Words: Taylor Boyd
I come to on a padded bench designed to maximize the sleepable surfaces in an overcrowded vacation rental, my feet inches from the still-dreaming mind of Tor Lundstrom. Stumbling over a couple stray boots and past a table more accurately described as a rolling tray, I make my way to the kitchen to assess my options. I've got at least an hour to sit without sustenance and caffeine--that or pillage someone else's breakfast items while they sleep. At least the deck of this house in the woods is a nice place to enjoy a glass of water.
Had anyone been awake to see me staring at the food and Folgers they would've told me to "Get in there!" This is the Cozy Bois' response to everything. Should you have a beer? Get in there. Try an extra rotation? Get in there. Eat someone else's food? Get in there, homeboy. Halldór Helgason calls everyone homeboy, which has somehow morphed into Cozy Bois.
By now, the crew is up. Well, except for Max Buri. Tor is doing yoga, Ulrik Badertscher rolling spliffs, Halldór answering emails, Ethan Morgan brewing coffee, Kevin Backstrom cooking a vegetable soufflé, and filmer Theo Muse showing me clips from yesterday.
"We started off with the Homeboys of Tomorrow, then it turned into Cozy Bois 'cause cozy is a nice word," says Ethan. Theo elaborates, "We were like, 'let's just keep it cozy, do what we want to do, not worry about all the weird things that people worry about. Let's not worry about the pressure.'"
At risk of ruining any magic for the viewers at home, it's worth noting that the cast of snowboard films is often dictated more by sponsor dollars and politics than genuine relationships. The Future Of Yesterday is the antithesis to this.
Max is up now too. He's wandering around looking for something.
"It's different with other films," says Max. "You've got a few different crews, and maybe you mix it up, but you mostly stay with the same people all season, then at the end, the footage all gets edited into one film."
This isn't how snowboard movies were made at their inception. They were the product of a crew of actual friends who rode together, mostly at the same spots, typically with the same filmer. With more money came more rules and fragmentation. The Cozy Bois' ethos hearkens back to the early days. The Future of Yesterday is a crew movie in the realest sense.
"A lot of people would say a trick's not worth filming if someone's already done it or if there's a track on the knuckle, or whatever. We don't give a shit," says Tor. "People can do the same trick. We're going to figure it out together, and it's more about the session. We don't take it too seriously. Of course, we want to do tricks that mean something to us. But do we [as snowboarders] think we're so important that someone shouldn't be able to do the same thing?"
"There are going to be so many tracks and backpacks in the movie," Theo laughs.
We're packed in a van, on our way to the mountain, barreling up a winding highway walled in by massive evergreens on either side. Ethan's massive speaker equipped with backpack straps is blasting Scooter, a German dance group led by a bleach-haired man who looks like he could be Ethan's father. He flew from Europe with this thing.
"What's nice about this group is that we've been traveling together the whole season and have spent a lot of time together in some really tight areas, but we don't get sick of each other," explains Tor.
"Yeah, I know what you mean, bro. We could go on vacation forever," Max says in the slowest, stoniest Swiss drawl. It's hard to tell if it's an intentional reference to the Beyond Medals catchphrase or not. Max is the type so casual about everything that it's often tough to decipher what's done with intent and what just lines up for him. He's never ready on time, but he always makes it where he needs to be.In the Timberline parking lot, Mount Hood as the backdrop, Max is searching the van for his backpack, as the rest of the crew gathers their essentials before beginning the walk to the chairlift. Discussion turns to the appropriate quantity of beverages to bring, and Halldór reminds us of an equation he's worked out over the years. "Remember, one beer is equal to thirty minutes of stretching," he quips. It's a classic Halldórism.
"I always say, 'We can send it and get fucked up, but then we actually have to get stuff done,'" Tor tells me. "That's what I feel like everyone's mentality is. And that's how this whole thing works."
"It's so crazy how everybody is so insanely individual," Ethan chimes in. "Everybody has their own personality, and it all comes together, and that's what makes it so cool."
Relationships and Backgrounds
The Future Of Yesterday crew grew up in various locales around Europe's western half. Snowboarding brought them together at an early age, and the bonds have remained to the point they're at now--a group of friends who happen to be some of the world's best snowboarders. "We go way back, all of us," says Halldór.
