Professional snowboarder Maria Thomsen and photographer Dean (Blotto) Grey discovered themselves waist-deep in snow on Jan. 17, 2020, in a metropolis a great distance from residence — however you will not hear any whining about it.
Whereas a lot of North America lacked snow early in 2020 St. John’s had its share and that was earlier than the phrase Snowmageddon had entered Newfoundland vernacular or photos of the buried metropolis have been flashed world wide.
This resulted in a few of the largest manufacturers in snow sports activities eyeing the East Coast island for filming places.
Simply over every week into 2020, the Burton snowboarding firm despatched a crew of riders and a crew to St. John’s to doc their antics — on and off snow — to St. John’s.
“There was loads of snow for us to do what we got down to do, which was snowboard across the metropolis, perform a little little bit of shovelling, make some distinctive picture shoot places,” stated Burton photographer Grey over the cellphone from Salt Lake Metropolis earlier this month.
Thomsen, second from left, is joined by fellow Burton riders, from left, Alex Andrews, Neils Scheck and Ethan Deiss for some strong highway snowboarding after Snowmageddon. (Dean Grey)
Grey, an Arizona-born Vermont-living world-travelling photographer, stated they’d filmed sufficient footage for the newest Burton snowboard movie, One World, which hit streaming websites in November.
However climate on the northeast Avalon is an ever-changing beast.
“The locals begin telling us, ‘Hey, there is a massive storm coming, possibly seize some additional meals from the grocery shops,'” stated Grey. “We had no thought what was in retailer for us.”
Maria Thomsen enjoys a powdery run down the hills of St. John’s. (Dean Grey)
The Danish-born boarder who now calls Pemberton (a bit north of Whistler, B.C.) residence admits St. John’s hadn’t been on the radar for a snowboarding journey.
However when Burton, arguably the best-known firm in snow sports activities, asks you to fly in with a crew of riders, photographers and filmmakers you do not say no.
“I used to be a bit skeptical however on the similar time I used to be fairly excited. I really like going to new locations,” Thomsen stated.
That skepticism lasted about so long as the journey from the airport to a rented home on Colonial Road in downtown St. John’s.
“You guys have such a cool surroundings, the colorful homes and the harbour,” Thomsen stated. “It makes for some actually cool pictures.”
Burton photographer Dean (Blotto) Grey says a spotlight of his second journey to Newfoundland and Labrador was serving to out the neighbours. (Dean Grey)
The Burton crew obtained much more than just some cool pictures when hurricane-force winds combined with practically 80 centimetres of snow. Thomsen stated it was “wild.”
“I did not actually perceive how a lot snow was coming till I went exterior the door the subsequent day,” stated Thomsen.
Grey, who spends extra time within the snow than most, might solely discover one different place for comparability functions.
“The one factor I can equate it to, the quantity of snow in that point interval, would most likely be in northern Japan, the place I go to every winter for filming and snowboarding,” stated Grey.
The one drawback is that there was an excessive amount of snow; automobiles, vans and doorways alongside their downtown avenue have been buried.
Thomsen calls her 2020 journey top-of-the-line she’s ever had. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)
“We walked out the door that morning and noticed that our neighbours wanted assist,” Grey stated, and the Burton crew did not hesitate to seize some shovels and assist our their newfound associates.
“Their response was, ‘You guys are actually good with these shovels,’ and we defined to them this can be a massive a part of what we do when making snowboard films,” he stated.
“It was our pleasure to assist the neighborhood out. I feel it is simply your responsibility when there is a scenario like that.”
The crew took to the snow to get a number of extra further pictures and pictures — together with the enduring ones of them using down the roads in downtown St. John’s.
“Us using by means of the streets was actually enjoyable, sort of like being a child at a playground,” Thomsen stated.
5 full minutes of One World function Grey’s pictures and Thomsen’s methods. Grey considers himself fortunate to have been part of the journey and to assist in filming the St. John’s phase, “to come back there, assist the group, present individuals snowboarding and possibly encourage individuals to only go exterior and snowboard or ski or do something outdoor,” he stated.
“Makes me need to come again there as quickly as potential.”
Thomsen had been skeptical of St. John’s as a snowboarding website however that shortly modified. (Dean Grey)
He and Thomsen are happy with the work they did in St. John’s, nevertheless it’s the individuals they bear in mind essentially the most.
Thomsen fondly remembers watching the group got here collectively, serving to one another out, after which later music enjoying and dancing within the streets.
She stated the Burton boarders met the neighbours and bonded over shovelfuls of snow.
“It was cool to get to satisfy individuals otherwise,” she stated. “I’ll always remember that, and I feel, truthfully, it is considered one of my finest journeys ever.”