Adam Franks, Nick Elliott, Ben Poechman [o] Liam Glass

By Alex Beebe

Filming a video part is an extremely tedious procedure. There you are, strapping into your snowboard, standing far above some insane feature, ready (or not) to drop in. From here, there is a choose-your-own-adventure-type scenario. You could be creeping off a massive cliff, hurtling 100 km/h towards a massive gap or pumping your brains out trying to keep speed across a barely snow-covered street spot. Whichever way you cut it, you're miles from your local chairlift because, at one point, the keepers of snowboard culture decided that if you're filming at a resort, it's not legit. We travel, spend money, and do these crazy things to get a few seconds of footage that may or may not make it into your video part. And in reality, when you're filming for a project, you're not actually riding your snowboard much.

Remember snowboarding, though? Like how it is for 99.9% of snowboarders? You pull up to the resort, put your boots on, drink a coffee and hang with your crew until you feel like you wanna do some laps. Man, that's the best. The effort invested into a video part is always worth it—no doubt. But you've gotta love those days on the resort. That's what snowboarding is about. 

These days we're starting to see things come full circle. It makes sense with side hit videos and Real Snow parts being shot on resorts with all that suitable terrain just waiting to be reimagined. It's economical, lift accessible and relatable to all. I can't tell you the moment it all changed. However, during the early days of snowboarding riders were only filming at resorts. Hiking around the mountain looking for hits. When it was new and fresh, nothing else was necessary. That’s how I spent my days as a grom, and I'm sure it was the same for most of you. too.

Adam Franks, Ben Poechman and Nick Elliott. These riders decided they wanted to maximize their time riding resorts this year and film as much of it as possible. Being primarily street snowboarders, these guys have spent countless hours driving through cities looking for spots. Now they've moved to exploring resorts from sunrise to sunset to see what they could make happen. There's a lot at stake, it's not easy. Winter only lasts roughly four months. Think of all the civilians running through your perfect landing or getting in the way. And then there's the weather. You definitely want that sweet supple pow but those quality resort days can be few and far between. The crew chased snow at resorts all over BC: Whistler, Mount Seymour, Red Mountain, Whitewater, and Revelstoke. Here are their trials and tribulations through this unique approach to their new project.


Ben Poechman, Method [o] Ben Girardi

Alright man, you spear-headed this project. Before we get into the good stuff, what was it like being on the production end?

From a creative standpoint, I’ve really enjoyed the ability to conceptualize an idea and share that with my friends and supporters. It was a liberating experience planning it all out and seeing it come to life. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a lot of work, but it’s been really rewarding to collaborate with the crew and help them all achieve their goals as the original idea blossomed into something new.

Awesome. So, what is the concept of the film and how did it evolve over the season? 

The main vein of the video was to make snowboarding look fun and inspire kids to get off their phones, make friends and go snowboarding wherever they can. Professional snowboarding has become sort of a talent show that seems unachievable. So our goal was to make people be like, “Damn, I could get my homies together and actually do that.” Originally we had plans to focus on resort-accessed terrain, but as soon as the snow fell in the city… the streets called. It wasn’t my vision to ride street in the video, but I think it’s important to remain flexible when working on a group project and make sure everyone is achieving their goals. We went on some rail trips and put in the work. In the end, I’m really hyped about how it turned out, it’s kind of a hybrid video that more people will relate to.

You seem to spend most of your time riding resorts anyways. Do you think that the filming came easier for you this year because of that?

No doubt, actually my girlfriend just brought this up the other day. During the Covid season, when travel wasn’t really an option, I decided to make the most of riding at my local resort and actually try filming in that landscape. It was an adjustment that season, but when it came time for this project, I felt right at home looking for spots and searching for good snow between moguls and traverse tracks.

Ben Poechman, Tree Jam Backside 180 [o] Ben Girardi

When you decided to do the Powder Highway tour through Red and Whitewater, was that sparked by the specific terrain there and what it might lend towards the project?

Absolutely, the Powder Highway is no joke. I’ve gotten so used to how quickly Whistler gets tracked out. You have a few hours on a powder day to get the goods or go off in the woods to find it. But at these resorts in the BC Interior, you can get freshies for days, or even weeks. So in terms of trying to film a video, where you need fresh snow to land bigger gaps, it seemed like a no brainer to make the trip and enjoy the less tracked-out terrain these places have to offer.

When you’re riding new resorts, what are you looking for when you’re searching for a feature to film?

It really depends on the day. Sometimes I wake up really wanting to do a Backside 720 and I’m instantly scouring the landscape for this very particular feature. But most of the time I’m just looking for something that’s naturally forming a jump and landing. I don’t like building jumps, and I don’t like seeing jumps that were man-made in videos to be honest. I get way more hyped when it looks as is and you just bust a trick on it. I think street riders can relate to that kind of organic aesthetic.

That would be a limiting issue sometimes I’m sure. Amongst other challenges, what was the most difficult part of filming on the resort?

Tracks, for sure. Finding a spot that is not so tracked out and packed down is the challenge. Sometimes you gotta boot pack around a bit to find the goods, but that’s all part of the experience with friends.

Ben Poechman, Frontside 180 [o] Stewart Costello

Which resort did you feel had the most potential for the film?

