Nike’s Never Not Part 1 and 2 world premiere and review
PHOTOS: Chris Wellhausen PHOTO CAPTIONS: John Poulin
When it comes to traditional snowboard videos you know the formula—a strong opening part with some of the best riding is followed by a bunch of parts showcasing the best tricks each rider got over the course of the season. The last part is reserved for the heaviest riding of all. For the last 25 years or so these types of videos have been the standard for capturing the state of professional snowboarding. Perfectly locked presses down rails and waist deep pow landings on bluebird days are something to aspire to, but there’s more to snowboarding than that, isn’t there. What drives us to do it? What sets snowboarding apart from other sports? These are some of the questions you’ll find tackled in Nike’s Never Not Part 2, directed by Per-Hampus Stålhandske and written by Joel Muzzey. The film premiered at the Montalban Theater in Hollywood on Friday night along with the traditional Never Not Part 1 directed by Joe Carlino.
The documentary-style Part 2 is made up of three acts covering street, contest, and backcountry riding and aims to provide context for the riding in Part 1. Instead of taking you on a step-by-step journey through what it’s like to be a pro in each of these areas—getting busted by cops, waking up early to go sledding—the film probes deeper into why each of the Nike team are drawn to his or her particular type of riding.
“Act 1: Adaptation” features Jed Anderson, Justin Bennee, Austin Smith, Jess Kimura, Sage Kotsenburg, Halldor Helgason, and Ethan Morgan and starts with riders getting a street spot ready. “You can get inspired anywhere,” Jed says of trying to find new and creative spots. He talks about how, even when he’s old, he’ll still look at the urban environment in a completely different way from people who don’t snowboard. We see from him, and the other riders, the suffering it takes to get a shot and why, despite that, they’d rather ride in the streets than compete.
“Act 2: Ambition” segues into Nike’s stable of contest riders including Louie Vito, Spencer O’Brien, Scotty Lago, Halldor, Sage, and Ethan, with commentary from Danny Kass. “It’s a different type of person,” Kass says of those riders who want to compete compared to those who film video parts. In this act we’re given a look at the challenges and consequences of having to compete in windy, icy, snowy conditions and what it’s like push yourself to ride when you really don’t want to. But we also get to see the high of breaking through your limitations, of having one chance to land a perfect run, and rising above the pressure.
“Act 3: Exploration” transitions from the contest scene to the backcountry with Nicolas Müller talking about his own experience of competing as a younger rider before being drawn to untracked lines. Against the riding of Gigi Rüf, Manuel Diaz, and Austin Smith, Nicolas presents the case for a simpler form of riding that focuses on being in tune with the elements and riding the mountain as it is, free of man-made features. Next Austin gives us a glimpse into winters spent sledding in the backcountry looking for spots. With his customized flatbed truck loaded with sleds and gear, it’s a peek into a dream-like, nomadic life of chasing the deepest snow.
It all wraps up with an epilogue titled “Celebration” where we hear final thoughts from the riders on what snowboarding means to them.
If you’ve ever had trouble explaining to friends and family what snowboarding is about, showing them this film would be a good place to start. And if you’re familiar with what it takes to film video part and compete professionally, it’s still worth watching for the shared experience it creates. Overall, it’s a well-made reminder that there’s no wrong way to snowboard, only the way that feels right to you, whether that’s found in the streets, through competition, or riding pow. As Nicolas puts it in Act 3, “The one trick is just to strap in.”
Never Not Part 1
Halldor is insane. Jed, Austin, Nicolas, and Gigi, all have solid parts. Bennee, Jess, Annie Boulanger, Johnnie Paxson, Laura Hadar, Ethan, Manuel, and Sage have smaller parts/shots. No need for a long explanation. Just watch it right here on TWSNOW.com for 24 hours starting Monday, September 16.
Watch the trailer for Part 1.