It Ain’t Easy

How the 2006 homey video unassumingly introduced snowboarding’s elite

Words: Tanner Pendleton

Bode Merrill, Chris Grenier, Jake OE, Lucas Magoon, Scott Stevens, Scotty Lago, Joe Sexton, Chris Beresford, Chas Guldemond, Chris Carr, Austen Granger, Big Mike Gonsalves, Jonas Michilot, Jason Newman. Sounds like a pretty crazy cast for a movie right? Well guess what—this movie was made in 2006, pioneered by a young man named Adam Molinski, armed with a super 16 mm camera and a Mini DV video camera. It was called It Ain't Easy and it unassumingly introduced a crew that would soon be amongst snowboarding's elite.

Nowadays, getting your hands on a decent video camera is no problem. It seems like every crew across the country has a filmer posted up on the down bar with a giant fisheye. This phenomenon has led to a slew of web edits, full parts, and micro-movies.  Making it today could be as easy as uploading your season edit to YouTube. But back in the not-so-distant-day, not everyone had a legit filming setup, and the idea of having an online "full part" hadn't fully registered. This was before Ethan Deiss blew up from his standout online part, before Mike Rav and the Loonatics created an online frenzy, before the High Cascade session edits could determine your snowboard career. If you were trying to put your moves down on camera and get noticed you had to film for a full-length movie. In the early two thousands, a talented young filmmaker named Adam Molinski—with a handful of winters worth of film and two DVD's to his name—was the man to go to for up-and-comers looking for somewhere to display their skills.

Molinski must have had a crystal ball that showed him the future of snowboarding. There's no other explanation for how he assembled such a diverse and talented group of riders from all over the country. At that time, Bode Merrill was totally unknown to the snowboard industry—quietly progressing his skills in the streets of SLC and Utah backcountry. Chris Grenier was riding for Academy Snowboards and living out of his truck. Scott Stevens, Chas Guldemond, Jake OE, Chris Beresford—none of these guys were the ripping pro-boarders you think of today. Well they all ripped, they just hadn't been noticed yet.  They were just a bunch of young kids obsessed with snowboarding, living with their parents and trying to make it through high school. Flash forward to present day and they are gracing the covers of magazines, standing on contest podiums, and closing out your favorite movies. Before any of this happened they all appeared in the same movie together.

Chris Grenier photo Mike Azevedo

Chris Grenier, frontside 50-50 through a quad kink, circa 2006. PHOTO: Mike Azevedo

Throughout the film there's a sincere level of hype. After every hammer there are joyous screams and celebrations. Gaps are filled with snippets of resort riding madness. It was like Robot Food, Kingpin, and Neoproto all rolled into one. Grenier opens the movie to Notorious B.I.G and you know it's on! In the middle you have Scott Stevens with my personal favorite part, Jonas Michilot rides to the Animal Collective with cameos from Jake OE and Joe Sexton, and Bode shuts it down with a surprisingly awesome and fitting Madonna song. His part was a medley of 900's into powder, massive handrails, and all sorts of creative stunts. At one point he does a perfect front board on a triple kink and Grenier turns the camera around screaming, "First try bitches!!!" Other notable moments include Chris Carr being drunk and peeing his pants in the intro, Granger's fully clothed hot tub scene, Big Mike and Carr riding baby snowboards at Loon, and Ted Lavoie's death defying kink ledge ender. You could tell the amount of work and fun that was going into it. Everyone was pushing each other to take it a little bit further and think a little bit differently—this influence still shows in their snowboarding today.

Watch It Ain't Easy. You'll see Molinski's last snowboard video ever, after It Ain't Easy he called it quits to study architecture and travel the world. Then get a video camera and make something. Putting together a crew and working towards a finished project is an amazing experience. It doesn't have to be serious or game changing because no matter you'll travel to new places and meet new people—you never know how they might influence your snowboarding or lifestyle down the road.


This article originally appeared in the December 2013 print issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding. If you’re down, subscribe to the mag: