With a dry spell over Tahoe in the spring of 2011, artist Corey Smith took to the workshop and began to build a collection of snowboards that are as much art as functional slow-sliding devices. Photographer Kealan Shilling joined him to document the process and powder turns as Spring Break Snowboards came to fruition–a project that pushed the boundaries of just what it takes to go ride a snowboard.
Geometry plays a monumental role in snowboarding. From the angle of descent to the angles of a stance to the measure of a rotation—the rules of shape, and a desire to break them, permeate the culture. Even the abstract shapes, arching lines in the snow, are measurements; of movement, of a moment.
But geometry also shows up in often hyperbolic techno-babble on the business side of snowboarding; the side that throws out the same handful of terms in the manufacturer copy of most new boards, listing camber, rocker, snap, and pop as much to sell an idea as to explain how it will perform on snow. On the other side of the spectrum, artist Corey Smith defines his handmade “Beetlejuice” powder board, one of a handful of homemade decks he’s dubbed Spring Break Snowboards, as “egg-shaped” and “surfy.”
While waiting out drought at his winter base in Truckee last winter, Smith got back to basics, letting the shapes for his handcrafted decks come from instinct and aesthetic inspiration…
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