Why DIYX is the Best Thing Happening in Snowboarding Right Now
“As creatives we have to be comfortable being the person creating the community that you want to see.”  

There’s a book called Get Together by Bailey Richardson. It focuses on community building and the notion that culture and community doesn't just happen by magic. At some point, someone has to go and spark the match to create the flame which ignites the movement they want to see.

In DIYX’s case, it's not someone sparking a match. Instead, it’s Ethan Morgan standing there with a flamethrower creating something so important to the culture of snowboarding that his contemporaries say that without this event, snowboarding is nothing. DIYX perfectly encapsulates what snowboarding’s about. 

The event itself has been running for around eight years. It started from humble beginnings which saw Ethan and a few friends build their own set ups, but has grown exponentially from there. They have hosted DIYX in Les Deux Alps, taken over Innsbruck and then this year, held it at the iconic castle in Seefeld. 

As soon as we heard DIYX was going to Seefeld, we knew we had to check it out. It's one of those spots that's been featured in video parts through the last 20 years, and to see it host such an integral event felt like an amazing opportunity. We headed out to try our hand at doing an ‘anti-recap’ video and share our own take on it through the eyes of Sam Moody - our very own in-house stoke-kid when it comes to Snowboarding. 

To understand DIYX you have to first understand Ethan Morgan. To some he’s a hero, to others he’s a misunderstood mind and to many a team manager, he’s a headache (me included). The thing that’s clear with Ethan is that from a young age he’s had his own view of snowboarding.  

Through his video parts with Isenseven, Forum, Standard and Nike he always tried to portray his own vision with creativity interwoven throughout.  In bringing DIYX to life it felt like he finally had a way of channeling his own creativity and doing it in a way that brought the community together at a time when snowboarding really needed it.  

“I grew up when snowboarding was full of rockstars (think of Heikki and the Mohawk in Salt Lake, Danny Kass and the military helmet etc) and unfortunately the events have become very monotone and now they are basically how many spins and flips you can do. [DIYX] is trying to bring the skate influence inspired by Copenhagen Open [back to snowboarding].” - Ethan Morgan

Snowboarding and its relationship with events goes back as long as the sport itself. During the rise of the huge in-city events like Tokyo, Innsbruck Air and Style, huge prize money was on the table and rock stars of riders were created. The US and European Opens arguably offered some of the best courses and memorable moments in the sport and of course there was the ESPN created X Games, which took it into an annual mainstream TV event in the US.  These events all seemed to work together somehow despite a chaotic travel schedule. Through the early 2000s many riders like Peetu Piroinen, Eero Ettala, Andreas Wiig created amazing careers focused solely on events that later lead to video part based careers.

Around that time however, we also saw the start of Snowboarding in the Olympics - a moment many heralded as the sport ‘making it’.  However, with a qualification structure run by the ISF (International Ski Federation), it meant that as snowboarders we gave away control of our own destiny. In hindsight, the move from Terje to boycott the whole thing was very much the right thing to do as he foresaw what the next 20 years would bring. Yes, we can argue about the big players of Nike, Adidas coming and going but nowadays, as a traveling Pro, the rewards on offer are way less than they were 20 years ago - something that largely can be attributed to the role the Olympics has played.  

The Olympics created four year cycles for non-endemic sponsorship. Whilst many (thankfully) get paid by the energy drinks brands and a few of the main big players, it's not uncommon to see the top 10 at any major event now have at least five who don't have backing from industry brands. These guys now rely on the National Federation to fund their life which brings with it the stipulations of training, travel, competition that many snowboarders tried to stay away from for years.

It would be easy to get downbeat about the state of snowboarding. The long respected snowboard magazine Whitelines produced a very click baity article this week where the headline read; “Is snowboarding already dead?”. Thankfully, it did little but highlight the out of touch nature of the writer. DIYX may not be the snowboarding community, prizes or free product that was seen 20 years ago, but to the assembled crowds in Seefeld, it’s a celebration of the sport in its current form. We even heard a couple of people declare DIYX to be ‘the best thing happening in snowboarding right now’. 

Innsbruck is considered the snowboarding mecca of Europe by many.  Where else can you buy one lift pass which accesses hundreds of resorts, with parks and backcountry all within easy reach?  It's that city where you walk down the mainstreet or on your way to class at uni and look up to see the huge mountain ranges above bearing down.  It's where many of the industry leaders have their home base yet since the end of the Air and Style, it's been missing that one kick off event for the year. Whilst Air and Style felt like a spectacle to go and watch with 20 invited riders and 20,000 people watching, DIYX feels like an event to go and be part of.  It’s something where a core group of people are creating the environment they feel has been missing for so long.  To quote friend of the brand James North “Events like this remind me why I fell in love with snowboarding.”

DIYX is the brainchild of Ethan Morgan with the support of Chris McAlpine and the other brands who brought this to life.  Kudos to Monster, Horsefeathers, Oakley, Vans, for believing in it and supporting the mission.  This is what snowboarding needs and so we’re happy to offer our own view of what it takes to bring this chaos to town. 

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