Powder and Rails: Bryan Iguchi (Part 1/4)

Uploaded by vice on 26.12.2012

This pretty much has been my playground
for the past 15 years.
I started renting snowmobiles down the road and looking for
rideable terrain.
SHANE GRIMES: So do you think you were some of the first
snowboarders out here?
BRYAN IGUCHI: Pretty much, yeah.
To snowboard in this area?
For sure.
WILLIE MCMILLON: Growing up here in the back country, we
probably rode for seven, eight years without a transceiver,
without a probe, even backpacks.
We just carried our board way out in the middle of--
I mean, we had no idea what we were doing.
I feel really safe going out in the back country with him.
He knows his shit.
And it's just like, tell me what to do, dude.
BRYAN IGUCHI: First I'm trying to identify any weak layers in
the snow path.
So looking here, I see here is a layer.
I want to test this layer.
This is the new snow that we had in the
last couple of days.
And first, let's check densities.
So this is the kind of layer I'm looking at right here.
If I want to test that, I do a compression tap test.
MIKE RANQUET: Bryan Iguchi definitely embodies or
epitomizes the Jackson Hole rider.
In the mid to late '90s, he just disappeared there without
a plan, just went there to get away to the mountains.
And that's one of the few places, I think, in the United
States where you can still do that without the Mickey Mouse
hype of major ski areas.
So now I'm just isolating a column of snow and then
cutting it back.
So this is a free-standing block of snow.
I'm going to do a shovel tap test and look for any shears.

I've got immediate shearing, I got an easy shear.
BJORN LEINES: Down about eight inches?
I'd say down 20 centimeters.
OK, really soft, so I'm guessing a
storm interface layer.


WILLIE MCMILLON: I think a lot of the pros these days like--
a lot of what I see is these kids growing up in the park.
And then they're like, wow, I'm making a lot of money.
I guess I've got to learn how to ride powder now.
And then they go out in the back country.
And it's like they can't ride a sled.
They don't know how to dig a pit.
They probably can't even find a transceiver buried in the
yard, you know?
And I think he's kind of the regulator of that.
If these crews come out, he's not going to let kids
get away with that.
He's going to make them find a peeps in his yard before he
takes them out.

BJORN LEINES: Solid underneath.
SHANE GRIMES: Are you counting your packs?
None of them are interesting.
BJORN LEINES: This typically is more of a continental snow
pack up here where we are?
BRYAN IGUCHI: It's more inner mountain to some of the
washouts down at the Tetons.
But here, it's more like Colorado style.
It's colder, hollow, [INAUDIBLE].
BJORN LEINES: Yeah, you know that.
BRYAN IGUCHI: Not as much snow.
BRYAN IGUCHI: Well, I wouldn't want to be riding those big
lines over there.
I wouldn't want to be out on anything hanging or anything
not supported.
BRYAN IGUCHI: Hear that crust layer there?
WILLIE MCMILLON: A lot of times we're not
into it, you know?
We'll go out, and he'll be like, let's dig a pit.
And you're just like, dude, seriously?
And we'll dig a nine-foot pit.
And then we're worked.
And we can't even strap in, you know?
But he's diligent about it.
BRYAN IGUCHI: OK, I'm guessing it's going to pop
somewhere in here.

BJORN LEINES: What's that?

