Skiing with your crew has always been one of the best ways to progress your skiing while having a great time. Crews exist from the ever-popular C-Crew all the way down to the crew you and your friend Ricky started over some cheese fries in the lodge. My crew grew up skiing a small mountain in Northern New York and our bond was formed around our common suffering through terrible terrain, stingy ownership, and boredom. Pat Melvin and Brandon Lonstein’s crew has taken the fun, easy going nature of their crew, Threeightwo, and started a competition aimed at taking down the everyday, structured slopestyle. I caught up with Pat and Brandon before they jet set off to Tahoe for their annual ski trip – Mike Rogge
Mike Rogge: You guys are home from college, how’s the break going so far?
Pat Melvin: We got to do some urban today so that was pretty productive and we’re all headed out to Tahoe this week so that’s gonna be dope.
MR: Nice, now I remember back in the day you guys were the WBP guys and now you’re the Three Eight Two guys. How did all this come about?
PM: Well it’s basically the exact same people. The whole Threeightwo thing started as kind of a joke, you know everyone was claiming their area codes. Someone was already claiming our area code so we went looking to our zip codes and we all live in three towns that are kind of next to each other all with similar area codes (03820,03823,03824) We took the common numbers from our three area codes: 3, 8, and 2, and started messing around, calling ourselves the 382 crew and then we saw the opportunity to maybe start a company and just rolled with it.
MR: I spent some time checking out your film online today. Lots of high fives and laughs going on. It seems you guys are bringing back the fun of skiing with a crew of friends and capturing it on film. Is this what you’ve strived for when making your films?
Brandon Lonstein: Yeah, exactly. We’re all pretty much best friends through skiing, I mean, I’ve been skiing with Pat since like sixth or seventh grade. Just making videos in our backyard and whatnot. Pat pretty much taught himself how to edit and we were just kids messing around with our parents’ handycams, never really thinking it was going to materialize into something. We just kept that attitude, having fun and doing it for us. As the years go on, we’re getting better and better with our filming, editing, and skiing and it all really came together. We have a huge influence on eachother, we’re out there having fun, just skiing, not taking anything too seriously and it just happens to come out in the videos like that.
MR: This season, I’ve heard rumblings in the office, as well as various East Coast chairlifts, of a full-fledged Battle My Crew event and you’re the ones behind this. Could you guys tell me something about this event?
PM: Yeah…It’ll be at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire.
BL: Last year was the first time we had ever put on an event, we were ready but obviously a little nervous (especially since the VTO was the same weekend) but after the riders went through the course on Sunday they were all saying, “This is where its at, this is what it’s all about, this is way better than the Vermont Open.” And this was what I was hearing during the warm ups. It just so happened we got into contact with Doug (Bishop) about NS getting down with it, but again we ran into the exact same conflict with the VTO. However, we are pretty confident we can offer something for skiers to really feed off that fun vibe because it seems like its been kind of missing. We’ve all competed or been to a contest where it was never really fun, and that’s not what it’s supposed to be. We didn’t agree with judging, or the same old “rail jam” or “put on this race bib” things need to move in a different direction. We decided to take our typical day on the mountain, throw it together, and make it a contest.
MR: Yeah it seemed a big problem with the Vermont Open last year was it was so structured yet also seemed it was thrown together with the idea that an event would “just work” because the US Open of Snowboarding is the week before. Is the contest this year more something you wanted to do or was this event put together to strictly take on the Vermont Open?
PM: NO, this was NEVER intended to take down the VTO. Last year working with Loon, that was the date we were given and it happened to be the same weekend and the same date was available this time around too. With all the positive reaction we got last year we said to ourselves, “What the hell? We’ll give it a shot…”
BL: …We welcome that challenge.
PM: Yeah, it’s a challenge for us but that’s what we’re all about.
MR: So how is the format going to work for this? Is it similar to the Orage Masters or the Sunday River No Bib Jib?
BL: It’s somewhat similar in the sense that it’s a team contest but we’re adding in a different element to get into the contest. Crews have to send us a maximum five-minute video that features riders from the crew they’re planning on sending to the contest. We’ll have a deadline for the submission dates and once we receive those, we’ll select eight teams to come to the mountain. Once the crews are assembled, we’ll run it three different rounds. The first round is open to the crew, they can run trains or individually through the course, it’s entirely up to them. Second round, we’re selecting specific elements that have to be sessioned. So maybe a two jump line or a rail line. The final round will be two teams going head-to-head on loons new 30-stair street setup, and whatever else they have planned for us down at the bottom with the wallride.
MR: Judging by your work with the mountain, it sounds you guys are pretty tight with the people at Loon?
PM: They’re the only reason we can do anything like this. They’re incredibly open to all our ideas and what we wanted to do. Last year we showed up as people, local riders, not knowing anybody really, apart from maybe the park manager Jay (Scambio) whose a big, big part of this whole thing…
BL: Huge! Jay’s the man, and Katie Ross is a big part of the event as well.
PM: Yeah, Jay’s the man. First off, make sure that’s in writing. So yeah, we showed up and apart from having seen us grow up at Loon and skiing there, they didn’t really know us but were completely down with what we wanted to do. After last year’s event, we approached them to talk about trying to do it this year and they were all onboard. They’ve basically let us go where we want with it.
MR: What are you guys doing for prizing?
BL: Straight Cash.
PM: Right now we’re debating between like a duffle bag, plastic bag, paper bag, or like a rubber band stack, but we’re leaning towards the briefcase.
MR: Who’s supporting this event?
BL: A lot things are still getting wrapped up but n’east magazine, also our good friends at NS, and this is a big thing we’re doing this year, were working with a street wear company called Society Original Products. They’ll be providing and designing the jerseys. This is a pretty big deal having skiing and an urban streetwear company come together to sort move in the same direction. As its doing with skateboarding, music clothing, it’s all coming together into its own little subculture and we’d really like to expand that into skiing. Their working on their website right now but you can check out some of their gear at http://www.karmaloop.com/societysop
MR: So when is this all going down?
BL: It’s the 29th and 30th of March at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. On Saturday, we actually added an entirely new event, which is why it is tow days this year. Battle My Crew is on Sunday but Saturday will be a slopestyle event called “March Mayhem” and its modeled after the NCAA basketball tournament March Madness. It’ll be 64 skiers in a bracket style tournament, one skier vs. one skier until we get all the way down to the winner. The course will be a three or four feature run like jump/rail/jump/jump/rail, you’ll start at the top and find out if you moved on at the bottom.
MR: It sounds like a weekend not to be missed. What can we expect for an after hours party that weekend?
PM: Nothing has been planned yet but rumor has it that it’s Doug’s birthday that weekend…
MR: How's it feel turning the spirit of your crew into a full-fledged event?
BL: It’s just a really good feeling seeing scribbles on a piece of paper turn into a reality.
PM: Were just going with it and seeing where we can go next.