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  • Video: Pro snowboarder Danny Davis returns after grueling hip injury

    After eight grueling months of intense physical therapy following surgery for a broken femur, pro snowboarder Danny Davis has finally returned to snowboarding. His first day of riding is documented on the newest episode of Frendvision, a web series created by the Frends Crew, a group of pro snowboarders known for their snowboard skills and funny edits. Danny claims he's back on top of his snowboard game and is riding at 100 percent, but the hilarious video, filmed by pro snowboarder Jack Mitrani, shows otherwise.

    Watch Danny as he cuts off other riders, fails to stomp his old tricks, complains about all the features, and falls all over the place in this entertaining edit filmed at Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe, California.

    In the video Danny says, "I'm glad I could share my first day back with everyone on Frendsvision, and I know what you're thinking, 'Hello Sochi!' I got this, no problem."

    Whatever you say Danny!

    We caught up with Danny in Vail, Colorado, at the Burton U.S. Open, and he said he was excited to be back on his board but admitted he's not quite ready to compete. He said he will be "ready to rumble" next season.
    Channels: Snow
  • Pro snowboarder Kelly Clark speaks out about new Burton U.S. Open at Vail

    Snowboarding's longest running event, The Burton U.S. Open, will host its 31st event this week, and for the first time ever it will be in Vail, Colorado. For nearly three decades, the legendary halfpipe and slopestyle competition was held in Stratton, Vermont, but it moved to Vail to remain a world-class event, which requires a larger and more accessible host location.

    Many have spoken about their opposition to the major move, but Kelly Clark, a pro snowboarder and native Vermonter who has won more than five superpipe titles at the U.S. Open, supports the change of venue.

    Clark, who plans to compete in halfpipe this week in Vail, recently penned her opinion about the Open's move in a story on Burton.com

    Here's an excerpt of what Clark had to say.

    The U.S. Open is moving to Vail. I'm sure you're all aware of this by now but since the U.S. Open is upon us this week, the reality of it is really setting in.

    Being a Vermont girl, I had the opportunity to witness the best snowboarding in the world in my very own backyard as a grom. I got to watch all my heroes drop into to the best pipe of the season and then a few years later drop in with them. Being a local girl, I was lucky enough to have my whole hometown come out and cheer me on and nothing will replace that.

    The Open will be sorely missed in Vermont and I LoVermont more than most people and will miss those classic U.S. Open crowds that stand in the rain and snow and sleet to cheer all of us on. But as this sport of ours progresses, change is inevitable and not always easy, but it can be good. We've continued to change the sport over the years, creatively evolving everything from equipment to tricks to events and now, the Open is evolving too.

    So, for the first time ever The U.S. Open will be a Colorado contest. Vail is a great venue and will put on a great event. And as much as I will miss competing as a local girl, I look forward to seeing the new identity the U.S. Open takes on in Vail. Burton knows that they have a lot to live up to after 30 years of the best event and crowd and crew in the sport, so I'm sure they will rise to the occasion.

    Head here for the full schedule of the Burton U.S. Open.
    Channels: Snow
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  • New stop animation snowboard film "Paper Shredder" a web hit

    "Paper Shredder" is a new stop animation snowboard film by brothers Paul and Stephan Gemignani that has been causing quite the buzz on the Internet for showcasing a fresh way to edit snowboard movies. The short edit clocks in at just over two minutes but is filled with incredible riding that takes place in an urban setting--so urban, it actually happens in an apartment in a city, without a single flake of snow present.

    How can that be possible?

    Enter the editing technique of stop animation, a process that manipulates still objects to make them look as if they move on their own. In order to create this effect, an object must be photographed in multiple places sequentially, then edited together to create the illusion of movement. No doubt a tedious process that takes a strong vision and plenty of patience.

    In the film's description on Gemignani's Vimeo page, the project is said to have taken 246 hours to make from start to finish, which, according to the description, was, "a very SLOW process. It was challenging at times, but came together in the end."

    Paper Shredder is one of the first stop animation snowboard films ever to surface, and given the interest this edit has already received, many wonder if more snowboard films of this genre will soon surface.

    Take a peek at the intriguing edit above.
    Channels: SnowFilm
  • Gallery: Top skiers and snowboarders scope out Sochi, Russia

    Scoping Sochi, Russia: Athlete photos from the 2014 Olympic venue
    The world's best freeskiers and snowboarders traveled halfway around the world to Sochi, Russia, last week for the chance to preview the Olympic halfpipe and slopestyle venues that will host the 2014 Winter Olympics next February. Athletes ventured to the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort in the area of Krasnaya Polyana, just over 20 miles from the city center of Sochi, to participant in an FIS-sanctioned halfpipe event, marking the first major freeski and snowboard competition held in the region.

    This was most athletes' first time in Russia and many were eager to capture and share their experiences via Instagram. Click the photo above to view the full gallery, and get a glimpse of athletes' impressions of Russia below.

    We asked snowboarding coach J.J. Thomas, who won the bronze in halfpipe at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, what his first impressions of Sochi were: "It's like a Third World place--a few cute little stray dogs cruising around and lots of construction. Some places are pretty nice, though. ... The biggest shock for me in Sochi was the free-riding. The top of the mountain was so sick! I'll put it up against any resort in the U.S. It might even have Jackson Hole and Snowbird beat as far as steep terrain goes. It was mind-blowing how fun it was up top. The pipe is another story, though."

    Photo: @jjthomas_ Greetings from ze motherland. Sochi, Russia.

