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Doug Palladini, the current Global Brand President of Vans, past editor of SNOWBOARDER Magazine. p: Trevor Graves

A comprehensive retrospective from the former Editors of SNOWBOARDER Magazine, originally published in the 30th Anniversary Issue of SNOWBOARDER Magazine, pick up your copy now!

Words by Doug Palladini- Current Global Brand President of Vans

On my first day of work as Associate Editor for SNOWBOARDER Magazine in 1989 (I was the magazine’s first dedicated employee), I met Powder Magazine editor Casey Sheehan in the Las Vegas Hilton lobby as the SIA Show was about to begin. He was already late for a meeting. “Here’s your badge. I’ll see you at five for beers. Have a good day,” he said. Casey shoved my credential and a battered folder into my hands and quickly disappeared into the huddling trade show masses. This was all well and good, except that I had no idea whatsoever what I was doing.

Fresh from San Diego State’s School of Journalism, having ridden a snowboard once in my life up to that point, I was recklessly unprepared to assume any level of magazine stewardship, let alone the awesome responsibility of running the thing, soup to nuts. But ignorance was my ally on that day, and not knowing just how humorously overmatched I was for the task at hand, I steadied myself and marched into the convention hall. What I recall of those first few days was a humbling mix of derision from the staffs of existing snowboard magazines such as TransWorld Snowboarding and ISM, a powerful education from the likes of Tom Sims, Jake Burton and Chuck Barfoot (all of whom worked their own trade show stands), even more derision from pompous, douchey ski brands such as Lange and Rossignol, and an overwhelming sense of inspiration that I was on the burning fuse end of a business/sport/culture powder keg ready to explode.

Snowboarder's first employee, Doug Palladini. p: Trevor Graves

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Yuto Totsuka won the men’s halfpipe in snowboard’s World Cup series Friday, while compatriot and 2014 Sochi Olympic silver medalist Ayumu Hirano finished runner-up.

The 15-year-old Totsuka, winner of the Japan national championships in March making his debut in the World Cup, scored 93.25 points in the 16-man final, after the semifinals were canceled due to poor weather conditions. Hirano finished one point behind and Switzerland’s Patrick Burgener was third with 88.50.

“I’m really happy to win at my first World Cup,” Totsuka said after the season’s first halfpipe contest on the circuit.

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Canadian Mark McMorris won Olympic bronze in slopestyle snowboarding in Sochi, two weeks after suffering a broken rib.  (RICHARD LAUTENS / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)

Mark McMorris Australia bound to get back up to speed before possible December return to competition, just two months before the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Six months of intensive rehabilitation after breaking his leg in 2016 gave Olympic snowboarder Mark McMorris a new appreciation for his sport.

The last five months — once again spent in rehab, after breaking just about everything by crashing into a tree in the backcountry — have given him a new appreciation of life.

“I’m just really happy and thankful that I did get another chance, because it was pretty serious there for awhile,” McMorris said, referring to the late-March accident where he was rushed to hospital by helicopter.

“Trauma can go one of two ways. It can definitely break you down and make life more difficult for awhile. But the fact that I was given another opportunity, I can wake up every day and know that it can be so, so much worse.”

McMorris has been through the breakdown part already.

The 23-year-old needed multiple surgeries to repair a fractured jaw, shattered arm and ruptured spleen. He also sustained a pelvic fracture, broken ribs and a collapsed lung when he crashed into a tree during a backcountry film shoot in Whistler.

Since then, much of his daily routine at the Fortius Sport and Health clinic in Burnaby, B.C., has been as hard mentally as physically for a fun-loving snowboarder: stretching, Pilates, physiotherapy, chiropractor visits and specialized exercises with a trainer to accelerate recovery.

“All day, every day, trying to become a functioning human again.”

Now, he’s ready to start his latest chance at sport and life. If he has his way, it’s going to look a lot like the previous ones: lots of snowboarding, filming and throwing gnarly tricks to win competitions.

“I’m completely fired up and know that I will be able to snowboard,” McMorris told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday, before boarding a plane for two weeks of snowboarding in Australia.

“There’s going to be no other distractions. I’m just going to be a snowboarder over there. Can’t wait.”

