Torment Tuesday News
| May 17th, 2022 |
| May 17th, 2022 |
| May 10th, 2022 |
| May 10th, 2022 |
SSN Stir Fry
Woodward Tahoe, CA
Words by Max Tokunaga, Janthavy Norton, and Justin You
Photos by Mike Yoshida and Justin You
We’re here to be exclusively inclusive. This is a space we have created for the AAPI family to celebrate Snowboarding While Asian; the second community meet up, the first ever Stir Fry. Three days of taking over a custom built zone on the mountain to share music, snacks, laughs, and the passion, or discover the fondness, for snowboarding together took place at Boreal + Woodward Tahoe this past April 6th-8th. The first two days were arranged for invited riders only, and the third day was hosted as a “community day” where we welcome the public within the orange rope to ride our special set up and catch a vibe. From the soy sauce bottle snow feature to shred-able sushi pieces catering to all riding abilities, Mizl and the Boreal crew went above and beyond expectations to allow the Soy Sauce Nation to have a time we wouldn’t soon forget.
Sitting put after setting up at the registration booth, AK, Nirvana, and I saw the like-looking faces come through the door with contagious liveliness to get on the mountain together. Most we had met previously, some we were putting a face to the name for our first time. Friendships through social media are being shared in the real world for the initial time. Quickly becoming more comfortable, yet more busy grabbing event t-shirts and asking what Kikkoman noodle participants wanted, because we had some kick ass sponsored goodies to give away, the emotions were aligning just from having our family present in front of us. Literal family was present, my brother was in attendance, Masa & Hiro, Jacob & Austin, and more, truly a reunion! Although we dress to show off our personal taste, ride what boards we think are cool, it’s not everyday in America, a different circumstance in our native countries, we get to experience a majority of comparable looking humans, especially in the mountain-resort setting.
“This was my first time going to a Soy Sauce Nation event so I didn’t really know what to expect. I love what they are doing to bring the AAPI community together. It really creates a whole new network of Asian friends for me which I realized I am lacking. When I got there I was a bit intimidated because everyone was ripping but I left with so many new homies. As a skateboarder I was nervous knowing it was a snowboarding event but everyone was so encouraging and willing to take beginner laps with me. Even though I got absolutely bodied and had to sit out, I had a blast watching everyone jam and have a good time. I can’t wait for the next event!”
This is why we do it! A skateboarder that’s new to finding snowboarding, looking to stand sideways with alike looking people, expanding the community. Skateboarder, parent, sibling, Professional, Amateur, flow, industry, media, enjoyer of a good time… the snowboarding at Stir Fry is communal! No matter your ability level, we are here to create a space that is comfortable for everyone, because we love to see it! “It” being the early steps of progression, the finesse & flow of a seasoned rider, a smile on someone’s face and the laughter it brings to be sliding, or falling, on a snowboard. You can feel the energy! Dropping into the course, speaking from my own perspective, we can slide down nearly worry-free, no one to judge, this isn’t a contest of any kind. Maybe a camera is pointed at you and eyes are on boards in motion, so just shred and have a good time. More so you’re entering a party of like-looking individuals and you get the chance to do your dance on a snowboard. Whether snowboarding is a regular winter activity, or Stir Fry is your first time clicking in for the season, Soy Sauce Nation is honored to be the reason you went snowboarding. Some leave the event with the hope to do it more? The juices start flowing…
Growing up Asian-American in the suburbs of Minneapolis I always struggled to find others. About three years ago I met some great friends that introduced me to Hyland and Trollhaugen. Together both of them with our community have been able to facilitate so much to me. Especially what I know as snowboarding now. When A.K. and Nirvana reached out to me to come out to Boreal for Stir-Fry I felt like an absolute child again. Like sports when I was younger, learning how to snowboard in the upper midwest has always been predominantly white and far from accessible. Finally when I arrived at Boreal, it felt like a grand showcase of how expensive skiing and snowboarding is. Needless to say, I couldn’t be more stoked to be there. I’ll never forget the memory of being able to strap in with A.K. and him pointing out everyone from the lift. It’s a feeling I can’t even put into words meeting riders from all over, all ages, and all ASIAN. Constantly throughout the event, you could feel this warm reunion circling everyone from strangers to family. This event was far more than snowboarding, but finally an opportunity to both have pride in being a person of color and snowboarding while Asian. It’s been really amazing seeing groups like SSN, Pink Dollar Possy, and Seen Snowboarding happen in real time. After being back home, I’m excited to see what’s next <3
“A HUGE thank you to everyone at Soy Sauce Nation and Kikkoman for bringing everyone together, Cho for the amazing poster, and Boreal for having us!”
