Massachusetts-bred turned SLC-transplant, Ted Borland, is dedicated to his craft to say the least. Widely-regarded as the most committed pro snowboarder alive, Ted actually just turned pro this past July at the High Cascade Snowboard Camp skatepark, a move long overdue and very much appreciated by Ted's peers. Plainly put, Ted does the work…gladly. He kicks off his winter up at The Bonezone at Brighton around October, cutting logs, setting up rails and hiking incessantly up and down the hill in order to get it ready for the general public. Once the cold months fully set in, Ted's on the road incessantly if there's not good snow in Salt Lake City, and last season, Ted spent his winter filming for SNOWBOARDER Magazine's new release, Pepper and his travels took him far and wide. After filming is done, Ted jets up to High Cascade Snowboard Camp to work for the summer before returning home to prepare to do it all over again. Keep an eye out for Ted's new video part, because it's sure to be a stunner and take a minute to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Ted travels the country all winter and summer in his kitted out Dodge Ram. —T. Bird
Ted rides more than 99.9% of snowboarders alive and luckily for him, he's got himself a trusty ol' steed to get him where he needs to be. It comes in the form of a 1994 Dodge Ram B250 conversion van. Ted says, "Her name's Cleopatra. I got her in April of 2013 for $1,350.00 It had 129,000 miles on it when I got it, and is just now creeping up to 200,000." Cleopatra has some miles under her and since 2013, can be attributed in some way, shape or form to all of Ted's insane and awe-inspiring video parts.
As Ted puts it, "I got Cleo almost out of desperation. Winter was over and summer at Hood was on the horizon. I had just sold my little truck that was almost broken down so I was without a vehicle. I knew that I wanted a van but I didn't really have the funds for something fancy and I also didn't have the patience to wait around for 'the right van' to pop up, so I found this thing listed online without any pictures and just went for it. I knew it could fit a ton of stuff and it had a fold down bed in the back, so I figured if it lasted me the summer and the fall then it would be worth it. 4 years and almost 70,000 miles later and she's still kicking!"
Most people think of Adventuremobiles in the form of a truck with a camper shell, or a Sprinter-style vehicle. While those are certainly popular, they also come at a hefty price, and as Ted explains, there are other options in which one can make it affordable and efficient when looking for an Adventuremobile of their own. "I learned right away that these types of vans can be really awesome. If you think about it, the people that buy these things new only buy them to go on family vacations or something, so most of the time, people have other vehicles and these stay in good shape. Most snowboarders just never consider getting them because they don't normally come with 4-wheel drive. I love it, though. I can fit more than enough gear in it for almost any type of adventure. If it's summer, its a camping/vacation vehicle. If it's winter, it can fit enough gear and people for most snowboard missions. And I grew up driving in the harsh New England winters, so I'm not some dipshit that doesn't know how to drive in the snow. I can handle some friggin' weather without needing 4WD all the time."
For Ted, his Adventuremobile was never meant to simply be that, so his DIY-ing was more already DID. He utilizes Cleopatra as a tool of his trade, a way to do his job while also utilizing the vehicle in the off-season as well and he runs it basically stock, as is, off the lot. He says, "I was never an Adventuremobile guy before this, but was always interested in the van lifestyle. It's nice to have everything you need just behind the driver's seat. I did some light customizations for storage and decorations, but these vans already have a lot of personality so I just let her character build on her own. Luckily, conversion vans come pre-converted, so not much set up was required!"
Although Cleo isn't kitted out with a kitchen, bathroom or lofted bunk-style bed, she's got some cool shit going on once inside. Ted says, "It came with a TV/VCR and an electronic folding bed setup. It also came with a lot of really nice hardwood interior pieces and some nice burgundy upholstery. She came stock as a classy lady. It had side steps to get in but I ripped those puppies off to make it look a little less rapey. Other than that, we built a few little storage cubbies out of wood. One goes at the foot of the bed on my side and has a big cushion on it, basically so I can fit comfortably on the bed because it's a little short for a guy my size. Then there are some pull-out shelves down below the bed and removable cubbies up front for camping supplies or whatever. A big Yakima box up top nowadays, too. Also, I got some pretty nice tires since she's only 2WD. They save me during the winter 'cause Cleo's gotta get through some crazy storm drives sometimes. I've also added a ton of little trinkets all over the dash…and a few stickers, obviously."
Like I said, Ted uses this thing as a full-on work truck in the winter. Summers are for fun, but winters are for full-on function. "Well, she's different in the winter than the summer time. During the winter, she's not really livable. She's more like a video part utility vehicle. Drop-in ramp up top, winch inside, shovels and tools under the bed, and gear everywhere else. The seat will go up too so we can pile people in there for filming missions. I wouldn't say she has the best insulation so I've never slept in there during the dead of winter, but in the summertime, you could fully live in there if you really wanted to. We have a little system for camping and things. Most of the time, we'll have to move a few things on and off the bed in order to sleep, but other than that it's good to go. Camping is great, but the only time we've really lived in it was in Govy for two months. We kept our clothes under the bed, some cooking supplies and things in the middle, and kept snowboard gear strictly in the roof box to not contaminate ourselves with wet boots. We parked outside of Cobra Dogs and showered and made most of our meals at Cory Grove's house. It was me, Nirvana Ortanez and our dog Louis (who was a newborn puppy at the time) in there for about two months and we survived, haha."
As for where Cleo's taken Ted and his co-pilots? The list is long. "Oh man. There's been a bunch, obviously. The first weekend I had it was during the Holy Bowly in Park City, so it was the Mervin party bus for a few nights. Then, the first winter that I had it we did two cross-country road trips in it pretty much consecutively. Drove to the east coast in December, snow lasted for a week so we spent Christmas there and then drove to Minnesota. From there, I drove solo (straight shot, 21 hours) back to SLC during a snowstorm so I could spend time with Nirv for a day before I had to be in Washington to meet up with Jesse Burtner and crew. Did a full loop in the PNW for two weeks and headed back to SLC. The next day or so, Boston got five feet of snow, so Parker Duke and I did a full 36-hour straight drive back to the east coast, right after we got back from the northwest. No stopping except for gas. We put the bed down and took turns napping while the other drove and made it just before another giant snowstorm rolled through. We then spent the next two months filming in New England with a revolving door of Think Thank rippers staying at my parents' house and piling into the van to film every day. We put it through the ringer. I even used it as a jump one time to get onto a handrail. Unfortunately, I blew the tranny at the end of the trip, got stuck at home for another few weeks while that got sorted, then drove it home to SLC. It was a seriously long and incredible journey for Cleo that winter. Since then, I've done a few long drives for trips in it, but I don't think I wanna put myself through that much driving in one winter again, haha."
As for the future of Cleo and Ted's relationship? Only time will tell. "This might sound sad, but I'm currently looking for another vehicle. I still plan on keeping the van for as long as she'll run, which should still be a while, but instead of being my only vehicle, I want to let this old lady relax a little and just take her on vacations that she really wants to go on. I'll still use her for snowboarding around SLC and camping and summer road trips, but I need something with a little more 4WD and reliability for the long run. I worked up in Park City this summer, and I'm sure that if you've ever driven up Parley's Canyon, you'll know how hard that is on a vehicle to be doing it every day. And that goes especially for an old, heavy conversion van. Also, that will give me more time to work on it and keep it fresh and clean for more years to come! This van definitely means a lot to me, and Cleo is proof that you don't need to spend a ton of money to get something that treats you well!"