by David MacKinnon
2018 was a great year for Canadian snowboarding. There was good pow, snow in the streets, and shredders across the country threw down. Working with 10 crews, we’ve scoured this year’s videos for the best spots, slams, and tricks of the year. We’re posting one category a day until 2019. A special shoutout to the riders progressing in contests, parks, and short edits– while we only included clips from mid to full length videos, we see you pushing it. Now, without further ado, here are your best spots of 2018:
Powderhounds – Mark Sollors’ Triple Drop
Video courtesy Aaron Leyland
Powderhounds was fire, a proper shred flick from some of snowboarding’s very best. After careful deliberation with Johnny Turbo himself, we decided that the film’s best spot was this massive triple drop, tamed by Mark Sollors. Mark and Mikey Rencz had hit the spot previously as a double, getting a back 3 and front 1 to half-cab respectively, but this year Mark got creative and built another take-off leading into the stack. The tight tranny of the first air into the committing double makes this spot gnarly, and Mark is one of the few people in the world who could make it look so smooth.
The Bruners – Nic Roy’s Diving Board
Video courtesy Julien Choiniere
Remember when street spots were all down rails? The creativity of crews like The Bruners has taken us a long way, and Nic Roy had a new one for us with this diving board to backflip. Could this be the start of a new movement, where snowboarders scour the streets for pools like California skaters in the 70s? Will we see competitive diving influence snowboarding, with riders learning double axel pikes? Maybe not, but this clip is definitely sick– one of many bangers in Bruners 3.
Oil Country – Darcy Keller on the Shark Fin
Video courtesy Evan Lavallee
This Chatter Creek line is a classic. First ridden by Jonaven Moore, it marries wide open turns with a steep, narrow run-out. If you look closely at this clip, you’ll see that Darcy Keller breaks off a slab avalanche just above the choke, essentially forcing him to commit to the straight line. Fortunately Darcy’s a certified big mountain beast, and he’s got the skills to get out of a situation like that– Canadian freeriding at its best. Be sure to check out Trunk Road for more.
Put it in the Bowl – Bryce Bugera’s Rock Wall
Video courtesy Liam Hall
Bryce Bugera found this spot as Kamloops’ snowpack was thinning out, and he pretty much built a banked slalom course to make it work. Just keeping speed through the barrier was a feat, let along nailing the wallride. Keep watching after Bryce’s clip; you’ll see a section of the rock face that fell off during the session. Despite the hazard of the spot falling apart, Geremy Guido kept riding and got a clip as well– find Uno Mas on DVD to see his shot.
The ManBoys – Chris and Rusty’s Front 3 Face
Video courtesy The ManBoys
This spot provided– Rusty Ockenden and Chris Rasman nailed back-to-back front threes, both going absolutely huge. These clips ended The ManBoys’ Selective Memory, and Chris’ hit has been compared to Huffman’s front 7 in Shakedown– you know, where he just keeps going, and going… Rusty gave us some insight into this spot when we chatted with him this fall– if you missed it, check that out here.
Dinosaurs Will Die – Ben Bilocq’s Butterpad
Video courtesy Brendon Hupp
Ever seen this spot before? Would you be surprised to hear it’s in Brandywine, likely the most documented backcountry zone in Canada? This clip speaks to Ben Bilocq’s ability to see what others miss, to appreciate what’s in front of him instead of pushing constantly for more. In addition to this butter, the opening shot in Dysfunctional Family, Ben got a half cab at this spot, and filmed a grip of other clips within 100 feet of the feature. Pretty wild to think that every day, shredders rip past this zone on sleds, burning a bunch more gas to get to ‘the goods.’
BLP – Manu Calvo’s Wallie
Video courtesy Gregor Zed and Taco
This clip was redemption for an earlier wallie spot, where Manu broke his rib trying to front board off a wall. Sure this is backside boardy, but the quick transitions and transfer out make this spot among the most technical we saw all year. Manu’s eye is next level– check BLP’s Young Perspective to see his full part and more hammers from one of the best bro-cam crews in the game.
The Uninvited – Taylor Elliott’s Head Down Fastplant
Video courtesy Troy Erickson
In a heavy year for shred videos, The Uninvited stood head and shoulders above in documenting determination. The girls on the crew had something to prove, and with minimal support they left the snowboard world in awe. Taylor Elliot’s part stood out for creative spot selection and one-footers, both of which are on display in this clip. Most riders would walk right past this spot, as the roof is low enough to clock your head. Taylor unstrapped, got low, and fit in one of the coolest fastplants we saw all year.
YES. – Derek Livingston in the Blackcomb Pipe
Video courtesy YES. Snowboards
It’s a sad thing, but in recent years halfpipe riding has been in decline. Pipes are few and far between, and fewer riders have access to what was once a staple discipline in snowboarding. The YES. Snowboards crew knows the value of riding pipe, and deserves major props for supporting young pipe riders like Derek Livingston even as a small company with tight budgets. In YES. It’s Been Ten Years, Derek sessions the Blackcomb pipe with style, laying down classics like air-to-fakies and laybacks. Call us nostalgic, but for us this is snowboarding.
SRD – Andy James’ Rail to Ledge Drop-down
Video courtesy Matt Bryson
This west-of-Calgary gem was a long-standing local’s dream spot, but a sharp turn on the approach and the heavy consequences of a miscalculation kept it out of reach. This year Andy James, who has a reputation for taming the biggest, baddest spots, opened it up with proper style and a clean make. See more progressive Alberta boarding in SRD’s Buckaroo, one of the year’s best.
Which of these spots is your favourite? Let us know! Check back tomorrow for the best bails of the year, and on New Year’s Eve for the best tricks.