Lake Tahoe’s premiere of Defenders of Awesome was one for the records books. Legends like Bjorn Leines. The organic madness of a punk-like show. And of course a feeling of community. If you didn’t make it you missed one of the coolest events we’ve been to in years. Here’s a breakdown of what happened.
Even Weather Can’t Stop Awesome
Defending Awesome is a difficult task, not to be taken lightly. Abnormal heavy clouds hung over South Lake Tahoe with a definite chance of rain in the forecast. This compounded with the onslaught of smoke from forest fires in Emerald Bay as well as the massive King fire just 10 miles southwest of Tahoe really put a question mark on the festivities to be. Unscathed by the conditions, in true South Lake fashion, people slowly began to trickle into the event.
Early Birds Get The Ticket
For those who showed up early, Sierra-at-Tahoe gave away free lift tickets to the first 100 people. REAL lift tickets that could be used ANY TIME before December 19th. Most times at events like this the free lift tickets given away are restrictive and have some stipulation. Either they must be be used on a Monday through Wednesday wearing a pirate outfit driving in a Yugo with at least 3 people and the 3rd person must buy a full priced lift ticket or some other madness. Props to Sierra at Tahoe for an honest promotion. What a class act. After grabbing the lift ticket, the crowd entered and started by saying hello to their friends, family and the Himmel Haus employees. Then, oddly enough, they began introduce themselves to the new faces in the crowd. A community atmosphere developed rather quickly.
Awesome Was About To Happen
As the crowd steadily showed up, more German libations were poured. The sun began to set right on queue, when the movie was supposed to begin. Awesome was destined to happen. A small situation with a neighbor was dealt with. Luckily, the Himmel Haus with Nothing to Prove, Defended Awesome and moved the entire inflatable screen to the front of the building. As the first of 3 films began everyone cheered in excitement.
Up First, Grow Up Productions
This was a short film by a local film crew called Grow Up Productions with local shredders killing it throughout Tahoe and Mammoth. The most memorable parts of this movie was a long curved concrete barrier that sloped downward ending abruptly right into a fire hydrant. Multiple riders took this obstacle in different creative ways and made something difficult look incredibly easy. The new generation in Tahoe is definitely going to bring a fresh view on what can be done on a board.
Next, as with all good promotions…the MC’s pumped up the crowd and poured out the free gifts from the sponsors.
Technical Difficulties Can’t Stop The Fun
As the second film was to be introduced, technical difficulties ensued. The generator inflating the screen sputtered, then died. Fortunately, Himmel Haus was quick and had a back up generator ready to re-inflate the screen! Regardless of the delay, the joint did a great job of taking the focus off the screen by highlighting one of the legends at the premier.
Bjorn Leines Is In The Haus!
There stood in front of the crowd one of the biggest names in the industry…. Bjorn Leines. He amped the crowd up yelling that this year is going to be THE year for Tahoe and that we are going to get hammered. Like most know this wasn’t the best year for snow in California so Celtek’s plan of filming in Tahoe didn’t pan out last season. As he introduced the film “Nothing to Prove” the crowd roared as the movie began. This film is a little different than other films based on the fact that it was attempting to tell a story along with the sick riding parts. Seeing these “young guns” get excited for a trip to Minnesota to the infamous Leines’ rail garden you know there was reason to be excited. Unfortunately, Bjorn got hurt early in the film when he blasted both arms attempting a ridiculously big trick under a strained time crunch. That seemed to be par for the course as many of the Celtek crew got hurt during filming. Luckily, these dudes are tough and the Celtek crew still put out an amazing film!
Defenders Of Awesome 2 Lived Up To The Hype
As the final product toss was given along with a brand new women’s Capita snowboard everyone could feel random drops hitting their arms and foreheads. The entire crowd looked upward hoping the downpour held off. Focus went back to the screen. The movie began. Even if you didn’t catch it, take it from us the film itself had so many banger parts it was ridiculous. Scott Stevens’ was by far the most creative. From being one footed jumping from trampoline to another, followed by a 180 out to doing an unbuckled kick flip on a snowboard, you will definitely need to pause, rewind and replay this part to absorb all the sick tricks he threw down.
Even The Ladies Killed It
Not to be outdone, your girl, Jess Kimura made sure that the ladies were not forgotten and slapped down tricks that most men would tremble even stepping up to. Finally, the power house Dan Brisse did his best impersonation of being a super hero jumping from one building to another, followed by a wallride on top of a car dealership in Minnesota. Lastly, for the rugged, he shined busting huge tricks in the backcountry. This film was amazing and definitely worth the purchase.
Following the stacked premier the after party kept up the excitement. The hopes of a big season were contagious. Music by Hibbity Dibbity echoed through the venue. Will Eichelberger, local artist and a transplant from Jackson, kept pumping out master pieces as the crowd watched. Himmel Haus really set the pace for this Winter!
Bjorn stayed around hanging out with the crowd and talking about his last crazy season. It was awesome to see his enthusiasm for the upcoming winter. He might be a legend, but is an amazing person as well. A mutually excited anticipation of snow was shared. Bjorn definitely gained new support with his every day persona and realism. Show some love to this O.G. by supporting Celtek and Rome! Overall, the premier had a lot of challenges with weather, neighbors, and mother nature, but it felt right. At the base of Heavenly, such a historical party place, celebrities and great productions, Himmel Haus might have put on the Winter Kick Off Party of the season! Thank you to Transworld Snowboarding, Sierra at Tahoe and all the wonderful sponsors that helped put this together.