Sunday, September 15, 2013

Best snowboarding/ski film ever?

The word best, when used this way, is almost meaningless but I don't know another way to say it. I just went to the world-premier of Valhalla, the new flick by Sweetgrass, and it's incredible. Sweetgrass always has great riding and great snow. What do they do different? They find incredible music that fits the film, moving seamlessly between today's music and classic rock, timing the riding to the rhythm, and leaving the viewer ready to ride and far more stoked than ever.

What else sets them apart? They have a storyline that actually stays intact and relevant throughout the film. That matters, because we often attend these films with someone who's a bit less stoked than we are and it keeps them engaged. Hell, this one kept me engaged.

Finally, they are agnostic when it comes to skiing and riding. If it's awesome, it's in the film. Both are represented well, without you thinking "When does my side appear?" or without it seeming gratuitous.

Go see it! Go buy it! Or, you can do like me and do both!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dear China - Don't eat dogs!

We make jokes about it and don't want to believe that's it's true. It is true. Folks in China and Korea - no, not all folks in China and Korea - eat dogs.

Personally, I find that repulsive. I'm not much of a meat-eater anyway but dogs?

Every time S. Korea or China has a major international event, they hide the dog meat merchants. They know too.

This AFP photo shows that some awareness is growing in China, even without the tourists.

If you're seeing this on Facebook or Twitter, go to to see the link.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Skier bodysurfs an avalanche

Using a Backcountry Access Float 30 backpack, a skier "bodysurfs" his way safely from an avy. Thanks to Rocky at Backcountry for posting this. If you're seeing this on Facebook or Twitter, go to  to see the full video and links.

BTW, after the first few minutes, you've really seen it all.

Raw Footage - edit to follow from Jeff Wyshynski on Vimeo.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Colorado wolves

I have a tremendous passion for wolves. My wife and I went to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide, Colorado Saturday night for a Full Moon Tour. As you can see, the interaction with the wolves is remarkable. They are an endangered species and ill-informed people (nice way to say it) continue to try to destroy them. Their role in the ecosystem is complex and significant, including controlling exploding elk and deer populations. No - the hunters aren't very good at that. Populations (as a whole) continue to grow.

The other smaller animals are red foxes...even the white ones. They are bred in captivity for fur, then killed in a most inhumane way. An electrical rod is violently shoved into one of their 2 main orifices - really - then the power is turned on. Obviously, that's horrible but it gets worse. Sometimes it doesn't kill them. Dead or dying, they're hung from a hook and skinned - yes, oftentimes alive. Their fur then goes to coats and other furs - it can take 40 or more foxes for one coat, depending upon the style and size. So, the next time you see Jennifer Lopez, remember what happened and what suffering went into making that coat.

Anyway, I'll try to stop preaching here. To see much more about the wolves and foxes (and coyotes), go to To learn about what you can do to try to stop the slaughter, check out

It matters.

If you're seeing this on Facebook or Twitter and want to see the pics, links, etc, go to

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Think snowboarding is difficult, ride a cow

If you haven't seen it by now, a German girl, when told by her parents that she couldn't have a horse, learned to ride a cow.

Actually, she learned to ride it well.

Hell, I thought ice was difficult.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2012 Never Summer Heritage/Heritage X

No, you can't see the 2012 Never Summer catalog yet. However, they've released a few things for us to drool over. Here's the 2012 Never Summer Heritage, currently called a Big Mountain Freestyle board. Sizes will range from a 155/156 (second number is the wider X) to a 165/166. They describe it as follows:

Like the freeride inspired Raptor, the new Carbonium Series Heritage is equipped with the new NS SuperLight woodcore and extensive carbon reinforcement (Carbonium Laminate Technology) to power this big mountain freestyle board anywhere on the mountain. Super snappy, yet powerful and lightweight, the Heritage is comfortable charging full speed down groomers, in the trees, or slaying the park with absolutely no sacrifice in quality and durability. The X is a wide version of the original.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Backcountry Europe - Insane lines and climbs

This video documents runs that most of us only dream about. Riders include Luca Pandolfi, John Minogue, Pier Smaltini, and Michele Valle da Rin. It was filmed by Felix Hentz.

The climbing is excellent, the music is different and entertaining and the film is longer than most - nearly 9 minutes. Amazing what you get for free these days!  Enjoy!

If you're seeing this on Facebook and want to see the video, go to

Dolomiti from Felix Hentz on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

What happens to the mountain when you're not there?

