Friday, October 31, 2008

Snow Forecast for Whistler

Hello fellow snowboarders,

It finally looks like we are getting snow in Whistler over the next couple of days. I have been checking the forecasts for weeks now and wasn't too optimistic that there would be enough snow for opening day like in the past year. I was worried, even though it's early, that it would be a repeat of 2003/2004. But it does look like the snow is on it's way due to the freezing level dropping.

Detailed Whistler Snow Forecast website

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shop Review - Westbeach (Vancouver / Whistler)

Westbeach is a Canadian board shop that started up in 1979 in Calgary and now has two main shops in Vancouver (West 4th & Burrard and in Gastown) and Whistler (Market Place, Village North).

I usually stroll in to Westbeach on a consistent basis to see what’s new and for their Volcom clothes section…I love Volcom jeans. Recently I purchased new snowboard boots, bindings and a board (that I returned due to cosmetic reasons). So without further adieu here is my detailed review of the Westbeach shops.

1) Shop setup / Visual Merch

All Westbeach stores are setup in the same fashion, clothing / shoes up front and gear in the back. The Whistler store has a more artistic flare because in their front windows they have some cool displays that are well thought out. As for the Vancouver store they only have two front windows and now displays. Both stores are descent sizes with the Vancouver one the bigger of the two making able to carry a lot of gear for the particular season.

Also both shops always have a couple of TVs in them playing the latest snowboarding, surfing or skateboarding movies which is always cool to have, it keeps me in the store that much longer.

2) Variety

Westbeach carries a large variety of gear, clothing and accessories, my favourite being the Volcom section. From a snowboarding perspective they stock Burton, Stepchild, Lib Tech, GNU and 32 boots. They also stock the lasted videos, but this year did seem to have all of them like they did in the past.

In the summer months Westbeach transforms they inventory into skateboarding and surfing gear but still keep the snowboarding products out as well.

3) Product Pricing

The price of the merch in the shop is relatively the same as any other shop you might find and Westbeach rarely has sales. Their sales only occur during the thanksgiving weekend (10% off) and at season end (20% to 25% off)

4) Customer Service

I find Westbeach’s customer service hit and miss. Sometimes you get good service when you are browing in their stores but most of the time you are just ignored. This is very evident in the Whistler store, they’re to cool to help you out!

When I was buying all my gear for this season the guy helping me just did want to be there and it was evident in his attitude. Also they work on commission, so I would think that they would get more effort to help you make the right choice.

With respect to product knowledge I think the Westbeach staff does a good job, as most of their employees ride the gear they are sell. But since they do work on commission do your homework before hand because there is always the risk that they will try to push some product on you that you might not want.

One guy at the Vancouver shop, I think his name was Eric, is extremely helpful and doesn’t care about commission so I would suggest asking around to see if he’s there to help out.

5) Overall

Westbeach is descent board shop that can become a really good board shop if they customer service improves in both stores. Really they only reason I shop there is because of their large selection of Volcom clothes, other wise I think you can get better service else where when purchasing gear.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Surfing 2008 Best Trick

Ok, I know this is not the movie review you were looking for but I have yet to receive my new snowboarding videos from action sports videos. But fear not I will have a review guaranteed for next Monday. Just to let you know I did dispute the charges through my mastercard and got my money back for the videos that were never sent to me, so I'm just going to go to my local shop and pick them up this week. Check out my experience with ASV here: ActionSportsVideo Review

Now I know this is quite old, as the 2008 Surfer Awards were already handed out but I really think some of these tricks are amazing.
So I just wanted to share them with you. The nominees were:

- Dane Reynolds / Dude Cruise (WINNER)
- Dion Agius / Behind The Black Curtain
- Dane Reynolds / Dude Cruise
- Pat Gudauskas / The Pursuit
- Clay Marzo / Just Add Water

More surfing videos on

Dane Reynolds with his trick in Dude Cruise took took home the award for best trick of 2008....that was suck a sich trick!!!

Also the big winner of the night was no surprise, Kelly Slater for number 1 male surfer. Well deserved since he won his 9th world title this year.

More surfing videos on

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Un..Inc Reunion

There is something going on in the snowboarding world that is very exciting for me.....a possible Un..Inc reunion.

Recently I read that Gigi left Burton to join Volcom in the quest to conquer the snowboarding world with their introduction to snowboard hardware manufacturing due out in 2009/2010. Also in the past of couple months Burton has let go of JP Solberg, DCP and Romain De Marchi, leaving the door wide open for an Un..Inc reunion on Volcom.

