Snowboarders in Exile – Circa 1990

Snowboarders in Exile – Circa 1990

In “Snowboarders in Exile – Circa 1990,” Maverix Snow Ltd presents a video that captures the essence of snowboarding during a pivotal moment in its history. The film explores the journey of snowboarders who were often marginalized and faced restrictions in major ski areas. It showcases the passion and determination of snowboarders like Damian Sanders, Steve Graham, Dave Sione, and Chris Roach, who pushed the limits of the sport and brought it into the mainstream. Through breathtaking footage and interviews, “Snowboarders in Exile” aims to break down misconceptions about snowboarding and highlight the talent and skill of these athletes. From British Columbia to Jackson Hole and Lake Tahoe, the film takes viewers on a thrilling adventure that showcases the exhilarating freedom and camaraderie found in this rebellious and exhilarating sport.

Snowboarders in Exile – Circa 1990


In the early 1990s, snowboarding was still a relatively new sport and snowboarders often found themselves in exile from major ski areas. They were not welcomed with open arms in ski resorts and faced a lack of respect and appreciation for their skills. This article delves into the difficult life of a snowboarder in exile and the challenges they faced during this time. It also highlights the need for a dedicated snowboard movie to document the growth of the sport and showcase the abilities and skills of snowboarders.

The Difficult Life of a Snowboarder in Exile

Snowboarders were often exiled from major ski areas and treated as second-class citizens. They were not allowed the same privileges and respect as skiers and faced resistance when trying to break down barriers and push the sport forward. Snowboarders felt the lack of understanding and misconception about their sport, which contributed to their difficult life in exile.


The Need for a Real Snowboard Movie

At the time, snowboarders did not have dedicated movies to call their own. Small segments in ski movies were not enough to showcase the sport’s growth. Snowboarders felt the need for a real snowboard movie to be made, not just for entertainment purposes, but also to set the record straight about their abilities and skills. The movie would serve as a testament to the perseverance and passion of snowboarders.

Challenges Faced by Snowboarders

Snowboarders faced numerous challenges during this time. They had to overcome resistance to new ideas and break down barriers of misunderstanding and misconception. Snowboarders were often compared to skiers and held to societal standards that didn’t fully appreciate their abilities. They faced a lack of privileges and respect in ski areas, which added to the difficulties of being a snowboarder in exile.

Snowboarders in Exile - Circa 1990

Adventures in Blackcomb and Whistler, British Columbia

Blackcomb and Whistler resorts in British Columbia provided snowboarding opportunities for those in exile. These resorts were known for their steep terrain and open-mindedness towards snowboarding. Snowboarders found solace in Canada, where they could freely engage in their sport without restrictions. The snow conditions in British Columbia, with frequent heavy snowfall, provided a memorable experience for snowboarders.

Building Jumps in the Backcountry

Due to restrictions on building jumps in ski resorts, snowboarders had to search for spots in the backcountry to build their jumps. One such spot was Mount Rose in California. Snowboarders faced challenges in hiking up the mountain and building the jumps, but the experience of being out in the backcountry and pushing their limits made it worthwhile. However, they also faced opposition from authorities and encountered legal issues when attempting to build jumps on ski resort property.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – The Powder Paradise

Jackson Hole in Wyoming was a mecca for snowboarders seeking fresh powder. The resort offered abundant snowfall, making it a powder paradise. Snowboarders, such as Steve Graham, explored the mountain and showcased their free riding skills. The importance of adaptation and pushing limits was evident in Jackson Hole, where riders could truly test their abilities.

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The Tram and Vertical Challenge in Jackson

One of the notable features of Jackson Hole was its tram, which provided access to the mountain’s vertical challenge. The tram could transport riders from the bottom of the mountain to the top, covering over 4,000 vertical feet in just under 10 minutes. This vertical challenge, along with the steep terrain and cliffs, set Jackson Hole apart from other ski resorts. Despite its popularity, waiting times were minimal, allowing riders to enjoy the mountain without long queues.

Loveland Pass, Colorado – Powder Turns and Avalanche Danger

Loveland Pass in Colorado offered snowboarders the opportunity to make powder turns weeks after a storm. The area was known for its deep-powder conditions but also had a heightened risk of avalanches. Snowboarders had to be aware of the avalanche danger and exercise caution while exploring the backcountry. Despite the risks, the allure of untouched powder was irresistible for snowboarders.

The Barn – Vertical Airshow in Tahoe

The Barn, located in Tahoe, California, was a vertical airshow for snowboarders. It provided a space for riders to showcase their skills and push their limits. The heavy snowfall of the winter made it an ideal location for snowboarding. However, legal issues and lawsuits surrounding jump construction limited the ability of snowboarders to fully utilize the area.


The life of a snowboarder in exile was challenging but rewarding. Snowboarders faced resistance and lack of respect, but their perseverance and passion pushed the sport forward. Snowboarding grew in popularity, and with time, snowboarders gained wider acceptance in ski areas. The experiences in Blackcomb, Whistler, Jackson Hole, Loveland Pass, and The Barn highlighted the opportunities and challenges faced by snowboarders in the 1990s. The growth and popularity of snowboarding showed that with determination and dedication, even those in exile could pave the way for change.

Hi there, I'm Jesse Hull, the author behind AK Fresh Pow. "Shred The Knar There Bud" is not only our tagline, but also our way of life. As a Husband and Father, I embrace the thrill of conquering the slopes. Being a retired Infantry Paratrooper has taught me discipline and a love for adventure. Now, as a new snowboarder/skier, I'm embracing the freedom and adrenaline rush that comes with it. Alongside these passions, I am a full-time student at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska, continuously expanding my knowledge and skills. Join me on this exciting journey as we explore the beauty of the snowy mountains together.