Ever wonder what happens at the resort while you're not there? Here's some great time-lapse photography. Thanks Rocky at

If you're reading this on Facebook and want to see the video, go to

Eye Candy HD TimeLapses - TimeLine bonus 1 from TimeLine on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Backcountry in Colorado

From the Never Summer website, this video presents a nice view of accessing and riding the backcountry in Colorado.

If you're seeing this on Facebook and want to see the video, go to

Earning Turns from Michelle Shea on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Full contact snowboarding - Mitch Tolederer wins Free Ride World Tour Championship

After a few seconds, the riding begins. Seriously gnarly terrain.

If you're seeing this on Facebook and want to see the video, go to


Monday, March 28, 2011

Never Summer Raptor Review - Part 2

In the first review, I gushed - er, wrote about my experience riding the Never Summer Raptor in icy conditions. In short, it was incredible. Naturally, however, I didn't buy it for ice - powder is my primary motivation.

Saturday, A-Basin had 4 inches of fresh stuff so, in the interest of science, I rode it.

As good as the Raptor is on the ice, it's that much better in powder. Surfy is an overused word but it seems so appropriate to the Raptor's feel on pow. Turns are effortless and you go from rail to rail naturally and smoothly. The nose floats without radical back leg burn to keep it up. Speed is there along with stability.

When hard turns are necessary, the Raptor makes them without getting stuck or losing all speed. Trees continue to be a joy - the board is so easy to control.

At one point I'm sitting on a very steep drop, trying to pick my line. The rider near me, contemplating the same, said his first time on this drop, he just skidded down. I nodded and smiled - I've skidded a few.

I pushed off and skidded a few feet - hell, that's no way to ride - I cranked a hard toe-side turn. It's hard to describe the feeling - I was riding the way I've wanted to ride since I started snowboarding.

The rest of the day followed the same pattern. Sometimes I went faster, other times steeper but all the time I had more fun.

I'm an intermediate rider with no illusions about my skills but, on the Raptor, I'm a lot better and have a lot more fun than ever before.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Never Summer Raptor - A review

Changing of the guard - moving bindings from my Never Summer Summit to the Never Summer Raptor.

Sometimes it’s difficult to review an excellent product without sounding like a 12-year old describing her favorite pop singer. The Never Summer Raptor is just such a product. After riding it, the tendency is to rant and rave about it until you sound adolescent. Just keep reading – I’ll prove it.

I was fortunate to see the design for the Raptor well before the board hit the market. The Raptor is the first board I ever saw that made me inhale hard – as if I just won something big. It’s design, graphics, and layout is amazing.

I was late in getting mine, not because of the folks at Never Summer, but because I was in the middle of an international move – things just don’t go easy in those cases. Finally, because Never Summer (Vince in particular) really went out their way to help me, I got mine on 19 March. To say I was excited is an understatement.

The next day, I left extra-early for A-Basin. That might not seem unusual but the conditions were crappy – I usually don’t even make the drive on those days.

Icy was the word for the day – at least for the morning. Given that I had a new board and that the conditions were very treacherous, I took it easy on the first run.

I’ve ridden boards with rocker in the past. I always thought they were unstable and, unless there was in powder, somewhat unpredictable when turning. The Raptor uses a rocker-camber design unique to Never Summer. I’m not giving all the tech description here – you can read it on their site at

However, I will talk about how it feels. Essentially, rocker-camber gives great acceleration with little or no effort from the rider (like some of the rocker-only boards) but provides all of the traction on ice that you get from the magnetraction boards (maybe more – it’s hard to quantify that experience). The big advantage though is that rocker-camber is super-stable at extreme speed and very forgiving when you screw up.

As the day went on, I tested it in rough terrain (still icy), nearly flat terrain, and in the trees (very icy). True confession time – I usually don’t ride trees on icy days but this board just begged to go there. I consistently pushed it through the morning and left A-Basin somewhat hesitantly and later than planned.

In the trees, I was riding far more confidently than I would normally be on ice. On flat spots, it’s amazingly easy to Ollie a bit and accelerate out of them. When attacking something steep, rough, and icy, you’re able to maintain control and direction. The board is phenomenal. The confidence builds from the first run. In a short time, you’re trying – and making – runs that you would have (wisely) avoided with other boards.

Now, I can enjoy riding in all conditions. For a while at least, I’ve overcome my snow snobbery and having fun snowboarding in less-than-excellent conditions. The experience riding the Raptor makes me anxious to go back and do it again – regardless of the snow. It just gets me excited about riding again – even on a bad day. I was giggling sometimes – I admit it. The Raptor just rocks.

