If this theme isn’t cheesy yet, then it will be soon
About a month after the 3 rail spot in MA, I was in Maine with Tyler Vallieres. Grant Shambo and Randy Williams were on the lens. This was another ice chopping Spot Pizza night.
At this point we were making the most of our situation. We drove around looking for a spot and found a long handicapped DFD. In snowboarding this isn’t a common feature. So we decided to take a stab at it. We spent 3 hrs dissecting a snowbank and loading it onto my trailer on one side of the parking lot. Then we would drive the trailer to the rail and shovel all that snow off. It took six or seven trips to set this thing ready.
The winch was pulling us across train tracks with little more than a white ribbon of ice cubes. The inrun came abruptly to a short 3 foot kicker. The kicker jumped us up to a 5 foot high close-in start to a 45ft long mellow DFD. If our experience here reminded us of anything it was the fact that speed is both your friend and your enemy.
In the end Tyler learned how to run the winch THE RIGHT WAY. He also got the only clip of the night. Tyler is about 10 years younger than me and I have known him since he was maybe 7 or 8 years old. Now at age 19 he is a full fledged ripper, turning heads all over the place, look out for him.
Booted twice in a row
Another month goes by and we made a bid, and then got kicked out, of this amazing S rail before anyone got a clip. It was the last storm of the season for all we knew, and we were very hungry (not just for pizza). So we are driving down the road in Maine and find this epic Gas station, which had a retro look to it. Our photographer Randy was dying to shoot it. Unfortunately that night we got the boot from that spot too (I know, two in a row…UGH!).
A few weeks later, the snow was all melting away. Just when we thought it was over, BAM! We found another gas station nearly identical to the build of the one we got booted from. Same, but this one was abandoned and was surrounded by large snowbanks. VERY PROMISING.
We began to build, Just Alex and I. After hitting a few spots when it was just the two of us, we had grown accustomed to the routine. Set up generators, lights and two cameras for video on tripods, click record on both. Then we run back to the winch and pull the rider in, throttle down and snap a photo all at once. It’s more than tricky doing this, but if there’s anyone in the world I trust to be able to juggle all three It’s Alex Cole. This guy is a media machine and a damn good snowboarder to boot.
In the end that night, we didn’t get the exact shots we wanted of the QP on the roof of the gas station. Nor did we get any pizza. Naturally we went back a week or two later to get our clips. We had everything set up again, this time using the last bits of snow to make it work. We called on a few more friends to help us out. With Randy on the photo lens one more time, it freed Alex and I to focus on video, winching and of course ACTUALLY SNOWBOARDING.
Where’s our F@$&ing Spot Pizza!?
The Spot Pizza got ordered around 11pm. Then midnight rolled around and we were getting clips but we realized something was missing. We remembered that the pizza was supposed to show up over a half hour ago, and yet there was nothing. We called the pizza joint back up and they said they had forgotten to send out the pizza! ARE YOU F@$&ING SERIOUS!?!? They apologized and said they would send one immediately.
We focused on getting the last few shots we wanted and ended up nailing them. Alex was using gels for his photos which contrasted Randy’s shots really well. It’s always tricky when two different photographers are working on the same thing. Luckily these two have very distinct styles and are able to thrive in such a situation. In the end everyone was happy to have their shots but we were all getting hungry and very annoyed that no pizza had arrived.
We started packing up and thought: “is this a sign?”. A sign that the Spot Pizza tradition that we have come to love over the years was coming to a close? With the end of the second season now here, it was a possibility. As the last few items were loaded in to trailers and truck beds we realized this was probably it. The project was done, we had everything we wanted to make a movie, but the last pizza never showed up. Was this the end we wanted? NO! Did we like being effectively stood up on prom night by our proverbial date: the pizza guy? CERTAINLY NOT!! But life goes on.
We did get the clips and we spent the summer figuring out the best way to organize them. Now on the edge of finishing up the project we are very excited to show the world what we have done. The slices were plentiful and the spots were both fun and dangerous. This journey taught us a great deal about ourselves and what it takes to make a movie on your own.
Would a wheel of communal cheese and sauce give us closure?
It is only now that I begin to think about what that last Spot Pizza would have tasted like if it had ever showed up. Do I really believe that wheel of communal cheese and sauce would have given us all the closure to the project that we were looking for? Maybe it would have, maybe it would have burned the roof of my mouth cus I was too eager? Or maybe it would have been cold and stale cus I was too busy snowboarding to even eat?
Some part of me wants to believe that last Spot Pizza is still out there waiting to be delivered to us. Its sitting in its box, still warm, being driven around endlessly from one wrong address to another. Thats kind of how street snowboarding feels sometimes though. You set up, dig for hours and then get the boot. All retch and no vomit. But it’s those missed slices and missed clips that make you so much more hungry for the next one. In the end I’m glad that last pizza never showed up. It’s all the motivation I need or the next project.
We would like to thank all of our friends who came out for late nights and long digging operations to make it all happen. We would also like to thank our sponsors for supporting us through the long road. Soon you will be able to see the full movie streaming online and showing at an east coast venue near you. Please follow @Slate_rr (Alex Cole) @Spitzerphoto (Randy Williams) and myself @Shredwise on Instagram for updates on premieres and more imagery from the project.