How Place Shapes Style: The Making of Nation

The Midwestern connection

Dan Brisse. PHOTO: Darcy Bacha.

Dan Brisse is one of snowboarding’s blue-collar workingmen. So is Bjorn Leines. The dudes have real lives at home, families. They’re two Minnesotans who transplanted out west to Utah in search of steeper, deeper opportunities, just at different times.

Bjorn helped pave the way for future generations of Midwestern boarders like Brisse. Bjorn burst onto the scene in the late ’90s and early 2000s and made his mark on countless Utah backcountry spots, filming influential video parts that influenced a lot of our younger riders in Nation. Bjorn became a mentor to a lot of the guys in the backcountry, especially during Austen Sweetin’s first trip riding lines in Alaska.

            What Brisse is doing for snowboarding today is not much different than what Bjorn did those years ago. Pushing the limits of what is possible. Both of their riding styles are about going bigger, always pushing the scale.


The Austins. Or, the Austens.    

Austen Sweetin. PHOTO: Andy Wright


Austen Sweetin met Austin Hironaka during a contest at Snoqualmie, up the mountains from their hometown of Seattle, Washington. They were both just cruising and ended up seeing each other again on a different night, taking some more laps. That was eight or nine years ago, Hiro estimates.

Austin Hironaka. PHOTO: Darcy Bacha.

The Northwest has a lot to teach and breeds strong riders. Sweetin thinks it’s because “the weather there is just weather. When you ride pow it’s not blower, it’s wet, heavy pow. Growing up riding that, it makes you a stronger rider. You develop a style where you’re powering through everything.” It also produces loyal riders. Lifers, like these two. “I love to just go out and go boarding,” says Hiro, “I like being in the mountains and being with your homies and shredding big ol’ hills.”

But what about Forest Bailey…

Forest Bailey snowboarding
Forest Bailey. PHOTO: Bob Plumb

Stay tuned for Forest for when we kick off our Nation weeks starting on September, 23rd.