I also noticed on the net this website called, We Are Un..Inc , so something interesting is about to occur in the next couple of months.

Check out a couple of these articles and posts on other blogs to see how things are shaping up for the former Burton Un..Inc'ers

Gigi says Screw off Burton

Gigi Sign with Volcom

So fingers crossed that these guys can reunite on a team that would be amazing because together they bang out awesome video parts. I guess we can look forward to another Volcom snowboarding movie in 09/10 if this reunion occurs.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shop Review – Evolution (Whistler)

For my first shop review I wanted to write about one of my favourite shops that I frequent in Whistler, Evolution (

Evolution is a locally owned shop that is located in the Whistler Village between the Village Square (Citta’s, Liquor Store/Grocery Store) and the Conference Center (Buffalo Bill’s Tapley’s). It’s quite a unique store in Whistler because it really fuses snowboard and mountain biking with fashion. The reason I say its quite unique is because most board shops, especially in Whistler, just sell gear with very little consideration on the fashion side of things. If I’m not describing it well here is the “about us” from the Evolution website. I guess you can say it’s like their mission statement:

The Evolution Story

Evolution established in 1995, is located in the heart of the Whistler Village in BC, Canada.

Evolution represents Whistler’s culture of Biking, Snow riding, Skateboarding, and Fashion.

In the winter we sell Snowboards and NarrowAssSnowboards (sold in pairs…) and stylin' related outerwear and accessories.

In the summer we rent and sell select quality bikes, parts and accessories and our excellent tech's service all types of bikes. Year round we stock a boutique selection of fashion from brands that often request to be in our store.

We offer opportunity to find clothes that are unique because we do not stock two of the same item

Evolution supports local artists, photographers, videographers and musicians with sales, and use of art, photos, DVD’s and CD’s.

Evolution is committed to quality service, products and style.

If you love bikes, snowboards, fashion or art: a visit to Evolution is a must when you are in Whistler.

So as you can see Evolution truly represents snowboarding culture and that why I really like this shop. So without further adieu here is my detailed review.

1) Shop setup / Visual Merch

Since Evolution is more a stylish shop the visual merch and shop setup are awesome. From outside to inside of the shop it feels lively due to all the art work colours that are displayed. Since the shop is pretty small it’s very easy to get around. Clothes and other accessories are at the front or entrance of the shop, while the snowboard and mountain biking gear is located in the back. Also Evolution carries a ton of videos and local music that are located just behind the counter.

Don’t be fooled about the size of the shop…it definitely packs a punch because it combines both substance and style. Evolution is one of the most visually pleasing shops in Whistler among all the large corporate stores….it’s really refreshing and inspiring to see an awesome locally run shop in Whistler.

2) Variety

Evolution sells a large selection of clothes and gear from many of the top brands. From a snowboarding perspective they stock Rome, Ride, Lib Tech, Rossi and 32 plus a ton out outerwear from Plant Earth, DC, Airblaster and more. Evo also stocks the lasted videos.

In the summer months this shop transforms into the best mountain bike shop in Whistler, carrying bikes from Specialized, Cove and Santa Cruz. If your ride needs some lovin’ bring into Evolution because they always have the best techs there to give your bike the treatment it deserves.

3) Product Pricing

The price of the merch in the shop is relatively the same as any other shop you might find. But the good thing about Evolution is that they seem to have more sales than any shop in Whistler. So if you catch it at the right time you can pick up some gear for a good price. I have usually seen about 10% to 15% off at times, so always check back into the store just to make sure you’re not missing a good deal.

4) Customer Service

Ok this is where Evolution set itself apart from other board shops in Whistler and even in Vancouver for that matter, their customer service. From the moment you walk into the shop you are greeted with a friendly hello, usually from the shop owner Jenine. Once in the shop you are never really ignored or feel out of place because the staff is so friendly and always willing to help you out. The staff takes the time to chat with you even if you’re not buying anything which is cool to see.

The Evolution staff really makes all its customers feel at home in their shop and I think that stems from it being locally owned and operated. That’s why I really enjoy going into their shop, even if I’m not buying anything….their customer service is the best out of all the board shops in Whistler and Vancouver.

5) Overall

As you can tell Evolution is my favourite shop and I really urge anyone visiting Whistler looking to purchase some gear to head over to this shop and check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

On Hold for this week……Movie Review Monday

Well I had to put off Movie Review Monday for this week because I have yet to receive my order from (ASV). So I have decided to review I’m pretty steamed with regards to not receiving my ordered 2009 snowboard movies on time, so this review won’t be pretty.