This is the beginning of McMorris’s bid to return to top form for February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He has already qualified, assuming he’s healthy to compete, and with the debut of the single-jump competition (big air) to go with slopestyle, a course of jumps and rails, he’s hoping to win two medals this time.

This marks the second time the snowboarder from Regina will head to the Olympics on the heels of an injury. But given what he’s been though lately, the broken rib he suffered two weeks before winning a bronze medal in slopestyle at the 2014 Sochi Games seems like a scratch.

In February 2016, he snapped his right femur — the largest and strongest bone in the human body — when he landed badly at a big air competition in Los Angeles.

He came back from that in near-record time and had one of his strongest competitive seasons ever, showing he was still the man to beat.

Now, after breaking his left humerus — the largest bone in the upper body — among other things, he has to do it all over again. His plan is to get back to basics and snowboard as much as possible for the next few months.

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Canada’s Mark McMorris receives his bronze medal for snowboard slopestyle. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Back on snow after his horrific crash, Canadian snowboard star Mark McMorris is plotting a return to competition in December.

The 23-year-old from Regina broke his jaw and left arm, ruptured his spleen, fractured his pelvis and ribs and suffered a collapsed left lung in March when he crashed into a tree in the B.C. backcountry.

McMorris says the Dew Tour event Dec. 14-17 in Breckenridge, Colo., will likely be the site of comeback, although he hasn’t completely ruled out an Air and Style competition Dec. 6-7 in Beijing.

“Realistically, there’s not any real top-tier events until December,” McMorris told reporters Tuesday on a conference call.

“I don’t really feel the need to do anything else. I’ve got my spot on the Olympic team. I just need to ride and start feeling comfy again.”

Winner of multiple X Games gold in slopestyle and big air, McMorris was about to board a plane Tuesday for Australia where he intends to catch up on lost time on snow.

“The next couple months for me look like getting back what I do and that’s just snowboarding a lot and doing my craft as much as possible,” he explained. “Staying away from sponsor obligations and media tours and whatnot and focusing on getting back to the basics.”

McMorris did some light boarding in New Zealand earlier this month while shooting a commercial, but preparation for February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, now begins in earnest for him.

“All those young and up-and-coming kids are snowboarding all day every day getting better,” he said. “For me, I haven’t been to snowboard much at all of course.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze in 2014 despite a broken rib sustained a few weeks out from those Winter Games. Big air makes its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang.

If McMorris can return to form, he and Max Parrot of Bromont, Que., as well as Sebastien Toutant of L’Assomption, Que., make Canada a multi-medal threat in both events.

“If I feel anything like I do now, I’m very confident,” McMorris said. “I’ve just got to stay healthy and keep riding.”

But while he’s cleared the mental hurdle of fearing he’d never snowboard again, some physical maladies from his crash still linger.

Despite up to three hours of daily rehab at Fortius Sport and Health clinic in Burnaby, McMorris was limited in what he could with his arm to accelerate recovery.

“I shattered my humerus, which is the second-biggest bone in your body, and you can’t really walk on your arms all day long for rehab,” he explained. “It is taking awhile.”

McMorris broke his right femur landing a jump in February, 2016, and required surgery to implant a steel rod in his leg.

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WITH its pristine beaches, a climate that rarely reaches zero degrees, and the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island little more than a stone’s throw away, Hervey Bay is one of the last places you would expect to find a premier snowboarder.

Benji Bodie is not your regular Fraser Coast sportsman.

While he plays hockey for Fraser Flames three times a week, the 17-year-old is no stranger to some of the world’s prime snowsport destinations.

The teen shredded slopes at Big White, Whistler (the location of the 2010 Winter Olympics), and Fernie, which are located in British Columbia, Canada. He has ventured to Japan, which he said had the most snow, and Aspen Colorado, which has hosted World Cup races.

He recently won the Queensland Interschool title in snowboard grand slalom and was second in snowboard cross to earn the right to represent his state at the Australian Interschool Snowsport Championships at Mt Buller, Victoria.

So how did a Hervey Bay boy develop a love and passion for snowsports and maintain the skills to excel?