At the end of the day, the takeaway is confidence, fun, and success. Because I felt better about my riding, because the board made me believe I could do things, I had an outstanding day. I still remember a short, steep, rough wall. Normally, on an icy day, I ignore runs like that. But, by then, I felt like – well, I felt like I could ride anything. I made it – easy.

For now, I’m limiting this review to the icy conditions – that’s where I rode it. When I get to test it in powder, I’ll post something on that too. My feeling is that it will be even better in the good stuff but I’ll save that raving for another day.

My advice – buy one. You probably can’t get one now – Raptors sold out early in the season but get ready and buy one early next winter.

Never Summer manufactures their all of their boards in the U.S. – right here in Denver, Colorado. Most manufacturers make at least some of their boards – if not all of them – overseas.

In this economy, making things in the U.S. is really an important consideration. People need those jobs. I’ve toured their factory – it’s very nice and the staff is happy and extremely dedicated. Folks stay there a long time – Hell, I’d love to work there.

So, save your money and order early. You’ll get the best board you ever rode and put your neighbor to work and stimulate the economy. That almost makes it a charitable contribution – but a lot more fun!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A new view

I'm beginning a new site with another soon to follow. To see the latest, go here. It's still in the design phase. I'll also be doing a new site on snowboarding. More to come!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Something new

Anyone wondering...I've moved to Colorado. Still love Japan and miss it and my friends.

Thanks to Jeremy Jones for this flashback:

Monday, November 1, 2010

October powder in Utah

Rocky at Backcountry posted this. Keep in mind - this is October. Very nice! Want more videos? Go here.

If you're seeing this on Facebook and want to see the video, go to

Provo Bros. shred Oct. 27 2010 Utah from Ian Provo on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A doggie Christmas surprise

Everyone loves Christmas (even Buddhists like me) and almost everyone loves dogs. What if they worked together? Here's a possibility....

Thursday, September 30, 2010

When snowboarders get hurt who pays?

The issue of liability at a snowboard or ski resort may seem pretty boring. After all, we're not attorneys, we're snowboarders. Yet, it affects nearly all of us.

If the resort is responsible for serious hand-holding (or facing litigation), they will need to make the runs less challenging and raise their rates even more to cover potential legal litigation.

In Colorado, they're exempt from being sued for injuries that occur when snowboarding or skiing, unless the injury comes from extremely poor practices. The Colorado legislature realized, in an all-too-rare moment of brilliance, that snow sports are inherently dangerous and that neither resorts or your mommy can guarantee your safety.

Apparently, that wisdom doesn't extend to British Columbia. They just sued Whistler-
Blackcomb for injuries suffered by a snowboarder in 2008. It's a large lawsuit. You can read about it here.

Don't misunderstand my feelings on this. I think the injured rider should be cared for and, as much as possible, treated for her injuries. However, I don't think the burden should fall solely on the resort.

Some will argue that this is Canada and won't affect our laws. Trust me - it might not immediately affect us but it will eventually.

Some may argue that, since the resort makes revenue from the sport, it should pay for any injuries that occur. However, because these injuries can be so expensive, one or two could put a resort out of business or double lift fees.

With other things, we amortize the risk over a larger population base. If you get injured while riding your Honda motorcycle unskillfully, you can't sue Honda because it didn't offer training wheels. Still, I believe society would ultimately foot the bill. A little consistency would be good.

Living in Japan, I see many resorts that close off all but the most boring of trails. I'd hate to see that as the new standard.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mayonanaise spreads danger in Japan

Anyone visiting Japan is rapidly struck by the preponderance of mayonnaise. It's everywhere...sushi bars, pizza joints, pubs, and regular restaurants have taken to globbing on the slimy spread. It's a threat to Japanese food quality, good taste and waistlines all through the Asian island. But that wasn't enough!

Now, mayonnaise has directly attacked folks!

According to the Examiner - a fine source if there ever was one - several boxes of mayo fell out of a delivery truck and smeared the highway when struck. That led to wipeouts including a motorcycle and seven other vehicles.

Police are investigating to be sure the culprit doesn't slip away.

There's even a video of the horror!

As always, if you can't see the video, go to and see the whole smear.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Snowboarding video highlights

This homemade snowboard video is from a guy IDing himself as Pow Explorer. He named it, apparently from the background music, Snake Eyes in Heaven. rocks.

He did a great job filming and choosing highlights. While I'm not an advocate of sleds for backcountry snowboarding, they take a minimum amount of space on the flick.

To see more snowboarding videos, go here and here and here.

If you can't see this video or links, go to and see everything.

