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PHOTO: Frode Sandbech.

How Place Shapes Style: The Making of Nation

Words: John Poulin

For our fourth movie, Nation, we gathered a crew of personalities who would showcase snowboarding from across the globe. Some of the riders are old friends with similar backgrounds and others seem like they’re worlds apart—these different styles and approaches to riding create a panoramic snapshot of what snowboarding is today. This is a look at what shaped these riders.

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Nation just dropped on iTunes, download it HERE. Look for the limited edition Nation book and DVD in select snowboard shops coming soon.

 

Because of skateboarding

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Chris Brewster. PHOTO: Andy Wright.

Chris Brewster is from Anchorage, Alaska, in the city. He got his hands on a skateboard from his older brother, that’s what eventually got him into snowboarding. He’d go to Hilltop ski area once in a while and go to the local sledding hills for a couple runs, but early on he got into riding street rails. That’s what they did in Anchorage, far away from the big mountains seen in videos. “When the resort was bad or when you didn’t have money, you rode the streets…that’s just kind of how it happened.”

A contest kid? 

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Stale Sandbech. PHOTO: Frode Sandbech.

Stale Sandbech split after a year of high school to pursue snowboarding on the contest scene. The idea of being able to snowboard all the time pushed him, but the prospect of being a “professional snowboarder” was an afterthought. For a kid with so much pure talent, it was natural for him and his friends he grew up with, like Alek Oestreng, to make noise in snowboarding. They used to make bets with each other to see who could land a trick first.

While Stale’s always floating around the globe from bib to bib, he manages to shred with his friends, put out edits, and still keep snowboarding fun between the banners, never losing sight of why he started snowboarding in the first place. What’s fun about watching Stale ride in contests is that to him, it’s just another day on his snowboard.

Gulli, Eiki, Halldor, and a tractor

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Gulli Gundmunsson. PHOTO: Frode Sandbech.

Skateboarding is a common thread for a lot of riders. They pick up a skateboard first and then find snowboarding later on. This is how Eiki Helgason and Gulli Gudmunsson met, as kids, skateboarding in a schoolyard in their hometown of Akureyri, Iceland. Eiki’s brother Halldor was close behind. Without indoor skateparks in Iceland and winter voiding skate plans for months at a time, snowboarding came into the picture. Eiki, Gulli, and Halldor all started riding together, without any sort of local snowboard scene to speak of and little access to videos, but with homemade rails and tractor built jumps on the Helgason farmland.

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Eiki Helgason and Thunder. PHOTO: Mark Wiitanen.

“Back then, we started filming right away and we did street rails because the park at our local mountain was like shit, and it was pretty much always icy,” Gulli says. Since their days of homey edits, not much has changed. They ride, film, party and do weird shit. “It’s kind of the same today, we’re just doing it all over the world instead of just our local mountain.”

  Two of Oregon’s finest on the next page!