Benji Bodie has been selected in the Queensland snowboarding team for the Nationals.
Benji Bodie has been selected in the Queensland snowboarding team for the Nationals.Valerie Horton

“I went to the snow for the first time with my dad when I was five, but I didn’t snowboard,” he said.

“I was skiing because I was too young to get snowboard lessons, but I always wanted to snowboard.”

He snowboarded for the first time two years later.


Benji Bodie has been selected in the Queensland snowboarding team for the Nationals.
Benji Bodie has been selected in the Queensland snowboarding team for the Nationals.Valerie Horton

“It was good to start young, but I’m not really sure (why he wanted to snowboard),” Bodie said.

“Maybe the fact I wasn’t allowed to made me want to try it even more.”


Benji Bodie has been selected in the Queensland snowboarding team for the Nationals.
Benji Bodie has been selected in the Queensland snowboarding team for the Nationals.Valerie Horton

He faces some obvious disadvantages when compared to southern rivals.

Hervey Bay’s temperature rarely hits zero, there’s no local snow, and he can’t participate in a “dry” sporting equivalent.

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Despite Craig Kelly‘s famous trip to Iran in the mid-’90s, people seem to forget that there is world class riding to be done in the Middle East’s Alborz mountain range. And with all of the recent buzz in the news of travel bans and Trump tweets, we decided to visit a story that started a few seasons ago when Mona Seraji jumped into the scene as a contender on the Freeride World Qualifiers stage. After top three finishes last season at multiple events, we checked in with Mona to get to know her and see what it is like to deal with the other end of the unprecedented presidency of Donald Trump.

First off, what does it mean to be the first Middle Eastern rider in the World Qualifiers?
It means so much to me, I love to represent my country to the snowboard community and help change the image of Iran.

When and how did you start snowboarding?
I switched to snowboarding from skiing at the age of 16. I changed because one day getting back from the ski resort my skis fell off of the roof rack and broke in half. I saw a few snowboarders on the slopes before that and I was wondering what is that cool thing, I really wanted to try it. Especially when I was younger I wanted to skateboard but I couldn’t get the permission from my dad. So I started roller blades as a kid instead. But snowboard looked like a skateboard and I just wanted to try it.

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Only three months before the 2014 Olympic Games, Canadian snowboarder Spencer O’Brien found herself crying in her doctor’s office, wondering if she’d have to give up her gold-medal dreams.

Her pain was the worst that it’s ever been.

Every morning she would wake up feeling swollen and heavy like a 25-year-old suffocating within a 90-year-old’s body. She feared walking down the flight of stairs to make breakfast because it hurt too much to put weight on her feet. Her shoulder joints were so inflamed she had trouble reaching for the dishes in the cupboard.

By the time she arrived at the local gym to work out, much of the pain would subside, but she still couldn’t push her body to the extent of her Olympic aspirations.

In the doctor’s office, she broke down:

“I know that there is something wrong inside,” she said. “I know in my heart that I’m sick.”

After two years of dealing with various aches, pains, injuries, ineffective medical treatments and inadequate surgeries, her doctor reasoned she probably had rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a disorder in which the immune system slowly destroys the body’s tissues. The swelling from the condition could cause bone erosion and joint deformity.

It’s a diagnosis that would cripple many athletes, but it wasn’t until that dark day that O’Brien really began to soar.

Before her health tumbled downhill, the British Columbia native was a young girl who fell in love with snowboarding because she hated it.

O’Brien is of Haida/Kwakwakw’wakw (bands of Canada’s First Nations people) descent and she grew up in a skiing family from a small town called Alter Island. Her older sister snowboarded and at 11 years old, O’Brien started participating in those winter sports as well. She admits that she “sucked” in the beginning, but not enough to quit.

“I was super competitive,” she told Excelle Sports. “I like to be the best person in all sports. I was so bad at it but it was the first sport that I wanted to keep doing. It was so humbling and super challenging.”

The thrill of being outside and cutting through fresh powder also kept O’Brien in the sport. Out there alone on the cold slopes she had the liberty to create and express herself.

“[Snowboarding] is just so different than other sports,” she said. “You really have the freedom to do it any way that you like.”

By 2007, she debuted at the X Games, where she became known for excelling at the slopestyle event. In slopestyle, athletes show off their best tricks and jumping skills while speeding down a course of ramps and rails. O’Brien earned one bronze and one silver medal in her second and third appearances at the Games.

