Words: Jason Borgstede (excerpts taken from blueandgoldak.net/)
Videos: JB Deuce
POLAR BEARS, DOG SLEDS, AND IGLOOS
This video was the first collaborative effort between Jesse Burtner and myself. I graduated high school in 1993 and went back to my shop/technology teacher, Mr. Bernard, and asked to use the video editing equipment. Abe Bombeck, Khris Bombeck, and myself made a horribly jenky video, filmed almost entirely on a full size VHS camera, from the 1992/93 winter, and titled it “Against the Grain.” Well, I was hooked after that. I would film skating and snowboarding whenever I had spare time and would produce a video each season of myself and a couple friends. The vids were only a couple songs long, but I loved making them and would send them out as a way to show my sponsors what I was doing.
This is the second video that Jesse Burtner and I put out. It was released in the fall of 1998. This video really represents us picking up steam and figuring things out. After Polar Bears, Dog Sleds, and Igloos we gained a bit of a following. We also realized that we could take this serious and make something of it. By something, I don’t mean a lot of money. When I speak of making something of it, I am talking about really representing our scene to the fullest. Polar Bears was made after the fact. It was a movie that we decided to put together after the season had started and really more so when the season was just about over. We went out and got some skate footage, mixed it with our own personal stuff we had shot and threw it together with whatever submissions we could get from anyone we knew. The videos following Polar Bears weren’t much different in that approach, but the difference was starting out with the video as an end goal. As you can see this was the start of marketing (stencils spray painted on boards) and planning (with an actual logo). We were kids with a dream. Haha.
100% is the third video effort between Jesse Burtner and myself. When I’m going to post these old vids, I like to watch them again and try to get reacquainted with them. When I share them, I want to be able to share some of the insights or unique parts that people might not have known about the vids. At least that's the idea when I first pop in the video. What really tends to happen is I find myself smiling as the feelings of the moments captured, of that period of time and of my life wash over me. When we made the videos, I think my mindset was pretty focused on delivering a package to the public. For me that package was a bundle of local talent, skilled tricks, fun, and camaraderie. What I didn’t realize until ten years later is that the importance of these videos was not in how sick a trick was or how gnarly a rail was, but rather in the feeling that was delivered when someone watched the video. The true gift comes in realizing the place in time, the place in peoples lives that the feeling will reside in. These videos will act as a bookmark in peoples lives. A dog-eared page that they will hopefully turn back to, over and over, to remind themselves of what a great ride life can be. I’m really not trying to make these videos into something more than they are; please don’t think that. I know we never cured cancer or even a hangover. But i get a feeling when I watch them and that feeling is something special that I hope others feel too.
SURVIVAL OF THE TIGHTEST
Survival of the Tightest was a really special movie because it marked the taking of the reigns. Up to this point, our first three videos were made with us directing someone else (an editor) on what we wanted. The first movie was edited by us, but had no real effects or edits to speak of. I was personally influenced a great deal by skate videos of the time and TransWorld was really setting the benchmark. TWS vids were so progressive in their edits and film angles. I was just as impressed to watch the editing as I was to watch the skating. So, when our editor gave us resistance on trying new things we decided it was time to pull up stake and set out to make our own future. It was understandable that Karl resisted our inundation of requests because each one just meant a lot more time, resources, learning, and effort for not much more money. We were young and progressive and wanted to explore and create. So, we knew it was a change that had to be made.
THE 49TH CHAMBER
The 49th Chamber was an idea I came up with while on an airplane. Obviously we were all pretty into Wu-Tang back then and it influenced the initial thought for the video. I’m having a hard time remembering who did the artwork, but I believe Jesse lined that up and put that part of the concept together.
As we released more videos, we became more comfortable in the process. The 49th Chamber really let us start to step out with different titles and musical choices. We really peppered in a lot of graphics. I also feel the overall look of the video became much tighter.
I think one thing that really shines through for me was how important and valuable Boarderline Snowboard Camp was. The set up, at camp, was better than anything we'd seen in Alaska to this point. With all the technology and industry direction towards park building and promotion, it’s still a little board shop summer camp, with a 150 kids, that produced the best manmade terrain ever seen in AK. I know there are cat drivers that can build the stuff, so I guess we have to question the mountains and the value they put on providing for a consumer. I’m sure they will tell us that there are a million reasons and rules that prevent them from making a decent park. My answer to that would be that, not only do numerous lower 48 mountains do it everyday, but ALASKA has done it before. The mountains that deny us today have previously provided us with the best terrain we’ve seen. Gotta wonder where our hard earned dollar is going. Anyway, I’ll step off the soapbox for now and get back to the video.
IN FOR LIFE
In For Life was our first experimentation with holding a consistent theme throughout the movie. The titles, the music, the voice-overs, the interviews, the chalk bodies and blood were all symbolism referencing the commitment to riding a board. It’s not just the commitment to riding a board, it’s the commitment to the lifestyle, to the ups and downs, the good and bad that come with riding the board. This movie also marked a more experimental approach to the construction of the parts. The abstract can be seen when you look closely, such as switching songs in the middle of a part, but were put together in a way to only be noticeable subconsciously. We’re not talking about groundbreaking “walking on the moon” type stuff but it was new for us and we put it together in a way that was different than what was being put out at the time. I’m really proud of it.
STEEZIN' FOR NO REASON
I really feel Steezin' hit a spot in snowboarding, and skateboarding to a lesser extent, where it became fun to break out of the mold of accepted fashion. You might say that is what skating and snowboarding have always been about, but you would be fooling yourselves. Skating and snowboarding started that way and tends to recreate itself every so often, but there are armies of kids out there closely adhering to the dress codes of their peer group. Just watch most snowboard edits on TWSnow or Snowboarder Mag and you’ll see the clone wars are in full effect. First off, I’m not saying because a kid clones out that they aren’t talented. Most kids these days are waging a full assault on anything the mind can imagine. Second, I’m also not saying that my time period was free of the flock mentality. In my time, it was the JP/Jeremy look and I was certainly influenced by it. All I am trying to say, is that I feel Steezin' played a small part in saying, “Fuck it, flare out and wear what you want.” Every so often the reset button needs to be pushed so people can express themselves however they see fit.