When you think of Australia, naturally you think of craggy mountain ranges, snow capped peaks and sub zero blizzards. Or beaches and kangaroos…yeah, we got them too?!
The truth is, Australia is not a famously known as a snowboarding destination. Infact, I’m sure it would surprise a lot of readers that there is actually a snow sports industry down under. It’s true! Although the resorts may be flat, over crowded and overpriced, they do offer unique snow gum covered terrain and some of the best parks in the southern hemisphere. But most amazingly, they produce sick, world class snowboarders.
Oz has only 8 resorts spanning across a single snowy mountain range, and another two smaller fields in the southern island state of Tasmania. With each averaging around 3m (9.8ft) of snow a year over the last 5 years, the conditions in Australia are far from epic. But the die-hard snowboarding scene in Australia is epic!
Australia’s larrikin spirit of endeavour has taken to snowboarding like a honey badger to meet pies. Fuelled by passion, and beer, as if the lack of snow drives their “never say die” Aussie spirit, Australian snowboarders are proud underdogs. When there’s no snow in the fields, they line up to hit the parks, when the parks are done, it’s time well spent in bars until it snows again.
Backed by a historic and legendary surf and skate culture, snowboarding in Oz has grown into it’s own thriving cultural scene. Both underground and mainstream. Perisher, Thredbo, Hotham and Buller all boast world class parks. Parks that are not only frequented by the world’s best international riders in their off-seasons. Parks that are breeding grounds for our own young guns to cut their teeth, hon their skills and take on the world.
The individual talents of great Olympians like Torah Bright and Alex “Chumpy” Pullin are well documented. Also with a new champion on the rise in Scotty James, Australia’s Olympic snowboarding future looks to be in good stead. But what’s really making the snowboard world take notice of Australia’s scene are the groups of talented snowboarders and “fair dinkum” characters of the emerging crews.
Hard working and hilarious, these crews are blowing up YouTube and the various snowboarding websites. They have their fingers jammed right on the pulse of cool, fun snowboarding. With their “shits n giggles” web series and movies chock full of awesome snowboarding and plenty of that world famous Aussie charm.
Leading the charge of great Aussie home grown talent are a few crews really turning heads on the global stage.
The ODD FOLKS
Honing their skills in the awesome Perisher Parks, Thredbo Village rails and Kosciusko backcountry, the Odd Folks are “A bunch of Aussie snowboarders trying to make it out of the hood”.
Their videos are raw, reckless and full of that famous Aussie tongue in cheek. Heavy street and park parts show the crews unflinching determination to get their shot on the most gnarly features they can find. With a middle finger raised staunch to the establishment, the Odd Folks fearlessly take on all comers across Japan, Canada, Europe and of course NZ and OZ.
If you like your snowboarding necking beers, chain smoking fags and with heaps fucking “Yewwws!”, then you’ll love what the Odd Folks are putting down. It’s hard and fast with a shitload of belly laughs. Straya!
As the name suggests, the Snorkel Squad are all about riding deep back country pow. So deep in fact, that you’ll need an underwater breathing apparatus to survive.
These lucky bastards spend 3 weeks a year filming in northern Japan with another group of Aussies, Ollipop Films. Japan is shrouded by mysterious stories of “the best powder in the world”, and watching this footage brings a little more light to those claims. Like a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter, the Squad eat up this powder balls deep.
If watching a crew plough slow motion tree runs in waist deep pow or float effortlessly down pillow lines tickles your mummy/daddy button, then these vids are for you.
Rusty Toothbrush is a collaboration of Professional snowboarders, filmers, photog’s, groupies and flossers that have come together to make magic things happen in mystical places. “This Rusty Toothbrush can only get rustier before our teeth get cleaner”.
Lead by charismatic frontman Alex stewart, the Rusty Toothbrush boys are an amazing bunch of rag tag pro boarders. They travel the world pushing their infectious brand of killer snowboarding and good times on the unsuspecting locals.
With the core of the crew hailing from Victoria in Oz, they have a good mix of international and home grown talent on the roster.
Their videos always feature high level snowboarding, with clean professional editing and nice crisp edits. But what stands out for us is the humor. With hilarious road trip cuts, plenty of party footage and clever little skits, their videos come together as fun, feel good snowboarding stories.
Highlights from their webisodes include the infamous double jointed boomerang board, Mt. Hotham’s “Aussie Man” Alex Stewart’s hot laps and both versions of messing up Meribel, filmed at sponsor DC’s French chalet and park facility Area 43.