Fall Surroundings


Burlington, Vermont X 23, October 2016grouplife_oakledge2016_blotto_02256tomasruprecht_burlington2016_blotto_02288

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016

Fall Foliage and Talent Skatepark


After skating around in the semi-rainy conditions along the waterfront with Kyle Burroughs and Chris Colbourn, we headed over to Talent Skatepark in South Burlington (Vermont) for the Friday Night Bowl Contest. Young rippers and over eighteen shreds made up the two groupings that provided an hour’s worth of really good skateboarding, proving just what a safe, fun and productive environment your local skatepark provides for the kids. Talent has been holding down the skateboarding scene for a long, long time with lessons, sessions, contests and much much more at their progressive and well-built skate facility. Hit them up HERE. Thank you Talent squad! Blotto







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Tree Ramp to Floating Ramp


After a day and night’s session followed by extensive sauna time, Roope, his father and I got started on deconstructing the tree ramp and rebuilding it on the floating dock. Roope and Mr. Tonteri definitely know what they’re doing, these two are a team operating like a well oiled machine, they had the ramp completely out of the tree house in under an hour and reassembled within ninety minutes of laying down the first two X twelves on the dock. I spent the construction time shooting photos, grabbing time lapses while organizing and carrying materials in between, it was so dang fun!

Once construction was completed, Mr. Tonteri hooked up the rowboat to the mini ramp and moved it up the lake near the cabin in preparation for the following day’s session out on the water. The entire process was seamless, that’s how the Finnish operate, no nonsense, get it done, do it right, boom!

I’ll post additional images soon from the floating ramp session…for now, peep the video HERE. Enjoy! Blotto













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Burton Presents: Street Meat


Titled ‘Street Meat‘ for Episode Two of Burton Presents, we find Ethan Deiss and Zak Hale cruising San Francisco in a GoCar sampling all sorts of food cart / food truck situations, enjoying the best ‘street meats‘ Northern California has to offer. In addition to the consumption of said food items in the streets, you, the reader of this blog post, should injest the video HERE to witness Zak, Ethan and guest Mark Sollors hucking their street meat around snowy city locations in the pursuit of tech tricks at new spots. Enjoy the film! Blotto














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Blotto X Burton > Gate Keeper


In the mid-nineties I was living in Vail, Colorado with Brian ‘Wookie’ Fleming, my longtime friend, shred partner and overall amazing human, snowboarding Beaver Creek and Vail Mountain on the regular. Between the two mountains we had all the terrain and powder we could handle, while occasionally trekking over to Summit County to ride A-Basin or Breckenridge as these resorts stayed open further into the spring than Eagle County establishments. We got to know Summit County fairly well along with our band of snowboarding brothers that occupied these slopes, it was good times attacking groomers, learning switch methods on side hits and of course attending a fresh cut Breck pipe when Frank Wells hit us on the bat phone.

Fast forward many years as I’ve continued to visit Breckenridge for photo shoots, filming opportunities and contests, connecting with the OG squad, new friends and loads of out-of-towners. Sitting high in the Colorado Rockies this area has a plethora of snowboarding terrain parks throughout the county, making for epic freestyle sessions and plenty of powder days in the trees that surround these groomed affairs.

One such day in early December after Dew Tour activities, Frankie Chapin and I were cruising around Breckenridge scouting, collecting location photographs for an upcoming photo shoot, combing each and every street in town for shred and portrait possibilities.

A few months later Marin Horikawa started working on the 2017 Family Tree graphics package, asking that I submit ‘snowy tree’ images from all worldly locations. With that request I began digging in the crates (DITC) selecting a balanced variety of snow covered tree photography that represented all styles of forests throughout the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Over the course of a couple days I managed to pull hundreds of photos from the hard drives in hopes Marin would have what he needed to successfully present a collection to the Hard Goods team at Burton.

Over the next few months Burton went through the design process with Marin that involved five stages of image selection, narrowing down the 2017 Family Tree collection to ten photos spread over eight snowboards. One of the images I collected that day in Breckenridge became the base graphic for the Gate Keeper.

When I’m out collecting images for a specific purpose, random photo missions or a simple point and shoot while passing something along the way, you never know where that splattering of mega pixels will end up. It’s a dumb luck process at times, never ceasing to amaze me how photographs play into print, digital and beyond.

The technical data for this image is as follows: SL1 DSLR body, 40mm lens, 1/1250 shutter speed, f/6.3 aperature at 200 ISO. As with all of my camera gear, this set up was purchased locally at Lezot Camera in Burlington, Vermont.

I asked Marin the basic process in determining which photos go on which board and he noted that “…you have to think in one-hundred percent product size…try and avoid the habit of judging things on a computer screen which would look different in real scale…” He also said “…the name of each board plays a roll on photo selection…each deck attracts a different style of rider so they tried to keep that in mind…”

For more information on the Gate Keeper, visit Burton.com and get stoked! Thanks for reading y’all! Blotto



All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016

Roope and the Tree Ramp


Earlier this summer I made my way to Helsinki, Finland to meet up with Roope Tonteri out on his family’s land to skate and photograph his freshly built mini ramp in the trees, talk about a cool backyard DIY project! Stoke factor was at an all time high getting to photograph the creation, take a few runs, spend some time in the sauna and float the lake.

These are the first few photos from the tree ramp on day one, many more to show you in the coming days as we disassembled the ramp and moved it out onto the water. You can see a great edit Teemu Heljo put together HERE, give it a look, it’s pretty dang cool. Blotto

Huge thanks to the Tonteri Family for their efforts in making this mini ramp dream possible, Roope for his non-stop skateboarding, Teemu for filming and editing, and Red Bull Finland for supporting the project. For a Behind the Scenes look into the weekend I created on Fligagram, click HERE.




