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Powder and Rails: Damian Sanders (Part 1/2)

Powder and Rails: Damian Sanders (Part 1/2)


[MUSIC PLAYING] DAMIAN SANDERS: Life is
about taking risks. If you don’t take risks,
why even live? What fun is it to walk around
on a rubber world and be afraid of everything? You got to out there and try to
outdo people, because then it’s progression of the world. It makes it more fun to live. You got to go big, and the next
guy is going to to try to go bigger, and that’s
what it’s all about. JERRY DUGAN: Damian was one of
the most comfortable people in the air for sure at that point
and probably to this day. I mean he just had a sense about
him in the air where he was just totally comfortable
up there. DON SZABO: Damian was real
influential, and go, go, go on building jumps and having fun
and getting footage and just riding, you know. We just loved to ride. TOM BURT: Damian Sanders was so
much fun to watch because he had just incredible
style in the air. Pretty much no one touched
his style for years. When the video realm came in, it
was kind of like Damian was on top of that. KEVIN ENGLISH: There’s this one
shot in “Snowboarders in Exile” where the camera’s real
low, and it’s looking at Damian, and he’s just pointing
up, and that’s how I felt. It was like that’s Damian. DAVE SEOANE: Well, the first
time I saw Damian, I was actually still in high school. And I knew Damian from– he lived near where I
grew up in an area called Calaveras County. And he had a big quarter pipe
at his house which is like a half hour away so we’d skate. And then the first time I saw
him snowboarding was in Iron Mountain in probably ’85. And I remember they were all
riding these Avalanche snowboards, and they were kind
of really like really stiff ironing boards. I watched Damian ride down the
hill, and he grabbed the lift tower, and he grabbed it, and
he spun around 360 like a couple inches off the ground. I was like, wow, he’s so good. That guy’s spectacular. He’s got good hair. I think he was just like the
city kid who moved to the hills, and so he had
spiky, blond hair and spider web eyeliner. So Damian learned how to
fight really quick. DAMIAN SANDERS: I was moving
from San Jose where I lived as a city boy kid, skateboarder and
stuff, and I was young, 13 years old, and we were moving
up to Bear Valley. And I wanted to buy a Burton
snowboard, it was the only snowboard company that even
existed, or that I knew about back then. And my brother told my mom to
hold off because he was going to make a snowboard. He had a little wood shop going,
and sure enough I got that snowboard, the first one
he ever made, the first Avalanche ever in ’83. We went up to the
local mountain. I made about six or eight turns
on my first run ever just in the powder, just
bouncing turns, and was flipping my lid, thinking
it was the best thing ever invented. There was a competition at
Soda Springs, the world championships, and this has
would have been about ’85. And I didn’t even know there was
other snowboarders in the world, let alone have a
world championship. So I went over to that, and I
remember walking around the corner from the parking lot,
and I saw about 50 boards lined up in front of
this lodge, and I about shit my pants. I couldn’t believe there
was 50 other snowboarders in the world. And so I went into the lodge and
everybody’s all the same type of people, these surf rat
looking guys, skaters. Back then, if you snowboarded
and somebody else snowboard, you were instantly friends
because there was so few of us. I had way more balls than brains
back then, so I would hit any jump just for people to
go, holy shit, you see that kid fly off that jump. I had a little, white mohawk,
and I just dressed like a little new wave fag. So I was hitting all the jumps I
could, and just to show off, I would break my neck to show
off, and sure enough I ended up in the hospital on that Soda
Springs competition, but it was pretty fun doing it. MIKE MCENTIRE: Damian was one
of the most ballsiest people that’s ever been involved
in snowboarding. To this day, you can look back
at his footage from like 20-plus years ago, and
it’s fully legit. The guy was jumping off 60-foot
cliffs for fun. And I would go up and riding
at Squaw, and I’d just be taking runs with my boys and
look up, and there’s Damian popping off mainline
going like 50 feet for the hell of it. And you’re like, damn dude,
what’s up with that guy, he’s freaking nuts. I saw him bust out some stuff,
no cameras, just gigantic, for fun. That’s killer, man. I love that. That just shows you where it’s
in someone’s heart, you know. SPEAKER: What do you
think the silliest snowboarding trick is? DAMIAN SANDERS: Every trick
I did last year. When people started flipping
that was a huge deal. The first flips ever, we were
all on this little jump exit, Donner Ski Ranch. It was right underneath the
chairlift, and it was like a little ski jump kicker. I think it was Steve
Graham and myself. Steve was a nut. He would do anything any time. I remember trying it over and
over again, and doing 3/4 of a flip so many times, just
clearing my head, and smacking the snow again and again. And then finally one time they
came all around, landed on my feet, and I about shit myself. I’m still standing! Rode away from it and then
started getting bigger and bigger, and then I started
