Archive for February, 2010


One of my favorites; RJD2, or Ramble John ‘RJ’ Krohn, originally from Eugene Oregon.

He is on tour now… catch him if you can.


Tom Routh – Snowboarding Part 1

Chapter 1; East vs. West, 1983 – 1990

Chapter 1 wasn’t even old school – it was pre-school. This was the stage when snowboarding really was an ‘alternative’ sport. People didn’t even know what it was, and every lift line was fifty questions… Riding style and equipment was evolving constantly and dramatically. ‘Magazines’ were really underground newsletters.. and you pretty much knew everybody in the scene. Everyone involved was pioneering a new learning curve. We were the first generation, and we had no idea snowboarding was headed where it is today.

Circa 1985, Mt. Bachelor in Bend Oregon – This is a shot of my original crew, Mike Myers and John Glorioso. Unloading some fresh 1500fe swallowtails from the back of the International. Recent innovations included p-tex, metal edges, and the ‘high back’. Check out the above board review – the bit in the last paragraph describing ‘rocker’! (It took another 22 years to go full circle and realize that was actually a good idea). [Note: Shaun White wasn’t even born yet.]

Way back, before working with Jake, I was riding for Tom. In those days it was East vs. West, Burton vs. Sims, and Jake vs. Tom. Competition was king, and the two reigning teams; Sims and Burton were battling..

The ’88 U.S. Open was my first Men’s Pro Worldcup, at the invincible age of 17. In the above shot pushing nearly 60mph in the downhill. Note the strategic duct tape wrap on my boots – the high wrap on the front boot for enhanced high speed stability… errr. The board was a hand-made protoype DH competition model with virtually no tip or tail at all. This was crazy progressive in the day. I got it the day before the event – and only had time to ride it for a few runs that morning before dropping in for the race. This was the 1st board that was stable cruising big turns at 40+ mph. I remember making the first few turns and just thinking, ‘whoa! this is the next level’.

Check out the roster of characters from the 1988 U.S. Open at Stratton…

Mt. Bachelor was the west coast epicenter at the time. ‘Locals’ included Craig Kelly, Chis Klug, Rob Morrow, Sean Dillard, Scott Downey, Shannon Melhuse, Mike Renquet, Sanders Nye, Todd VanBelkum, Chris Karol, Kris Jamieson… and the list went on. A regional competition was practically a world cup with the local talent stack up. We owned the mountain, and were all pushing each other. Looking back, those were the golden years of snowboarding progression.

Check out the progression from ISM to TWS snowboarding in just 3 years. I got the cover of issue #3 in ’88 riding a horizontal lam. 1650 ‘kidwell’ roundtail.

Pre-1990 there were no sponsored ‘free -riders’. Everything was driven by contest results. The below shots show the vertical lam. kidwell, next to what looks like a 1610 Blade. The halfpipe shot is riding the kidwell in spring 1989.

This last shot from 89/90 was riding a 1712 Blade, with the black carbon base. I had been training GS that day, and hit this one jump for the photog. on the way to the lodge.

The next year Sims Snowboards activities were frozen by the courts during a legal dispute with Vision Street Wear. Sims never really recovered, and this marked a pivotal change in the industry/marketplace. Tom Sims played a huge role in the formative years of our sport, and deserves more recognition than he gets. Note to modern groms; respect your heritage. You would not be doing what you’re doing today without the generations of progression that came before you.


FYi in Snowstyle

A recent interview in Snowstyle (Japan).

I don’t really remember what I said… and I don’t really know what it says… but I’m sure I said something witty at least once.


Burton x FYi x fragment = [ak]457

Introducing (officially) [ak]457.
What is it? A joint collaboration between Burton Japan, FYi, and fragment… [ak] 457 can be best described as technical equipment for mountain enthusiasts. It’s Function with a capital F. It’s pure backcountry gear. And like many of the best things in life, it’s only available in Japan…
The purpose built [ak] Guide Jacket returns in 2010, with a special limited production run for Japan. We designed this jacket specifically for the working pro’s that spend 100+ days a year guiding the rest of us to the goods. A very small number of the uber-technical guide jackets have hit Tokyo.. and will be very hard to get ahold of without some serious underground connections.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for the 457 program (you have to realize that we are working over 2 years ahead of what’s hitting the marketplace). The 2011 line is already locked, and we’re deep into 2012 currently. Many good things to come… stay tuned to frequency 457.

[ak] underground – [P]Al Lande

Our Pal, Alan Lande, waving to the camera on a recent visit to the Achenbach zone.
PAL is a Whistler O.G., and is still charging!

2010 winter games

Today kicks off the opening ceremonies for the 2010 winter games (finally)!
After enduring years of politics, planning, road construction, and speculation of all kinds… we can actually get down to the business of the games themselves. It’s now all about the athlete’s and their stories of glory and tragedy that are about to unfold..
Among the bills for the olympic build-up was nearly $1B for badly needed improvements to the Sea to Sky highway (which is now one of the most spectacular roads in North America). It’s also reported to be the single largest security detail in Canadian history (est. at $900M+), that includes everything from special forces creeping the backcountry, NORAD surveillance from above, Navy SEALS diving in the harbors, and Blackhawk helicopters packing the heliports.
Big brother is watching.

Google Earth

FYi – Birken

We finally bounced home after a triple tour of duty.

Shhhh. (Birken is sooo quiet!)

FYi – Hanoi

This week we are in Hanoi, Viet Nam working with Patagonia on their 2011 Alpine Climbing outerwear program. The factory is encapsulated by its own botanical gardens. With beautiful modern buildings and floor to ceiling glass on all sides. They even have a massive bird sanctuary full of exotic bipedals… A sweat shop? I think not.

Jef Stokes is a man with a vision, and a real piece of work.
Best coffee in Hanoi: Cafe Mai
Traditional Vietnamese coffee is some of the best in the world. Very smooth, and a unique sweet flavor unlike any other bean I’ve had..
Scooter madness! Hanoi has a population around 8million. Every day, the rush hour commute includes -at least- 5,000,000 scooters weaving and dodging through traffic. It’s common to see entire families of four or five people on one scooter. Cargo can include anything; trees, lumber, produce, an engine block… anything you can imagine that can be strapped to a scooter. Good to go.