[More from Excelle Sports: Can anyone beat 16-year-old snowboarding prodigy Chloe Kim? The answer is maybe.]

But during the 2012-2013 season, the Olympic qualifying year for Sochi, her knees started to get stiff and painful. It would take her much longer to warm up for her runs. She soon developed bursitis in one of her shoulders among other joint injuries and couldn’t use her arms while she was competing. The muscles of her upper body slowly atrophied from disuse, but she was not going to let that stop her from qualifying for her first Olympic Games.

“I thought it was a byproduct of getting a little older in a very high impact sport,” said O’Brien. “[My team] had to craft this whole game plan to get treatments to get through the qualification year. It was pretty rough riding with so many injuries.”

Despite the aches and pains, O’Brien still managed to snag another slopestyle bronze at the 2013 X Games in Aspen and solidified her spot on Team Canada—she was just that good. A restful summer followed a blistering winter. O’Brien stepped away from the slopes and focused on rehab and weights to get as strong as possible. So she had surgery to correct the bursitis (successful) and started doing more dryland training and gym sessions than most pro snowboarders on tour.

But as O’Brien started to regain muscle, more mysterious injuries started to flare up. One day, a Baker’s cyst—or a sack of fluid—bulged behind her knee. A cyst is usually the sign of knee damage, but the MRI came back negative. Her toes began to swell and her shoulders were frequently inflamed. She tried cortisone shots and other treatments that only made the pain worse. O’Brien no longer knew what to do.

“I was depressed at that time,” she said. “To be in that state of limbo for so long was really hard on me. Every time I felt like I made a little bit of progress, something else happened. People definitely knew something was up with me, but no one knew what it was.”

That’s why on Nov. 25, 2013, the day the doctors diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis, O’Brien felt such a feeling of relief. After trying a bunch of medications, the doctors finally found a prescription that treated most of her symptoms but put her at a higher risk of infections and other illnesses. Once a month, she’d take a refrigerated shot in her thigh that weakened her immune system to the point that even a minor cut on her body could turn into a major concern. Still, she could go on living her normal, slope-shredding life pain-free.

“Once I was medicated it was like the whole world opened up and everything became possible again,” she said.

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Terrain park accident left tourist in wheelchair

A young Australian man who is unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair after suffering a spinal cord injury in a snowboarding accident has filed a lawsuit against Grouse Mountain Resort Ltd.

Lawyers for Jason Patrick Apps, 21, filed the lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court June 7 alleging the North Vancouver ski resort was negligent in designing its snowboard terrain park and in not sufficiently warning the public about the potential for serious injury.

The accident happened in the ski hill’s terrain park, an area of the resort where snowboarders can board off ramps, rails and other manmade features, and do twists and flips in the air.

According to documents filed in court, Apps was boarding at the terrain park near the end of the day on March 18, 2016 and approached the final jump in the course “cautiously” when his snowboard came out from under him, flipping him upside down. Apps landed in that position, causing a “devastating” “acute spinal cord injury,” according to the lawsuit.

The injury left Apps unable to walk, according to the lawsuit. He now requires an electric wheelchair and assistance for personal care, most meals and domestic tasks, according to court documents.

According to the lawsuit, the terrain park where the accident happened was rated for intermediate snowboarders. The snow was wet that day, according to court documents, and Grouse had posted large “slow” signs near the large jump. As Apps approached the jump cautiously, his board came out from under him and put him upside, he claims. He landed in that position, causing the injury.

The lawsuit claims Grouse was negligent in the design, construction and maintenance of the jump and in either not building the jump according to an engineering design or not having the jump engineered to begin with.

As a result, the “jump presented a higher risk of injury,” according to the lawsuit and “allowed for much less room for error in either takeoff and/or landing.”

“There is a consumer expectation that many of the attractions in the terrain park are reasonably fit for general consumer use and that this would include at the very least the assumption of having safe engineering design practices underlying the attractions and features … .” Apps stated in the claim.

The lawsuit alleges Grouse was also negligent in not informing Apps that approaching the jump outside a narrow range of speeds “created a higher risk of serious injury.”

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