Local snowboarder and lifelong Juneau resident Mark Rainery, 36, has spent his winters riding just about every slope Southeast has to offer since he was in the seventh grade. Now, Rainery is happy to be able to share those experiences in his newest collaborative snowboarding film, “The Outliers,” (a DIY Southeast Alaska backcountry snowboarding film.) Rainery and friends held a film premiere on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Hangar Ballroom which showcased many local names such as Ryland Bell, Lucas Merli, Mark Landvik, Jessie Herman-Haywood, Morgan Hebert, David McCasland, Holly Enderle, Jack Freysinger and more. While the premiere has come and gone, people can still check out the film at Rainery’s Instagram and Youtube page, as well as at The Snowboarders Journal website. The Empire recently caught up with Rainery to talk about how the film was received and just how ‘gnar’ it might go.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
I have to imagine this probably isn’t your first time making a film, right?
Correct. This is the first probably legitimate film I think I’ve made by the standard of riding that’s showcased throughout, but growing up here my friends and I would make smaller films all the time. I went to film school in Bozeman, Montana, Montana State University, after graduating high school in Juneau and made more films with friends out there, so it’s always sort of been something I’ve pursued on some level. It’s just kind of an annual thing really.
Was it always focused on snowboarding films specifically or do you have more of a general interest in film?
I wasn’t trying to go to Hollywood or anything and that’s what I felt like the college was cookie cutting you out for but I knew that’s not what I was looking for, which made it hard to be in class.
What do you feel first got you interested in snowboarding and then interested in trying to film it?
Just watching other homemade videos definitely caught my attention immediately, I was just kind of blown away people were jumping off stuff or riding down big powdery slopes and what not, so I had no idea what it was all about but I knew it looked cool. And then just riding around here, all of my friends were already into it, so I was just kind of running with the pack, trying to keep up, and maybe it was kind competitive, like wanting to be as good as your friends or whatever, but then seeing that there were local people here, like multiple guys and girls getting paid by snowboarding companies and ending up in snowboarding magazines. So, like seeing that in middle school, I’d sneak away at the library and grab a Transworld Snowboarding magazine and see a rip curl ad of a dude on the backside of the ski area hitting some jump and I’d be like, “I know that spot, that’s crazy that it’s actually in this magazine that I’m holding along with like pictures from all over the world.”
How long would you say the entire project took to finally come together?
It’s been two years in the making really, without it being like an official project. Ryland Bell and I just kind of fell into the idea. We were snowboarding this last spring in Haines and we were talking about how cool it would be if there was another Alaska video and then we were like, “Well, why don’t we just make one since we’ve got all of this footage sitting on hard drives, it’s not going anywhere in particular.” So we kind of just pooled it all together after the winter was already done. I volunteered to edit based on my experience with school, so I sat down and just started sifting through everything and at first I thought it was going to be just a 10-minute little short edit and then it turned into a 40-minute full video basically.
I saw on the poster you had a considerable amount of names, now I understand the footage was shot prior but are these all names that to some extent are established within the scene?
I would say they’re all names that are established in like the local snowboarding scene. With the snowboarding shop here in town Boarderline and then Aurora Projekt, like Jake and Derek Liska, they’ve been a part of Boarderline since the beginning and that’s the first shop that ever opened in Alaska, one of the first snowboarding shops in the U.S. So, they have like a long history of being a part of the snowboarding culture, and they used to make huge shop videos, so when they heard we were doing this they were like really hyped to get on board and help out. Same with Scott Baxter, he’s one of those guys you would see in the magazines. So, all of those names, they’re all people that have grown up riding here, pretty much all Alaskan people, born and raised with maybe the exception of just a handful of people.
I would imagine some of the movie was filmed at Eaglecrest, but what were all of the locations you filmed at?
The movie was strictly Haines and Juneau, so there’s a fair chunk of Eaglecrest footage in there, a few stuff inbound, like a lot outside of the gates that we hiked to. Then some stuff on Douglas Island, doing some heliski and snowmobile and splitboard access stuff. Then the rest of it, like the majority of the chunk that Ryland and our friend Lucas Merli, they filmed all their stuff in Haines, just all snowmobile access stuff. It’s 95% backcountry snowboarding. Skipping the sled across rivers and getting up on glaciers and navigating through cravases and doing these crazy doubles where you’re like driving the sled and your homie’s holding on and going like 5,000 feet up basically, but then it’s like the best run you’ve ever had.
