The Wyld Instinct crew is on a journey into the snowboard vagabond lifestyle. Ryan Finder, the brain behind the name, has figured out what works for him. For now, it’s driving around the Pacific Northwest, Utah and Tahoe areas with a camera and a crew of homies to go snowboarding with. Working at Mt. Hood all summer allowed him to break out of the traditional ‘young professional’ lifestyle and take on a more unpredictable day-to-day. He’s one of the many people who’ve figured out that living out of your snowboard bag at age 21 isn’t such a bad idea.
Finder recently road tripped from Calgary, Alberta to Spokane, Washington and then North again to Nelson, British Columbia with a crew of like-minded young guns. With homies in the car, snowboards in the Thule box and cameras in the bag, all they needed was a livingroom to crash in and a mountain nearby. As Finder explains, they found exactly what they were looking for.
Scroll to the bottom to watch the Wyld Instinct B.C. edit. Photos: Courtesy Ryan Finder
Jake Rose pokes an indy through the Whitewater sidecountry.
How did this trip come together?
We were in Spokane, WA, cooling off, riding Mt. Spokane. We had just gone and spent a heavy week searching for street spots in Calgary. We came back to Mt. Spokane, then we got the invitation to go to Nelson. Nelson is so close to Spokane, it’s only three or four hours. So we hopped on it.
Justus Hines, Jake Rose, and Kaleah Driscoll were all friends with this guy, Jay Britton, who has been living in Nelson, British Columbia for the last ten years. He heard we were in Calgary and said, “Hey guys, come to my house. Stay as long as you want. I’ve got a snowboard park in my back yard and can get you tickets. Stay as long as you need to.”
With that kind of opportunity we said why not? So we went to Nelson to go ride some pow at Whitewater Ski Resort, experience a new place and do some awesome snowboarding.
Every snowbaorder dreams of having a snowboard park in the back yard. Jake Rose throws a wakeboard one footer in Jay Britton’s backyard park in Nelson, B.C. complete with rails, a river and a trampoline.
That’s how your whole winter’s gone so far right?
Yeah, well it’s been real cool to spend my summers at Mt. Hood because people from all over the country go there in the summer, so you get to meet all these people. And then come wintertime everybody goes back to their home mountains but you keep those friendships and keep those connections open. So basically this winter has been nothing but reconnecting with friends from the summer, asking how their winter’s going and if they want to do some snowboarding with me. Basically the whole trip has gone like that.
The Wyld Instinct crew eyes up a healthy stack of pillows before bootpacking up for the feast.
Did you have any trouble along the road?
Yeah, the border crossing was pretty weird. Basically every time we went through the border we got searched hard. When we went through the first time the border patrol asked us why we were going to Calgary. We said we were going to do some street snowboarding, and he had no idea what that was. So he asked, “Is it kinda like parkour?” We told him, “Yeah it’s kinda like parkour.” The border guard hassled us pretty hard every time. I guess we looked like a band of scumbags, so they ripped the car apart.
All said and done, how did it go?
Canada was cool. Everyone we met was really friendly and helpful. The city of Calgary is made for snowboarding. Urban spots are everywhere. The downside was that we went when they didn’t have good snow in the city. Everything was pretty hard, so we had to scrap for every bit of snow we could find. It was really cold, too, so the snow was really dry. We had to torch the shit out of every lip we made. So it was tough.
Justus Hines grabs method over a fence gap at Whitewater Ski Resort.
But Nelson was really fun. Everybody fell in love with the town. It actually had some unique urban features that were unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s mind blowing how much they have there. Also, nelson is along a little river that goes through some amazing terrain. The mountains are really gnarly, really rocky —just along the river you can find all these pillow drops everywhere. Tons of snow, too.
This dock off of Jay Britton’s back yard along the Kootenay river in Nelson B.C. serves as Jay’s main mode of transportation into town during the summer. It’s equipped with a jet ski and a killer view of the night sky.
This trip has been crazy because this is the beginning for us. It feels like chapter one. Every person on this trip is a noobie in a sense. It’s been cool to live our dreams and pursue this goal that we’ve all had together to go out and travel and do what we’ve always seen on the internet or seen other snowboarders do. This year, to actually be doing that is crazy. And we’re all in chapter one, too. We’ve just been going and learning and getting into this crazy game.
Ryan Finder is a 21 year old filmer and traveling boardsman. Originally from Asheville, North Carolina, his journey has taken him across the U.S. and all over the west coast in search of good snowboarding and adventure. Check out more videos from Wyld Instinct on Vimeo.