So you think you have what it takes to go out and film a street part this winter? There is an endless array of gear one could use to make this happen. The pros you see in all the big budget movies use R.E.D. cameras, bucket loaders and drones in the street. However, the average urban rider doesn’t need more than a few shovels and a couple friends.
The goal here is to give you an idea of what other gear might come in handy when you’re setting up a spot. Understanding what’s available and when to use it can mean the difference between getting or missing the shot.
Getting up to Speed
Of course natural speed for a spot is always desirable, who doesn’t like just strapping in and letting gravity do all the work? But, we can’t always have our kink and eat it too. So here are a few different ways to get your board moving even when there’s no hill in sight…
Drop in Ramp
The most straightforward solution; make your own hill. A drop in ramp can be made out of wood or metal and carried in your truck or trailer. Alternatively you could build one at the spot out of nothing but snow. It’s the simplest way to add speed to your situation without adding any gear. Just build the snow drop in ramp with the extra snow at the spot. Combining this with a few rollers to help you get your speed up before the rail is always a good idea too.
Definitely the lightest solution in terms of cargo is a bungee. There are a couple different products out there or you could even make your own. This is the most tiring option, as it requires constant effort of two other friends to pull it back to the rider. It can be the easiest as far as setup goes and in some cases the only way to get speed.
Definitely the most expensive option, but without a doubt the only way to hit certain spots with more need for speed. There are a range of different sizes and companies to pick from. Some offer up to 1000’ of rope to help you get going really fast where there’s no other way. You can even use a winch to pull you up hill into a spot. Carrying a winch in your kit means you need to have tools around to fix it, keep a gas can handy and always have an extra homie in the crew ready to operate it.
Build it Bigger, Build it Faster, With Shovels
There are three main types of manual snow tools that come in handy: scoops, plastic shovels and metal shovels.
Scoops work best when you have fresh snow in a field or parking lot and you need to move a lot of soft snow fast, say for a landing. Scoops can give you the feeling like you’re working the farm or pushing a shopping cart at the supermarket. It’s always worth it to have a big pile of snow with little effort, plus they can double as a lawn chair.
Plastic shovels are most common and their purpose is obvious. Digging out snowbanks and shaping perfect lips would be impossible without these.
Metal shovels are crucial if there is extremely firm snow or even ice at your spot. Nothing is worse than breaking your plastic shovel trying to chop down the brick wall that the plow guy left in the landing of your rail.
Lights, Camera… Generator!
When you expend all this effort setting up a spot you want to be sure you can see it! So for those who can’t do it in the daytime you’re going to need lights. Sometimes the spot itself has lighting, a street lamp, or even your car’s headlights can work with the right placement. But when those fail to meet your needs it’s good to keep some work lights and extension cords around. Three or four 500w lights should be enough to cover most spots evenly. They come in LED now which are much more durable and powerful than their halogen bulb cousins.
Again, at some spots you will get lucky, there could be an outlet on the side of the building (always check for that first). But when there’s no sign of free power and the sun is gone you’re going to want a generator capable of 2000 – 3000 watts of output. This will power up to six 500w lights to keep your camera guy happy.
This is a no brainer if you’re goal is to make a video part. Yes of course sometimes soul shredding is all that matters. So when you’re all done with the soul shred and want to start stacking footy, make sure you have a good camera, mic and tripod. Having these will help you capture your next big ass stunt and share it with all your adoring fans on the internet.
There are a few specialised tools not every rider has. These are affordable but are not always useful, it really depends on the conditions. A propane torch can help you solidify a jump or landing made from cold ice bricks and dry powdery snow. A bag of salt can help you get more speed out of your in-run when it’s hot and melting. And a gallon of water can be splashed or even spit onto the snow to help you firm up a takeoff if it keeps getting tracked out after every hit.
There are hundreds of other items that could also be part of this gear train. But these are the essentials which every rider can benefit from. Finding the right gear that matches your budget and your ability is a good first step towards that video part. Finding the spots and all the rest is completely up to you, happy hunting and remember: Don’t Do It In The Park!
Check out some more more great snowboarding D.I.Y ideas and “How To” videos here