Caught Up With Aaron Biittner

Photo: Chris Wellhausen

Biittner slung threw the office a little bit ago, soaking up some Cali rays and putting the finishing touches on his pro model board graphics at DC. Now a proud home owner, he plans on devoting most of his summer to Tim the Toolman shit--and maybe a few shred trips. In between tossin’ the fris on the beach and hot laps at K1 racing he dished out highlights from his “busiest season ever.”

You went on a trip with [Joel] Muzzey to Austria this winter, right?
Yeah, that was fun. Me and Muzzey got caught in a little avalanche. He lost a lot of his gear, the body of his camera. Luckily no one got hurt, it wasn't as bad as it seemed at first. Lost some gear and it was a little bit of a scare so, I guess that's what we live for.

Was that your first time in Austria?
Well, it was my third time to Austria, first time to Switzerland, but we didn't really get much done in Switzerland. Austria was really fun, hanging out in Arlberg, crazy people walking around. It's amazing over there, the mountains are huge.  Everyone wants to be a downhill skier so it leaves a lot of the pow wide open since they stay on the hard pack, wearing their sweaters and sunglasses. You can find a good amount of stuff if you just look.

Photo: Andy Wright

So we've got photos to look at from Andy Wright and Colin Adair, what can we expect?
Yeah, hopefully we'll get some shots with Andy, we did a bunch of urban stuff this winter. We did a lot of DC Mountain Lab days with Colin, and some cool nighttime shoots, too.

That place is still going off, after it being pretty established?
Yeah for sure. My roommate now, Cheeseburger is his name, he works at the lab. He started working for them and keeps me updated on what they have set up.  We did some really cool stuff, like the nighttime shoots, and the Nitro Circus came up and did a couple days of shooting there too, so there was some pretty weird stuff built for that as well. Motocross tracks with rhythm sections and stuff like that. That was really fun riding unique stuff like that.

Who were you filming with this winter?
I shot with Videograss a bunch, so I'll have a part with them. And then I shot with DC, with Pierre Wikberg a lot in Utah. Jonas Carlson shot with us a bunch, we're both based out of Utah so we just tried to make things happen.

So the Videograss project worked out pretty well this season?
Yeah the Videograss project is really cool, I guess you could compare it to the KidsKnow stuff from a few years ago. Really good crew, really good jibbers, it's nice to be able to ride with people who like to hit rails. It's a little bit different than riding with all the DC guys who mainly focus on park or contest riding or backcountry. Got to change it up and get back to hitting rails in Salt Lake, shot with Justin Bennee a bunch, Darrell Mathes. My friend Sean McCormick was filming so it was just a crew of homies going out and seeing what we could do. Our first trip was up to Spokane, Washington and there was like three feet of snow in the city there.

You got a photo jumping off a cliff up there right?
Yeah, (laughs) that was kinda cool. Probably one of the biggest cliffs I've dropped and it was right in downtown. Definitely the most gripped I've been trying to drop a cliff before.

Kind of boney in there, uh?
Definitely boney and not enough run in. You couldn't ride into it because it was just really steep, you had to drop in and give it a little pop. I haven't seen the photos yet but I saw a little footy the other day. Gabe shot it and so did Cole Barash, super happy with them. That was fun.

Didn't you guys hook up a helicopter on that trip?
Yeah that was so embarrassing, because I was the guy towing Bennee off the roof, so I was running the show on the ground in the car. They totally set it up, they got permission to jump off the roof but they didn't get permission to land in this parking lot that turned out to be where all the police investigators and firemen park their cars. So I was in the parking lot and the police chief came up and started screaming at me. The helicopter is buzzing above our heads and it was so hectic. I tried explaining to him that we had permission and he asked who was in charge and I just said "he's in the helicopter." He said to make sure he could talk to him when we were finished, he said "you got five minutes" and let us keep going which was pretty cool. I hope they got the shot because it was intense. That was crazy because usually with rails you try to do it on the down low, and that was like, "look at us, come kick us out."