1) Navigation / User Friendly Site

ASV is a pretty easy site to navigate through. All their videos are categorized by sport such as Surfing, Snowboarding, Skiing, etc. Once in the category of your choice the movies are generally sorted by release year so the newest videos are on the first page. They also offer a short synopsis of the movies, to let you know who’s in it and any other notable information. If you find the movies you want to buy it’s pretty easy to add them to your check out cart and complete the transaction.

So for user friendliness of their site I think it’s pretty simple and basic, which is want a buyer wants.

2) Pricing

ASV pricing of all their videos is decent. On a lot of the bigger flicks they offer a couple of bucks off but it's not that much different than their competitors. Also the shipping costs, unless you live in the US, are average. It works out to about $4 US per purchased video for Canadians, unless you buy over $250 worth of movies then it’s free.

3) Variety

The variety of videos is good at ASV. They carry all major titles from a broad spectrum of action sports from Snowboarding, Surfing and Skiing to Mountain Biking and Wakeboarding.

4) Customer Service

Ok now it seem like ASV is a good place to order movies from….well this is where it get bad because to me customer service is crucial.

I placed my order online with Action Sports Videos on Sept 5th and purchased 5 snowboard videos (Double Decade, Ready, Down with People, No Correct Way and That’s It That’s All). As to this day I have yet to receive them. Now I have e-mailed ASV over 10 times requesting they give me information as to when my order will be arriving but I have only gotten one response saying that there was a delay in distribution of the video to there warehouse. Also you are told on the website not to call their customer service phone numbers with questions about order status because they say to e-mail them in. So I did that and really got no solid answer from them that way. So I called their phone number to ask about my order status and I got attitude from the customer service rep saying that I should not be calling in to ask about order status….what bull shit.

So it’s been over a month from the date I ordered the videos and I haven’t received them yet, when there site clearly states that shipping to Canada takes 3 to 10 business days…..well it’s been 20+ days. Where are my videos??? Wait, contact customer service by e-mail so that they can ignore you….nice.

So since customer service is highly important to me when I’m purchasing a product I give ASV a failing grade. I would never purchase any thing from them again due to this lack of communication with their customers….nice way to run a business, fuck ups!!!


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Friday, October 17, 2008

Snowboard Shop Reviews

Over the next couple of posts I'll be reviewing some of the local board shops that I usually frequent in both Whistler and Vancouver in order to gear you up for the up coming winter season. I will be critiquing the shops based mainly on customer service, product selection / variety and price.

The following is a list of stores which I will be reviewing over the next couple of weeks:

- Westbeach Vancouver
- Westbeach Whistler
- Showcase Snowboards Whistler
- Evolution Whistler
- Comor Whistler
- Pacific Boarder Vancouver
- The Boardroom
- The Circle Whistler
- Mountain Riders Whistler

Hopefully these reviews will help you make an informed decision on where you should make your next purchase for your snowboarding needs. So check back over the next 2 weeks for these reviews.....don't miss it.

Also don't forget about Movie Review Mondays where I review the 2009 snowboarding videos.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

My New Gear for the 2009 Snowboard Season

Hello all,

I just want to share with you my newly acquired gear for this upcoming snowboard season. This year I ended up getting a whole new setup to replace my old all mountain board that I purchased back in 2004.

I got a Burton UnInc 157, Burton Cartel bindings and Burton Ion boots, as the pictures below show.

I'm really excited to test out my new gear in Whistler this year to see how good it performs. Also as the snowboard season goes on I will be bring you reviews of my gear, along with other snowboard equipment I can demo.

Here is my setup for this year so far:

All Mountain

- Burton UnInc 157 (2009)
- Burton Cartels (2009)
- Burton Ion (2009)

- Stepchild Simon Chamberlain 153 (2005)
- Burton P1 (2005)
- Burton Ion (2009)

As I said I hope to bring you reviews of all my gear once the season gets underway. Hope all of you have a great early season and see you on the slopes.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Movie Review - Downloaded Stepchild Snowboards

Here is the first out of many reviews I'll be posting on this years snowboarding video releases...enjoy.

For this year Stepchild release a free downloadable team video, Downloaded, with the likes of JP Walker, Simon Chamberlain, Joe Sexon, Satian Solberg, Fredu Sirvio, Markku Koski, Scotty Vine, Chris Wimbles, Shin Campos and their AM’s (E-man and Risto).

