The Salty Peaks Team (L-R): Dave Van Wagenen, Denney Fuller, Micah Hoogeveen, Ira Morton, Sky Seabrook and Chris Frost. Photo: JDubruille
Every great industry starts with a simple idea. Although it can be argued when and where the first light bulb lit that spawned what we now know as the snowboard, what can’t be argued is that Dennis Nazari and his crew at Salty Peaks have played a pivotal role in the progression and growth of the snowboard industry in Utah. After nearly twenty-five years of slinging boards out of the small space on 3300 South, Salty Peaks is releasing their first full-length snowboard film entitled Eighty Seven. The title refers to the year Salty Peaks was founded, and in addition to paying homage to the shop’s history, it also showcases the shop’s current talent. “The film will contain current riding from the snow team, but will also include old footage of Dennis and others from 1987,” says Andrew Schummer, Team Manager and Director of the film. Schummer and co-Director/Filmer, Josh DuBruille, traveled with Salty Peaks’ snowboard team around the northwest from November 2010 to June 2011 shooting locations in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. When asked why this is the first shop film from Salty Peaks in nearly 25 years, Nazari says, “I don’t want to do anything half-assed. We wanted to make sure we had some good riders and places to go. I’ve seen a lot of shop films that weren’t that impressive, [but] Eighty Seven is probably one of the better films for sure.”
Schummer insists that the goal in creating the film was not to compete with the riding in other snow videos on the market, but to show Utah’s snow scene on a smaller, more local scale. Eighty Seven will contain full parts from the current Salty Peaks snowboard team: Sky Seabrook, Dave King, David Van Wagenen, Shannan Yates, Max Raymer, Chris Frost, Denney Fuller and Micah Hoogeveen; as well as shots of a few other local riders. Some of the better shots that I’ve seen of the film include some smooth operating at Rail Gardens from Fuller, along with a painful bails section right at the beginning, and pure magic from Frost at a shack near the bottom of Brighton.
“Originally it was just going to be the team riders, kind of standard for a shop video, but toward the end of the season, Dennis started pitching ideas for using older footage and it really made a whole lot of sense for what this video really is for the shop and what the shop’s been for the history of snowboarding. In making it we realized how it could be something bigger than just a shop video,” says Schummer. Other than some limited backcountry access complements of King’s sleds, most of the shots are at resorts and at some new urban spots mixed with a number of familiar ones. DuBruille views the film as a launching pad for the careers of the snowboard team. “As far as getting into the backcountry without equipment, it’s not easy and we still got legitimate shots in the backcountry. You can show that and say, ‘Give me an opportunity and I can triple what I’ve done here.’ It’ll be good for them,” says DuBruille.
To fully understand what this film is and what it means to the crew at Salty Peaks, one must look back at the history of the shop and the state of the snowboard industry when it was founded. In 1986, the snowboarding industry in Utah was more or less nonexistent. Snowboarding had been banned from traditional ski resorts along with all other types of “non-alpine” skiing. There may have been a snurfer or two at your local sporting goods store, but as Nazari puts it, “[There] was a lack of respect for snowboarding, a lack of selection and lack of knowledge of the salespeople … that told me that there was definitely a market here for a growing sport.” Nazari was in the process of opening Salty Peaks while running the Utah chapter of the Southwest Surf Skiers Association, which conducted certification classes for snowboarders. Certifiers would ride with the candidate to ensure that riders had metal edges, a secure binding and a leash. They would also make sure riders seemed comfortable on a board, could get on and off the lift, turn left and right and stop. “Generally make sure you weren’t an idiot,” says Nazari. This certification process subsequently led every resort in Utah, save for Alta and Deer Valley, to allow snowboarding outright.
Nazari was less diplomatic with resorts like Alta and Deer Valley, “Whenever it was slow at [Salty Peaks], it was mandatory that guys would get on the phone and call and say things like, ‘Hi, my wife and I are going to be coming to town and we’re going to be staying a week. My kid snowboards and we understand you guys don’t allow snowboarding, is that right? Oh, OK, well can you tell us who does? Oh, sweet, we’ll just go there, thanks!’ Click.”
Although there were a few soldiers pushing the sport of snowboarding to new levels at the time, the criticism was fierce and it came from all angles. In 1987, Time quoted a veteran skier saying that snowboarding was not about the “grace and style” of alpine skiing, but the “raging hormones [of] adolescent boys with their newest toy.” We can all sit back and laugh at that now, but at the time, snowboarding was considered a fad. In 1987, the then-Salty Peaks crew put out two snowboard films, Tallest Waves and Shreddin’ Vacation From Hell. Shreddin’ Vacation From Hell, features a snowboard gang called the ‘Raging Hormones’ who beat up skiers, take their camera gear, pee off the lift, chuck beer cans at the ski patrol and just cause general mayhem. If the general media wanted raging hormones, it seemed Nazari was content to give it to them. Fast-forward to 2011 with Shaun White signing multi-million dollar endorsement deals and Louie Vito on Dancing with the Stars, and it’s safe to say that snowboarding has outgrown its acne-ridden façade and finally landed a job.
Eighty Seven is scheduled to hit the shop September 20 for $5, $10 on Blu-Ray. The premiere will be on Nov. 2 at the Tower Theatre at 7 p.m. Admission is only $5 and there will be tons of product giveaways, so don’t miss out.