BRYAN IGUCHI: Let's see if I can--
this is such a delicate block.
Oh, OK.
Oh, I'm seeing surface over here.
Oh, no, these are preserved stellars.
If you come here and look at this.
BJORN LEINES: Those are-- yeah.
BRYAN IGUCHI: That's a storm
interface, perfectly preserved.
Look at how huge they are.
BJORN LEINES: Those didn't get big, they just--
BRYAN IGUCHI: They just melt right away.
BRYAN IGUCHI: Yeah, you see how they [INAUDIBLE].
So basically, it's a storm interface layer.
So it was a temperature change or whatever.
A little density change there.
BJORN LEINES: This is what you don't want, one from the hand.
And it's easy style of breaking off.
DAVE DOWNING: Jackson Hole?
I think it's always been kind of a rad place to
snowboard, you know?
A lot of old Fall Line films are filmed in Jackson Hole.
And then there's always cycles in snowboarding, like certain
places become popular, you know?
And then they kind of fade off, you know?
One year it might be Colorado.
One year it might be Utah, Tahoe.
And right now, I think a lot of people are
going to Jackson Hole.
They're having a killer winter.
And so a lot of people are going there.
KEVIN JONES: His progression is always a step ahead.
Pretty soon, I think, it's going to be protocol that all
these riders that are venturing in the back country,
but they don't know things about the back country.
It's like this white stuff that you love, it can kill you
very easily on the wrong day.
And Guch, you know, everybody he's around, it's like just
having him around makes the whole crew more aware of
what's going on around us.
This is a crystal screen in a loop.
So it's a magnifying glass.
You just look to see what the snow crystals that the failure
surface is on.
Yeah, it's definitely some old surface hoar.
TRAVIS RICE: It's one thing if you're just going out and
riding and having fun.
But if you're trying to shoot with photographers or film,
man, it's a whole other dynamic.
You've got to time things right with what time of day
you should be at certain places.
The snow's bad here.
You should try here, all the different zones that surround
this area here in Jackson.
And for me, for two years, it was amazing being lucky enough
to ride here locally with a guy like Guch who had put in a
bunch of years all by himself, basically, trying to figure it
out for himself.
KEVIN JONES: Safety is huge.
I mean, he's watched one of his friends die right in front
of his eyes, you know?
When Tristan died, that same year Craig Kelly died and Jeff
Anderson died.
It was like, holy shit.
I guess, all of a sudden, it isn't just
happening to other people.
It's people within our--
this is really hitting home now, you know?
BRYAN IGUCHI: It's a lot more reactive here than it is in
the Tetons.
It's all changes in whether.
That's a really firm block of snow.

SHANE GRIMES: So that was a couple of storms ago, a real
heavy, wet one?
BRYAN IGUCHI: And you see all that?
It's just like facets, like sugar.
So you could propagate--
it could step down further down.
It's definitely not a good looking snow pack.
I wouldn't want to go on anything too big or anything
with a high consequence.
I feel good about just small landings, jumps and things
we've been doing.
But I wouldn't want to ride too many big lines.
BRYAN IGUCHI: No, I wouldn't want to ride
any big lines here.
Like I wouldn't go in there right now.
PAT BRIDGES: A lot of people say, why doesn't snowboard
media focus as much attention on the pedigree of the sport
or what the legends are doing now or guys who are 40 years
old and pro still and stuff?
Well, the guys who are 40 and pro still don't ride like Guch
does or as much as Guch does.
Or they've stopped progressing or evolving themselves.
He never stopped.
SHANE GRIMES: So we're going to hit some small jumps, or
jump with protected landings.
Try to keep this safe.
BRYAN IGUCHI: Try, yeah.
PAT BRIDGES: It just so happens, because of his stoke
on riding, he's gone from riding in Jackson Hole with
guys like Lance Pittman and Willie McMillon to riding with
the next generations of Jackson riders like the Rices
and Mark Carters and to ride in the next generation of
Jackson Hole riders.
And that's just because he's in the lift line and he's
riding every day.
BILLY ANDERSON: He's just dedicated.
And I think that that's gotten him to where he is, is he
loves snowboarding.
And I think he was really committed, coming from a
pretty hard core skate and surf background in Los Angeles
and taking that to the snow.
He kind of had not a chip on his shoulder, but he was tough
and focused.
BRYAN IGUCHI: Well, for a few years now I've just start
taking some more advanced avalanche courses.
I did my Level 1 in Canada at the
Professional Operations class.
I'm trying to get my head wrapped around more of the
science part of it.
You get experience in the mountains.
And you kind of get a feeling for what's going on and make
decisions on what you've seen in the past.
You get an idea of what signs to look out for.

I'm on more of a mission now to quantify what
I'm seeing and why.
So I'm getting more into looking at the structure of
the snow pack and looking at the more
scientific part of it.