The films concept is based on how the team fills in their snowboard travel year when they are not filming with the big film production companies. Some of the places that this film is shoot in are Japan, Whistler at COC, Big Bear, Mammoth Mtn and a couple locations in northern Europe.

Now for the review

1) Soundtrack

Overall the soundtrack to Downloaded was really well put together and had a couple of recognizable/mainstream songs. It consisted of a true mix of all types of music hip hop, rock, house/dance and mellow chill. Also Stepchild had the placement of the music bang on, hip hop with park/rail sessions, more up tempo beats with jump sessions and mellow music with flowing powder riding. One of my favourite parts musically was when they introduced JP to the team…they played MOP’s Ante Up from his video part back in True Life. Oh that brings back memories.

2) Cinematography

With regards to the cinematography of the film there wasn’t any thing that was ground breaking. I would say that it was standard. Not like MDP’s Picture This, that set the bar with regards to snowboard cinematography in my opinion. But I have to say that I really enjoyed watching the first scene with Chamberlain and Sexon at the rail in Japan…I thought the angle of the shot was cool because you could see almost all of the details of the tricks they were pulling off.

3) Segments / Riders

Since the film is so rail and park heavy the segments are pretty repetitive, just rail/park shots from a different local. But you should already know this since the team is more street rail oriented. You’re not going to see much big mountain riding from this team. The segments that stood out for me was the first scene with Chamberlain and Sexon, they were killing it with so many technical tricks that rail in Japan. Also I liked watching Fredu Sirvio's part, it was pretty smooth riding.

4) Extras

There are no extra or bonus segments in this video.

5) Overall

The Stepchild Downloaded video wasn’t bad for a free download. I was hope they would have a bit more shots with JP Walker, but I guess his year is filled with working with MDP. On the downside there wasn’t a lot of variety in the riding, about 90% rail park sessions. So overall I think it was a funny video to watch and it did get my amp up to hit the park this coming season, so I give this film a 7 / 10.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

CJ Hobgood Wins Billabong Pro Mundaka

It’s been a hell of a few days for Florida. Yesterday the newswire was abuzz with Kelly Slater’s ninth title, today it’s CJ Hobgood’s name who’s all over the headlines. With time ticking off the clock, and needing a solid score, a two-wave set rolled into the lineup. CJ paddled for the first, but with Parko holding down priority, the Australian was able to keep him off the wave by taking it for himself. Bad move. CJ got an absolute drainer with no time left on the clock, came flying out into the channel, broke Parko’s heart, and won the Billabong Pro Mundaka in the process. Parko may be a bit broken hearted, but it was a hell of a final, and after a few beers and some time there’s no doubt he’ll rebound. But for now, a huge congratulations goes out to CJ on a job well done.

But the big story of the Billabong Pro Mundaka was Kelly Slater winning his 9th world title.

Kelly Slater's 9TH ASP World Title

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Transportation to Whistler

There are not many options when it comes to modes of transportation from Vancouver to Whistler. Really there is only one way which proves that the BC government is shortsighted in planning for the 2010 Olympics because it is by automobile, bus or car. That is another topic I can go on about but this is about how to get to Whistler in the most cost effective way.

You could rent a car but with the cost of fuel and fact that once in Whistler you will not need your car because almost everything is accessible by foot. Whistler is a pedestrian friendly town since the main village is pedestrian only traffic.

The second way to get to Whistler from Vancouver is by bus. There are a couple buses companies that pick up passengers at various locations. So depending on where your origin in Vancouver is the following is a breakdown of what bus to take based on the lowest cost round trip for one adult. Note that prices are subject so please refer to the company’s website for more details and schedules.

From Vancouver Airport

Greyhound - $85.60 plus taxi to downtown bus station and back to airport $100 (8 departures daily to Whistler)

Perimeter - $126 (has a pick location at Vancouver Airport with 11 daily departures to Whistler)

Pacific Coach Lines – $102.90 (has a pick location at Vancouver Airport with 12 daily departures to Whistler)

SnowBus - $74.95 (has a pick location at Vancouver Airport but only 2 to 3 daily departures)

From Downtown Vancouver

Greyhound - $85.60 (8 departures daily to Whistler)

Perimeter - $126 (has several hotel pick up locations with 11 departures daily to Whistler)

Pacific Coach Lines – $102.90 (has several hotel pick up locations with 12 departures daily to Whistler)

SnowBus – $42.92 (has a couple downtown pick up locations but 2 to 3 daily departures)

Alot of information, I know, but here is a summary.

