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Rats in Russia – An Impromptu Mission to Murmansk

Words by Filipp Ananin (translated to Canadian by Sean Genovese). Photos by Egor Namaev, Filipp and Dima

Late in the Spring, Egor and I were sitting together and we had a last minute idea to go to Mumansk in the north of Russia.  No filmer, no car, no plan… just go. We bought our plane tickets, packed our boards and shovels, grabbed our camera, then were on our way.  Once we arrived we saw how much snow was there and knew it was going to be good!  We got settled in at our apartment, then decided to head out to the local park to loosen up and slide around after the long trip. 

That’s were we met Dima, a local rider who ended up showing us around. 

Little did we know, there was a great spot right next to the place we were staying. 

We started out there getting some shots, and then it was on!  Since it was just us, we had to do everything in threes; once on HD, another for the photo, and again for VHS.

There were a lot of things we had to work out along the way on this trip. 

Riding and taking turns, finding spots and exploring the town on public transit… and a lot of walking. 

We had to work for every clip.  

It was challenging… and the weather wasn’t always perfect but it was a great experience.  Now all we need to decide which city we’ll go to next!

Thanks to the people that helped make the trip happen —  Max @ Radical Distribution, DWD and FIX bindings.  Respect.

Easy Living: Spring Trip

Think Thank We Went to Russia LOL

Sage Kotsenburg’s The Otherside: Episode 2

In Episode 2, Sage and crew head behind the iron curtain to Bosnia and Russia, where snowboarding unites!

Defenders of Awesome – Mother Russia Edition

First capitalism and now Capita. Russian regional riders Victor Teymurov & Egor Mamaev hold it down in the streets for the mother land.

Dimi Shubin’s Cosmoboarding

Not 100% sure why this is called cosmoboarding seeing as their was nothing having to do with space in it. Who cares. Check out Russian rider, Dimi Shubin, getting clipped up at his local hill and in the streets.

Russia Unveils Shred-tastic 100 Ruble Note

ru22fx

As part of the 2014 Sochi Olympic hype train, Russia has released a special 100 ruble note depicting a snowboarder on the front and the Fisht Olympic stadium on the back. “Fisht” totally sounds like what Sean Connery punches people with.

You can pick one up on eBay for $17, but just keep in mind 100 rubles is about $3.

Red Alert: Denis “Bonus” Leontyev

It seems the Internet gives him mixed reviews but we like this guy. He’s like a short, Russian Mike Cassanova.

The World of Teasers

Either we’re totally blowing it by not paying close enough attention, or just not cool enough to get these global teasers submitted to us, but it seems several countries around the world also have crews that make videos. So, in an meek attempt to save face, here are a few of the hottest teases to drop in the past few days.

First up, from our neighbors to the north is Deja Vu. You should be excited about this because 1) rails stunts obviously give you all boners and 2) it’s a heavy crew of the gnarliest Canadian boarders around.

From Japan, a place where they have better powder, better food and generally better life than us comes “I’ve Been Working on the Road”

And finally, we have Siberian Wild, from Russia. A place that if it weren’t for Vodka, would be completely deserted.

Hopefully you’ve gained a slight amount of culture from this post, or if nothing else, wasted ten minutes of your work day.

Gingervitus: Thank You, Airblaster – Спасибо, Airblaster

The first trip I went on with Airblaster a few years back to Mt. Hood was not quite what I expected. I was accustomed to trips where the general stress level is higher than I prefer, riders are hustling to get shots by any means and team managers have planned agendas including little to no sleep and massive quantities of energy drinks. Airblaster rides a different pony. We slept in, we drank coffee while Jesse Grandkoski made us pancakes, and we played music and games. It was almost like snowboarding had taken a back seat to enjoying each other’s company. It was a welcome change and one of the best trips ever, even though it poured rain almost everyday. Enjoying people for who they are, experience for what they are and turning down the suck of filming a video part- that’s what up.


This is the best part about running a rad company. Your answerer and Airblaster co-founder Jesse Grandkoski. In Russia. Photo courtesy Airblaster

Hi Jesse. What’s up with the new Airblaster video?

The name of the movie is Thank You, Baby and the main feature in the video is a fifteen-minute film about our trip to Russia. It was Brandon Cocard, Nick Dirks, Austin Will, Kipp Hinkley and myself. We just took a trip to Russia and made a film about it. It was a two-week trip with travel so we spent about ten or eleven days on the ground in Russia.

