PSYCH HACK | MIKE CICCARELLI
By William Fraser, MC Mikey Ciccarelli was a contest guru and former Team Canada athlete who recently became a backcountry master. In...
Wasted Youth is a group of snowboarding misfit friends based out of Revelstoke, BC. They are one of the few crews keeping the tradition of raw Canadian snowboarding alive. There’s no bullshit, everyone is straight up, genuine, loves to snowboard, and maybe crush a few tins at night. There’s no arguing the influence from Canadian snowboard movies like the Whiskey series, the Wildcats, and the Dope films. They all have had very talented progressive snowboarding and zero censorship. Revelstoke, BC is fairly unchanged from its pioneer roots and remains a traditional little mountain town. All this combines together for the perfect recipe producing some of the best Canadian riding of a group of unassuming, forever young at heart and relentlessly mischievous snowboarders. What follows is a series of short interviews with the aforementioned.
How long have you been in Revelstoke?
It’ll be officially 15 years of doors open on this June 25th.
Wow, congrats. I still remember meeting you at Rude Boys in Banff.
Haha, yeah. It’s like year 25 of slanging snowboards to kids.
Helping us all out finding a better direction in life. What’s the story in Revy? I really have to come check it out. It looks like a paradise where time has sort of stood still, and everybody just rides pow and parties.
It’s mostly that. It has its downside and weirdness, but overall it’s a really good spot.
Are you one of the founding members of Wasted Youth?
I’m one of the early guys. Sean Barrett, he’s the founder, the brainchild, and he rode for the shop since he was a high school kid. Chris Curran, and Taylor Roberts are the two other founders. Old sexy Keith Martin is in there. Dozer is in there. Our buddy Nick Khattar is in there. The one thing that was really appealing to me was that first movie, it really felt like a 90’s video. There’s party footage. There’s good riding. There’s good music. There’s nothing pretentious about it. Nobody was trying to be anything they weren’t. None of these guys were getting much from anyone at the beginning. There still isn’t any budget or anything.
The latest movie, “The Unholy Mountain” is a big step up. The riding and the filming is so good.
Yeah, the boys have really stepped it up and they just keep improving.
The terrain looks incredible. All the stuff I saw from the Nitro team trip looks amazing. One of my favourite shots in the movie is Joel’s (Loverin) avy line. It’s just such a heavy attack and he rides it like a champ.
Joel is a gem. He’s hanging with the boys a lot, and we all got to go to Retallack thanks to Willisko. Joel fit right in just like peas and carrots.
Retallack is the best.
Oh man. It was my first time there. We all got so drunk. There were at least three or four of us puking at the top of the mountain. Dozer puked in his beanie and tossed it out the window and then realized it was his favourite hat and went back to grab it.
I gotta ask, did it get out that Dustin won Natural Selection?
Not really, but he was trying to get everyone to go watch it at the Village Idiot. He had his mom out, and a film crew. I figured it out. Dustin wouldn’t do all that for second place. Everybody was super hyped, pounding beers and banging tables. Dustin just keeps getting better.
Who were the early influences?
Barrett, TR, and Curran are all born and raised Revy locals and all grew up together. They had guys to show them what was up too. Guys like Scott Newsome and Taylor Pearcey kind of coached when they were young. Having them around teaching them what snowboarding should be.
You can see it in their riding and their persona.
They were all on the shop team early on. They are that OG snowboard culture that I love and want to make sure continues on.
I hear that you grew up with Barrett and TR in Revelstoke. Can you give me a little insight into what that was like?
I’ve known Taylor (TR) since he was in Grade 5 and I was in Grade 10. I used to pick him up from school and go skate with the guy. Me and Seany grew up a couple blocks from each other and being a small community, we all knew each other. Plus, riding the same small local ski hill, we all ended up riding together.
Did things escalate when the big resort was developed?
Yeah, that’s when everyone started moving in and we started meeting people like Seb Grondin, and (Johan Rosen) Rosenberg.
You guys have a good thing going. A great crew, and good’ol time.
Yeah, we just want to get out there. Get out to the good snow, with good homies, and have a good time. It doesn’t have to be the craziest thing either. You can keep it on the ground, get a couple slashes and be stoked.
How you got your nickname “Blood Money”.
Haha. That’s a hard one. I can’t even remember. I can’t even tell ya that. It came out of nowhere.
Did you get it when you were a kid?
No. It came out in the last ten years or so. It was probably one of those long nights.
It’s funny cause everyone I talk to refers to you as Blood. I’m like, “You mean Chris right?”
I don’t know where it came from, but it was there when I was creating my gram(Instagram handle). It’s just been sticking since then.
Oh yeah, there’s a couple great gram names that really stick with ya. Just like Keenan Filmer and a couple of his buddies all did something similar. It really becomes a persona.
