While the first Colorado ski areas won't be opening for another month, locals know that snowboarding season actually starts in September, with the early onslaught of video premieres to stoke the fire. And, for the second year in a row, you can see almost all of them in one place at the Snowboard on the Block 2014 North American Snowboard Film Festival, an all-ages event getting under way on Saturday.
Westword caught up with Snowboard Colorado editor-in-chief Adam Schmidt for the inside scoop on the festival and a highlight reel of selections from the twenty films being featured.
"What I am most excited about for Snowboard on the Block is the Pro Rail Jam presented by Sony's Action Cam," Schmidt says. "Some of the best rail riders in the country are coming out to compete; we've got last year's winner, Scotty Vine, joining us again, along with Mike Ravelson and Johnny O'Connor from the CAPiTA team, Garrett Warnick and Hans Mindnich from the Snowboarder movie, X-Games Real Snow competitors Jaeger Bailey and Dylan Thompson, Brandon Hammid and Ted Borland from Think Thank, and a ton of other great riders. Everything about the rail jam is better than last year: more snow, higher scaffolding, bigger rails, even a jumbotron next to the rail jam so everyone has prime viewing.
"As far as the snowboard films, I am excited to see the movies on the 38-foot LED screen with its own dedicated audio system, separate from the stage this year. This will be, without a doubt, the best way to watch a snowboard premiere."
The films will show on several screens at the various venues at the Exdo Event Center. And while Schmidt was hesitant to pick favorites from a program that includes nearly all of the top riders and film teams in the snowboard industry, we got him to give us the rundown, anyway.
"The movies I'm most excited to see are the world premieres from Videograss, CAPiTA, and Snowboarder Magazine; these are the top crews in snowboarding, so we are thrilled to host their world premieres at the festival," Schmidt says.
"CAPiTA has one of the most talented and creative teams in snowboarding and they only release a film every three years, so it is always interesting to see what they can come up with," Schmidt says. "The film is called Defenders of Awesome 2: Stay Bad Ass and I expect nothing less than a badass movie."
"Snowboarder Magazine hasn't released a snowboard film in fifteen years, so it was unexpected when they announced Foreword," Schmidt says. "They brought together all the top up-and-coming riders, so there are sure to be some amazing parts in the film."
Keep reading for more of the must-see movies.
"Year after year Videograss produces top-notch snowboard films, so we jumped at the chance to host the world premiere of Mayday!," Schmidt continues. "I expect to see creative editing that complements some of best street riding in the world."
"It's also great to see what the lesser-known crews are up to, so I am really looking forward to the Will Film For Food movie, Sol Food, as well as the new flicks from Keep the Change and the Under Dawgs. But there are so many good films premiering... Absinthe Films, Think Thank and, of course the local favorite, Never Summer's Dang Bud. It's hard to narrow it down to just a few."
"What really puts the event over the top this year are the musical acts that will be performing across three stages," Schmidt says, emphasizing the strong power of soundtrack music in snowboard videos. Local act Reno Divorce is among the bands that will play on stage and is also featured in Never Summer's Dang Bud! soundtrack. "The festival will also host some of Denver's best bands, from Speedwolf to Plan B Rejects," he points out, "as well as legendary national artists like Mobb Deep and the Misfits. Songs by Mobb Deep and the Misfits have been in countless snowboard films and are on almost any snowboarder's playlist, so they integrate perfectly with the culture of the festival."
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Snowboard on the Block starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 13. Tickets are $15 in advance or $25 at the door; there's also a $45 VIP access pass. Buy tickets and find more information here.