#7 of 501
Who knew the combination of camo suit, pink belt and machete could change the face of snowboarding?
There’s a certain flying-by-the-seat-of-his-pants look to almost everything he does, a natural byproduct of always hitting the biggest stuff around at the time.
Romain De Marchi is one of those riders, like Devun Walsh or Nicolas Muller, whose style defines them. Granted, he’s not as smooth as either of those two, but that was never what watching an RDM part was about – least of all his efforts in Absinthe's Vivid. There’s a certain flying-by-the-seat-of-his-pants look to almost everything he does, a natural byproduct of always hitting the biggest stuff around at the time. While a hand-drag was a mortal sin at Sochi, here he turns it onto an art form. In the space of four tricks (between 3.43 and 4.20) he reverts hard on a front 9, nearly arseplants a back 9, and teeters dangerously close to the edge of the kicker’s lip before launching a back 1. All three, however, are absolute gold.
Then there’s the edit. Not many parts would get away with a full fifty seconds between the start of a run-in and the next trick, but Absinthe reward the wait with footage from the best kicker session ever seen (Hemsedal in Norway, 2002). Plus the artsy cuts only added to Romain’s reputation as a mental genius, even if we’re not quite sure what he’s on about. It certainly makes the part, and it’s something he’d revisit in the following years – first as a penal jumpsuited litter collector in Saturation and then as a champagne-spraying playboy in Pop.
Even though this part screams ‘ender’, it was plonked near the start of Vivid. Wolle Nyvelt, Jeremy Jones and Travis Rice (who closed out the film) did their best, but this was the film’s (and, at that point, the sport’s) high water mark.
Video parts are an essential component of the people that love snowboarding. As big as contests are in the moment, these are the artifacts that will survive each generation of rider and be passed down to the next as gospel.
From wearing out favourite sections on VHS, taking great pains to keep treasured DVDs scratch free to counting down the minutes to a new online release, everyone has cherished memories of their favourite era.
In keeping with ethos we present to you 501 video parts that define the length, breadth and depth of snowboarding and its special culture. From park to pipe, urban missions to powder explorations, Betamax to Youtube, Sims to Halldor - these are the parts that form the DNA of shred, miss them at your peril.