New snowboard film edited by Aspen’s Laybourn evokes past, present, future
FRISCO — The film title, “At Home with the Homies,” could be applied to so many ski and snowboard films. But the new 27-minute project — edited by Doran Laybourn of Aspen and featuring Chad Otterstrom, Danny Kass, Nik Baden and others — just might be the one snowboard film that best manifests the ethos of that “riding with the homies” spirit.
“Doran portrayed the feeling of snowboarding really well,” said Otterstrom, a Breckenridge resident.
“(With) the pressure and traveling for video parts, I never really got exactly what I wanted,” Otterstrom added. “But as far as Colorado goes, this (film) 100% nailed it.”
If a snowboarder’s latest film project — like a musician’s most recent LP — is the culmination to that point of who they are as an artist, Laybourn and Otterstrom’s film connects the dots between who they were as younger riders and who they are as 40-somethings now. And the film is produced to evoke that past, present and future of snowboarding verve. For Otterstrom, Laybourn and the film’s other riders, they use parts of their older snowboard films to introduce segments in “At Home with the Homies.” For Otterstrom, that includes a throwback interlude of the Summit County rider donning an otter costume while wielding a skateboard.
But really, the film channels a snowboarding spirit that harkens back even further. For longtime buddies like Otterstrom and Laybourn, they are jibbing around high-Alpine, big-mountain features such as rock cliffs and wind lips in the remote Aspen backcountry with the same love for the sport as when they hit early-snowboard features at the 1995 USASA Nationals in Giants Ridge, Minnesota. Back then, Otterstrom was a ripping local Minnesota kid who fell in love with the sport after the avid skateboarder saw a snowboard for the first time while he rode a chairlift with skis on. In Giants Ridge, he met Laybourn, another convert from skiing who in his first year competing went from riding a Gnu Chaos beater board, one his dad found at a garage sale, to winning the slopestyle nationals for his age group.
How he won also speaks to how the friends’ journey is concurrent with snowboarding’s evolution. These days, a sponsor like Toyota might put a car beneath or next to a slopestyle feature at an event like Dew Tour. Back in 1995, a car buried in the snow literally was the feature. And with his method one-foot over the vehicle, Laybourn won.
Snowboarding was a sport still finding itself back then. Laybourn remembers Shaun White’s mom filing a formal protest against Laybourn for dropping into the pipe just after the bell sounded on practice at the Giants Ridge halfpipe competition. The complaint was soon dropped. In the slopestyle competition, the mother of JJ Thomas — a standout snowboarder in his own right and White’s future halfpipe coach — worried Laybourn misjudged where the finish line was when Laybourn unstrapped his board for the one-footer over the car. He was just trying to have some fun.
“It was, like, the ultimate snowboarding freedom for a 15-year-old,” Laybourn said. “It was great.”
“It was a really cool time for sure,” Otterstrom said.
Within the snowboard community in the mid-90s, Otterstrom and Laybourn looked up to the Summit and Eagle county locals who invented the “jibbing” style of snowboarding that has evolved into the rail-like elements of modern slopestyle. Back then, the riders they looked up to were the kind of free spirits who would opt for Breck’s streets rather than the resort’s terrain. They were the types to saw off the noses and tails of their boards, to look more like a skateboard, then take on Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s natural terrain.
All these years later, that’s essentially what Otterstrom, Laybourn and guys like the Olympic silver medalist Kass — another young competitor at Giants Ridge in 1995 — do in the high Alpine in “At Home with the Homies.” They are bringing that jibber’s free, curious, ambitious energy to bigger and badder natural features. And after years grinding through the contest and film circuit, Laybourn and Otterstrom wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s just ingrained in us. We want to pay homage and have always wanted to shred like the guys we looked up to when we were in our formative years,” Laybourn said. “It was just organic. The film I made is just a bunch of guys who came up on that stuff, so it’s just how it is when you watch them as kids, and you still try to jib around as a 40-year-old.”
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