PHOTO: Cole Martin
PHOTO: Cole Martin

Vans Snowboarding in Russia: The Making of LANDLINE.

Vans is on the verge of releasing their first-ever full-length snowboard film, LANDLINE.,  and while we wait for the January 2018 full movie release date, photographer Cole Martin released a photo essay of the crews time spent in Murmansk, Russia in our latest issue to ease the interim. Traveling all over the world documenting the differing styles and personalities of the Vans snowboard team, get a closer look at one of the most anticipated films of the last decade from the eye of one of snowboarding’s most respected lensman.

Featuring quotes from Darrell Mathes, Jake Kuzyk, Danimals, Dillon Ojo, Mike Ravelson, and Cole Navin. All photos by Cole Martin. 


"Russia was the most unique, chaotic, and eye-opening trip I've been on. Amidst the general confusion, we met incredible locals. Hopefully we made a positive impact on the them and their idea of snowboarding." — Cole Navin. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“There were countless weird experiences. We didn’t know who would take kindly or negatively to our presence. One time a guy with a jug of used motor oil stumbled around the corner at a spot Jake was hitting. He was yelling and pouring it all over the snow. He motioned to pour it on the camera bags, and things escalated quickly. We diffused the situation and distracted him long enough for Jake to get his clip.” – Cole Navin. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“When the cameras came out, all sorts of weird things would start happening. For example: I'm about to drop in, and suddenly a guy chugs vodka and passes out in my path. To me, it felt like I was in the movie The Truman Show.” – Darrell Mathes. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“This is one of the most interesting places I've ever been and definitely the most memorable. For filming, the aesthetics can't be beat.” – Darrell Mathes. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“My favorite spot was our backyard down-rail at the local ski hill. It was right outside our hotel window, so every morning Jake and I would session it for half an hour to get the juices flowing.” – Dillon Ojo. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“I was the only black person in town. Everywhere I went, crews of teenage girls would look at me and giggle. A couple of people called me 'gangster rapper.'" — Dillon Ojo. PHOTO: Cole Martin

"Russia was a reality check for me. It was the furthest from 'home' I've ever felt, but I'm so thankful for that feeling, because it brought me so much perspective, seeing a community that differs so much from what I'm used to. The kids we met were amazing. So much passion for snowboarding. This is something I've come to enjoy seeing. It's amazing to find a thriving snowboard community in the northernmost town in Russia. One day we saw kids walking around town with snowboards; you don't see that many places. I hope they too find opportunities to experience other parts of the world and other snowboard communities." — Mike Ravelson. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“The spots were unique because the architecture and style of the town was so different from anywhere we had been to before.” – Mike Ravelson. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“We saw the northern lights, which was by far the most beautiful thing I’ve experienced in my life—the tunnel of the souls. It was so beautiful. Harry started screaming in excitement, and all of a sudden we realized we were surrounded by stray dogs on the outskirts of town. It was scary for a minute. Luckily we didn’t get eaten.” – Mike Ravelson. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“We all flew out from different airports and landed at different times in Murmansk. I showed up alone around midnight and was approached by some type of Russian Special Forces guy asking a lot of questions. Our guide Dany smoothed it out and he told us that, “He would be watching." I could never tell how much of it was true.” – Jake Kuzyk. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“We joked that we were living The Truman Show. It honestly felt that way. We would finally be where we wanted, about to land a trick, and things would just start happening completely out of our control. It almost felt like the town was conspiring against us. At one spot, I had gone three days in a row trying to get a trick but with bad weather. On the fourth day, as I was a few tries in, and this guy showed up out of nowhere, throwing used motor oil all over the snow and rail. We had to force him out of the way to allow me enough tries to land it, then leave before the cops showed up. On our last day, way out in the middle of nowhere, we tried to ride this old oil tank at a gas station and gun range—those things can be combined in Russian. Rounds were firing off the whole time, but it seemed far away, so we just ignored it. An hour into the session, two SUVs pulled up. Eight kids jumped out holding rifles, skulls, crosses, and bibles, blasting metal music, chugging vodka, and filming the whole thing. We guessed they were shooting some kind of music video, but we didn’t hang around long enough to find out.” – Jake Kuzyk. PHOTO: Cole Martin

Some of us were questioned by Russian KGB officers upon arrival. They decided we were cool, and let us in… There are a lot of good-looking spots in Murmansk because of the architecture. Not that many line up and work, but I think some of the coolest spots in the video may have been filmed there." — Dan Liedahl. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“I had a great time. I think, looking back, everyone would say the same. But we had some challenges that slowed productivity. We had good and bad experiences every day. We were yelled at a lot, but we got away with a lot. Jake even got away with an amazing wallride by paying off an old lady.” – Dan Liedahl. PHOTO: Cole Martin

“Riding the resort, Nordstar, at our hotel was definitely the highlight. Even just taking a run or two at the end of the night was crucial to keeping everyone loose and sane during grey days.” – Mike Rave.
“The cherry on top of snowboarding in such an amazing place was getting to spend the last night in Moscow cracking cold ones with the boys.” – Dillon Ojo. PHOTO: Cole Martin

Check out the first look at Vans’ LANDLINE. here! Follow along for more on Instagram or Facebook and the #VansLandline. Featuring the Vans snow team Pat Moore, Jamie Lynn, Arthur Longo, Darrell Mathes, Jake Kuzyk, Danimals, Dillon Ojo, Chris Roach, Sam Taxwood, Mike Ravelson, Cole Navin, and Blake Paul.

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