Snake Eyes in Heaven from Pow Explorer on Vimeo.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Zucchini defeats bear

I always wanted to write that headline and now, according to the Associated Press, it's true.

A Montana woman had let her dogs out for their business. Two of them barked and ran - a misdemeanor in some states. One, an elderly Collie, stood it's ground next to the woman.

The bear first attacked the dog but the woman kicked it -- the bear, not the dog. The bear, then sensing that her Kung Fu might be suspect, attacked her.

She tried to close the door, but the bear wedged his head and shoulders through it. No word as whether the bear was trained by door-to-door vacuum sales folks.

In a moment of desperation, she flung a 14-inch zucchini at the bear, striking it on the head.

The bear ran away - another case of bear attack squashed.

See the whole story here.

As always, if you can't see the links, go to and see everything.

It's snowing at Copper Mountain

Okay, it was just a dusting but after the long winter, I'm ready for snow...anywhere.

Transworld Snowboarding reported this today and indicated that Copper would start making snow Sept 27, if weather allows.

September? I'm stoked.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Michael Franti jamming with Crystal Bowersox

Wow...Michael Franti is always inspirational and Crystal Bowersox has a special voice. Here they are together. This is a good week too - Michael's new album "The Sound of Sunshine" is out.

Life is good.

If you can't see the video, go to and see everything.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The best snowboarding film

This is a category more dependent upon your mood and riding style but for my money Sweetgrass Productions has delivered the best for the last 2 years. When I saw Hand Cut, I wasn't expecting much. I was totally wrong. It was mesmerizing.

Last year's Signatures was even better. If you're a powder snowboarder (or skier), these are your films. Below is a teaser for Signatures...maybe the best film ever.

Don't think I don't watch and love the others, especially Teton Gravity Research (TGR). I'm panting in anticipation of the release of Deeper. But, for a combination of music, mood, and...most importantly...powder, Sweetgrass holds the prize.

Sadly, they won't release anything this year. But, in 2011, they will release a new film set in South America. Given that this area is significantly under-reported, it should be groundbreaking.

As always, if you can't see the video, go to and see everything.

Signatures a SWEETGRASS PRODUCTIONS film from Nicholas Waggoner on Vimeo.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Is Christine O'Donnell the dumbest politician running for office?

Probably not. After all, there's lots of dumb politicians. Still, she's competitive.

Politico just reported that she called condoms anti-human and declared that they will not protect you from AIDS.

She's a devout Catholic. I'm good with that. Religion, generally speaking, makes folks better, happier, and healthier. Yet, sometimes folks take their religions too far.

What's too far? When you try to control other people's actions because your religion condemns them.

Giving false information about condoms may cause people to die. That's pretty serious. So, whether she's the dumbest politician or not, she's in the top 10.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fall surf catalog - some great ideas for snowboarding too

Let me just say - I love Patagonia. Most of their stuff is extraordinary. It's functional. Maybe most importantly, they give back so much to the environment.

Now they're doing online catalogs. Trees live. Videos are available. We all win.

Even if you don't intend to buy anything, check it out here.

You'll find videos and incredible photography. Hell, it's a couple of months before snowboarding season. Let's go surfing.

As always, if you can't see the links, go to and see everything.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Great moments in snowboard falls - and ski falls too

Everyone loves to see snowboarders and skiers fall. Here's some nice ones. Thanks again to Rocky at

If you can't see the video, go to and see everything.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A tree worth hugging

For those of us who haven't yet seen Sequoias in person, this is definitely the next best thing.

Thanks again to Rocky at

If you can't see the video, go to and see everything.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The perfect surfing movie?

Admittedly I've only seen the teasers but that will change very soon.

Check out The Drifter...maybe a surf movie instead of just clips of folks surfing.

If you can't see the videos, go to and see everything.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

NowHere Snowboard video teaser

Coming from Absinthe (Thanks Rocky!)

Want to see more? Check out this, this, and this.

If you're seeing this somewhere and the video or links aren't available, just go to and see everything!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What size snowboard should I ride?

If you're like me and praying for snow with every breeze...even though it's hot as hell, it's time for a review.

What size snowboard should you ride? This is by far the most popular thing I've put on my site.

This is the site I send people to  most of the time. It's got a formula that calculates your needs based on a variety of criteria. I'd add 2 - 3 cm if you ride a lot of powder. It even recommends boards. This is a great place to start. But, you're spending a lot of money. Check thoroughly.

Here's a much deeper look at the subject, including (if you go to the bottom) information on board widths. There's some good info here.

Finally, here's the data.

If you’re reading this on Facebook and want to see the links, go to