I was intimidated when I first met Ian. At the time I was just another naive college freshman, eager for opportunities but largely unaware of how to make them happen. Ian, on the other hand, had figured it out. I remember thinking that someone must have given him the keys to the snowboarding industry. Sure, Burlington, VT is largely considered a small east coast snowboarding haven, but Ian’s connections and knowledge went far beyond just our local Green Mountain community. He had already infiltrated Quebec and beyond as well. His production company, After Hours, had produced many short films with riders and locations spanning the full spectrum of snowboarding as I knew it.
However, it wasn’t only his connections and prowess behind the lens that stood out to me, more than anything it was his willingness to support others. It was Ian that dragged me along with him on many of my early photography expeditions. He would coordinate lodging, locations, meals, and riders all across New England with a casual confidence that still impresses me today. In the years since Ian has grown to become a great friend. From the blistering cold nights in Old Quebec City to soggy days on Mt. Baker, Ian has been there with a dialed plan, a grip of ricks, and a warm smile to keep the crew going. Today, he is the principle filmer and director for 686 along with a healthy dose of side projects that would keep any hard worker busy. He has driven back and forth across the country more than anyone I know, and you can be sure he’s done it all with a smile stretched ear to ear. If one thing is certain, he’s nowhere near done yet. — Owen Ringwall
Birthdate: January 10th, 1991
Current title: Filmmaker & Director at Afterhours Creative and 686 Technical Apparel
What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.
Every day is unique! Winter mainly involves long drives, early mornings with Sarge & the crew, and weeks spent capturing life in the backcountry or at Mt Baker. Some days, we’re somewhere in the city–searching for spots. Other times, I’m down in LA, working in the Westlife studio—or in my own studio, cooking something up.
At this point, I’m really editing and developing projects or commercial stuff year-round–constantly bouncing concepts and project specifics back and forth with my collaborator’s in-between shoots. We’ve developed a great circular workflow and it provides some really fun days.
After finishing up Rabbit Hole, I worked on a short film focused on smooth follow shots in the backcountry and on the resort–that will be out with TWS later this year. We also are working on a design process documentary and a commercial series for the new 686 gear. Everything has its own creative process and is a unique experience.
Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I grew up in the Vermont/ New Hampshire/ Mass trifecta, but have spent the majority of my life in Northern VT. These days I bounce back and forth between Burlington VT and Washington State/ Mt Baker Ski Area.
How did you start snowboarding?
I started riding when I was 10 on the east coast. I discovered some early videos from Robotfood, Sugarshack, Forum, and Brothers Factory soon after and was instantly hooked! I ended up spending many years riding Sugarbush before broadening my horizons.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?
I just loved riding, the tightly-knit communities in snowboarding, and the traveling involved, so it became pretty apparent to me that creating video projects was exactly what I wanted to do. Everything happened naturally.
And how did you make that happen?
I started off making several road trip-centered films and an online series, Afterhours, and worked on a few freelance projects with Rome and at Mt Hood for a few different companies. One thing lead to the next and I ended up working with Westlife Distribution/ 686 as their first cinematographer/ editor.
For the past 5+ years, we’ve worked together on dozens of short film projects, branded projects, and endless campaign content for their annual collections. I was also fortunate to be able to move around and to really try out living in different areas–California, Oregon, Washington, etc.
Somewhat recently, I decided to re-launch Afterhours as a small creative studio and have been working on client side-work for snow/outdoor brands. It’s been a great mixture of elements over the years and I’ve learned a lot about how brands function internally throughout it all.
Passion-based projects are everything.
Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?
It’s been really fun to discover other filmmakers in surf, skate, & snow who have taken a step outside of traditional video formats, and have worked on creating their own style. These days I’m heavily inspired by Alex Craig, Corey Adams, Joe G/Globe, Kai Neville, HILLTON, Eskimo, Farm League, Animals duo, Mark Wiitanen, Cole Barash, Ian Rigby, Chip Taylor, Matt Kleiner, and many others.
Not to mention, Patrick McCarthy, who has been endlessly inspiring to follow around in the backcountry, and just a great friend overall.
What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?
I hope to continue releasing unique projects that are different than everything else that comes out that year–keeping things fresh and forward-moving.
With 686, our small creation team–originally Brent Sandor, Pat McCarthy, George Covalla, Hoffman and myself–has definitely helped to visually redefine and empower 686’s / Mike West’s vision over the years. That’s been a very cool process to watch, as all of the moving pieces connect.
What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
I’ve been developing a biz plan for a travel startup, heavily influenced by film & photo, and hope to get rolling soon. I’m also writing a few short films that are more structured and planned out than anything I’ve made so far. In general, I just hope to continue to bridge my current work towards new & different avenues in the future. Otherwise, more traveling with good people and exploring new places with cameras.
Anyone you’d like to thank?
My family and my partner in crime, Annie Mac, for everything. Pat McCarthy, Brent Sandor, Mike West, George, Hoffman, Forest, Luebke, Belzile, Wainhouse, Tarbell, Mary, Parker, King and the entire 686 family. Eliah and Amy at Mt Baker Ski Area. Brennon at Nikwax and JM at Coalatree. Everyone at Snowboarder, TWS and Method Mag. Danny Grant at The Orchard. Markass, Cam Pierce, Owen Ringwall, Birk, Brad Andrew, Austin Young, Yale Cousino, John Murphy, Riley Nickerson, Luke Haddock, Ralph Kucharek and everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with or running into along the way.