussi Oksanen - Afterbang (2002)"]
In the early 2000s (remember, back when peaked beanies were the shit?) Robot Food released a trilogy of films that pretty much revolutionised the concept of what was cool in snowboarding. Afterbang was the first of these, and Jussi Oksanen, a core member of the crew, had one of the standout parts.
In an era when most films featured gangster rap or hardcore punk on the soundtrack, Robot Food opted for cheesy 80s tunes (this track is by 80s New Wave band Cars) or bubblegum euro-pop. The movies would feature mini-shred sections and shots of riders just dicking around on their boards as well as stomping the marquee tricks of the day.
But it's not just the style of the film that earns Jussi's part a place on this list. This is one of the parts that made his name, with its combination of massive steezy spins and his signature move, the butter in. It's no exaggeration to say that at one time, every seasonaire in the alps - and in fact, every kid on a snowboard everywhere - was desperately working to perfect those.
[part title="David Benedek - Lame (2003)"]
In all honesty, we could probably have included almost any of David Benedek's Robot Food parts in this list. But after some debate it was decided that this one, from the follow-up to Afterbang.
This part again showcases many of what were becoming the Robot Food crew's hallmarks. There's the cheesy 80s soundtrack (Billy Idol this time), the mini-shred and euro-carve shots (at 0.25) and a healthy refusal to take themselves too seriously (the piss-take of super-wide gangster stances that were popular at the time at 3.09).
But between all of that David Benedek hits kicker after enormous kicker, and throws down super-corked todeo-style spins that (even to eyes used to watching double and triple corks) still look like total head-fucks to this day. You can imagine what people thought at the time.
Oh, and this part also includes the famous double-shifty BS180 - still possibly the greatest trick ever seen at the Air & Style...
[part title="Romain de Marchi - Vivid (2002)"]
Video parts don't get much more iconic than this. At the turn of the millennium, Romain de Marchi was at the height of his powers. A rising superstar with a string of contest wins to his name and a spot on the Burton Snowboards global team, he also had a reputation as the sport's wild child: Hard-drinking, hard-partying, and a total loose cannon.
Justin Hostynek and Patrick Armbruster of Absinthe Films channeled all these influences into this section, with its cutaways suggesting raining money and ultra-violence, all set to one of the greatest rock songs of all time.
For anyone else, those cut scenes might look a bit out of place but somehow they're totally in keeping with Romain's riding. He rode his board like he lived off it - always on the edge of control, always sending it harder and going that much more mental than anyone else. And while his flappy style might look a bit loose to fans of say, Torstein, you can't argue with the size of these tricks even today.
I mean that kicker they built for him in Hemsedal? Just ridiculous.
[part title="Travis Rice - Pop (2004)"]
If his part in Transcendence introduced the young Travis Rice to the snowboarding world, this was the part that boosted his career to the next level. Released two years after Vivid, Pop saw Travis saddle up with Romain de Marchi for an all-out assault on the monstrous Chad's Gap.
The gap (which you can read more about here) was previously believed to be too big for snowboarders - requiring take-off speeds of over 50mph to clear. So imagine the reaction when the still relatively unknown Travis Rice finished up his part by sending a perfect backside rodeo 7 off it.
It didn't leave people cheering so much as gaping like surface-feeding carp, silently mouthing "holy shit!" while working out how much they could flog their gear for on eBay, because there was surely no point in snowboarding any more.
But it's not just that final section, everything from this part is epic. The opening trick, a double cork 10 over the Pyramid Gap (similar, but smaller) just as Modest Mouse's Float On (what a tune!) is awesome. And it carries on in the same vein, with Travis stomping a series of first-track tricks in the middle of gnarly alpine lines (now something of a signature move) and sending it off monster booters, making his own myth as he went.
[part title="Scott Stevens - Thanks Brain (2007)"]
Its successor Stack Footy may be better known in the UK but it was this movie that really launched the Think Thank dudes on the global stage. Sean Genovese's crew based their movies on a fairly simple premise - don't worry about the massive kickers or the mental new tricks, just concentrate on making snowboarding look fun. No-one epitomised this approach better than a certain Scott Stevens.
Although he can hit big old street rails (check the pitch-perfect front board at 4.01) and is comfortable on powder kickers (2.37), it his penchant for mini-shred, piss-about, stuff, his creative eye for spots and his innovative approach to tricks that has made Scott famous. And this part has all of that in spades.
Check the skate-movie style line 0.55 (which was definitely not as common in 2007 as it is now), the one-footed tail-press at 2.01 or the frankly insane hippy jump while scrambling over the top of the climbing frame at 3.00. No wonder Capita signed him from Academy the year after this came out!