Yeah, Sushi Suzuki or Suzuki Sushi. And there was Cooking with Blood. I used to do little Instagram cooking shows on my gram.
I remember those. Hell yeah. Cooking with Blood has a certain ring to it. Jess (Kimura) told me I should ask you about a trip to Japan where you linked up with a really rich guy.
Oh yeah, haha. I’ve never met the dude in my life, but Seany and Khattar know that guy. They met him the year before with Jess. But the year I went we got the full ride from him. Japan was a fucking riot. It was insane. The fights in the van. Khattar put out an edit, called Friendship, or Best Friends or something. It’s basically just us yelling and fighting each other. That dude, Pehk Son is a legit millionaire and put us up in a house with an On Sen in the basement, got us a van to travel around in for free.
I heard someone wrecked the van.
Ok, that was on the first trip. That was Pehk that wrecked the van. They were going around to Hakuza karaoke bars, and that’s how they wrecked the van going bar to bar having a real good time.
You guys know how to have a good time eh?
Yeah we can get after it. Haha
Is that part of the Wasted Youth?
It can be, and definitely has been a bit of a reputation that we’ve got.
A few photos from Chris’ phone.
What’s your take on how Wasted Youth got started?
It was pretty organic really. It was me, TR, and Karl. We were all drinking buddies and rode together. We loved the movies and the music that would come. It was easy to geek out on all that. We were already riding together and wanted to film some stuff. We just started making some little edits. Not very many people would watch them at first. It was still fun.
So, you guys had a camera already?
I bought a HVX in 2010 from a buddy and got some super basic Adobe editing program. We tried to learn how to edit and taught ourselves. It was pretty painful when we were learning. Everything took ten times longer than it does now.
Somebody told me early on that editing is half problem solving and half creativity. At first though, it’s definitely a lot more just figuring it all out and not worrying too much about polishing up too much.
Yeah, and we always liked music like punk rock and metal and would want to make something with certain songs. We all wanted to be in movies, but none of us were really good enough, so we were like “fuck it” and just made our own. We also liked all the Dope movies, and Wildcats with the partying footage thrown in. We always thought snowboarding needed more of that. There’s never as much as there should be in those bigger movies. Once there’s lots of money involved you can’t really do that anymore it seems like. We never really had any money, so we could just do whatever we wanted.
Who came up with the name?
I would say I did. It was from punk rock. I heard it in the NOFX song, Separation of Church and Skate. I always thought that would be a cool name for a snowboard crew. I sat on the name for a long time.
What was it like in those first few years?
None of us were working and were always together it seemed like.
Were you on the winter EI (employment insurance) program?
I definitely was, and I think Keith was. He was recently single from a long term relationship, so he was hell bent for leather. We were always closing the bar down and getting up early to go shredding.
The use of hell-bent in the sense of “recklessly determined” dates from the first half of the 1800s. Leather alludes to a horse’s saddle and to riding on horseback; this colloquial expression may be an American version of the earlier British army jargon hell for leather, first recorded in 1889.GOOGLE
Classic. Who would you say is the wildest out of all of you?
We kind of fed off each other. I would say maybe TR is, but he would probably say someone else. There was craziness from everyone.
Sounds like it can get rowdy?
Yeah, and I was living in a house right next to the bar so we were always after partying. Those years..
They kind of blur together eh?
Oh yeah haha.
What would you say is the goal nowadays?
The goal has always been to have fun and never take things too seriously. When it becomes a job, it seems to take the fun out of it sometimes.
There’s for sure a lot of responsibility that goes with being a professional. You guys seem to have a nice balance and are producing some quality viewing. This last film has some insane footage.
Thanks. There was actually a bit of discrepancy over it. I edited the first couple movies and wasn’t involved in this last one. Khattar has taken over and a couple guys didn’t really like the intro. It was a little too wacky for them and didn’t think it really represented them.
Fair enough. I know it gets almost impossible to make everyone happy when you’re in the editing chair. I’ve got one last question for ya. Can you tell me about the time you spent with Jamie Lynn up at Chatter Creek?
He came over to our camp one night looking for somewhere to do some hot knives so I obviously invited him into my trailer. We spent the next few hours getting higher than a hawk’s nest. He painted a huge mural on the wall around a Wasted Youth logo. The next day I got caught in a pretty bad avalanche. I blew out my knee and was laid up in my trailer. The next day he came knocking to do some more hot knives and check in to see how I was doing. He ended up carving a sweet walking stick for me and we sat around the fire all day and he drew a bunch of Wasted Youth logos. I gave him a Wasted Youth patch and then the next day, there it was, already sewn on his riding vest. I was so fucking stoked. He was down to earth. We just talked about Harleys and how he lost Jason Jesse’s ‘51 Panhead Harley wishbone frame out of the back of a truck with Wes Makepeace. There were countless other stories. It ended up being one of my favourite trips despite the injury.