Meet Justin You, a midwest shredder that is exuding excitement for snowboarding and the gift of community it brings. We supported Justin with aid to be able to come to Boreal as he brought the energy and continues to back home into his own community. Something we hope to continue to do, give the AAPI folks not only a reason to go snowboarding, but the means to go, even if it’s for one weekend of the winter. Some of our favorite riders have traveled down other life paths, we hope they can make it to Stir Fry one year to meet the ones they inspire from old video parts to current day life ventures. We are thankful to be friends with so many influential humans!
As we move into the summer months and off the snow, this was a treat of a way to close out the winter season. The community continues to grow, our family now flourishes among the current advocates of the Soy Sauce Nation and we are honored to welcome the ones who learn about us through attendees of the events, no matter who, allies alike. We are excited to see our Soy Sauce Nation family again. Thank you to our premier sponsors Kikkoman & Burton, as well as our supporting sponsors Roxy & Crab Grab.
| May 3rd, 2022 |
| April 29th, 2022 |
Words by Matt Petricone
On April 19th, 2022 winter decided to come back to the Catskills of New York. It brought with it up to a foot of snow in the elevated areas while pouring rain in the valley below. Johnny O’Connor had put the word out to have a backyard meet-up if the snowfall was sufficient—and by morning it sure was. Consider it the luck of the Irish or Old Uncle Fester’s Adirondack spirit brought down to the Catskills by John Haynes himself. The April Showers brought perfectly packable cement snow to the yard and some big hearted vibes to go along with it.
Winter was resurrected, but so was the ultra positive jib lord himself Mr. John Haynes—the beloved ICKS family member who was in a traumatic riding accident, suffering complications due to a head injury in 2018. He’s been on a mental and physical comeback ever since, and with the angelic and gracious love and support from his now wife Maris, as well as his family and lifelong friends, John truly is back in business. Haynes kept telling us he brought this snow down from the Adirondacks for us all, as usual, and was back to being the hype machine he always was and is. Big smile after big smile, hike by hike, laugh after laugh, feature by feature, you could see his baby-steps back to full-on jib mode. Relying on his muscle memory and big heart to remember what simple fun and powerful healing snowboarding can be for one’s soul—it was a reminder for us all.
This storm was one for the books as it blew in the core of the Ice Coast family. Johnny O, Matt Sorrano, John Haynes, Joey B, Jasper Kahn, and the seaworthy Captain Sean Callaghan came together with the collective spirit to embrace the spring break pile-up. The simplicity of the yard park and the ever-flowing change of features makes it so unique. If you’re feeling something, build it, one by one, and eventually it’s a full on park session with lines abound. Johnny’s backyard oasis is truly a dream and the energy is going strong. The Windham Mountain Inn certainly is snowboarding in its purest state. Not to mention there’s a perfect KAHNcrete bowl at the top of the hill too. Stand sideways, hug your friends, keep it simple, and be part of the heart.
Be sure to check out @icecoastkillsshit on Instagram and support the East.
| April 26th, 2022 |
| April 13th, 2022 |
Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Story by Keenan Cawley
“Be Somebody: an Aptly Titled Play by the Dustbox”
Here you are, standing on some steps outside of the Jazz arena in downtown Salt Lake City. Basketballs are not thunking off linoleum, and neither is your heart beating to the sounds of plunking bass bellows nor sizzling snares. You’re in chunky snowboard boots and snowboard pants. It’s 60 and sunny, so you’re also in a tee-shirt. The edge of your snowboard has drawn a faint red line on your forearm. You’re smiling nervously. Your contemporaries soar passed you every 30-or-so seconds. After each 30-or-so seconds, you dawdle up another step. Someone nukes by, ass first, in the air. They slip out right to their tush. The homie in front of you mumbles “damn,” and you respond with an anxious laugh and wide eyes. They return their gaze to the scaffolding emblazoned by cream-colored Callery pear trees. You look, too, and all you see is a pair of legs strapped in; the face is hiding among bushels of sun-tanned canvas blossoms.