Hours deep into a session on a sizeable step-up, most the crew has retired to grill hot dogs. Halldor and Ethan, however, are still hiking. "He never stops," says Tor of Halldór. "He just keeps going and going."
Kevin and Tor's ties are well publicized. The industry has a tendency to lump them together as a unit, and not undeservedly. Together, they comprise Beyond Medals--which, if you're unaware, is a reference to the duo's parting with Sweden's national snowboard team and its accompanying Olympic assumption, based on behavior that was deemed unprofessional. Read: partying. Where you find one, the other is usually nearby. Their path is similar, but the manner in which they travel it is quite different. Tornado is the looser of the two, KB more calculated.
"If Kevin is down to hit something you know it's good," says Tor.
KB and Tornado's relationship goes back a decade. Before the two Swedes were set to start at a snowboard school together in Norway, Tor called Kevin and his mom dropped him off at Kevin's house for the weekend. Over the next ten years, the two would spend more time around one another than anyone else.
"I met you guys when we were so tiny," Halldór adds in reference to Kevin, Tor, and Ulrik.
"I met Tor and Kevin probably ten years ago at Rookiefest in Livigno, Italy," says Max.
"Such little shit kids!" Tor interjects, before continuing, "There were less limits, way less limits."
"The hangovers didn't even exist," adds Kevin.
"It was nice back then 'cause you didn't have people filming you all the time. It was just stories--like actual stories, not Instagram stories," Halldor adds.
"It's actually a bummer too. It's fun to post shit, but at the same time, now when something fucked up happens there's proof of it on the internet right away," says Tor.
The dynamic created by Helgason and Morgan in close proximity is electric. It's a relationship that dates back to 2009 at the Andreas Wiig Invitational.
"Wiig Invitational! That's where I met you guys too!" shouts Tor--a memory that elicits excitement from the entire crew.
"We were all in the contest! And we split the money, but Torstein wasn't down," recalls Halldór. "Then we took him down in the end!"
Long before they were the Cozy Bois, they were sharing contest winnings because they each cared more about a collective good time than a single person's success, and this approach has remained the tenet philosophy for the crew during the decade or so they've known each other. Why celebrate an accomplishment when you can celebrate plural accomplishments? This attitude has translated to the group's approach in filming for The Future Of Yesterday. In an increasingly cutthroat industry, with contract scarcity seemingly increasing each season, competition isn't limited to contests. It exists in the film world as well.
"When you're filming with another company, you think you might have a chance to have a good video part, and you try as hard as you can to have opener or ender," explains Ethan. "In this case, I feel like we we're all just filming together and having a good time. No one is trying to outshine the others. Everyone is just pumped for each other."
"If someone doesn't get the trick, then the rest of us are helping. We all have one common goal, and we work toward it together. It's not like we just want to do our own thing," adds Tor.
As we begin the arduous trek out of the zone in the dark, Ethan is our savior. His backpack speaker blasting Boiler Room sessions provides the motivation to complete what we conclude is the most brutal hike any of us have made all season. Without those blaring 180 beats per minute, we might still be out there.
Their theory is based on the idea that success is not mutually exclusive--that snowboarding is not a zero-sum game, that the achievement of one doesn't detract from that of another. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Anyone in this crew will tell you that Halldór is the best snowboarder, not even out of these seven, but, according to them, out of the 7.6 billion people on this planet. His extraordinary talent only elevates everyone else, and his approach to everything is the embodiment of this communal concept. In a snowboard world driven by individualism and cliqueness, the Cozy Bois couldn't be further from that.
It's 10:45 pm when we begin to wind down Highway 26. Drum 'n' bass still bumping, we exist in an endorphin-laden state of exhaustion, melting into the seats of a 15-passenger van littered with damp gear before arriving at the only restaurant still serving food. Kevin orders a burger and offers a bite to Ethan, a vegetarian, telling him it's meatless. Ethan's astonishment at its flavor turns to disappointment when Halldór chimes in, attempting to corroborate Kevin's claim. "It's made of shrimps!" he says, as though the shellfish categorizes as a vegetable.
Filming for The Future Of Yesterday took place across a season that can roughly be divided into six segments, starting in Japan with the world's top-ranked Formula 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton. It's no exaggeration to say the Cozy Bois live a rockstar lifestyle, though it was an energy drink by a different name that set them up with the celebrity racecar driver for an early season pow trip in the North Island.