They all boast different traits, but I would say Whitewater was my all-time favourite. We extended our stay there, having planned for four days and stayed for like 10-plus. They have some incredible terrain there that is really easy to access by boot-pack, and it stays cold so the snow holds quality for long periods. 

Best moment of filming for Rendezvous?

My best and worst moments are kind of entangled into one experience. My greatest moment on board was landing this no-grab Backside 7 on a totally natty feature that I had eyed up for a couple of days. That moment was followed by trying it once more with a grab and landing in a bomb hole tweaking my shoulder. I had to take a few days off, so I booked a massage and a full-body medicinal plant wrap at the Ainsworth Hot Springs. It was an amazing experience, I felt like I was buried in the forest floor being embraced by the warmth of Mother Earth or something crazy [laughs]. My shoulder healed up almost instantly and I was back boarding in no time!


Nick Elliott, Frontside 360 [o] Liam Glass

Having spent almost a good decade in Whistler, did you have a stockpile of spots you couldn’t wait to get at for this project?

[Laughs] I wish I had a spot list, but no, no stockpile. Finding spots is the biggest battle.  Also, I like figuring it out on the fly, because your plan always changes depending on snow conditions and what you’re feeling.

Was filming this style of project something you’ve always wanted to do?

Yeah, it's definitely something I've always wanted to do. We tried doing something similar in Mt. Mtn.’s Subcity. I’m pretty sure this project was supposed to be 100% resort riding, but it’s nearly impossible to stay away from the steel. It’s so hard not going into Vancouver to film when they get snow.

Did you have big expectations for the Powder Highway trip? Not having the best conditions can be tough, how did you muscle through that?

Yeah, the snow conditions were not ideal, but I was really excited to go to resorts that I had never been to. It’s so fun seeing new scenery. As far as muscling through anything, I think the fact of having a camera and knowing you're only there for a short amount of time; you're kinda like, “This is why we’re here, I’m gonna jump off this and see how it goes.”  [Laughs] Still pretty damn fun regardless.

Nick Elliott, Straight Air [o] Liam Glass

It seemed like you had a lot of luck at Whitewater. How did you feel about that resort particularly and how did it play a role in the project?

Whitewater was my favourite spot out of the three we went to. It also happened to have the best snow conditions. There’s this ridge we spent the whole time on there. It's been hit a bunch in lots of videos. It was super sick and like mini steep terrain.  It gave everyone their best backdrop possibilities  [laughs]. I think we got some of our best stuff there.

Which resort did you feel had the most potential for the film?

I honestly thought they all had the same amount of potential and it would come down to where we get the most snow and sun. They’re all so dope. But maybe Kicking Horse? We didn’t end up going there ‘cause of a road closure. But thinking back I was most stoked to go there. Maybe next year!

Best moment of filming for Rendezvous this season?

Getting room service in some of the hotels at the base of the mountains. We’d all pile into one room and live like kings for a hot second  [laughs].


Adam Franks, Frontside 360 [o] Brad Heppner

This project seemed more laidback in a sense. I know you guys wanted to put something out that was different from your standard snowboard movie. Like, let’s just go ride and film and see what happens. How did it all go?

Yeah, it was more of a laidback project in a sense. I’m used to being on street trips, on the grind day and night; constantly looking for spots, setting them up at night. Going early in the morning and trying to get a trick before getting kicked out. This project was much more relaxed, we just got to go ride the resorts and have fun. It went pretty well I think. I really enjoyed our Interior resort trip. It was a nice change from boarding street all winter.

Searching cities for spots is half the battle in street snowboarding. How did it feel taking that to the resort trying to find new unchartered territory that fit the vibe of the movie?

Finding spots is half the fun for me. I love when you find something and it’s just like, “Woah, okay, this is crazy dope.” Finding spots on the mountain can be tricky. Depending on the mountain you're boarding it can be hard to find in-bounds hits to do tricks on. It was kinda difficult to find cool spots that were right on the run with a chairlift in the background. That was kinda the vibe we were going for, so yeah, it was kinda tough to find those.

Do you think this project played to your strengths?

[Laughs] Honestly, not really. I’m a big rail/street guy and I haven’t been jumping much at all the past few years so I was a bit nervous going into it.

Adam Franks, Method [o] Liam Glass

December started out pretty strong bringing a ton of snow. When that all slowed down what was going through your mind in terms of getting clips?

During our resort trip, there was like no new snow that had fallen for so long. I was a little stressed about getting clips and was thinking about how I just wanted to get some more street clips [laughs].

After spending a week at Red Mountain, the crew had a bunch of photos, but not so many clips. How did you battle back on the rest of the Powder Highway trip?

We did end up getting some better snow on the rest of the trip. I just tried to find some things that I wanted to board on and have fun really.

Which resort did you feel had the most potential for the film?

I think Whitewater or Revelstoke had the most potential. I feel like we didn’t have enough time at Revelstoke to really find stuff we were looking for. It could have been the best if we got to ride there for longer. I would like to film there more.

Best moment of filming for Rendezvous this season?

Probably watching Nick send some heavy stuff. This one gap, in particular, was just big and scary. He did it while I was right beside the take-off filming with my iPhone and I was so happy for him [laughs]. It got me fired up for the rest of the trip.

Watch the full Rendezvous video here

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