It’s almost impossible to imagine someone like Shawn Farmer arriving on the snowboarding scene today. In the late 1980s and early 90s, characters like Farmer, Dan Donnelly, Damien Sanders and Steve Graham were nothing less than our sport’s original stars, and their antics were the basis of many early snowboard films. They were – without a shadow of a doubt – making it all up as they went along, and to say they were an eclectic bunch is a laughable understatement. While riders of today may have different riding styles and looks, the subtleties are only noticeable for those truly obsessed with the sport. Back then, the top tier of pro riding was a mish-mash of degenerate characters; an x-rated Village People line-up with only a love of snowboarding, a keen sense of mischief and a hatred of skiers to bind them.
Shawn’s life today still revolves around his love for snowboarding. He plays in a band with legends Terry Kidwell and Bob Klein (called Hunks of Metal), he lives full time in Truckee, California – on the edge of Lake Tahoe – and he works for the water company at the Northstar Ski Area. “Life is good,” he says. “I don’t see the old crew like Nick Perata quite so much, but we talk on the phone every now and again. I go riding on every powder day still, and can hook up with lots of people here.”
Photo by R. Schopper
Born in 1964 and raised in the mid-west state of Missouri, he was pushing twenty-seven when – after a few seasons in Colorado – fame beckoned with a part in the newly launched Standard Films’ Totally Board (it would later be known as TB1, and started the TB series). “I just wanted to make a movie,” says Shawn now. “More than anything I just wanted to make films because it was cool to see myself ride.” The next season he moved to Mt Baker, where he famously pulled a topless method over the Baker road gap (on his first attempt) before heading down to Tahoe to shoot with Fall Line Films for a production later titled Critical Condition.
Critical Condition opened a lot of doors – mostly to parties – and again, he dug deep. “I was such a heavy partier and drinker,” he says now. “I hindered myself, you know. I probably would have went further. I’m still dealing with issues relating to alcohol, though I haven’t had a drink for about four months now. But god, it was funner than hell.”
Powder and Rails – Season 2 – Shawn Farmer
Shawn Farmer video interview http://whitelines.mpora.com/videos/wltv/shawn-farmer-video-interview.html