"He's probably not even supposed to snowboard because of his job," says Kevin. "But Lewis had just won the Formula One tour or whatever, so Monster set up this trip where he could bring a couple of friends, and we met up with him, and they took us cat boarding, snow biking, surfing, all this crazy shit.”
I inquire as to a descriptor for Hamilton. Kevin quickly responds: "fast."
Theo elaborates, "It was actually super sick to watch him. He wanted to try literally everything these guys were doing. They would be scoping something out for a bit, and he'd be up there getting antsy while they're walking out to the edge of a drop or something. As soon as someone was like, 'Lewis, you can go,' he'd be dropping in."
"Does he land?" I ask.
"No," says Theo. "Not at all. He was so close to getting the backflip though."
Visualize the quintessential European ski village. Nestled at the bottom of the Dolomites, Passo Rolle is what you're dreaming up.
"It's the sickest scenery you could ever imagine. And we were there for a week, and we must've got like twenty shots. Basically, our season has been a cycle of super productive, super unproductive," says Theo.
This is how it goes, and the crew echoes this notion in a collective shout. It's a phenomenon not exclusive to The Future of Yesterday. Spend time with any film crew, and this pattern will emerge. Success ebbs and flows.
One particular afternoon in Passo Rolle turned into a highlight for everyone in attendance. Ethan explains. "The guys decided to set up an après ski event with the locals. Quite a few people showed up, and everyone was there to drink beers and party with the crew, but we got everybody at the bar to put on their snowboards and come take a couple laps. So there were like fifty people and us just lapping at sunset in the most beautiful light. One of the guys came up to us after and was like, 'Yo, I was fucking crying while I was riding with you guys. That was the sickest moment of my life!' And it was for all of us too! Just riding with so many people, all so stoked."
The approachability of this crew is notable. Interactions with people outside of their circle, fans or not, are always genuine.
"Then Ethan was signing balls and titties!" someone shouts.
If inclusiveness is an overarching theme for the Cozy Bois, unwitting and blatant disregard for conservative sexuality is another. Both balls and breasts have been known to come out when the Cozy Bois are in town.
RV Depression Tour
It's no secret that Halldór has a bit of an RV obsession. He's even got a signature cocktail--comprised of every liquor on the shelf--that pays homage to his favored mode of transportation. This obsession dates back to the same era during which this crew got acquainted, but this season Halldór took his love of the recreational vehicle a step further. He bought his own.
As the RV trip is brought up, everyone is quickly and loudly talking over one another to discuss how hectic it was. Then Max chimes in. There aren't enough vowels in any of these words to accurately depict the way in which he explains the trip from his perspective. "It was chill. It was just vacation, man."
Put a group of good friends in an RV with no real schedule to speak of. What could possibly go wrong? And I don't mean that in the tongue-in-cheek sense of the expression; it seems a certain recipe for good times. So what happened?
"We never had the patience to stay until it got good," says Tor.
Halldór elaborates, "We were always one day or two ahead of the storm. There would be a meter coming in the next day or two, then we would sail out before that. Nothing ever happened, just no snow. Then we were somewhere in Slovenia with the RV, just cruising over there. And after three days of doing nothing, me and Ethan went and hit this street spot."
As Ethan eloquently puts it, they "both got fucked."
From here, the tour involves Venice in pouring rain, missing a storm in Cervinia, a continual promise of snow coupled with bad timing, and an appropriate scenario which involves watching the Olympics, RV Juice, and getting "compleeetely destroyed."
Whenever Halldór utters this phrase, which is often, the second syllable is always elongated. "Compleeetely destroyed."
But no one got as fucked as Kuske, the other filmer set to work on this project.
"We waited for two days after that hangover day," Halldor explains, "It was sunny, and we were like, 'Alright, no cameras allowed for this one; everyone has to enjoy this run, just cruising.'"
Kevin continues, "I started riding, and I felt it was sharky, so I went out to this corner, and Kuske hit a shark, tumbled, hit another shark, and broke his back."
"It looked like a perfect pow run," says Tor, but, Theo continues, "By the time everyone had been walking around him to get him out, it was just rocks, no snow."
"That was the first sunny day in so long, then that happens. Shoutout to Kuske. He was supposed to be with us all season. He would be with us here right now," concludes Tor.
