Snowtopia 99: Regis Rolland And Terry Kidwell Honored

On the final night of the TransWorld Media Snowboard Industry Conference and Powderquest, French snowboard pioneer Regis Rolland and former World Halfpipe Champion Terry Kidwell were presented the annual Tranny Award, an award given to members of the snowboard industry who have had a life-time impact on the sport.

Rolland was awarded the first Tranny of the evening, and industry veteran and French Canadian Marco Pilotto gave a short introduction that included with a compilation of the three Apocalypse Surf movies that were filmed in the early 1980s. Riding on a Winterstick swallowtail, Rolland’s epic riding loosely followed a plot line that include him getting chased by a group of evil mono skiers. His yellow outfit and effortless powder turning style inspired the entire European snowboard scene. He is considered the Godfather of European snowboarding.

With the lack of a snowboard brand in France, Rolland began making his own Apocalypse brand, and even moved the company to New York for several years, before returning to France and founding A Snowboards. The brand was sold to Grand Chavin (makers of Hot and Hammer snowboards), which in turn was just bought by the Rossignol Group. Rolland also owns a distribution company that markets and sells Northwave boots and Drake bindings in France.

In a heavy French accent and apologizing for his poor English, Rolland thanked the audience, then invited long-time French pro snowboard legend Serge Vitelli to join him on stage where the two traded several stories about each other.

Following Rolland and Vitelli, Transworld Snowboarding Founding Editor Kevin Kinnear began the second Tranny-award presentation to Terry Kidwell by reading a letter his parents wrote about him. They said that Kidwell excelled in baseball and then pool in his younger years. But after classmate Bob Klein introduced Kidwell to snowboarding in the ninth grade, he quickly became snowboarding’s earliest superstar taking four freestyle world championships and three overall world championships.

After Kinnear presented Kidwell’s history, long-time sponsor (and fellow Tranny Award recipient) Tom Sims also told some stories about Kidwell, such as the fact that certain snowboard companies were threatening to pull their advertising from International Snowboard Magazine because it showed too much freestyle riding and Kidwell shots. He also told of how the first freestyle and halfpipe riding was born in a Tahoe trash dump where Kidwell and friends built the first snowboard halfpipe ever. Besides having the first pro model in snowboarding, Kidwell influenced Sims to design the first roundtail snowboard (previously, almost all snowboards had swallowtails).

Following Sims, legendary reclusive pro snowboarder Craig Kelly also talked about Kidwell, and said how he remembered the first time he met Kidwell and watched him snowboard. Later, the two were on the same team and competed against each other many times. One time in particular stood out for Kelly, when the two went to the first world championships held in Italy and Switzerland. In Kelly’s specialty, the slalom, the two met in the quarter finals where Craig looked back and was startled to see Kidwell right next to him. Kelly then ran into his next gate and was knocked out of the competition and Kidwell won it. The two later met in the mogul competition (which Kelly called, “the most senseless snowboard discipline ever,”) and Kelly ended up winning that event.

Finally, the two met one more time in the halfpipe finals, and Kidwell ended up in first and Kelly second. “If I had it my way, I’d always be second and he’d always be first,” Kelly ended his speech saying.

Kidwell then got up and in a deeply heartfelt and inspired speech, thanked all his sponsors and friends for all the support and enjoyment he’d gotten from snowboarding. “I love snowboarding, it’s my life. I am and always will be a pro snowboarder,” he said to a standing ovation.