Where did the idea come from to do a short video based on one trip from the winter?

[There are] videos like The Art of Flight coming out this winter and a whole bunch of other videos that are produced by professionals with tons of sponsorship dollars, over 20 guys filming full-on for the entire year, a full-time filming and editing staff making it into an awesome movie with tons of great riding. We understand that as small company by itself with the budget we have, we really can’t compete with that. It’s also not really the type of snowboarding that we’re promoting, which is going out and have fun with you friends. So a lot of it [for us] is just about documenting the experience of a snowboard trip. What you get when you see one of the top five movies is a very polished final product and a lot of the travel and personality of the riders gets cut out. All that is left are the awesome riding shots. What we’re trying to do is create a project where we document the entire experience of a snowboard trip with your friends. Anybody who has been on a snowboard trip with their friends knows that the snowboard aspect can be really good or really bad, but if you’re with the right people it will always be an awesome trip. So that’s our idea.


Camel air. What the people want to see. Photo: Kipp Hinkley

There seems to be a relatively new demand in viewership for not just the banger shots but the story behind them as well.

My first response to that is that a lot of people claim they are going to do that, and even if the style of editing is a little different, they usually fall back into that same pattern. There is a reason why that pattern works- [of] showing one guy with three minutes of his best stuff. [It’s] because the core kids that are dissecting his stuff are trying to learn new tricks everyday and that’s what they want to see. It is awesome to watch but I do think that especially with certain riders, people want to know not only what they can do on their snowboard, but who are they? Especially if someone is your hero because of what they can do on their snowboard, you also want to know what their personality is like.

Is it a different type of viewer, or is it changing?

You have to look at both ends of the spectrum. You look at my Mom who doesn’t know anything about snowboarding tricks but obviously even to [her], she can watch somebody going off a 50-foot cliff and rip a powder turn and you know that is going to stoke [her] out. The other side of the spectrum is the kids, and we’ve all been there; where snowboarding is your life all you want to do is learn more tricks. They are so focused on watching movies, reading the magazines and they want to know all about snowboarding and the tricks. Later you want to know about personalities. In a lot of ways I think they are the same person. One thing we’ve always tried to do with our movies is make them so mom and dad can watch them, or little brother who skis, or anyone who is outside of the core of snowboarding. We are trying to tell a story about a trip not just the core tricks of snowboarding, so in a way we’ve kind of broadened the audience it will appeal to by presenting an experience. For my Mom, if you were to show her The Art of Flight, she would probably be wowed for the first ten minutes, but then she would get really bored. To a person who doesn’t snowboard all that stuff begins to look the same.


“The crew”. Photo courtesy Airblaster

How did the crew come together?

We just invited all of our team to do it and some people had prior engagements and some didn’t. Ben Lynch was going to come but he got injured just before the trip and couldn’t snowboard. We invited our team and we kind of had our crew.

Why Russia?
We’ve always wanted to go there, it’s a crazy place and we have cool distributors there.

Was it chosen as more of a destination rather than for snow conditions?

For this trip, everybody was focused on- we get to go on a trip to Russia and we get to snowboard. So in that order, we are going to Russia and we get to snowboard. The snow conditions are always going to be a variable, so general yeah with our movies we are obviously shooting for going out and getting awesome snowboarding at awesome places, but there are a lot of variables when you travel internationally. You’re relying on a lot of people to point you in the right direction for the right snow and so it’s a bit more of a gamble.


Photo: Kipp Hinkley

What was it like there?

Russia was crazy because there is a pretty heavy vibe there. You’ll see it when you watch the movie. You’ve got Airblaster, that keeps things lighthearted, fun and not to serious. We’re going into Russia, which the easiest way to explain it is, they’ve had 200 years or so of authoritarian rule in one form or another. For a long time there has been a lot of heavy-handed rule and authoritarian government and that really takes a toll on the culture and the people. So even though Russia is now pretty much wide open and there is a lot of freedom, there is still a heavy vibe that pervades. There is a lot of history, it’s a free country now but you still have that history. It has a heavy vibe. When you walk down the street you don’t see a lot of people laughing out loud and slapping each other on the back.