So, now that it’s all somewhat behind you at this point, how do you feel the premiere went overall?
The premiere went pretty darn good, we had the 6 p.m. showing and that was geared towards families and kids. We saw a lot of parents with little kids, I think we were letting kids under five or six in for free, so it was like still a pretty small show, there were maybe like 50 people there but the majority of that was little kiddos, which we were happy to see. The best part was after the whole thing, having a lot of them come up and ask questions personally and just get to connect with the younger crowd. Then the 8 p.m. showing was packed, a lot of people, kind of like standing room only in the back, every seat was filled up, it was as many people as you’d want in that room there. It was good, it was loud, people seemed to enjoy it, we had a lot of products thrown out at the end of the night and that was fun to see the adults go more crazy for T-shirts and hoodies than the little kids. We raffled off an Arbor snowboard and this dude from Canada was either just passing through or had just moved here, but either way didn’t have a board and he ended up winning the raffle randomly, so that was cool. But yeah, overall, it was good, just getting a lot of the snowboarding community together and get them excited; we haven’t exactly had the best start to the winter, but it seems like it’s finally kicking into gear. So, it seemed like good timing with that, like spirits were already high after like a week of solid powder riding and now we get to watch this film to get us excited for the second half.
Was this your first time hosting a premiere on this sort of level for one of your films?
I’ve had premieres like this before but the cool thing about this one was that with this movie I had a media partnership with a snowboarding magazine based in Bellingham, Washington, The Snowboarders Journal, which gets distributed all over the world. We had an agreement with them where they would get the first crack at premiering the film on their website. So, they had an article and a bunch of photos that Scott Baxter with the Aurora Projekt took of a lot of local people, so we were just trying to funnel people to go watch it on their website and hopefully check out other content they had to offer. But yeah, through their Instagram and all of their social media channels, it was pretty nice having them push it out.
What are you anticipating beyond this project? Are there further plans with this film or just plans to keep making more of them?
Next up is we’re going to try and schedule a Haines premiere of the film this spring, just sort of the similar thing. It’s obviously already been out for a month now but I think it’s a valuable thing just to get the community together in the same space and this is a perfect way to do that. Other than that, I’m just happy it’s done and it’s out there. I think everyone is excited to start working on another one, whether or not it’ll be a one or two year project, that’s hard to say.
With so many hands involved, would you say your role was to step up mostly for editing? Did you personally do any of the filming?
I filmed maybe a third of it, if that. I’d say most of the filming was done by Ryland and after that it was our buddy Lucas, the two of them were just tag teaming drone shots of each other and everyone else in Haines. I did mostly the riding, like the actual subject in the clip, the actual snowboarding. Pretty much everyone involved did both, if they were riding then they were most likely helping film at some point. I guess I’m the one that stepped up and said, ‘Let’s make it happen. Give me everything you’ve got and I’ll make it as good as we can.’ Otherwise who knows how long all of that footage would have just sat on people’s personal hard drives, but it wasn’t a one person show by any means. The producers were mostly myself and Ryland, I like to think that it was the two of us really spearheading everything, but with that being said, Lucas did so much, too, so much filming especially.
Do you feel like making these films collaboratively is just sort of a bonus on top of continuing to ride or are you hoping to pursue the filming aspect more specifically? With going to school for film, I would imagine it’s something you’d like to do more of, yeah?
Yeah, I mean I love doing it, I think I love the actual act of snowboarding the most. That definitely comes first easily, but I do love making these projects, it’s such a fun way to kind of have like this time capsule to relive all of these memories you have with your friends in pretty unreal settings, doing things you’ll remember for a really long time, like they become ingrained in your memory. But as far as the future, it would be awesome if we were able to get more funding and get more people on board that were really interested in taking on the filmmaking as a major role. The idea would be to get better funding so we could produce something where talents in each specific role are like to a higher degree so that the riding isn’t pulling all of the rope. Just getting people here locally excited about it, I think that in itself is everything. If we’re doing that, if I’m like stoking out each individual rider with their segment and they’re happy, that’s all I care about. And then when the community comes out and watches it and they’re excited about it, it’s like a bonus. Then people from down south that are detached, if they like it, then it’s like, “Holy crap, maybe we actually made something that’s kind of rad.”
• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at email@example.com.