laying them out, and then once you can lay it out and control
your spin, then you’d sit there upside down, and go do
I want to pull around yet. And then you can do it
off of anything. So I was hucking huge airs off
of cliffs or huge kickers, and just stalling it out in the air,
and grabbing the board and, poking it, and just looking
down on at the ground. Back then it was so cool because
no one could do it. Now it would be nothing, but
it was cool at the time. There was guys that could flip
before I could, but nobody was grabbing their board
or anything. I think I invented the iguana
back flip and some other things where I was trying to
grab different ways upside down, and that was like after
doing flips for almost a year. KEVIN ENGLISH: Damien, Squaw
Valley, doing massive iguana back flips, and it
was ridiculous. TODD RICHARDS: For a while, he
was full grabbing wherever, like back here, but you couldn’t
even say shit because Damien was going 10 times bigger
than anybody else. I still say that today. Like if you’re going 25 feet out
of the half pipe and you just happen to just do the
wackest grab, we’d be like, oh, that’s gay. The dude is still going way
bigger than you’ll ever go, and it’s insane. At some point, you’re just
like, who gives a shit. STEVE GRAHAM: Damian was always
my favorite rider. I still wish he was
riding now. I’d love to ride with him. My funnest times ever riding was
back in the early days in Tahoe just chasing Damian, and
we were just a couple idiots that wouldn’t look
at anything. Just, what do you think? Oh yeah, [INAUDIBLE]. No landing, no woo-hoo. And just we pulled that
off for awhile. I don’t know how I’m
still even walking. I was taller. The scariest time I’ve ever had
snowboarding is really any day we’d go riding with Damian
’cause if there’s anyone [INAUDIBLE] that. He’s going the biggest, the
highest, the fastest and pushes you. DAMIAN SANDERS: I’d have to say
Steve Graham was probably my favorite of all time because
he was such a badass rider, and he would do anything
at any time, hucking off of cliffs and stuff, and
he really pushed me. He pushed me more than anybody
ever did in snowboarding. We saw things different than
other people did because we were both at the same
talent caliber. We could see how you could hit
a jump and fly 80 feet over there and land on
the downhill. It was something else that
nobody else could see because it was just out of their realm,
and I had more fun riding with him than anybody
because of that. DAVE SEOANE: I think that
Steve Graham is a total catalyst to Damian because both
those guys were kind of out of their minds, where I
think Damian had a lot more control of what he was doing,
and Steve just went for it, shoot first, ask questions
later type of personality back then. And so those two together,
that’s where I think the sport really got pushed, with those
two guys jumping off of things and flipping off of everything
really big. Yeah, I guess that’s
the biggest thing I was influenced by. KEVIN ENGLISH: For like
personal style? It was like, Damian
was the guy, just because he was so unique. My hair was fully blond, Damian
style fauxhawk kind of thing going, and then I’d take
the hair spray and get it to go straight up, and
I’d do this before I’d ride every day. I’d look in the mirror, and
I’d be like yeah, Damian, that’s pretty sick. I saw how Damian wrote his name
in all capital letters. It was just Damian, that’s all
it was, so I started signing my name that way. I’d say he influenced me a
little when I was a kid. DAMIAN SANDERS: Getting all
that popularity was so fun back then especially
when you’re young. You’re in your early ’20s or
late teens, and everybody knows your name, and
everybody’s, can I get your autograph? TODD RICHARDS: Damian
was a spectacle. In all those movies, he was the
dude out back flipping the landing, landing would just,
[WHOOSHING SOUND], be gone. He’d land out on the flats or
go bigger than anybody. He had the Penthouse chick, was
his girlfriend, and she was always naked, and he was
always trying to show you pictures of her without her
clothes on, and he had the stupid hair, and he had a posse
of weird dudes dressed in black that may or may not
have been women, I don’t know. It was just like weird
weirdness, but that was Damian, and it was just like,
oh, here comes Damian. TOM BURT: He’s definitely set
himself out from the crowd. He had his Billy Idol hairdo and
his headband, but that’s just what was going on, neon
was in at that time. Damian was the guy you wanted in
your house to have over for dinner because he’s going to
do the dishes before he leaves, but his image
might not have shown that to the public. DAMIAN SANDERS: Back
then, snowboard clothes barely existed. And it was like we were wearing
anything that we either we got off the street
that we wore to a nightclub, or we would wear leather
jackets with logos on the back. It was pretty funny. And anything that mixed with ski
gear because there was no such thing as snowboard company
or snowboard gear yet. STEVE GRAHAM: I don’t know, I
think Damian kind of liked a couple of pieces more
than he lets you on. Like in “Exile,” he was wearing
that one, it was like four colors. It was amazingly painful,
but I don’t know, it was just at that time. ’89 was just neon, and I see
it come back like neon tie dye, and just two things
