Variables: We cut the news into small chunks so it’s easier to swallow.

Snaps

Photos taken by pro snowboarder Robbie Sell.

Equipment: My friend owes me some money, so I just stole his fancy camera and used all the good lenses from my bottom-of-the-line Canon. Then I got a limited-edition Quiksilver Sony Cybershot for the drunken party photos.

Jared Johnson, frontside boardslidin’ a log while backside railsliding Scott E. Wittlake.

Couldn’t wait for winter, so we mounted some trucks to a snowboard and went out to get some.

Really shocking photo.

It isn’t a five-0—it’s a backside wheelie from the Smithmeister.

Arty star swirl.

Nicolas Droz’ European Hall Of Fame

France’s favorite supershred gives up his top five favorite European riders of all time.

1. Anthony Holland. He’s the best all-around snowboarder I know and has sick style. He doesn’t get a tenth of the exposure he deserves—but one day, watch out!

2. Romain De Marchi. He’s been pushing the limit since day one. Plus, he loves snowboarding and is a great human being.

3. Terje Haakonsen. The legend—he’s always been around, and it’s always a pleasure to see him ride in person.

4. David Vincent. Another legend, with really unique style. He’s dedicated to snowboarding and always ready to shred.

5. Ingemar Backman. He always comes up with different, stylish moves. He’s like Tom Penny—born with style and originality.

“All these guys represent the true essence of snowboarding to me.”—Nico Droz

Red Bull Xtreme Freeride Contest

Verbier, Switzerland plays host to snowboarding’s future.

While most of the shredding world has been focused on taking the snow out of snowboarding, Europe’s Freeride Association has continued to organize the heaviest event on Earth—the Red Bull Xtreme.

In its eighth year, the freeriding contest held on the infamously steep and rocky Bec de Rosses in Verbier, Switzerland seems more timely than ever. Snowboarding’s progression is being waged in the backcountry—by taking technical freestyle tricks into a big-mountain setting. At the very least, it’s safe to say that the sport’s future will unfold on natural—not manmade—terrain.

The Bec de Rosses is no snowboard park, but it’s potential (and risk) is clear. A North face with pitches of 45—50 degrees sits below the start (a 40-minute hike from the resort). For 2,500 vertical feet, riders hope their equipment and nerves don’t fail as they make their way down the slope, looking for big cliffs and steep turns. Veterans like Steve Klassen put together lines with steely confidence. Others crack at the site of the run: last year, a competitor broke down crying at the top.

Verbier isn’t for typical riders, but for those in search of “real” snowboarding, there’s nothing more legit. This year’s event will be held March 19—21, 2004. For more info, go to xtremeverbier.com or check transworldsnowboarding.com for coverage.K.H.

4×4

Four questions with four-time winner Steve Klassen

What kind of rider does well at Verbier?

The top riders are the ones that can take freestyle skills and throw them down in whatever type of terrain that’s presented. You have to be able to ride fast, go big, and stick landings.

Describe the run down the Bec de Rosses.

The Bec de Rosses has an average pitch of 45 degrees for the first 1,500 vertical feet, then another 1,000 vertical of rolling terrain. There are cliffs everywhere, windlips, hips, and natural kickers. The best lines are the ones that link the most airs together.

Can anyone enter?

There’s a qualifying series in Europe. You could enter those events and then progress on to several invitationals.

How do you win?

It takes going fast through the steep sections, and then sticking some big cliffs—like a 50-footer followed by another cliff without stopping. You also have to have a flip or two and at least a 360—this year you’ll probably need a seven to win. Put all of these airs together with speed and fluidity—in whatever kind of snow there is on that day—and you’ll have a chance.

 

Annie B. Top Three

Check out three top threes from Annie Boulanger.

Favorite French words (she’s from Quebec, people):

1. calis

2. d’ostie

3. de tabarnac   

You can say them separately or together—they sound awesome either way. You use them when things aren’t going to well for you (meaning #%$*%#!).

Favorite moves on a snowboard: I can’t do three different moves.

World’s most eligible snowboarders:

1. Alex Auchu—because he’s so hot, so cool, so funny.

2. Alex Auchu—because he’s single.

3. Alex Auchu—because now he owes me for life.

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Annie can definitely do more than three moves. Whistler backcountry. Photo: Oli Gagnon

Attention Shaun White Stalkers

You know the world is traveling through space at top velocity when our very own Shaun White—the one we watched grow from egg-headed mini ripper into international supershred—is on the 10:30 p.m. episode of MTV’s Cribs. That’s right, just when you’re getting ready to turn off the TV ’cause they’re showcasing some annoying, boy-band-type kid who’s fifteen years old but somehow has four luxury sport utility vehicles (none of them running rims under 22 inches), on pops the familiar face of Future Boy.

As it turns out, Shaun’s Carlsbad, California lair is nothing over the top—just a nice house with a hot tub out back where his lady friends were chillin’. In addition to the home’s interior, they do show the neighborhood and surrounding views of the coastline to aid potential stalkers in tracking down his residence for subsequent invasions of privacy. But let’s leave Shaun alone, people.

If you missed this show the first time around—don’t worry. The MTV network only runs Real World episodes and reruns of Cribs these days, so you should have no problem catching it again sometime.J.S.