Summer is a funny time in the UK for snowboarding. Whilst the wider world is sunbathing, BBQ-ing and surfing, our hardcore riders are still throwing down week after week inside the chilly cocoons of our indoor slopes.

We at GONZILLA.TV thought this was a prime opportunity to get indoors, shake off this unexpected and quite frankly inconvenient heatwave and get some real work done.

The idea was simple: hold an after hours filming and photo session for the core locals, and show what really goes on behind closed doors week in, week out in our beloved fridges. Except we wanted to make it sparkly and rad-looking.

We were lucky enough to source a camera jib (crane type thing) and some pokey lights from Definition Media (cheers guys), and Ross Needham had a contact for a hexacopter filming operation.

We also wanted to get a local up and comer on the stills involved, to give them a break and to breathe some new life into the shoot.

We’d seen some shots that Luca Bailey had shot during a session earlier in the year and we were impressed by his eye and his whole attitude towards photography. We liked the cut of his jib, so to speak…

Turning up to the after hours shoot I did feel a little intimidated, those Gonzilla folks had brought along a drone whilst I had a batch of humble cameras including a Polaroid from 1992, so I had my work cut out. It’s always a challenge shooting in my much loved Snowdome, you basically have to make a giant fridge look all nice and interesting. The Gonzilla guys had some serious lighting set up which made everything look super moody.

The riders all delivered on the night. I see those guys and girls kill it every week so it’s really satisfying to get some decent shots of them because they deserve all the recognition they can get!

TSA‘s Doug Johnson had an idea for a feature set which we unfortunately misinterpreted and whilst the guys did a good job of testing in the session beforehand, the conclusion was that it wasn’t working well enough to get some decent shots.

So in true Tamworth style we rearranged the slope in record time. We had the signature missile and big black gas pipe set up side by side, and scraped up just enough snow to build a kind of half pipe between the two, offering maximum transfer opportunities.

We also had the down bar and donkey rail set up, backlit with a single spotlight.

This shifting was all very well and the right decision, but it only left us with an hour to get the shots.

I was operating the jib & gave myself 30 minutes with it as I only wanted 2 or three good shots. The rest of the time would be spent filming with the tripod and hand held to get a variety of angles and shot sizes.

Doug Johnson blew all our minds as standard. He displays effortless steeze for a long lad and quietly got on with a playful array of transfers, taps and spins that would melt your grannies heart.

Calum Paton had a great night. With a trick bag that would give Santa Claus a run for his money, his technical prowess is second to none, stomping trick after trick with solid confidence, no messing about.

Sean Miller spent his time filming on the rail set, prancing around like a lunatic as the riders threw down hammer after hammer.

Ross Needham‘s main goal of the evening was to gap from the downbar take off to the kink of the donkey rail. He took some harsh slams – at one point he pretty much landed on Sean – and the inner sanctum of the Snowdome still resonates to the sounds of his chilling screams.

Matt Higson was his usual productive, chilled, methodical self and layed down several perfectly executed tricks in about 40 minutes before retiring to watch the rest of the session go off. His work was done.

The Papercut Media guys Matt and Harry built the drone themselves. It accommodates a DSLR camera with remote gyro, GPS stabilisation, the lot.

The shoot was really exciting for us; it was great to be able to see how the Hexacopter performed indoors. It was our first time shooting snowboarding and we learnt a lot about how we can take this forward and it was great to be able to add that high production feel to the shoot.

Doing it for the girls we had Isabel Jones – who was throwing shapes with impressive style on all features – as well as young gun and certified mentalist Helen Pigka.

Disregarding the option to turn, Helen is a fan of throwing herself at the gnarliest hunks of metal at full pelt, slamming hard, brushing herself off like it ain’t no thing and repeating the whole experience until she lands it.

Talking of young guns, wee scamps Leo Fordham and Harry Winnard had managed to sneak into the session in order to play with the big boys even though it was way past their bed time. They soon proved that they know what’s up, with Leo busting out a blinding 360 out of the donkey and Harry locking in some badass style with his front board to fakie.

Tamworth stalwarts Jamie Campbell, Ronnie Organ, Charlie Quinn and Paul Coley were also in the mix and gave us exactly what we wanted – we got a true representation of what goes down in a typical Tamworth session.

Looking back at the footage we were blown away by how much we managed to capture in just one hour. Tamworth’s tow rope provides fast laps and we ended up with over five solid minutes of useable shots.

We would like to thank Tamworth Snowdome for being so accommodating as always, and The Reason Magazine for publishing this touching story. Look out for the video at GONZILLA.TV and all respectable disseminators.


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