114: Danimals and Benny Urban/Triple 2

Dan ‘Danimals’ Liedahl, Otaru, Japan, 2019. Photo: Matt Georges

“You just get this feeling if you like a spot. You can picture the trick, you can see yourself doing it, you can see the spot working. There’s not much more of a process for me. It’s just: I see it, I think it’s going to work, so let’s go for it.”

Dan ‘Danmials’ Leidahl and Benny Urban special TRIPLE episode! This episode came about when my friend Matt Georges asked me to write the words for his latest book project with Vans – TRIPLE.

The TRIPLE project saw Matt organise three shoots to represent the different sides of snowboarding – Arthur and Blake for backcountry, Rene Rinnekangas and Fridtjof Tischendorf for park, and Danimals and Benny Urban for street.

Benny Urban, Otaru, Japan, 2019. Photo: Matt Georges

Matt asked me to interview each duo for the book – naturally I thought I might as well record these chats and see if they were worth putting out as podcasts.

So that’s what I did – I relaxed my ‘no Skype’ rule, sent the guys mics and arranged to chat with each of them about the whole thing. This second instalment is with Dan and Benny.

Dan, Otaru, February 2019. Photo: Matt Georges

Of the three styles of snowboarding featured in TRIPLE, street riding is the one with the closest kinship to skateboarding. There are moments of progressive, creative beauty that represent the culture being pushed forward in real time.

These two friends are two of the best rail riders on the planet, and they were the perfect duo to explore the multi-faceted possibilities of street snowboarding for TRIPLE. They joined Matt and filmer Alex Pfeffel for a mid-season trip to Japan where they spent two weeks exploring the bust-heavy possibilities of Otaru-Hokkaido.

Benny, Otaru, Japan, 2019. Photo: Matt Georges

During our conversation, we discussed the challenges involved with taking a mountain-based form into an occasionally hostile urban environment – shovelling snow in the dark, finding spots, dodging cops.

Big thanks to Matt Georges and Vans for getting me involved, and to Dan and Benny for being such good sports.

Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Dan and Benny

Show Notes

  • Reorganising at home.
  • Summer downtime.
  • Early sightings of the winter season.
  • Mountain Biking.
  • Fortnight in Japan.
  • Shooting with Jake Durham for Ride.
  • Taking things easy.
  • Home in the MidWest.
  • Benny’s previous home in Salt Lake City.
  • Amazing snow year in Austria.
  • “Proper mountains”.
  • Offline’.
  • Working with Alex Pfeffer.
  • Non-setup snowboarding trips.
  • Forming the Triple team.
  • Finding the location.
  • Dan and Benny’s rides together.
  • Sites to be “excited about”.
  • Snow scraping moments.
  • Slushy snow.
  • T-shirt riding.
  • 2 week pressure.
  • Busted by Japanese police.
  • Being methodical.
  • Backup spots.
  • “Try until the day is done”.
  • Their working relationship.
  • Seeing the way spots look.
  • Visualising tricks.
  • “Stress doesn’t bother me much”.
  • Matt’s visual eye.
  • Teamwork.
  • Drone fails.
  • Video vs photo.
  • Raw footage.
  • Standout sessions and spots.
  • Running into another crew.
  • It’s a small world.
  • More projects to come.
  • “The plan is, there is no plan but we’re making a video”.
  • New Southbank section.

Places Mentioned

  • Hokkaido, Japan
  • Innsbruck, Austria
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Tyrol, Austria
  • Iran
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • London, UK
  • Cornwall, UK

Companies/Brands/Organisations Mentioned