The highlight reel: 15 of the best snowboard movies of all time
Nothing beats a great snowboarding movie. That feeling of awe, that almost unbearable itch to get back to the mountains; these are the hallmarks of a killer film. Since the days of Apocalypse Now, a ridiculous number of snowboard movies have graced our screens, and these days it seems like a new film drops every day. So, we decided to get back to basics, sifting through the endless reels and highlighting 15 films that left minds blown, jaws on the floor, and stoke at an all time high. Riders, editing, soundtracks; every facet of each of these movies fused flawlessly to create an unforgettable experience. Of course there are plenty of killer movies that didn’t make this list, but hey, we’ll just call this a little sampler of what we consider to be the raddest movies to ever come out of snowboarding.
Snowboard Mag’s own Editor-in-Chief Susie Floros, Art Director John Alvino, Digital Media Manager Jon Glass, and Photo Editor Tim Peare chose their all-time favorite films, with a rundown of the who, what, and why they are so iconic.
This is an all time favorite of mine that I could watch over and over again. Beyond showcasing some of the best riders of our time, “Back in Black” has the most heartfelt section in Snowboarding’s history in the final part of Jeff Anderson. It can literally bring you to tears. Standout parts from DCP, Gigi Rüf, Chris Coulter, Jeff Anderson and Iika Backstrom. — Tim Peare
What movie did I throw on before every trip to the mountain? “The Community Project.” Yes, “The Art of Flight” is out of this world and yes “That’s It That’s All” was one of the most groundbreaking movies to ever hit the snowboard world. But what came right before that? “The Community Project.” It gave us a sneak peak as to what was to come from the brainchild of Travis Rice. So If I had to pick one movie that forever changed my view on snowboarding, this would be it. It made snowboarding attainable for us Joes out there rather than inspirational to the point that made you never strap on a snowboard again. Not to mention it’s got an all star cast and one hell of a soundtrack. — Jon Glass
This is one of my favorites for so many reasons. It just sticks out amongst everything else for some reason. It was the first premiere I had ever been to, and the video just seemed like a big jump forward. I always liked how eclectic and heavy the Forum movies felt, and everyone on the team had so much style. Plus the crazy stuff that happened that year, all the travel footage, it just feels out of control and fun even with the serious things at the beginning. The intro is so strong by itself, and there are just these key moments that stick with you— like Peter (Line) riding in a leather jacket. — John Alvino
Jamie Lynn / Neil Young “Heart of Gold” / Jeff Anderson & Janne Meyen Weatherby as groms. — Susie Floros
When I saw “Transcendence,” I saw how snowboarding looked as art. Justin Hostynek broke all the rules with this one and found the middle ground between your average banger snowboarding video and the abstractness of “The Haakonsen Faktor.” Featuring Travis Rice, Gigi Rüf, Michi Albin, Wolle Nyvelt, Nicholas Müller, Romain DeMarchi and JP Solberg amongst many others, the film takes you on a visual journey and culminates in the dreamlike scene featuring JP Solberg dressed as a rabbit to the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life”. Of course, no one can afford to pay for the rights to a Beatles song and the ending was later changed. All time classic. — Tim Peare
This one was just perfect in that moment. It was so different from everything else at that time. I mean, you have Dave Seone’s cinematography, Greyboy with the soundtrack, and then Terje’s riding is just insane; it’s so loose and creative. This film had so many elements, but the big mountain stuff was so rad without feeling too crazy. I love the part where he talks about how he’s just into doing really big transitions right now, not a lot of spinning, just basically going really big. I don’t know why but it seems like when things sort of come back to a place of simplicity like that, style becomes crucial and you really start to see who has it and who doesn’t. — John Alvino
“Critical Condition”…I mean this might be the one…the introduction of Shawn Farmer may be the single greatest introduction to a rider of all time! — Tim Peare
I’ve been waiting to see this documentary for a long time. Well done! — Susie Floros
“Decade” is the tenth video release from Mack Dawg Productions. High progression snowboarding featuring the riding talents of JP Walker, Dave Downing, Mikey Leblanc, Bjorn Leines, Wille Yli-Luoma, Jeremy Jones, Joey McGuire, Jason Borgstede, Devun Walsh, Brian Thien, Joni Malmi and Peter Line. Instead of recapping the tenth year, Mack Dawg and crew blasted into the new decade swinging. A true classic and foreshadowing of what would become the heaviest team in snowboarding…FORUM. — Tim Peare
I think with all my picks there’s a consistent thread running through, which is that they all were different from everything else going on at the time. Like everyone was zigging and then these guys zagged, you know? I think as soon as everything starts to feel like a formula, or too crazy or contrived, someone has to step in and yank it back to where it should be. I think Robot Food definitely did that. Even the interviews, which you know usually interviews are terrible in my opinion, but they really work in “Afterlame.” They just feel natural and honest and it adds a lot to the movie. I just love when things are stripped down and raw. I want to be able to watch a video over and over and not have it get old, but almost the opposite, to have it grow on me over time. — John Alvino
Working with the Program brands for 3 years was amazing, and all the videos they produced during that time were great but these two are probably my favorites. It’s such a weird thing to be an Art Director or a Creative Director because the team and the photographers are out there all season just getting after it, and you don’t get to be a part of that or see it progress or come together, so when you do finally see all the photos and footage at the end of the season it’s overwhelming and just really cool. I still think that team was pretty close to perfect. It had so many facets and the guys actually got along and were friends which was rad, just a great crew of hard working and crazy talented people. Watching those videos is crazy because every part is my favorite part, every guy on the team stands out for a different reason. It’s funny too because throughout the season I would hear so much talk from everyone that their parts were gonna suck, and the video was gonna suck, and they weren’t getting enough footage— and then it would drop and it would be nuts. The bottom line is when I watch these two videos I just want to go snowboarding; I get so hyped, they just never get old. — John Alvino
Gigi Rüf / Nina Simone / Sinnerman & one of the best double lines. Handsome Boy Modeling School / DCP & Nicolas “Class System” Japan part w/roadside powder pillows and the Shibuya Excel Tokyo Hotel was on repeat the 1st time I went to the North Island of Japan with Natasza Zurek, Anne-Flore Marxer & Marie France Roy. — Susie Floros
With the influx in popularity and capital, snowboarding wandered away from its innocent and reckless beginnings, and slowly became a job, vibey and too cool. Robot Food’s “Afterbang” is the film that let everyone know that it was alright for snowboarding to be fun again. With the filming and editing talent’s of Pierre Wikberg and Jess Gibson, “Afterbang” pokes fun at snowboarding and showcases butters and no grabs and candid moments along with hammers and an excellent soundtrack. The film features Louie Fountain, Travis Parker, David Benedek, Chris Engelsman, Wille Yli-Luoma, Joni Malmi, Joni Mäkinen, Bobby Meeks and Jussi Oksanen. — Tim Peare
Terje & Primus. — Susie Floros
Editor’s Note: While we’re well aware that it is easy-as-pie to find these films and full parts for free online nowadays, we say go out and buy these movies for yourself. A good way to give a little something back, plus you’ll be stoked on your movie collection on that inevitable day that your laptop implodes from downloading too much free shit.
What do you think? Hit us with some of your favorite films in the comments section, below.