Noise on the New Horizon: Team Thunder

The artful and curious minds of Team Thunder, a local crew of snowboarders, are turning heads in the snowboard industry. They’ve created a newfangled creative style of riding and are pushing the idea of what’s accepted as good in snowboarding. “We have a different outlook; were not trying to prove anything to anyone, we’re trying to show a more enjoyable aspect of the sport rather than the skill level,” explains crewmember Will Tuddenham.

Team Thunder started about 5 years ago with Sean McCormick, Ryan Debbenham, Will Tuddenham, Jake Welch, Ben Gustafson and other friends shredding and filming their monotonous high school days away. There isn’t one primary filmier for the team; everyone contributes throughout the season, and McCormick handles the editing. The first two videos produced were Timid and Tame and More Funner. At the time, the videos were fairly impressive for a bunch of kids getting together and filming just for the fun of it. After More Funner hit the streets things started to fizzle. Not as much filming got done and a couple seasons just drifted by with the cold.

Last season, new projects arose for the team. Cody Comrie started regularly shredding and hanging out with the crew, adding another imaginative mind to the group. The riders became more dedicated to filming, and everyone’s snowboarding reached a more progressive level. Team Thunder was finally at it again. “It is all because we get to hangout everyday. If we go snowboarding and filming, it’s motivation not to work at a restaurant or something shitty,” says Tuddenham. Thus, they started filming for a new video, Remember When (2007). With minimal snow in the mountains and limited street spots in SLC, the team adapted by taking a different look at snowboarding. They experimented with bails of hay at the bottom of a sledding hill, building pole jams, bonks and stalls out of logs in Brighton’s back country––taking nothing and turning it into something. It’s these innovative ideas that set Team Thunder’s videos apart from the standard video format that focuses on how ridiculously gnarly you can be. “Snowboarding today is a little nuts,” says Will Tuddenham, “There are so many trends being followed. People doing the same thing over and over, it gets real boring.” Cody Comrie shares that sentiment, “You don’t have to do a switch back-lip down 30 stairs to do something sweet in your snowboarding… get a bunch of junk and slide around on it.”

While filming for Remember When, the team took some of those creative days of snowboarding and turned them into short teaser flicks—posting them on Transworld Snowboarding’s website. The videos were much different then what many people had seen—showing a side that more riders can relate to because not everyone has access to big mountain resorts and world-class snow. Because of this, they started getting tons of positive feedback from riders all over the world. It was obvious that people were really taking a liking to what Team Thunder was doing. Transworld also took notice; they contacted the team about creating weekly videos to post on the site. There was some talk about cash reimbursement for all the team’s hard work, but as of late—it’s looking like free advertising is all the team will be getting from Transworld. Keep track of what Team Thunder comes up with this season at and

Allied Distribution was another big dog to notice Team Thunder, discovering them last season through the videos and teasers they were posting. Allied picked up their latest video, Remember When, launching it off for distribution through North America and Japan. Initially it looked like some dollar signs were in the near future for Team Thunder, but Allied Distribution took the typical industry bigwig stance, claiming that helping the team out is payment enough. It’s great exposure for the team, but I think these corporate scrooges need to be dishing out some cash.

We all have to eat, but money isn’t everything. Financial struggles won’t be stopping Team Thunder from filming for another video this season. Even though they don’t have the cash flow for extravagant helicopter follow cam and zip line filming, their snowboarding alone will ultimately be what sets them apart from other riders. When asked about the Team and what to expect from this year’s video, Sean McCormick said, “We have BBQ’s when we go snowboarding, we don’t have any money and we love to hike jumps instead of snowmobile ... We hope to make people laugh and maybe even cry.” Cody Comrie added, “We’re focused on trying to develop a full range of snowboarding, showing the creative side of it. We want to show people the possibilities, how much fun you can have with it and how you can do anything, anytime with it, no matter what the circumstance, just as long as you have a little bit of snow.”

To add some spot diversity to the video and uncover some untouched places there’s talk of an Amtrak train trip around the country, hitting cities covered in snow; an adventure like that could be a video in itself. The team has already been busy filming, taking full advantage of the few preseason storms SLC got in October and November. Its been said that the new video will be called Gold Country. Keep your eyes peeled for the premier sometime in the summer of 2008. Until then shred, have fun and “go play in the woods” says Sean McCormick.