The countdown is on. Fuck yes. We’ve all been so deeply deprived of our time on snow the past 12 months…the turns, the air, the mountain, the beer, the road trips, the beer and lots more. Fear not my fellow transferites, winter is upon us (like 4 weeks) and it’s time to flip the switch to winter mode and get all up in it.
We caught up with Austen Sweetin to chat all things snowboarding and his latest film and creative project ‘Boardslide Worldwide’. Tune in below…
What’s the best way to flip the switch? Revisit the best films that dropped this year and soak up all the motivation to bust out the credit card, get your ‘sick days’ in order and go riding. Who better to kick things off than one of snowoardings greatest ambassadors Austen Sweetin. In late 2020, Austen dropped in collaboration with Quiksilver ‘Boardslide Worldwide‘ and it’s a must watch.
We’ve watched it so many times, we did a deep dive into the film…to set the tone of the good times ahead, enjoy.
“Cruisin, no speed limits in Japan… Oh, we’re going the right way!” – Austen.
Our journey begins on the Japanese Island of Hokkaidō, picking up the always amusing Jesse Grandkoski, Griffin Siebert and Tomonori Tanaka, aka Rip Zinger. Rip is a liaison to snowboarders visiting Japan, but more importantly, he is the wholesome cheeky heart to the start of this film. He’s filled with the stereotypical lighthearted warmth that makes visiting Japan and its people one of the most incredible places on earth. Get us back to Japow ASAP! Gods country.
The first snowboarding stop on the journey is Mt. Yōtei, located in Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Rip explains it’s a Mecca for the snow surfers because of the gullies that make up the mountain, and damn, that sounds amazing.
Snow surfing Yōtei has been added to the hit list once we get the jab.
It’s all about soul boarding baby…Austen, Griff and Okadao Samu surf the earth via some of the most dreamy powder turns documented to date. That iconic Japanese powder that forces one to consider selling all their possessions and figuring out how to permanently immerse themselves where the snow doesn’t fall but plummets.
The boys meet up with Taylor Carlton and Jason Robinson and hop on a plane to the frozen nipple, aka Rishiri. A small island off the coast of Hokkaidō in the Sea of Japan. If you are wondering why it’s called the frozen nipple, well, because it looks like a frozen nipple in the middle of the sea. Who’s nipple did you just think of?
Holy shit! The terrain of Rishiri is insane; Powder, spine runs, and the side hits! The gullies of Rishiri lend themselves to what looks like a mountain full of side hits with limitless options to get sent! Not to mention this is all with 360-degree views of the ocean as your backdrop. Rishiri Island is truly a unique treasure on this planet.
Sending Rishiri’s side hits has been added to the hit list.
The late afternoon sunset run from the summit to the sea the crew embarks on is something else. The golden hue of the afternoon snow lit a fire under my ass, reminding me that we aren’t very far from enjoying those same golden hues on our snow in Australia. We’re so close.
The b-roll footage from Rishiri is terrific. Notably, Taylor Carlton’s drunken antics are fucking hilarious. You get a small sample of it in Boardslide Worldwide but if you want to enjoy his intoxicated efforts in full, watch the raw files of this trip. There is so much more boarding on the Boardslide Worldwide Rishiri Raw as well, entire runs. But being able to watch the full clip of Taylor’s antics are just the humorous cherry on top.
“That’s a wrap boys, trip of a lifetime, holy cow!” – Austen.
From there, it becomes less of a video journal of this Japanese venture and falls into more traditional parameters for a snowboard film as Austen heads back across to North America. The stomping grounds.
‘Blue Eye’s Crying in the Rain’ by Willie Nelson (huge kudos if you’re a Willie fan) ushers in a melodic slow-mo sequence, which is the Sean Lucey (filmer/editor) special. He brings you right up to Austen as he disappears and reappears through the flying powder. Poetic.
And then, out of nowhere, BAM! Bring on the headbanging grunge/metal sequence that wakes you out of the hypnotic slumber Willie placed us in and gets the blood pumping back through the veins.
The grunginess of this sequence goes beyond the heavy strings of The Whips track ‘Everybody Deserves to Eat’ but to the cinematic styling. Shown in black and white with extra grain and noise effects thrown on top of the footage, giving off a polished rough raw energy, a snowboarding interpretation of Iggy Pop wearing a 3-piece suit; it’s a calculated chaos that Mt. Baker can inspire.
Mt. Baker is a must visit destinations for all snowboarders. Add it to the post jab list.
During this grunge slash fest, Austen is joined by Lick the Cat crew legend Max Warbington and your favourite snowboarder’s favourite snowboarder Miles Fallon (Falcon), adding to the gnarly vibe of this entire section of the film. It’s aggressive, hardcore ripping, and we love it!
Finally, Austen and Sean Lucey bring us back to a chill state with one last cut of that fine Canadian powder…nearly as good as Columbia’s. Through the use of GoPro shots, Austen allows us to join him, tearing apart some jaw-droppingly beautiful pillow lines. The type of pillow lines that dreams are made of, but even better. Dream baby, dream.
The film ends with Austen descending a spine in the Kootenays. G’damn, this is a line! Sluff flying left and right, Austen shows his mastery of the mountain, pins it and rips. The last shot is from Austen’s GoPro, and we hear him panting while staring back at the mountain in an exhausted satisfaction.
Heli riding in the Kootenays is on the hit list. Anyone up for a bank heist?
All in all, watch the film, no regrets. Films like this are what boarding is all about, having fun standing sideways with the homies. It always gets us hyped to click in with a crew and head out. As we rambled on earlier, after a lack of riding last year for almost all, this season’s setting up to be the epic return to the Aussie and Kiwi alps! So watch some Sweetin magic and get inspired to get some.