Words by
Ted Borland
Photos by Dan Stewart


Okay, sorry, I just had to get that out of the way. It’s an appropriate thing to open with, considering the amount of corny banter that goes down while you hang out with these guys. I’d say an average day with Bode Merrill and Nils Mindnich contains more movie quotes and one-liners than actual words or conversation.

You may have seen Space Cadet by now. It stars Bode Merrill and Nils Mindnich as they find themselves distraught by our planet’s lust for self-destruction and lack of snow. Our protagonists find the nearest patch of snow and drop in. What happens next? Well, there wasn’t much snow to work with, so they endure a meteoric collision and both end up in the same dream sequence—catapulted to a different planet. This planet is covered in snow and they’ve got a pretty sweet rocket to take them wherever they need to go. After they arrive and marvel at the powdery slopes all around them, the movie blasts off, and we begin to watch nearly 20 minutes of straight astronomical snowboard footage.

BODE AND NILS MIGHT ACTUALLY BE FROM A DIFFERENT PLANET. Not only different from most of us reading this article but from each other. This odd couple makes no sense on paper. However, the on-slope dynamic is a match made on whatever planet they ended up on. Bode is tall, loose, a cat person, listens to terrible music and is regular-footed. He’s had countless video parts with unthinkable tricks. He’s been known to do some absolutely reckless maneuvers on his board over the span of his illustrious career. He’s (fittingly) even got an alien abduction story in the books. Nils, much shorter, is goofy-footed, calculated, climbs mountains in his free time, and is actually kind of a contest guy. Most notably in that realm, he’s won the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom, as well as the Freeride World Tour. Some even go as far as to say that he’s the fastest kid alive. He’s also had plenty of footage over the years, but his snowboarding has set him apart from the rest with calculated trick selection, tasteful, powdery jumps, and borderline contortionist-style grabs. We could go on about these guys, but you get it by now. They’re different enough. I mean, they have the same board sponsor and have known each other for a while, ridden together plenty, but they’re kinda still funny together, right?

DIFFERENCES ASIDE, the on-screen chemistry is there. Picture it like this: if you’re watching a movie, Bode’s character is the daredevil pilot who’s not afraid to crash and burn, and Nils is the calculated engineer of the ship, making sure everything is running smoothly. Now, instead of talking more about our subjects, let’s talk about some of the specifics behind this dream planet in which this story unfolds. First thing first: there are no streets on this planet. Powder only. I can’t help but wonder if this has to do with the fact that Bode fell off a three-story roof while trying to hit a street spot in Alaska on his first day working on this project. I seem to remember him swearing off jibbing forever. The planet is also...Comfortable. We’re talkin’ pillows everywhere There’s plenty to jump to and from, ones specifically designed for switch methods, and pillows that you’ll have to add some butter(s) to.

Remember when you were a little kid making pillow forts, and you could crawl through the fort and end up somewhere else in your imagination? Well, that’s a reality on this powder planet. Halfway through the video, Bode and Nils end up in a completely different mountain range after ducking under a cliff. Means of travel are much different in this world. For the rest of this world that this video takes place in, we must admit that it looks pretty similar to the terrain that we’ve got on Earth (although, we aren’t sure if tiny mustache brushes like Nils’ exist). And after the insane ender section, we come to realize that it was in fact all a dream, as the guys wake up from their collision to find out that they hadn’t actually ridden any powder that afternoon.

saying things like, “Nils’ backside 1080 over the bridge to Terabithia was insane,” or, “Bode’s backflip to pillow stack was one of the craziest things he’s ever done!” But, I think the greatest message this video gives us is that the powdery board world we know down here might end up as a dream world if we don’t do our parts to take care of it. We, as humans, shouldn’t have to fly off of a proverbial cliff one day and wake up just to realize that the snow is all gone. At the same time, let’s have fun with what we’ve got, and just know that what we do leaves an impact for those to come after us.

These two Space Cadets are a rare breed in snowboarding these days. True professionals in their realm. They’re here to progress snowboarding in the backcountry, all the while entertaining their viewers, and to do so in classic fashion with a full-length film release. Hopefully, the sequel isn’t about how they bump their heads one day and end up in a world where the only snowboard footage we watch comes from our phones.