Uploaded by vice on Dec 1, 2011


TOM SIMS: You know, for years skateboard parks all across
the country had half pipes.
And that was really the only place you
could find a half pipe.
Well, snowboarding was at such an early level and early stage
in the early '80s, that when I got a call from Mike Chantry
that there was a quarter pipe in the woods made out of snow
I said, let's go check it out.
I've got to see this.
So Mike Chantry, and I, and Terry Kidwell, we go marching
into the woods behind Tahoe City in North Lake Tahoe.
And as it turns out, it had been a dump, a city dump, many
decades ago.
So a bulldozer had scooped out dirt to cover garbage.
And so, they had an end run and then one
hit, just one hit.
TERRY KIDWELL: Well, I always thought it was me and Alan
four wheeling in the woods and we found it.
But Bob Klein says it was Mark Anolik that told
us about this ditch.
And that's probably what happened.
And then me and Alan Armbruster went out there in
the summer and checked it out.
We just waited for winter so we could dig it
out and ride it.
TOM SIMS: So at the same time in my life, I'm trying to put
on a snowboard contest on the west coast to try to get the
sport off the ground.
And after taking a few runs in this quarter pipe, I said to
myself, when I put on this big snowboard contest in Tahoe, I
think I'll have a half pipe.
So I said to myself, we'll get the ski area to pile up the
snow and we'll scoop it out, and then we'll be able to make
multiple hits.
And so they got their Snowcat out there and piled up the
snow and built the first half pipe.
And, of course, the Sims team riders were all competent
skateboarders, and they ripped it up.
Which didn't make the Burton team from
back east very happy.
As they saw the half pipe as sort of a threat to the whole
alpine scene which was sort of their deal.
MIKE CHANTRY: Kind of looking at it back then, those guys
actually could get air.
They knew how to ride.
They just didn't want to do it.
They were afraid they were going to get hurt.
Because I know Coghlan, he would make the finals in a
couple of events that I judged.
And we were like, don't tell me you can't ride the pipe.
But they all had to do it, because it was an overall
title and there overall money involved.
So you still had to do the freestyle, but they would do
the minimum they had to do to get points
towards the overall title.
PAT BRIDGES: He was the catalyst for having half pipe
in snowboard competitions.
Without him, it would've been the linear, here's the start,
here is the beam at the bottom you have to go through.
So you got to wand, you got to start, you got gates.
I mean without Tom Sims' influence and he had the pull
and the juice at the time, he actually got freestyle
competitions off the ground.
And for that, that's invaluable.
TOM SIMS: So trying to get freestyle snowboarding and the
half pipe riding off the ground was actually a battle
as the Burton team organized a boycott of the half pipe until
I convinced them that it's fun.
And they just didn't see how it fit into snowboarding.
MIKE CHANTRY: A lot of times you'd see Palmer and Terry and
some of the other guys, they'd be in the DNS or DNFs, they
did not finish.
Because they would blow out a gate and just go, ah, screw it
and pull off.
They would just show up and just go pfft.
And they'd knock gates down and get disqualified and
They'd still get minimum points, the freestyle points,
because they were like the top two or three all the time.

