Paul Schmitt & Terry Kidwell rebuild the original Kidwell Rountail from 1985. This board was a game changer. First Pro signature board ever. Also the first pure freestyle board. And the first year the highback was introduced. A pivotal time for snowboarding. Huge respect to both of these guys. -TR
Click on the KNOWMAG ART below and toggle to page 49 to check a short story preview to an ongoing FYi x ENDVR collaboration on board design. Prototype v2.0 is in the works now. Stay tuned for more info. -TR
30 Years ago the first Snowboarding World Championships was held at Soda Springs in Tahoe. That was also the event that Tom Sims built the first [snow] halfpipe ever. Last weekend was the 30 yr. anniversary of that event, which was marked by the Tom Sims Retro World Championships! Legends came out of the woodwork including; Jeff Fulton, Scott Clum, Terry Kidwell, Chris Roach, Scott Downey, Bob Klein, Kevin Delaney, Keith Kimmel, Evan Feen, Shawn Farmer, Dennis Nazari, Mike Chantrey, even Dave Weaver ..and more. I used to travel, ride and compete with these guys. We all shared the first chapter of snowboarding together. We took it for granted at the time, but I think we all realize now how great it was to be part of something that really redefined who we are. Snowboarding literally changed our lives. We had a fantastic weekend, recreating the Super G and ditch,err I mean halfpipe of 30 yrs ago. A bunch of old guys charging on 25-30 year old equipment! (Imagine going 50mph on 30yr old plastic bindings that broke a lot when they were new!!) The event also marked the on-snow memorial for Tom Sims. He would have been stoked on the turn-out and all the old Sims boards put back into action in his honor. [Thanks Tom!]
Instant flashback running into all these vintage boards at the show. Just as I was thinking ‘wow, did Kidwell sell off his whole quiver?’, I turned the corner and ran into TK himself. I’ve pretty much ridden versions of every board here. Was pretty cool to see a collection like this.. makes it feel like yesterday. TR
I recently got the opportunity to get back to my roots, and drop in on Tom Sims in California. The first time we rode together was back in 1984. Here we are 27 years later..
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.