Can you tell me a little about the start of Wasted Youth for you?
I met those guys a little later and when I first started filming with them I wasn’t really aware we were making a movie or anything. We were just out in the backcountry pounding beers, smoking weed, riding lines, and having fun. After the first movie came out, people were stoked and as the years progressed we raised our standards a bit and made more of a go of it.
When did you move to town? Was it when you first started filming?
No, I was around town for a few years. I didn’t really know those guys. My roommate at the time and childhood friend Mark Dickson was always saying: “You gotta link with Sean. You gotta link up with the Wasted Youth boys. You gotta go ride with these guys” Eventually I got out with Seany a couple times and we just clicked right away. I was like, yeah these are my guys. Sean and Keith ended up moving next door to me and we became super good friends. After Mark passed away, I think it brought us all even closer together.
I can’t imagine. I’m sorry for your loss.
All of us looked up to him so much. But yeah, he connected all of us and ultimately his passing made our friendships and bond as strong as ever.
It makes you really appreciate the life we get to live out here in the mountains.
Going out and getting home safe everyday, the laughs and the banter out there, that’s the best.
What kind of riding are you working for in your video part?
A mixed bag. A variety of stuff and trying to hit everything natural.
No pat downs?
The odd pat down, but I kind of have a five minute kicker rule. That’s how I roll.
So you’re more of a freerider?
Yeah, that’s more where I’m at. We’re pretty fortunate to have such good terrain out here too. But I did stack some blocks the other day. I wasn’t complaining, and after we hit it, it felt really fucking good. A lot of times guys are looking for jump spots and I’m looking for lines and where things go. That’s always been the kind of riding I liked growing up.
Okay, you all have some great nicknames. Where did you get Dozer from?
When I first moved to Revelstoke, I lived with an older buddy of mine, JJ. We used to hike around a lot and I would always have to break trail. I was the Dozer basically. It was kind of the way I was at the time and going through life. It was my style on a snowboard, and skateboard. In my mid-twenties I was kind of a rolling wrecking ball and that’s just how I did everything. Not a train wreck, just dozing. That was the funny thing too when we made the first movie, Sean asked me what I wanted my name to be. I didn’t really think anyone was going to see the movie. I said: “Just put fucking Dozer in there.” That solidified it after that, and there was no going back. Sean said it best once when he introduced me to someone as Dozer and said: “I’ve known him for two years and don’t actually know his real name.”
Tell me a little about your story and growing up with these guys.
I’m the youngest out of everybody. Seany’s a few years older and Blood has about 7 years on me. Those guys were all in high school and I was 8-9 yrs old, and they’d come pick me up from school and we’d all hang out. We all just met at the skatepark.
It sounds like when Karl opened up his shop you guys started filming and that’s when Wasted Youth got started?
Yeah. He started hooking everyone up.
Karl’s the man. Classic snowboard nerd. Big fan of that guy.
Yeah, he’s the best. He’s been helping all of us out since day one.
Did Khattar invite you on that winter canoe trip down the Columbia river when they filmed the movie Without A Paddle?
Yeah totally. All I remembered was the only time I was ever in a canoe with him we ended up flipping it over and that was in summer time. There was no chance I was going to go canoeing with him in the winter.
It seemed so crazy and such a huge undertaking. From a media standpoint, how to keep your batteries charged and the simple logistics of the entire operation is mind boggling. Pretty crazy.
Totally. Even just getting to shore and having to break through ice and make sure to stay dry. It was like -30 when they were out there. I watched it recently with my daughter and girlfriend and like, wow man, it’s pretty fucking rad, and so ballsy and they fucking did it.
So what do you do for work?
I work for CP with Dozer and Blood. We do track maintenance. The schedule’s great and works great with the kid. Week on, week off.
That’s sick. Way better than that 3 weeks on 1 week off stuff.
Yeah I worked the rigs, but your time spent with your friends and family is way more important than making tons of cash.
1000 times. Hell yeah TR. You guys are all great guys. I really appreciate taking the time to chat.
Thank you. I appreciate you doing this for us.
“Revelstoke is my hometown, and when I moved back from the coast in 2010, I was barely riding anymore. The spark for shredding was dim. When Sean (Barrett) bought a camera set up in 2014, and had the idea we should get out and start filming, it lit me right up! Riding around on the resort for kicks is amazing fun, but for me, I can get hyper focused on things… The idea of a new shred movie project was something I could put my energy into. After the first year I was hooked again, but this time was so much better for me. The crew is fun, tight, and compared to Whistler, the terrain is untapped out here. No permanent filming scene, but us. Wasted Youth is an opportunity for a small group of interior BC shredders to push themselves and put together something that we can look back on and say “Fuck! I wish we trimmed more of the fat.” Haha.” -Keith Martin