I was living in a town in eastern Oregon when snowboarding came to me. It was a package deal – snowboarding and a new dad, as mine had passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease. It was the best package I’ve ever received. That town was called Halfway. I was five.
Ever since then, snowboarding has been a constant in my life. You see, my new dad wasn’t just a snowboarder, but a snowboard cameraman with absolutely legendary stories, and even more legendary friends – think Craig Kelly and Terje Haakonsen. So, needless to say, I quickly and completely became obsessed. And I chased that obsession. I chased it through a move to northern Arizona, a move to Colorado, through high school. But lack luster competition results and a new focus on mountain bike racing led me to attend college, where snowboarding took somewhat of a back seat. But as soon as I was finished, I started chasing again.
It all started with a road trip to Mt. Baker and back, during which I revisited Halfway, 15 years after moving away from its quaint valley. I went back to Brundage Mountain, ID, and Anthony Lakes in Oregon – tiny resorts I’d learned to ride at. It was like time traveling. In Baker, I stayed in an old school bus, alone. I wrote and drank tea and dried out my rain-soaked gear as best I could. The idea for 1/2 Way There began to formulate. I shot Super 8 footage and was accompanied for portions by my best friend, and my dad. That trip was 4 years ago now, and I’ve been working on that story ever since. But the truth is, the substance of it was only ½ Way There. My riding wasn’t ready, and neither were my words.
You see, I’ve often had a bit of a wrong place wrong time feeling with respect to snowboarding, and other aspects of life. Serendipitous happenings often tend to blow right by. Near misses. Just right there in the middle. ½ Way. But how do we break out of that narrative? How do we dissolve the feeling that we aren’t where we’re supposed to be – in life, in work, in our relationships? I’m trying hard to instead think of all the amazing times and places snowboarding has led me to, and to let it simply lead me. I may not have a video part to my name, or multiple sponsors, or really be part of the “core” snowboard scene – but I have my stories and my little videos and I love them.
It all came together last winter. It was my 20th winter on a snowboard and I spent it in the hallowed snowboard mecca that is Utah. I arrived with a desire to lap with the proverbial crews that populate the area. And I did some of that and it was wonderful. But I was also faced with a tremendous sense of loneliness for much of the winter. Did I belong here? Was I going to fit in? Was I good enough? What were my friends back home doing? Stuck between stoke and what felt like defeat, I was left to my own devices to try and capture my riding on a camera. Because at the end of the day, riding is only 1/2 of the equation for me. Making something out of it and telling a story constitutes the other 1/2.
So, in March, after trying to connect with the scene for months, I went to Best Buy and blew my Slash budget on a camera, which I put atop a $5 thrift store tripod. I spent the next few weeks poking around safe zones at Brighton and Snowbird, setting up shots and hiking my ass off. The resulting footage, set to music I’ve created and deeply personal thoughts and memories, is meant to portray what it is to be somewhat of a loner in the snowboard world. On the fringe. I decided to harness that reality – to face it and make something out of it. To tell that story.
“½ Way There” catalogues my journey through snowboarding and culminates with another winter spent toiling over what my place is within it, only to come to the conclusion that, I’m a fucking snowboarder. You won’t find any massive gaps or ground breaking tricks in here. But you will find beauty – I hope – style, precision, and a thoughtful, meditative approach to snowboarding free of industry pressures, contractual obligations, or what have you. This project lies in the gentle but unforgiving space between exposure and passion, professionalism and virginity. You’ll find a dialogue between true love and the influence of social media and the feelings of disconnect and longing that it can establish. You’ll find a struggle to maintain a healthy nostalgia for the past while pushing into the future and experiencing the present. You’ll find conversation with self-doubt in a world that is currently thriving off of the stuff. You’ll find happiness and confusion. You will find me.