Where'd you go with [Nate] Christenson?
We did a bunch of days out in Logan, sledding and stuff, trying to find unique stuff out there. Just trying to find stuff that hasn't been done in the same way that everyone does it, 'cause it's pretty played out there. We'll see how those photos turned out, but I'm at least pretty happy with some of the video shots. We actually did a night shoot out there, too, we shot with [Brian]Craighill, he came out. We left the parking lot at like 6 pm, took our sleds off, drove a sled behind our snowmobiles with 6 light stands and the generator. We sessioned the jump all night, got back to our cars at 6 in the morning.

A 12 hour night session?
Yeah, and it was a blizzard all night, too. We got up there, set up a little shelter, built a fire then had to go out and gather firewood for a while, set up the jump, then had to go out and get more firewood after we had the lights and the jump all set up to keep our campfire going. We ended up sessioning the jump at probably three or four in the morning.

Who else was out there with you?
It was Jonas Carlson and me. And then Pierre Wikberg, Cheeseburger and Nick from the Mtn Lab came up to help set everything up, and then Craighill. That was one of the most memorable times of the year for sure.

Have you seen some of the results from it?
Yeah, they're really cool looking shots because it's snowing out and dark, but it's a pretty big backcountry jump.

How was it hitting that thing at night? Was it pretty dark until you were flashed up?
No, it was really well lit up actually; we had 6 light stands with 2 lights on each stand. They were all on one side of the jump on the downhill side kind of pointing uphill. There was a huge tree above it too so that was all lit up. Riding into it wasn't so cool, my goggles weren't working too well from hiking around and digging, so I was trying to hit it without my goggles on a few times, it was snowing so hard, basically just pointed at it and then tried to make it to the landing at least. That was really intense. Did front 5, front 9, a few other moves. On RedBull and SpaghettiOs. Cooked it on my sled with the can right on the pipe, get fueled up, you know?

You mentioned that Minnesota was the highlight of your rail stuff this year?
For sure. Our first trip there was probably my best one, spent a lot of time in downtown St. Paul.

You grew up freeriding at Snowbird, right?
Yeah, I grew up at the Bird. All freeriding 'til I figured out how to hit rails in the city, or tried at least. I got broke off a couple times. There wasn't even a fine line between the two, it was just Snowbird and then urban stuff.

You don't see that easy transition much with riders today, you know?
Yeah, ow there are parks everywhere, so it's easy just to get stuck at the resort all the time.

What year did you start snowboarding?
Like '92 or '91, I was 7 or 8. I was born and raised in Salt Lake, brought up at the Bird. My parents both worked there, my mom doesn't anymore but my dad still does, he's a ski instructor. I grew up skiing since I was like 2, and then just picked up on snowboarding the first time I saw other people doing it. My dad was backing it so he took me to Milo and got my first setup. One of my dad's best friends is the originator of Winterstick, Dimitri Melavich, so I was always aware of that stuff going on but I never thought I wanted to do it until I saw the other people, younger kids, out shredding.

That had to be a pretty cool place to grow up snowboarding, what was your take on it?
Yeah, definitely a really good mountain. It's kind of sheltered from the rest of the industry too, which is kinda nice. They didn't really know about contests or park riding until a little later. I probably snowboarded for five or six years before I even knew that you could do tricks. I would just go off cliffs and land sideways (laughs).

What do you have going on this summer?
Doing a week at COC (Camp of Champions) coaching and some shooting with the DC crew. That'll be fun, I'm excited to ride. Right now I'm hangin' out here, kinda surfing when the surf picks up. On vacation time, winding down from the season, it was definitely my busiest one yet as far as filming. Everyday whether we were shooting freeriding at Snowbird or at Park City trying to freeride. Didn't get enough personal days just riding with headphones and cruising though. It was really fun because we got to shoot some different stuff, little follow cams in the park, kinda capturing the realest side of snowboarding, taking runs and having fun.