TERRY KIDWELL: Yeah, as far as I know, that first video, at
least for my part, it was just maybe three
days worth of filming.
It wasn't too many takes where it was like, OK do it again.
We just pretty much filmed and then they just edited it and
took some of the best stuff and put it in the video.
Yeah, for the time, I think people saw that video and
we're just blown away.
Most people couldn't really link cars
together at the time.
There was definitely a big group of riders that could,
but the general public was pretty blown away like, wow,
you can do that on a snowboard?
PAT BRIDGES: This video was made to sell snowboarding.
It was made to sell the Sims team.
There's a big difference there.
If you saw, "One Track Mind," that video was made to appeal
to a 40-year-old dude who's a general manager of a ski area.
It wasn't made to appeal to a 16-year-old Vermonter who is
bummed because he can't skate in the winter.
MIKE CHANTRY: In '82, '83, '84, it was like a bidding war
for riders, who had the hottest team.
After Tom came out with a hot freestyle team, Jake all he
had was racers who were east coast guys, they didn't know
freestyle from beans.
And we come out, we got the skateboarders
and the big air guys.
And they're just going chucking everything which was
kind of like they were trying to one up each
other around them.
TOM SIMS: We had completely different visions of where the
sport should go.
I felt that team riders were very important.
He also felt that the half pipe should be banned from
So these, sort of, disagreements led to a feud.
And then, I think, the culmination of our
disagreements is when they recruited Craig
Kelly from our team.
And I felt like he was my brother when we were
snowboarding, and he had such great style, and he was such a
good influence on the other team riders.
And I really envisioned him someday becoming a marketing
director or someday president of the company.
JAKE BURTON: Craig Kelly was like late '80s.
We'd been friends, I'm not sure when we first met, sort
of mid '80s, but we had a relationship for a long time
and I'd always known him.
And I told him, I said hey, if things ever don't work out
with your sponsor let me now.
I think he had it in the back of his mind too.
He knew we were making boards in Vermont right there, and we
were pretty committed to making stuff better.
What Craig did for the sport is incredible.
And I think that we had a big role in giving that
opportunity, and believing in him, and
getting behind his designs.
MIKE RANQUET: Jake saw in Craig the ability to, kind of,
change focus on his company from a racing company
to what it is now.
Because at that point, Burton was Burton, but they weren't
the coolest.
They were east coast.
Sims was a west coast, it was Terry Kidwell Shaun Palmer,
Craig Kelly.
That's what Jake had in mind.
Where as Tom was dead serious and pretty much
paved the way for Jake.
But at same time, I think Craig took Jake more seriously
as a business partner.
And I think they shared a vision together.
So it wasn't so much some personal thing with Tom Sims.
So it's like Craig wasn't even dealing with Tom Sims back
then, he was dealing with Vision.
That's who the issue is with.
Like if there's anything you could say Craig didn't like
about Sims Snowboards, it was Brad Dorfman.
JAKE BURTON: He was riding for Sims at the time.
And then Sims got bought by--
Do remember Vision Street Wear?
I'm sure.
Yeah, that whole scene?
So Brad Dorfman, he was a very nice guy but he'd bought Sims,
because I think Sims was having maybe
some financial issues.
So he wasn't super committed to it at the time.
I think Craig knew that, and he just saw it as an
opportunity to move on.
So he got in touch with us.
And then we got sued by them, because they decided that they
really wanted Craig.
Or they sued Craig, and I guess they sued us too, but
mainly they went after Craig for violating his contract
which didn't really exist.
And that dragged things out for like a year.
And we got that all resolved.
PAT BRIDGES: That's almost when you could, kind of, see
from the outside that these inside players took it serious
enough to escalate it via Craig, wherever he was going
in his life, and Sims and Burton.
I just look at that as the watershed moment of so here's
snowboarding growing up, here's it becoming a
legitimate sport when all a sudden you have these
legitimate nuisances like lawsuits.
TOM SIMS: Right around the time that Craig won the World
Snowboard Championships was also right around the time
that I was on the verge of getting financing so we could
grow the company.
So he was World Champion and all a sudden I find out that
he's been recruited by Burton for a
phenomenal amount of money.
And, of course, I didn't have that much money at the time.
So that's sort of when the sport sort of took a big
change in direction from being very soulful and grassroots to
going on its way to becoming a mainstream big bucks industry.
And so losing a big chunk of the team right then was at a
time that jeopardized the whole financing part of it.
MIKE RANQUET: And then all of a sudden, this court battle
enraged like Tom was trying to stop the
shifting of Craig away.
And so Craig had to ride like black boards this whole year.
I lived with Craig and saw all this stuff going on.
And just like, wow, Burton if they actually do get Craig it
will make them cool.
And it's Craig that drew in Terrier, it's Craig that drew
in Brushies, it's Craig that drew in all of those guys that
helped shape the face of Burton in the
late '80s early '90s.
And it's very, very respectable and smart of Jake
to get Craig on board.
Because that's changed everything for Burton.
So it was a pretty unique situation to just be sitting
on the inside of that ring, just going, wow, I wonder how
this is going to pan out?
And then, watching it pan out and watching
like an empire rise.
You know?
TOM SIMS: I was somewhat disillusioned for a while
about where the sport was going when I realized that if
you had a lot of money you could have a lot of influence
on this sport.
And then immediately thereafter, Rossignol, K2, all
jump in and tried to take the sport away from
the founding fathers.
So it was a wild time trying to hang in there.

It was just one of those unfortunate things, and Craig
was one of the greatest guys in the whole world.
And I went to a half a dozen banks with the idea of
They said, there's no way that snowboarding
will ever make it.
I went to the banks to get skateboarding financed.
They said, there's no way that skateboarding will ever become
a big sport.
And the same thing with wake boarding, and the same thing
with surfing.
So don't go to the bankers if you're looking for
vision or new ideas.
They won't even loan you money with a good idea.
So I had to finance.
My dad loaned me $25,000 in the early '70s to get the
business off the ground.
And we just had to grow very slowly since we weren't able
to get financing because board sports and conservative banks
just weren't made for each other.
They had got burned in the wind surfing fad.
And, of course, I never believed that skateboarding or
snowboarding or wake boarding or any of that was a fad.
I thought it was a lifestyle.
And it's true, because it doesn't matter whether you're
skateboarding, or wake boarding, or snowboarding,
it's all that same feeling of turning and so these boards
reflect a lifestyle which is boarding.
And so I'm proud to have been a part of it.
Oh, my God.
Drop it, Tom.

There's some thickness there.
Go straight down, man.
How'd you like seeing that avalanche come at you?
Was there?
Yeah, a little bit.

MALE SPEAKER: That was sticky, but that's a heck of a nice
peak up there.
MALE SPEAKER: It got a little crusted up already, eh?
MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, the sun really was cooking it for a
couple hours there.
It took us two hours to hike it.
And in that time, it got fried.
But it was still a ball.
So we might have to climb up there again.
You can see it from here.
Oh, yeah you can.
Oh, there it is.
It's behind that knob.
No, it's right in the, off the peak.
Right when it narrows.
Right in there.

All of a sudden, it started pushing me like a wave.
I go, I better get my ass out of here.
It's good when you're up there.
Did you see me paddling?
Oh yeah.
Yeah, I paddled out of it.
I'm going shit, my tip.
If I could just keep the tip up, I could get
my ass out of here.
Up on the top here, it's making some nice turns, big
broad ones.
I probably should have ridden my Ace in.
Actually, you know what?
I couldn't have gotten the nose out.