Powder, Rails & 35mm Film at Vans Hi-Standard Series, Brighton Resort

A visual recap of the style-focused snowboard contest, where 32 of the most creative international pros competed for $20,000+ in equal prize money

Powder, Rails & 35mm Film at Vans Hi-Standard Series, Brighton Resort

Author

Graham Hiemstra

Photographer

Graham Hiemstra

Camera

Canon EOS-1, Contax T2

Film

Cinestill 800T, Kodak Portra 400 Pushed

Named after the iconic brand's best selling boot of all time, the Vans Hi-Standard Snowboard Series returned after a three year hiatus to Utah's Brighton Resort, bringing with it 32 of the best and most pro creative snowboarders in the world—and dozens of local rippers—to compete for over $32,000 in cash prizes on a course designed to reward style above all else.

Propelled by memories of epic backcountry trips in pre-pandemic times, I accepted the invite to attend, packed up a borrowed board bag (thanks Hondo!), and flew to Utah for my first turns of the season. What I encountered was far from the pow surf/hot spring dreams of trips past, but still a thrill for this snow-starved New Yorker.


The Vans Hi-Standard Series is billed as an all-inclusive international snowboard competition that celebrates creativity and style above all else. Boarders are judged solely on how they interpret the unique course (designed by Vans team riders Jill Perkins & Parker Szumowski), with inverts and rotations over 720 discouraged. In the age of I lost count spin-to-win style snowboard comps, who could argue with such billing?

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Judges
Steve Van Doren and event emcee Mary Walsh

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-E-Stone-Bomb-Hole
E-Stone, photographer & The Bomb Hole co-host

With Desiree Melancon, Mikey LeBlanc, Mike Bogs, and Danny Kass acting as judges, and an equally stacked rider roster of both emerging and long established pros, the laundry list of Big Name Boarders offered plenty for this geriatric millennial to get excited about. Adding to the mix, emcee's Mary Walsh and E-Stone (of The Bomb Hole podcast fame) were on hand to deliver the play-by-play, while legendary skater John Cardiel and legend-in-the-making skater Ben Kadow DJed. In short, the vibe was strong and energy levels high. Did I mention it was snowing? (It was, always, hella hard.)

Because photos speak louder than words, I'll cut to the chase. Everybody went hard. Older dudes and young cool kids alike. A top prize of $10,000 was on the line for each men and women, plus a plaque for the good vibes Dillon Ojo award. That's it. All or nothing. In the end, the three that wound up atop the podium included the absolute raddest women's rider out, one of snowboarding's most beloved golden boys back from an all too early retirement, and a big mountain boarder wearing a t-shirt honoring the namesake award he won. Talk about a feel good ending to a feel good contest.

Scroll on for a glimpse into the madness that was the Vans Hi-Standard Series at Brighton Resort.


2023 Vans Hi-Standard Winners


For more contest coverage check out the thorough recaps by our friends at Vans Snow, Torment and Slush the Magazine.


Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Louif-Paradis-3
Louif Paradis

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Louif-Paradis-4
Louif Paradis

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Jake-Kuzyk
Jake Kuzyk, cab 270 front board

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Jill-Perkins
Jill Perkins, Vans pro and course designer

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-6
Jill Perkins, back lip

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Jed-Anderson-6
Jed Anderson, gap 270

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Jump-7
Louif Paradis

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Ben-Kadow
Vans pro skater Ben Kadow

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Jacob-Krugemire
Pro snowboarder Jacob Krugmire

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-5
Robby Meehan (?), over 270

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Snow-Cabin
Record snowfall

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Boots
The boot that inspired it all

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Finals
Judges Mikey LeBlanc, Danny Kass, Desiree Melancon doing their thing

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-8
Quinn Ellul collecting snow

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Kennedi-Deck
Vans Pro Kennedi Deck, front lip

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Pros
Jed Anderson, Reid Smith, and homies, hyped

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Winners
Vans Hi-Standard Series Winners Jed Anderson & Jill Perkins

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Jedd-Anderwon-Winner
Jed Anderson: He's back baby!

Vans-Hi-Standard-Brighton-35mm-Jill-Perkins-Winner
Jill Perkins rules

Related articles
Smith Squad Imprint 3D Review: Is Old Tech the Future of Snow Goggles?
Trying Smith's 3D Printed Ski & Snowboard Goggles to See If They're Worth the Hype

A hands-on test of Smith's recently expanded line of custom-made, 3D printed goggles with the Squad and Squad XL

Black Crows Explores Japan's Abandoned Ski Resorts With New Film & Gear
Black Crows Explores Japan's Abandoned Ski Resorts With New Film & Gear

Archival footage and interviews reveal that Japan's dreamy ski scene might've peaked decades ago

Raide Launches With a Sleek Ski Pack Backed by Serious Engineering
A New Brand Called Raide Just Made One of the Best Backcountry Ski Packs Ever

After stints at SpaceX and The North Face, the Colorado-based company's founder has turned to solving design problems with mountain gear

Q&A: How Hyperlite Mountain Gear & Cody Townsend Made the Crux 40 Ski Pack
How Hyperlite Mountain Gear Used Pro Insight to Make the Ultimate Ski Pack

Insights from a lifetime of skiing and a quest to descend the biggest lines in North America helped the skier and brand make the end-all bag

Spot Delivers Comprehensive Injury Insurance for Adventure Lovers, From $90
Meet the Upstart Insurance Company Covering Adventure Lovers for Just $90/Year

With partners like Ikon Pass, USA Cycling, and American Mountain Guide Association, Spot offers otherwise healthy outdoorists full coverage for cheap

Our Own Two Feet: A Human-Powered, Carbon-Neutral Snowboard Film
Our Own Two Feet Is a Human-Powered, Carbon-Neutral Take on the Unusual Shred Flick

Filmed throughout British Columbia, this unique short film by Big Mountain Media documents a long winter of friendship and adventure in the mountains

More articles
Our New Photo Book Is Now Available!

Meet WINTER, a fine art photo zine full of adventure inspiration

  • 70 pages of beautiful photography
  • 35 international contributors
  • Limited-edition & hand numbered
  • Printed in NYC with love
Shop Now
Our New Photo Book Is Now Available!