Everybody we ran into was awesome gracious hosts. But I don’t think they were quite on the same page that we were. [For example] we went to this little park and there were some riders there that we were supposed to meet up with. By our standards they were pretty darn serious. There was a teeny park with a little line of four jumps and three rails and we thought, cool let’s rip this place and look around. They were all super gangster style, hitting the line very seriously and trying to throw down their best tricks. When you watch the movie there is definitely some oil and water colliding when Airblaster went to Russia. We were just there to have fun with our friends and it’s kind of a serious culture.


Friends! photo courtesy Airblaster

Did you meet a lot of snowboarders there?

We did. We went to this region in the mountains because Moscow is pretty flat and you’re not allowed to snowboard there. It is a tourist zone but they had just had a terrorist attack at a ski resort in the same region. Someone blew up a chair on pretty much the biggest resort in Russia. They blew up a lift tower and killed a car full of people. Nobody really knew why and I don’t think anybody claimed responsibility.

This is the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, which are the Caucasus Mountains. It is near Chechnya where the Russians [have tried] to take it over and the mountainous people are always fighting back and there is a lot of internal conflict. We went out to this area that is normally a tourist area but when we were there is was pretty much a ghost town. The first day we were there the power and the lifts weren’t running so we hopped on ATV’s and rallied up the mountain. In terms of snowboarding conditions, yeah that trip was definitely not that great. But we had so many experiences that were crazy and awesome. Like I said, if you travel with good people any day that you’re traveling or on a trip, you will have fun.


Photo: Kipp Hinkley

Where can people see the movie or get their hands on a copy?

Just got to myairblaster.com and if you buy something on the online store you’ll get a free copy as soon as the movie is available on DVD.

Bonus!

Yeah it’s pretty much free content but I think there is a lot of stuff on there that people will enjoy. The movie consists of the Thank You, Baby edit, there is another edit of snowboarding powder at Baldface and an edit of summer skateboarding with Nick and Jed. Oh and a bunch of extra stuff on there too.

Is there a message in this video?

Yeah just go have fun on your snowboard with your friends.


Nick and Jesse, digging Russia. Photo courtesy Airblaster

Airblaster’s Thank You, Baby Teaser

This year’s video project from Airblaster takes a couple of miscreants to a place when the vodka flows like wine and apparently there are camels on hill. Russia.

The Best Russian Street Riding Video, Ever

People think I’m a total asshole. In fact, some Eurotrash dipshit called me out for it just the other day. Anyway, all asshole aside, this video is full-on awesome. Absolutely in my top three for the year. Here are ten reasons why…

1. Russia, have you ever tried being from Russia? Have you ever tried having fun in Russia?

2. The intro is slow and painful and then bang! New Wave Techno, uber-slowmo-induced awesomeness.

3. Originality? This is what it looks like. How can I tell? These kids are from Mars, but they edit better than 99% of you.

4. Rocket Ships. Are you into snowboarding? Are you into fun things? Were you a kid once? Then you better have an appreciation for rocket ships.

5. The snowboarding totally sucks and I didn’t even notice. I was too busy having a total fucking blast watching this video.

6. 1:12, I know that dreaded fool fell. But, arms up for victory. He defeated the CCCP and the KGB by showing individuality with them dreads right? Take note Americans, dreads are only cool if you’re risking something by having them.

7. Did I say Russia? Who cares. Look at the scenery. How they find spots. What they hit. How they hit it. This is down and dirty times a million. It’s like Banshee Bungee was invented to help the scores of Eastern Block youth have fun.

8. 2:24 Holy Backflip! Sure, lots of dudes decked in neon DC shit are hucking 40 foot backflips into parking lots. But, only in Russia are they doing it with a, “Hey maybe I can land a backflip.” attitude.

9. 2:30, Usually I am a fashion-policing, culture-critiquing, hard-ass prick about all things snowboarding. Not today folks. When Johnny Dreads puts on his painters mask, tight denim and points the guns at the camera like some old ’90s hip hop video I couldn’t care less. His confusion is my gain this time. Plus, with the fallout still looming in southern Russia, who knows why he’s got that mask on. These kids are awesome.

10. Fuck Yes 2:41! Slow-Mo Stiffy over a pyramid at the local skatepark. Seriously, this video has it all.