    According to a recent feature on ESPN by journalist Melissa Larsen, who was in Sochi for the trials, the weather was not ideal for riders during the week-long event, and the quality of the halfpipe was jeopardized by several days of rain. The A.P. reports Sochi is the warmest city ever to host a Winter Olympics, which leaves many to wonder whether or not the weather will be a debilitating factor for athletes trying to perform their best next year.

    Photo:@gretchenbleiler Wish me luck tomorrow in this pipe! First competition of my winter. One year to #Olympics. Let's get things started right! #sochi2014 #letsdothis

    Pro snowboarder Louie Vito's coach is J.J. Thomas, and the duo travel together on the road and to every contest. We asked Thomas what the difference between training for 2014 Olympics is compared to training for the 2002 Olympics, in which he won a bronze medal. "It's similar in the sense that it takes a lot of hard work, but on the other end it is so different. There are so many talented riders now compared to back when I was competing--especially coming from Japan and China. Back then it was kind of all of us USA dudes battling against each other. Now it's a real deep international field. I can't get over the amount of talent in the pipe and slopestyle competitions right now," he said. Thomas continued with his impressions of Russia: "Russia is a beautiful country, but don't go there expecting great food or customer service. They are new to the whole service thing, so be ready for some straight-faced folks. Other than that, it's a great place and the free-riding is insane!"
    Photo: @jjthomas_ An evening gondola ride down with Louie Vito in Sochi.

    What will the world's view of Sochi be in less than a year?
    Channels: Snow
  • Gigi Ruf wins Red Bull Ultra Natural at Baldface Lodge

    Highlights: Photos from the Red Bull Ultra Natural
    Austria's Gig Ruf rose above the stacked field of sixteen of the world's best riders on Sunday to win the Red Bull Ultra Natural, a one of kind, progressive free-ride contest that mixes elements of backcountry riding with slopestyle riding at the famed backcountry mecca Baldface Lodge in British Columbia.

    "I don't know, I definitely got lucky," Ruf told Red Bull about his performance. "I don't really consider myself a 'winner.' I believe in luck and coincidence. My friend told me about a great quote that says a winner doesn't need luck, but I believe there was a little bit of luck involved today just because of how Mother Nature played out and how she played into my vision."

    The contest took place on the mile-long "Scary Cherry" run and each rider was given two runs to impress the judges on the course that incorporated powder elements with more than 100 man-made features that included jumps, jibs, bonks, and log rides.

    The stakes for Ultra Natural were high, as the contest served as the second installment of pro snowboarder Travis Rice's Supernatural event, which took place on the same course last year and at the time produced the most progressive riding to date.

    Rounding out the podium this year was Swiss rider Nicolas Muller and American Bryan Fox, who was a late addition to the contest and filled the last wild-card spot just a few days before the event.

    To get some inside into the progressive contest, we got in touch with Snowboarder magazine editor-in-chief Pat Bridges, who rode the course and witnessed all the action.

    Check out what Pat had to say below and click the top photo above to view the gallery.

    What were the biggest differences you witnessed with this year's Ultra Natural contest from last year's Super Natural?
    This year the riders arrived knowing what to expect. They brought more confidence to the course and it showed. They tackled terrain and features that stood dormant in 2012 and everyone showed glimpses of greatness in 2013.

    What was the most impressive trick you saw, by whom, and on what feature?
    On Gigi Ruf's first run, he gapped up and onto the three story "Caterpillar" butter pad and stomped the exit. Insane.

    In your opinion, who rode the course the best and why?
    The Ultra Natural event is perfectly suited to Gigi Ruf's unique blend of spontaneous Big Mountain freeride skills and technical freestyle pedigree. In turn his line choice and trick selection were not only superior but his flow and momentum were unmatched.

    What was the standout moment for you while in Baldface?
    The standout moment for me was seeing Terje Haakansen destroy the face of Scary Cherry, putting riders 10 to 20 years his junior in their place. He sent what will go down as one of the great methods of all time over 100 feet down the fall line.

    Do you think this year's Ultra Natural was the most progressive contest to date?
    While the 2013 Ultra Natural will most assuredly be renowned as a pivotal moment in the trajectory of snowboard competitions, I don't believe the weather allowed for it to be the most progressive contest to date.

    What can be done to improve the setup of the Ultra Natural next year?
    The main jump still needs to be dialed a little bit more, and it would be insane to have a natural hip element. But other than that the setup is about as insane as you can get.

    The Ultra Natural is a part of The Red Bull Signature Series and fans can see all the action on NBC on March 30.

    Results for the 2013 Red Bull Ultra Natural:
    1. Gigi Ruf 82.6 72.4
    2. Nicolas Muller 76.4 71.4
    3. Bryan Fox 44.6 75.4
    4. Terje Haakonsen 66.2 60.2
    5. David Carrier-Porcheron 62.2 39.2
    6. Mark McMorris 61.6 45.4
    7. Eero Niemela 61.0 34.0
    8. Pat Moore 59.0 38.0
    9. Lucas Debari 57.2 53.0
    10. Travis Rice 56.2 49.2
    11. Jussi Oksanen 27.8 55.4
    12. Bode Merrill 48.8 45.2
    13. Jake Blauvelt 46.8 48.0
    14. Wolfgang Nyvelt 45.6 42.8
    15. Torstein Horgmo 32.6 44.8
    16. Mikey Rencz 39.6 40.0

    Want more Red Bull Ultra Natural Coverage? Head to Snowboarder magazine to check out their recap here.

    Photos courtesy Red Bull
    Channels: Snow
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