[part title="Torstein Horgmo - Aesthetica (2008)"]
Before the triple corks, the Olympic ambitions and the Horgasms, Torstein Horgmo was just another talented up-and-coming Scandi ripper. Sponsorship with DC and a string of impressive contest results had earned him the chance to film with Standard Films, but he could quite easily have ended up as another contest kid putting out the occasional average movie part.
Instead, almost by accident, Torstein came up with the idea of including a full top-to-bottom park run in his part - something that hadn't really been done before. Released in its entirety without sound online, the section became a Youtube sensation and quickly overshadowed the actual movie part itself.
We've included it in its entirety here rather than the part (the original of which isn't available online, although you can see it remixed below) because we think it's more dramatic and more worthy.
It helps that his solid, afterbang-heavy steeze was pretty much the epitome of park rat style at the time, but it's more the fact that everything in here - even the tricks that start out looking sketchy - is stomped absolutely perfectly. And he just keeps on going!
[part title="Gigi Ruf - Futureproof (2005)"]
Whitelines' Art Director Tim has a theory about Gigi Rüf. "It's like he's found this magic snowboard that rides the mountain itself, but always landing the right way up. Gigi's strapped himself to it and he's just holding on for dear life!"
Watching any footage of the diminutive Austrian pow-slayer riding and you can sort of see what he means. Gigi looks like he's always just on the edge of control, launching into improbable-looking tricks in the middle of gnarly lines, and contorting his body into strange positions to somehow always land on his feet.
Famously prolific, Gigi produced enough banger footage to fill three movie parts throughout most of the 2000s. He rode for the Pirates, Absinthe and often featured in a Burton or Volcom project too. We knew we had to feature a Gigi part in this list, but picking just one was tricky.
In the end, we plumped for this - and not just because of the famous overshoot at 0.51. Futureproof was the year when Absinthe's riders set out to make something that would stand the test of time. For Gigi that meant putting out an all-natural terrain part, with not even a backcountry cheese-wedge in sight - still something of a rarity in 2005. And while the title was a big claim, we'd say he's largely achieved it here - I mean if you saw this in a movie today (especially with that soundtrack!) it'd look right at home wouldn't it?
[part title="Nicolas Muller - Futureproof (2005)"]
We're not sure what the 'rules' for lists like this are, but we're guessing like the nerdy top 10s they make in High Fidelity, picking two "tracks" from the same "album" is likely to get you sneered at for a lack of diversity in your taste.
With this one though, we just couldn't help it. Nicolas Muller has a whole range of parts that could be considered worthy of selection (and we're sure there will be some suggestions of alternatives) but we thought this ender - from the year he won the Transworld Rider of the Year of the first time - was the pick of the bunch. Not least cos it had this absolute belter of a tune as its soundtrack.
Unfortunately we can't find the actual part online in its entirety (feel free to petition Absinthe Films to release it!) but the profile of him above includes some of its finer moments including the line and the first track 720 at the end. Yes, that's why he's the master.
You can watch a full-length making of feature of this epic movie here too (skip to 30.00 to see the Gigi and Nicolas section).
[part title="Johan Olofsson - TB5 (1996)"]
We're finishing off this list (which, remember is incomplete - we still want your suggestions for parts that deserve to be added!) by jumping back to the mid-90s. Almost a decade before Nicolas and Gigi set out to make backcountry freestyle parts that would stand the test of time, a young Swedish rider by the name of Johan Olofsson was taken to Alaska for the first time by Standard Films - and recorded a backcountry freestyle part that people are still talking about to this day.
It was widely expected that the young rookie, better known for his freestyle, might struggle with the scale of the terrain. Or at least, be slightly over-awed by it, and by the more experienced riders around him. Certainly no-one expected what happened next.
Showing the kind of disregard for his own safety that can only have come with youth (and, let's face it, being two sandwiches short) Johan attacked the terrain, riding everything at breakneck speed and throwing freestyle tricks into the gnarliest lines. As British freerider James Stentiford put when we interviewed him about the part a couple of years back: "He rode without any fear, because he was so young."
Whatever the reasoning behind it, Johan's approach to the terrain, his skill and his sheer ballsiness were so far removed from anything that anyone had seen before that this part almost instantly passed into legend. And while the occasional lack of a grab and the metal soundtrack (awesome as it is) instantly dates it, a lot of the big mountain riding in this section still stands up to scrutiny today.
I mean come on, "3000 feet, 50 degrees, 35 seconds?" It doesn't get much more mental than that does it?
Which parts have we missed out? Which more modern classics deserve to be listed alongside these?
Please share your suggestions, so we can publish a definitive Best Video Parts of All Time in the near future!