It looks like they’re dropping in through an altar. Before you can start your own ascent, the set of back lips will already have swept out the wave of boardslides. Rogue waves pop up sparingly. Gap switch 50s. Erratic pretzels. What was he trying? Mystery moves. You summit. You’ve become the faceless boarder the gathering of some 200 people have their eyes on. They want something from you, Flower Face. Phones line the walls of the makeshift hallway they’ve created. You scoot your toes to the rim. There’s a mogul just shy of the crest. That’s the foam you’ll have to plow through on your descent, preceded imminently by the three waist-high posts initially placed to thwart the faint of heart from taking this ride. They didn’t want you to. But today’s different; they’ll let it slide. If you can—if you want to. So what do you want? You want to plummet? All it takes is five seconds. Five precious seconds and you’ll be at the bottom. The Box is waiting for you down there. But you’re not waiting. The swell hits you and your board dips in. The flower-mask disappears and you’re no longer someone; you’re somebody—and you’re soaring.
Everything about the day was special. Special as in ‘different.’ As in ‘happy.’ As in ‘the kind of day you wish you could live every day.’ But special doesn’t come from nothing; it needs some~thing~. Things have to line up. Oftentimes they seem to happen on a whim, as if baby angels were toying around in the air above you, pulling ~good~ strings your way and ~bad~ ones astray. But truth be told, fate is a fan of planning. Not intricate plans; those are only good for finances and lawyers (I think). It’s the loose plans fate favors. Dreams, ideas, and hopes. Those, paired with ambition and like-minds, tend to speak persuasively to fate. And what is the Dustbox, if not a group of giggling, albeit brilliant and boisterous, little cherubs with crossed fingers roped around the pulleys of snowboarding’s marionette? When offered the platform, they winked at each other and seized the opportunity to write their play. Only they would refrain from a detailed script and, instead, rely on faith in their hand-picked stage, cast, and crew.
Set-up began at 6 o’clock in the morning. Having the vision of the stage in their minds, numerous vehicles were recruited by the crew to gather props. A fleet of trucks adorned with U-Haul trailers met up at Brighton and got filled to capacity with snow. Out of the canyon and back to the theatre they trudged. Home Depot was hit for turf and tarps to help lengthen the harvest, for everyone knew the gorgeous day ahead was eager to diminish the production’s running time. And all the while, Woodward’s finest was refurbishing the rail – the antagonist – for optimal performance. The sun was hardly creeping over the stage and sparks were already flying.
The production was wholly unorthodox. It didn’t take long for the cast to realize that they, too, were a part of the crew. It read so in their costumes: they all had shovels! Just as the producers had banked on, everyone came prepared. And everyone was working. All hands on deck. Hi-ho, hi-ho, the piles of snow got scooped and spread around center stage. Above them, the scaffolding was quickly erected and covered in pristine sheets of snow by the boyishly inspirited workers, just like ants for their queen. What was merely a thought that morning was coming to life, more rapidly than anyone who had the thought had anticipated. There was a moment of preemptive relief as they gazed at the set. And as the lucky critic obliged to participate in the production, I must comment on the photogenic nature of the scene: breathtaking. Both as a result of a sigh and a gasp. I tried acting demure to cover a breeze of sorrow; knowing that this serene image would soon be tarnished dejected me. I had to remind myself of the role balance plays in theatre—as in story, and as in life. To halt the show would be a sore regret. And who was I – who was my character – to interject? I was forced back into my role (I was thinking: pretty tree) when I realized that a queue had already begun congregating.
They were excited. The minimal marketing succeeded in garnering attention. “Is it ~really~ going to happen?” Gossip said that the flyers may have just been a silly April Fool’s joke. But it was evident that the audience was willing to risk getting had over missing out. All it took was one glance at the stage, and another, with focus, at the star-studded cast, and all doubt was wiped clean; the curtains were about to be pulled on the Dustbox’s “Be Somebody” production.
As stated in the intro, the Callery pear trees (not to be confused with the less pungent, more cheery, cherry blossom tree) were in full bloom. They were actively placating the setting. In addition to their visual kindness, they acted as a secondary veil to the initial curtain. As the first act opened, we discovered that each character was masked at their introduction. The spotlight would single them out and all we could see was their minute comfort-habits—slight twitches or psych-up methods—all faceless. Once prepared, abiding by freestyle cues, they would peel off their pearly petals with an unabashed display of their true identity, a straight-shooting revelation barreling down towards the front row. The mystique only kept the audience more rapt in the performance. Upon reprise, certain characters, including, but not limited to, Ricky Thizz, Caleb Flowers, and Miss Egan Wint, all possessed subtleties that, to the distinguished eye, gave slight tips to the imminent action. And with the help of these roles and beyond, the show was unsurprisingly action packed without sacrificing even a sliver of integrity; it was excellently nuanced thanks to the set design and casting decisions.