Fortunately, Kuske is on the mend from the accident and will be back in the mountains by the time this winter hits.
As discussed in regard to snowboard-based film projects, success tends to follow defeat. Perhaps that's true in general. The rebound to the Depression Tour came via a place called La Plagne. Nestled in the Alps, not far from the Italian border, this French ski area and the hospitality of the Alpoholics Chalets provided the ultimate venue for productivity. Unanimously, La Plagne comes up as the highlight of the season.
"It's this crazy resort, and there are these sink holes so we're taking speed from a hill and landing in one of these low points. We hit three jumps into one, and I think the crew landed 19 tricks in one day," says Theo
"No, twenty!" Halldor reminds us.
"That's right," Theo recalls. "Two blackouts in one session."
If you're unfamiliar with Halldór's blackout rule, it goes like this: For every ten tricks Halldór gets on film, he allows himself to let loose or get "compleeetely destroyed." When applied to the collective Cozy Bois, the rule goes into effect when, as a crew, they get ten tricks in a day. It doesn't matter who lands what, so long as the trick count totals ten between Halldor, Ethan, Kevin, Tor, Max, and Ulrik.
In that case, everyone has earned a blackout. It's yet another example of the collective mentality that fuels the Cozy Bois' endeavors, on-hill and off.
So here's the La Plagne recap. There was a tremble-inducing stepdown, a wedge that sent everyone to the knuckle, except for Halldór, who stomped an NBD first try, and a smaller jump that provided the venue for a number of nude tricks, including another NBD Halldor--if you count clothes, or lack thereof, as part of the trick--and enough productivity to warrant multiple blackouts.
There are few resorts in the world that cater to snowboarding in the way LAAX does. This real-life snowboard paradise is the closest thing to a home the Cozy Bois have to come back to in the wintertime. Between trips, you're likely to find the crew lapping the flowing setup on-hill by day and in the basement disco at the Riders' Hotel by night.
As Kevin explains it, "I feel like out of every resort in the world, they're the one that's pushing snowboarding the most--everything from the village to the freestyle academy. They even have a skatepark. The Riders' Hotel is built for snowboarders, and that's where we had a room for the season."
Tor adds, "The guy who owns LAAX, he comes from snowboarding, and he loves it. They're decades ahead of every resort in Europe. We've traveled the whole world, visited ski resorts everywhere, and nothing beats LAAX. The park is insane, three different halfpipes, trannies everywhere. Big jumps, backcountry. LAAX is the sickest resort on earth. I've been riding there since I was twelve years old too."
So what better place to regroup before heading stateside to finish the movie? Shoot the intro the film while there? Sure.
"Everyone dressed up like female characters. The idea was punk teens working at a hotel, so we all had a position like dishwasher or receptionist--all just working this job that they're not that pumped on, then they'd walk out and go snowboarding, and then we built a big line up in Marioland. We built a big rhythm line where everyone was riding together."
If you've ever wondered what a female Halldór would like, you'll know within the first minute of The Future Of Yesterday.
This brings us to the present. Mount Hood's expansive sidecountry and the local knowledge of photographer Darcy Bacha has lured the crew to the base of one of snowboarding's most iconic mountains. The week at Mount Hood has been spent cutting blocks, packing lips, and sending hips. With springtime light in the sky until late evening, sessions go well past 8 pm, with two-hour headlamp- and Soundbox-fueled hikes back to the resort boundary putting us at a restaurant minutes before the kitchen's closing, where we sit in a daze until sustenance arrives, before piling back into a van, then falling asleep on some semi-soft space in our rented home among damp items that will hopefully dry before repeating this process the following day.
But the hedonistic potential of the city an hour below is calling. Portland provides the venue for celebration that ensues after consecutive ten-shot days. The blackout rule is in effect.
As the van barrels west, Halldór insists we stop at a gas station. He returns with a smirk and a bag of malt beverages once known for their caffeine content. Knowing full-well how disgusting these things taste but not that the US government mandated a formula change years ago, he touts the supposed stimulant benefits in regard to the day ahead of us and suggests we all have some.
One day will turn to two, before becoming three. Schedules are no more than a loose suggestion for the Cozy Bois, and when opportunity arises the answer will always be the same.
"Get in there."