I really love. TODD RICHARDS: We need someone
like Damian in the industry still, especially someone that’s
got that much flair, and he’s out there, but at the
same time, he could get along with anyone’s grandparents as
soon as they got over the fact that he had a freaking mohawk,
he’s just a nice dude. DAMIAN SANDERS: Funny story
about how Dana Nicholson and Jeff Miles and I met. I was with Palmer on the lift,
and we’re cruising up, and I see these two guys in leather
jackets, black pants, and red berets. They looked like total LA
gangster type guys, and it was so funny, gangsters back in the
day with a little bit of fashion to them. So they’re snowboarding
underneath me and, I go look at those guys, those
guys are cool. And Shaun Palmer’s all. What a fag. And then I snowboard up to them
and, oh, how you guys doing, and they’re all hey
what’s up, and they acted like they didn’t know who I was. And so we started riding
together just ’cause everybody kind of was friends back then,
and come to find out they traveled from Southern
California all the way to this resort to meet me ’cause they
knew I rode there, and they had seen me in magazines, and
they were all we want to ride with that guy, that guy
should be our friend. And sure enough, I just
saw them and go these guys are cool. So the rest was history. We ended up being friends
for 25 years now. The three of us have never
left each other’s sides. We travelled the world
like that. DANA NICHOLSON: You look
like a little kid. DAMIAN SANDERS: Like
a little girl. [LAUGHTER] DAMIAN SANDERS: I was
probably 19, 18. No I didn’t even learn
to drive yet. DANA NICHOLSON: Nah, nah, you
were 16 right there dude. DAMIAN SANDERS: 16 and I didn’t
know how to drive. DANA NICHOLSON: Look at you. You look like a fruit loop
right there, look. I got– DAMIAN SANDERS: Pink pants! DANA NICHOLSON: I got pink pants
on, but he looks like a fruit loop. DAMIAN SANDERS: Look
at that, look. Holy shit, that’s Dana. [INTERPOSING VOICES] DAMIAN SANDERS: 20 years ago. Look at your color scheme. Holy shit. DANA NICHOLSON: Somebody
should’ve pulled me aside and– DAMIAN SANDERS: And look at
those gloves, what the fuck am I wearing, Mr. Roboto. [LAUGHTER] DANA NICHOLSON: Holy shit, look
at those things, Jesus. DAMIAN SANDERS: Look
at this outfit. DANA NICHOLSON: Look
at that shit. DAMIAN SANDERS: That’s some
good-looking clothes. DANA NICHOLSON: Yeah,
that’s solid. Look at your little pink with
the white and black fucking Boy George shit. [INAUDIBLE] DAMIAN SANDERS: We
were like Wham! This is at the first competition
I ever went to, when I told you I went to Soda
Springs, that’s from that competition, that’s my
style back then. Yeah, like no high backs, and
there’s just little straps holding my feet on these little
piece of shit bindings. DANA NICHOLSON: That’s a frog
suit for sure, dude. Damn. DAMIAN SANDERS: I don’t even
know how we came up with this. What it was, we had racing back
in the day, everybody thought you had to wear these
speed suits to race. You might save a quarter of a
second off of your time like it mattered. DANA NICHOLSON: Did it work? DAMIAN SANDERS: No,
it never worked. And what happened is I put
this on, and then I had a shirt or a jacket, and then
somebody took a picture of it, and it ended up in a magazine,
and then every single time we had a photo shoot they
were all, could you wear the green outfit? That photographed real well. Fuck, the green outfit again? That’s got a Donner
ticket on it. I was in a photoshoot probably
15 years ago at Donner Ski Ranch. DANA NICHOLSON: That’s me. DAMIAN SANDERS: That’s Dana. So we used to have to take our
shells off because they were hard boot shells, and we’d
walk around in the inner liners, and then when you
got to the resort, you’d put your shells on. DANA NICHOLSON: But the thing
is, dude, we’d ride these ironing boards, and we’ killed
everybody on the hard boots. We just crushed them. DAMIAN SANDERS: When this came
out, I remember I was so pissed, because this was the
first time I’d ever grabbed the board on a back flip,
and my leg blocked it. And so I was all fuck, nobody’s
gonna know, and back then it mattered so much what
your friends thought about if you were the first guy to do a
grab back flip or something. [INTERPOSING VOICES] DANA NICHOLSON: We’re rocking
fucking falling posters. DAMIAN SANDERS: Falling
posters. I was stoked when
this came out. This ad came out, and it was
right across the street. This was in Carmelo or
something, but they had one right across the street where
we were hanging out at the beach, And we’d go down to the
beach, and I’d be like, oh hey, check it out, over there,
look at that billboard. That’s me, baby. DANA NICHOLSON: That was
back in the day. Some funny shit, dude, seeing
this shit again. DAMIAN SANDERS: Here’s where I
was trying to be a rock star for about 10 years there. That’s the necklace I was
talking about you could take off and cut yourself. DANA NICHOLSON: That was
your Danzig thing, huh. DAMIAN SANDERS: My
Danzig necklace. DANA NICHOLSON: That was
your Danzig period. DAMIAN SANDERS: God, every
outfit’s gayer than the last. DANA NICHOLSON: Yeah, that
paid the bills though. Holy shit. DAMIAN SANDERS: That hairdo. And more gay, gay– DANA NICHOLSON: Look at that. DAMIAN SANDERS: –super gay. Good and Fruity, it’s
perfect, huh. [LAUGHTER]

