an interview w/ Ryan Finder, Kyle Mack, Brandon Davis & Spencer Whiting
photos: Ryan Finder, Brandon Davis & Sammy Blaze
It's not often that a video series will cover so many sides to snowboarding - street, backcountry jumps, powder - how did Over Yonder come about in the first place?
Ryan: Over yonder came about because Brandon Davis and I had worked on two projects together for Snowboarder magazine. We both had a similar idea of what we wanted - Brandon’s ATV style is what really inspired me. What I love about snowboard filming is more of an all-around feel - to not really be like pigeonholed into one specific thing, and Brandon was that - to a T. Our first year we were just working with anybody who was down to go snowboarding with us. Kyle Mack was friends with Brandon from a while back when they used to compete together. So that was an easy fit. It was just a quick, easy mesh of styles and personalities - and it just kept going from there.
How was the process of shooting & editing for an almost real-time execution of the project?
Ryan: The process is is fucking hard, especially during the winter, because what we wanted to make was in-season content. Which is just hard to do when you have big objectives. It's a lot of editing in a short amount of time. And then you're also trying to juggle the filmmaking process at the same time. Backcountry days can be super long, like 12 hours from portal to portal - and you're working your ass off the entire time. As soon as you're done with your trip, you have to take all that footage and sit in front of the computer for more 12 hour days to turn stuff around. It’s a pretty constant grind. Brandon and Kyle took on a lot of the planning. So I just got to really focus on filming and editing - but the process of filming it is so sick, and it’s some of the best times of my life. I do love the feeling of putting shit out as you're doing it - when it's done, it feels really good. Nothing feels stale, everything is super fresh.
Throughout the 22/23 season, the Over Yonder crew headed to British Columbia - twice, Wyoming & Utah. A small, but mighty snowboard film crew who didn’t limit themselves on what they set out to capture. The crew breaks down some of their experiences throughout the winter…
Kyle: This season, out of the last two, was probably my favorite. I think we put the most work and effort into our game plan and where we were headed.
Brandon: Essentially it's kind of all started with like needing a crew, right? You can't go do backcountry by yourself. Most people nowadays, kind of favor one or the other, like you're either a street crew or you're a pow crew. You can't really find one crew that's down to go do everything. Kyle was one of the dudes that's always down to rip streets, he’s down for pow, he's down to ride resort - he’s down to do whatever. That's my style and I can back that. Get what's good, when it's good - rather than waiting.
Spencer Whiting: Utah was having such a good year. Torgeir Bergrem and I kind of started to think about snowmobiling and who who we could really go with. Brandon, Kyle and Finder were also kind of trying to figure out a program. It was a really just a game time decision where it was like, “Hey, you boys want to build some jumps?”, “We want to build some jumps.”. I think it worked really well where, we were all able to learn and we all came out as better snowboarders. We brought it back to the roots and got the whole crew involved, you know? I think that's the beauty of life and snowboarding - sometimes you just got to think on your toes. If it’s snowing record amounts in Utah and you have three people on one crew, three people on another, you might as well just team up and make it happen. You have to put yourself in front of the opportunity for it to be visible.
Kyle: We ended up doing an avalanche training course at Baldface early-on, which was really helpful while we were spending six out of seven days a week in the backcountry. The crew this year was Brandon Davis, Ryan Finder & myself for the most part. We had a couple of different homies that joined us throughout, Spencer Whiting, Torgier Begrem, Judd Henkes, Mason Lemery, Sammy Blaze…
Brandon: We went to Nelson and all got on the same page. Learn the same backcountry safety, other necessities & being able to trust each other. We stuck around in Nelson for a week or two, filmed a bunch of street.
UTAH & WYOMING
Kyle: We spent the first good part of the season in Utah where they had some of the most unbelievable snowpack & conditions I've ever seen. Fresh, waist high snow every day. We were able to trailblaze a couple of spots that haven’t been touched in years. We talked to a couple of locals and they were just like, "Yeah, we haven’t been able to sled back there in the last ten or fifteen years”. Brandon and I figured out how to navigate our way back there by using Google Maps, Fat Maps - and spent like three or four days just hitting this entire face. The puzzle pieces just kind of fell together. We did our research & homework online and at home. It definitely took some time to try and figure out how to map it correctly. We took a couple of chances - where we made our way down behind these crazy peaks and somehow made it to what we were trying to find. It turned out to be better than we imagined. Most of it was searching maps our phones while snowmobiling. We got to a couple pretty sketchy zones, where we were just like “I don't know, Should we try it?”. I didn’t have very baller sled, but we gave it a go anyway, made it down, made it back out, and luckily it turned out sick.
Brandon: The backcountry days are super long and they're tough - Kyle was extremely helpful. For instance, we were trying to teach Judd Henkes how to snowmobile, while we’re getting to a crazy zone to film, and you only have a couple of days that it's good. Kyle was so patient and so helpful, so willing to work with him and teach him - and wasn't in a rush. He'd always be like, “Dude, it's all good. I'll go back, I'll find Judd.”. He's super willing to share whatever knowledge he has and allow people the time to work through what they need to work through - in order to get a goal done. It really helped everyone a ton and the whole process go a lot smoother.
Ryan: Whistler is my favorite episode we've made. I don't know, it might be a once in a lifetime experience. Maybe there's more opportunities to do stuff like that. I hope there is. It really did open a door for snow camping. I think that's my favorite way to experience the backcountry is just being in it - you never leave the mountains.
Kyle: We pulled the trigger on a camping trip in British Columbia - and that turned out to be one of my favorite experiences I've had in snowboarding so far. BC is on another level - when you're out there in the backcountry looking at the mountains, everything just looks so much bigger.
Brandon: It’s not a chill mission - we’re all going out and snow camping in March, the Whistler high alpine for three weeks. It was a proper cold winter, hard for people to get comfortable. Kyle was just more than willing to do all the things - there’s a huge checklist of stuff that had to be done every day. Make sure we have all the fuel, all the necessities, like food, water, fire, whatever it is, to stay warm. There's not a lot of dudes you can be like, “Oh, you want to go hit spots?”, “Yeah.”. “You want to go ride this crazy backcountry line?”, “Yeah.”. “You want to go camp in the snow for three weeks in March when it's super cold outside?”. “Yeah, I'm super down.”. Like instantly - I’m grateful for his attitude. There’s a lot less phone time, more just hanging with the crew, deeper conversations, really bonding, hanging out, being friends rather than just sharing what we normally do as an activity together. It was a pretty special few weeks.
Spencer: Getting to wake up in the wilderness in Canada. It's a truly a once in a lifetime thing that I'm super stoked that I got to spend time out there. Just being out in the wilderness like that, how many times opportunities like that are even going to come up? I think the hard part is, it feels so unattainable until you do it. Now it's just keeping everybody stoked to do it again. It's not a one man thing.