Before web-edits, the only way to ever get a glimpse at your favorite riders was to go out and buy the latest videos. Snowboarders across the world would sit glued to their television screens watching the same videos over and over until everything from them would be fully saturated into their brain. To this day, I think I can tell you every song in order of appearance for both AfterLame and It Ain’t Easy from watching them so many times growing up. Under the Influence sets out to find out what video part(s) played the greatest role in shaping some of today’s most popular snowboarders. To kick things off, I talked with the always creative Mike Rav. Over the last year Mike’s riding has taken a much different turn from past years. Focusing more on feeling and impulse, he broke away from the traditional trick focused riding to what some have dubbed, “roll around in the snow.” To me this has been a breath of fresh air to his snowboarding and has pushed the creative envelope. I can’t wait to see what Rav has in store for snowboarding when Defenders of Awesome 2 hits shops September 14th.
What video part would you say has had the biggest influence on you growing up?
I’d say the first part that got me hooked on snowboarding was John Jackson’s part from Standard Films’ White Balance. Everything about that part from his song to trick selection got me really excited to snowboard. Especially his ability to jump while still having a sense of creativity about his tricks. Watching it now, it makes me feel the exact same way I did when I watched it as a young kid. After first watching it, I remember immediately going to the Dragon site to figure out what goggles John Jackson had, then heading down to Eastern Boarder to buy them and started looking into summer zip up jackets like he had.
P: Cole Martin
Haha one day the summer zip up will make its triumphant return to glory. I’m surprised by your answer, I wasn’t expecting you to be a John Jackson fan. I was expecting more of a Magical Go-Go or Iron Curtain riders’ part.
I mean yeah obviously being from the East Coast, parts from [Chris] Grenier and Scott [Stevens] shaped the way I personally filmed video parts, but it was John’s part that really started it all for me. I wasn’t introduced to the East Coast scene until a few years later. And from then on things changed drastically, for the best, of course. But I still look back and truly enjoy John’s part. It brings me back to that excitement and feeling of endless possibility. He rides everything in front of him.
Personally I am slowly starting to figure this out. Every aspect of snowboarding is an obstacle to accomplish. The more you ride your snowboard on everything, the more you can begin to truly “feel” snowboarding… you’re not just limited to being a rail guy or a jump guy or a creative guy or a flip guy. It’s about being excited to progress and learn every time you strap into your snowboard.
Is the “feel” you’re talking about what got you to start “rolling around” and doing less conventional stuff snowboarding?
I want to state that my “rolling around” phase was done with no intention on influencing anyone in snowboarding whatsoever. It’s not a gimmick to make myself stand out. If anything I do think it’s dumb. But right now for me personally, dumb is good. Things got really serious for me in the past years and I wasn’t having fun. I have no regrets regarding the “rolling around” stuff, simply because in those moments I wasn’t thinking. All of those moves were purely based on impulse, and it’s something I want to continue doing in my snowboarding career. Everything is based on feelings, and at the time, rolling around felt good. Damn good.
P: Erik Hoffman
You said that this season you started to figure out that there’s more to being a good snowboarder than just tricks. Was there a specific instance when you realized this, or was it more of a natural realization?
I think it all started cruising Loon early season this winter. There was no park yet and I just took the time to freeride a lot and get comfortable with my snowboard. I wanted to take a step back from focusing on learning new tricks. I started to realize that as soon as I stepped off the gondola I wanted to take advantage of every single turn and side hit I saw on my way down.
Also this year I watch a lot of 90’s snowboard videos which gave me new inspiration to step in a different direction with my riding. During that era of snowboarding, everything was still so new and exciting. Nobody knew the possibilities. The passion was still at an all time high, guys were pretty much just cruising around the mountain hitting everything. I watched old parts of Terje or Guch and they’re bonking, buttering, spinning, and grinding everything they can get their boards on. No rules. Taking advantage of every turn. There were no set types of snowboarders really, it seemed like everyone was just doing it for the love and progression of the sport.
Mike sent us a drawing he did of Chris Roach. We’re thinking of hanging it up on our fridge.
Do you feel like snowboarding could benefit from taking a look at its past more often?
I feel like video parts could really benefit from taking a look at the past. I mean it’s a no brainer that you can’t move forward without knowing the past of anything you’re trying to excel in. I don’t think that the exact blue print should be used today that was used in the beginning, because so many incredible advancements in the video part have been established over the years, but I do think that everyone should see that stuff. It’s just really incredible to see the legends of our sport paving the way. I really didn’t see much if it till recently, and I couldn’t be happier. I advise everyone to take a look at old videos of Bryan Iguchi, Chris Roach, Jamie Lynn, Terje, Mike Ranquet, Sean Kearns, and all the other riders of that era. It’s really inspiring stuff. Watch R.P.M!
Are there any parts coming out this season that you think might have the same impact on the younger generation like how John Jackson’s was for you?
Definitely, I think this is going to be an amazing year for the video part from nearly everyone. I’m really excited for Brandon Cocard’s part in Defenders of Awesome 2. I was lucky enough to go on a couple trips with him this year filming for that video and it was only good times. Brandon is a snowboarder. It doesn’t matter what’s in front of him, he’s going to push himself until he gets what he wants out of it. It’s not just for the advancement of his career, it’s for himself. Personal battles yield personal rewards. Definitely something I’m working on myself. His part is going to be amazing, no questions about that. Other than Brandon, I’m excited for Max Warbington, Blake Paul, Forest and Keegan, Grey Thompson, all of Keep the Change video and the DOPE guys. I think all of these guys are moving in a really inspiring direction.
P: Joel Frasier
Anything else you’d like to say, Rav?
You don’t have to include this if you don’t want to but I’m a huge Doors fan. The name for the band was inspired by this quote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is. Infinite.” I think that this also applies to snowboarding…everything is infinite. I think the current state of snowboarding is amazing but there’s always room for change.