In yet a further study of the self-awareness the spectacle owned was by way of score. The Maestros, Jonas Harris and Ryan Collins, curated a near-antithetical program of ballads which fit the bill seamlessly. And as we continue trickling down the imaginary spine of this body, the MCs, Tommy Towns and Cody Warble, tipped their hats with a modern rendition of fellow thespian-hecklers Statler and Waldorf of Muppet fame. Truly sublime.
And the sublimity multiplied by the flesh! Amid the extracurricular feelings were tangible humans. We cawed, engrossed by the performances, jonesing over their own palpable desires. Dylan Okurowski hammered home multiple choreographies, each distinct and decisive. I, personally, was drawn to his hardway 180 to switch 50, which he later stripped the 180 out of with a bare gap switch bs 50. In similar ~outlier~ fashion, though driven by something of a separate realm, was Mike Liddle, who’s unique placement of a front board (going flat, down) caused an eruption from both the audience and from back-stage. Miss Egan, as well, caused multiple calamities with her constant boardslide variations, almost as if she was digging deeper into her character as the show progressed.
An intermission was called to tidy up the set. The players breathed, hydrated, reapplied make-up (fuck, I’m taking it too far; they reapplied sunscreen!) and called for the second act prematurely. They just started bombarding the stage. And it was with such authority and demand that the props could hardly keep up. Their gateway through the altar shed snow, bore turf and then its own metal core. The rail shivered nervously. The whole time, if ever we questioned something, it was the decision of the performers. But after a stoic act thus far, we finally saw that the rail, too, had humanity. And how much abuse can one soul take? Tragic, without a doubt, but this is theatre, after all! We didn’t come to watch, we came to ache! We came to laugh and scream and sweat and long for some feeling to attach ourselves to! The rail’s struggle was our own. And it was like a lull. More so than the intermission. Try after try, the boarders couldn’t keep up; they had put forth such an exceptional show already but it seemed that at any moment the curtain was going to close anticlimactically. But some would not let that happen.
Austin Visintainer grabbed melon on a fs 270 and rode out valiantly. Sam Anderson, damned if the rail wasn’t going to just finally plop over dead on stage, finally delivered his cab 270 through the kink. The blue-dyed, 802 duo of Derek Conti and Micah Coville continued backing each other up, both backwards, forwards—whichever way—for better or worse, throughout the duration of the show. And although Lauren Derminio and Sierra Forchheimer both tasted the boardslide at peak-wobble of the rail, it was eventually the hardware that prevailed. Ah, sweet drama; we adore the strife you deliver.
At last, the curtain closed on the swath. The lights grew slowly and reality slithered back upon us. The sea was calming, though still vibrant with adrenaline and buds. Breathing regulated inside the day’s collective chest.
It was no surprise seeing Egan Wint reappear on stage. I recall watching her plant a bushel of the white blossoms in a snowball and placing it on the center post atop the rail as a peace offering. That compassion collided head-on with her fearlessness; she devoured the role of female protagonist. Whether or not her boardslide to 5050 to switch was ad-libbed does not matter—to me, nor the Box, apparently. She was then joined by Savannah Shinske, who received applause for Best Solo (I think that’s what it was…). It was her composure amidst a belting gap to front lip that had us all reeling.
Next on stage was Norm Schoff. His absence thus far is due entirely to excellency. His poise in the face of conflict embodied his authentically audacious originality. It was that complex character-driven narrative that was the cause of numerous—not to mention ‘helpless’—outcries. None of which was quite as riotous nor righteous as when he took his bow. Shortly after, Caleb Kinnear bashfully accepted his roses for blasting a switch bs 270 at the antagonist. We delivered these four a grateful standing O.
The cast transformed back to crew for take-down. Characters dissolved, the audience dispersed, and the snow, deleted. I took a moment between spreading the remnants of shredded ice to look around. All of my favorite performers were busy at work; shovel in hand, smile on face. I wondered if perhaps this was the actual denouement. The climax was undoubtedly the appraisal for Egan, Norm, Savannah, and Caleb, but I couldn’t help shake the feeling that this was the resolution.
The message was clear as melted snow; apt as a single, dull-white flower shaken off the ornamental pear tree: if you care strongly about something, create your stage and dance upon it. Be Somebody. The little angels are there; they’re circling above, so high on their precious wings and laughter, making sure you don’t get tangled in string.
And to those silly babies, I say “Bravo.”
Photos by Ian Boll and Colton Morgan
| March 29th, 2022 |