100 thoughts on “Powder and Rails: Damian Sanders (Part 1/2)”

  1. yea i'm not watching this. haha i just wanted to say that this has (possibly) the whitest thumbnail i've ever seen. congrats.
    swoosh!

  2. Burton is awesome!!! one of my friend's dogs is named burton after the snowboard! I have a bruton snowboard, boots and many other stuff the company makes!

  3. its 3am and I just wanna go to sleep so I can wake up at 7 again and go snowboard and then i find this… thanks DICE ill be up for at least another hour.

  4. when it comes to snowboarding, Old school uber alles – REAL dudes with big balls!!!
    and whats new school?! paying thousands of dollars in instructors and trainings in supercool parks with bag jumps,riding with all this protection? with "SWAG"? and they call it snowboarding? haha bitch pleasee ….

  5. I think it's because of the narcissistic and judgmental society we live in now, if you don't look like everyone else you're some kind of weirdo. Back then, nobody cared and it was all about having fun.

  6. The shit these guys wore back then was rad as fuck.
    Now they're wearing all black, douchey Affliction shirts and what not, and they're all self-conscious.

  7. Yo, every damn powders and rails episodes, everything was always too gay, or lame, or corny for Todd Richards. Fuck this guy, that dude is like 40 years old still hung up on image and artifice like he's a high schooler, he's really annoying. Dope rider at some point but he really comes off as a prick.

  8. Gay gay gay fruity. Wtf these are grown men lol. You dont hear burton raggin on the old style. That shit was rad anyway. Not sure why this dude so hung up on image

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