If you are coming from Vancouver Airport with 4 to 5 friends then taxi it to the downtown bus terminal and take the Greyhound. Else if you are alone just take the Pacific Coach Lines bus. Just to note that the Pacific Coach Lines and Perimeter bus are more luxurious, so if you want to ride in comfort either of those will do.

If you are already downtown Vancouver just take the Greyhound. I can see that SnowBus is cheaper but they only run a couple of runs up to Whistler, the Greyhound has a better schedule with more choices even when coming back to the city. Also when taking the greyhound make sure that you are at the terminal at least 45 mins to 1 hour before the scheduled departure time because these bus get packed in the winter.

Hope this helps.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Movie Review Mondays

It’s that time of year again to see what our favourite pro riders and film makers where up to last winter season. This comes at a good time because all us snowboarders are going stir crazy waiting for the snow to fall and our local mountains to open. So these new 2009 videos should keep us sane until winter.

For the next 6 Mondays I’m going to be posting reviews on some newly released snowboard videos. Here is the 2009 snowboards video I’m going to be reviewing not in any particular order.

Downloaded – Stepchild Snowboards
Double Decade – Mack Dawg Productions
Down with People - Mack Dawg Productions
Ready – Absinthe Films
No Correct Way – Rome Snowboards
That’s It That’s All – Brain Farm Films

So check back every Monday to read my take on these hot new releases for the 2009 snowboard season.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Kelly Slater Wins 9th World Title at the Mundaka Pro in Spain

K9, Nine lives, Revolution #9, call it what you want, Kelly Slater is a 9-time ASP world champion. Slater clinched the world title at the 9th ASP tour stop in Spain today by making it to round 4 where he was up against Tom Whitaker but lost. Whitaker has a perfect 10 ride and backed it up with an 8.00 for a total of 18.00. While Slater started out early with 9.33 but couldn't bust one out again finishing with a final score of 12.43.

But this is not about Slater winning this tour stop. It's about the world title and all he had to do was past round 3, which he did.

Also I just wanted to add this quote from the CEO of Quiksilver, which sums up the ability of Slater. "Kelly Slater is an extraordinary human being, physically and mentally. His talent and accomplishments are unmatched in surfing and perhaps in the history of sports," says Bob McKnight, Quiksilver President, Chairman and CEO.

Congrats Slater, hopefully he comes back to contend for a 10th world title.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Surfing in Tofino at Cox Bay

This past weekend I went surfing on Vancouver Island, Tofino to be exact. For those of you who don’t know Tofino is Canada’s best and really only surf spot. Since there was a fall special at a very nice resort I stayed in the Cox Bay area of Tofino.

If you have the chance and don’t mind spending the cash for accommodations I would really suggest staying at 1431 Cox Bay resort. This resort is right on the beach and is virtually brand new as it was built only about 3 months before and still establishing is full resort amenities like hot tub, gym and sauna. At 1431 they have one and two bedroom condos that you can rent. Now in peak summer time the cost per night is about 300 for a one bedroom but we saw this fall deal online for 125 per night. Each condo has a full kitchen so you can save some cash by cooking your own meals, an LCD TV and wireless internet so you can check up on the daily surf report. But still regardless of the price I still recommend this place if you are going surfing in Tofino.

The weather couldn’t be better for the end of September on Vancouver Island. It was pure sunshine and about 20 degrees celsius both days, which is really unusual for this time of year because it is usually overcast and rainy. The swell at peak times were anywhere from 6 to 8 ft and the water temperature about 12 degrees celsius, so wetsuits are necessary. Cox Bay is one of the best surf spots in Tofino as it gets some of the best waves out of all the beaches in the area.

Since I have only gone surfing a couple of times I had to rent my gear from Long Beach Surf Shop for $95 for 2 days. The rental included wetsuit, board, gloves, booty’s and gear insurance. Surfing at Cox Bay was awesome as the sets came in so often with quality waves, so no long waits between sets. The only down side to surfing at Cox Bay is the under tow, which is really strong compared to surfing in SoCal. In my opinion, is if you are a true beginner and can’t swim to well go to Long Beach as it is a bit easier from what I was told. All in all I had a really good surf session over the 2 days and got many good quality rides in, even craved in the wave a bit on my best one.

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