All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016

Backyard Project > Skeleton Key


Just when you thought the team at Craig’s was limited to one Backyard Project board for the season, guess again! The talented folks at Burton like to give you options on these limited edition handmade beauties, and with that I’m here to tell you about the Skeleton Key.

I first saw Ben Ferguson ripping this deck out on the slopes in Colorado, so I inquired what was happening below his bindings and he said “…blotto, this thing rips, it’s called the Skeleton Key, another JG (and crew) experiment that’s amazing…” Shortly thereafter I talked to my main man Frankie Chapin, who’s got the skinny on the entire Burton product line and he agreed with Ben Ferg’s comment, adding that the board’s increased waist width allows for a rider with a slightly bigger boot to come down a board length, good news! For example, I’m an 11.5 boot size, so I can get away with riding the 154 Skeleton Key, a smaller board with equal performance standards of a bigger deck. That’s what the Burton engineers and testers have mastered, getting you on a smaller board with no loss of performance, gotta love it.

The Skeleton Key falls under the 2017 Family Tree line, featuring my image from Breckenridge, Colorado, which also makes up the base graphic on the 2017 Gate Keeper (I’ll post a separate story about that at a later date). For more information on this limited edition board, hit up the Burton website and if possible, get into a Burton Flagship Store and get this puppy in your hands. Thanks for reading, Blotto

Featured Craig’s Prototype Facility Technicians Liam O’neil and Sam Watson

Featured snowboarder in this blog post is Burton Team Rider Brock Crouch







All images by Blotto ©deanblottoray/blottophotto2016

Backyard Project > Jeff Brushie


For the past couple of years the crew at Craig’s Prototype Facility in Burlington, Vermont have pressed up a few hundred handmade boards going under the Backyard Project name. These decks have been incredibly popular as a classic Burton board brought back with modern technology while retaining the original shape and graphic.

This season it’s the Jeff Brushie Pro Model, the very first shape made popular through his snowboarding talent and cult status (back then and still to this day), many of you will remember this board, it’s definitely a classic.

It goes without saying the squad at Craig’s Prototype Facility are the best snowboard builders on the planet, they’ve built tens of thousands of boards, this is what they love to do and they do it well. I caught up with them for these pictures, as they were half way through the process, in the stages of cutting off excess materials and buffing the edges. After this the boards run through the top sheet lacquer stage before a final inspection and packaging.

You can purchase one of these decks through Burton flagship and retail stores along with select local shops. The Brushie Backyard Project board is one of two for this season; I’ll get some information on the Skeleton Key for y’all in the coming days. Blotto






All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016

Burton Blog > Ben Ferg in VT


Ben Ferguson dropped into Burlington, Vermont for Jake and Donna’s 2016 Fall Bash and managed to squeek in quite a few activities to go along with a great party up in the mountains, I followed him around to grab some flicks, have a look!

Friday morning we met up at Craig’s Prototype Facility to build a Process 157 with Jeff Brushie base graphic, leaving the top sheet as a blank so he can add his own personal paint pen touches before the final lacquering, boom! After the board build with master builder Grant Manning, it was off to Stowe for the Global Sales Meeting, joining the sales force for an afternoon of product innovation, presentations and tasty treats. Hopping back in the car it was off to Burlington to attend the Snowboarder Magazine Resolution Premier at UVM. A packed house greeted the riders for autographs and handshakes before the movie played, attendees were hyped!

Saturday morning rolled around and it was time for a little hike in the woods Vermont style, to work off the late night activities! Our main man Frankie Chapin knew a ‘misty/not so misty‘ hike around Bingham Falls that served the soul well; we walked, slipped on rocks (because it was raining), laughed, high fived, then made our way out to catch the entire squad over at Darkside Snowboard Shop for sushi and hors d’oeuvres, not a bad thing after a stroll down by the river! With a bit of energy left in the tank we decided on a quick skate on the bike path near our diggs, a few ollies here and there, a boneless on the bridge and more walking along the river. Power naps were certainly in order after the day’s activity list, so we parted ways until the gathering out at the Carpenter’s family home.

Not really sure how Ben pulled all of it off, but it comes as no surprise, this guy has endless amounts of stoke and you can see that here in the Heavy Rotation edit from Burton Presents. Thanks for visiting VT Ben, have fun down in New Zealand! Blotto












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Camp Nice Part Two


After waking up in our Durable Goods digs, coffee was in order to get the day started, followed by a scrumptious breakfast over at the lakeside pop-up shop where you were guaranteed to enjoy serene morning vibes and a possible rare sighting of an eagle snatching a fish out of water. What more could you ask for at Camp Nice!?!

But there was more in store for the day’s activities at the boat dock, so we headed out under the sun to form our numerous floatilla sessions (tie up multiple boats together and float), everyone taking their turn swimming, diving and relaxing out on the lake. Boating works up a hunger, so we’d often find ourselves back on land creating some sort of meal to fill the belly before earning badges once again, and taking a few more laps on the water.

Eventually day would draw to a close and move into night, but not before sending off the last of the sun’s rays with a gorgeous display of color and glory, the entire crew would gather and give praise to another amazing day at Camp Nice.

This year’s session was all time, I can’t thank TheGoodLife! enough for organizing the gathering and Burton Snowboards for their support. It goes without saying the attendees truly made this camping mission special, we’re all looking forward to the next time we gather and sleep under the stars. Blotto


















All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016