By Matt Barr
Videos—the cutting edge of snowboarding progression, to be sure. But no matter how death-defying the rails and gaps, how mathematically impossible the spins, we all know that snowboarding is at its purest when you’re ragging it down the mountain with your mates trying to slash-spray each other with powder. Bottle this feeling and distill it into the film format, and you’ve discovered the Holy Grail of snowboarding credibility—especially if said friends happen to be the best riders in the world.
Now a group of the world’s best girl snowboarders have come together to show that anything the geezers can do, they can do better. The DropStitch video project is the result.
Girls? Making a snowboarding movie? Haven’t we heard that before? Not like this we haven’t. In June of 2003, the DropStitch girls proved as much when they set off for Iceland on their first filming mission. Self-financed and self-motivated, the crew (led by the U.K. rider Lesley McKenna and Switzerland’s Tina Birbaum) journeyed to the Anglo-Icelandic IPP camp at the tiny fishing village of Arnarstapi on Iceland’s rugged west coast. They spent a week riding hard in the 24-hour sunlight high atop the Snaefells glacier—as well as partying and spotting killer whales during their downtime. Out of this life-enhancing experience came some killer footage of Birbaum, McKenna, and compadres Lisa Wiik, Lisa Filzmoser, Heidi Kurkinen, Cuca Aranda, and fourteen-year-old Laura Berry of the United Kingdom destroying the rails and booters of the IPP funpark. A teaser was quickly made, and word began to spread.
As did the girls’ ambitions. The next stop was New Zealand in August of 2003, where Tina, Lesley, Lisa Felzmoser, Julianne Bray, and Leanne Pelosi were joined by Norwegian sensation Stine Brune Kjeldaas. Again, hammers were thrown, friends were made, and the whole thing was documented. More riders began to hop aboard, and the train gathered pace.
Now, the cat is out of the bag, and stars such as Torah Bright, Gretchen Bleiler, and Natasza Zurek have lent their formidable weight to the project. Great plans are afoot, and by the time you’ve read this, the DropStitch crew will have already laid down the law at Tina Birbaum’s Chicken Jam contest in Innsbruck (the first girls-only slopestyle yet organized) and will have traveled to Eastern Europe for another filming trip. After that, they’re hitting the States and the Alpine hotspots of Western Europe.
DropStitch‘s aim is to showcase modern-day cutting-edge chicks riding as it really is, and banish all those gender delineations once and for all. Heavyweight European media partners such as Method Mag and White Lines are in discussion, and various industry big dogs are preparing to hand over some double-digit thousand stacks to finance the coup. The resulting opus will premiere next winter. To join the revolution (which will be televised—just this once), surf on over to chunkyknit.com for trailers and the manifesto.