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Kjersti Buaas interview for Roxy Chicken Jam

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Kjersti Østgaard BuaasRecently, 5ones got the chance to hang out with U.S. Open Slopestyle, Quarterpipe winner and Most Valuable Female Rider, Kjersti Østgaard Buaas.

Kjersti’s list of achievements are longer than we have space for here online, but she’s also an Olympic bronze medalist and very well respected female rider. She originally hails from Norway will be looking to kill it at the Roxy Chicken Jam, hoping to claim the title of World Champ on the final stop of the Women’s Ticket to Ride series. Take a gander to read what makes one of the top female riders tick including some travel tips and ways to amp up your riding.

(Writer’s note: I also called it that Kjersti would absolutely destroy the Open: two firsts, a fourth and an MVP award, go me.)

Leading off, what’s the U.S. Open mean to you?

The US Open is a six star TTR event with a lot of good riders, tons of media and a big crowd, and for me to compete in such an event is fun, challenging and progressive!

How stoked were you to win the Volvo (XC60)? It must be such an honor to be named most valuable rider. Are you going to go do some donuts with it?

Being rewarded for my overall riding performance feels amazing because it has been my main focus the last few years. I was already happy with my results and what I had achieved and winning the Volvo was icing on the cake!

The conditions for the Slopestyle were insane. What were you thinking when the snow started to fall and the guys were having some serious trouble with that third kicker?

Well, I was not too affected by that because I had my first run before the heavy snowfall came in and made the course slow. I felt bad for the guys that had to ride in those conditions though, because you can’t really do anything about it, but you still have to try! It cleared up for our next runs and with some magic wax from my “Swixman”, Kenny I made it through the course without any problems!

You’re probably also thinking about the 2010 Olympics. What was it like to get the bronze in 2006?

I am trying not to put to much thoughts and time into focusing on just the Olympics, because when it all comes down it’s just another contest. If I get to go, I am of course going to be stoked and try my best, but for now I am just going to enjoy the ride!

The 2006 Olympics in Italy was an amazing experience. I learned a lot and got some of the best memories of my life!

I remember this photo of you from Transworld Snowboarding (I think). It’s when you rode for Burton, and you were in this cowsuit, shredding in Europe. Can you tell me a little bit about the photos? And do you still have the suit?

Ha ha, yeah that was a suit I had to wear for a commercial I did for a dairy company in Norway, and somehow that photo ended up in Transworld! I don’t have the suit anymore, so if anyone knows how to get a hold of one please let me know!

Coming up, you must have had a role model. Or now, there must be somebody that you really admire. Is there anybody snowboarding today or in the past who you look up to?

I grew up when Stine Brun Kjeldaas, Daniel Franck and Terje Haakonsen were still riding, and I have to admit that I was pretty obsessed with them! I got to meet them at some national contests and I remember being the kid that would do anything to get to talk to them! They are still an inspiration to me! I admire people who do things their own ways, are creative and ride with a big smile on their face. That motivates me and makes me smile!

Ok let’s talk gear now. What’s your current set-up, waist width and angles on your board?

I ride for Roxy outerwear and goggles, and I have my own signature line! My board set up is the Rossignol Diva Magnetraction 148, and Rossignol HC200 bindings. My stance is 21.5 inches, and my angles are +18 front and -6 back!

So Rocker/Reverse Camber technology is the big deal now in snowboarding. As a long time competitor and rider, what’s your thoughts?

I am riding a Rossignol board with Magnetracton that I really like. I haven’t really tried the Rocker yet, but it seems like a pretty cool invention!

Roxy is well known for its surf products. As a perk, do you get to do a lot of surfing and traveling with other Roxy athletes like Torah Bright, Sarah Burke or Sophia Mulanovich?

The Roxy team is such an amazing team of girls, and we get to go on photo shoots with snowboarders, skiers and surfers! It’s such a privilege to get to travel with these girls. We learn a lot from each other, and sometimes we switch gear and the snowboarders get to go skiing and the other way around! I get to travel a lot with Torah when we are competing or doing Roxy PR tours, and she an awesome person to hang out and ride with! I haven’t been on to many surf trips yet, but I would love to come and watch some of the contests in the summer!

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where’d you be and who would you be with?

Well, I like to live in the moment so that would be exactly were I am right now: In a car, driving to Mammoth for the Roxy Chicken Jam with two of my best friends: Lisa Wiik and Chanelle Sladics! I am also looking forward to go home for Easter and hanging out with my family and my boyfriend!

You must have a lot of gear to schlep around. Any travel tips in light of the crazy airline lockdown with fees and board bag weights?

I always pack way to much when I got on trips and the best way to get around paying for it is to either smile when you check in or put your backpack under your board bag when it’s on the scale. It takes off at least 20 pounds, haha!

So picture this. It’s right before the big contest. Any pre-competition rituals? Or special requests?

Yeah, I definitely have my “good luck” rituals before a contest, but I try to keep it simple and not let it be a big part of my riding! I like to listen to dance before I ride, it makes feel good!

I’m sure everyone wonders this: how do you psych yourself up to keep trying new tricks after taking a big slam like the one Elena Hight took (Good vibes to her)?

I just try to be reasonable and do things that I know that I am capable of, like build everything up from the basics so that I actually know what I am doing! It also helps to listen to music before a contest, that psyches me up big time! And by the way, Elena is sick!!!

How has the recent economic downturn affected you? Contest changes, sponsorships being canceled for sick new riders, things that you watch out or are worried about?

I think everyone is affected by the economic situation that is going on right now, but my sponsors have been nothing but great to me. They always make sure that they value me as a rider. That makes me feel not to worried!

Explain this sentence to me from your Roxy bio: “Never give your phone number to a monkey!” There must be a story there…

Haha, let’s just say that I would never do that again!

OK. It’s word association time. Tell us the first thing that comes to mind (We asked Torah almost the same questions)

Australia – Torah Bright and kangaroos!
Chicken – Food
Powder – Snow
Vermont – Matterhorn Inn
Pipe – Fun
Skateboard – Summer
Facebook – Addictive
Torah – Monkey
Buaas – Family

Posted in Snow | 1 Comment »

Reverse Camber: Is it Cheating?

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

For the last two years reverse camber and rocker have been gaining momentum with being the next wave of advancements for snowboarding. Even in rough economic times people are swarming to get boards with this tech in it. While most people are open to change there are still some that do not embrace it, they even go so far as to discredit it. But is something that makes snowboarding easier really cheating?

reverse camber

Anti-Camber (as some call it) has made the theory of owning a quiver of boards obsolete as you can now truly have a board that excels across the wide spectrum of snowboarding. From parks to powder the benefits are endless. With not having to load and unload the boards camber riders are finding that pressing, popping, buttering, and general riding are easier. Taking into account that the average rider only gets between 7 and 15 days on snow this makes for a more enjoyable time for them.

Does that make it cheating? By some peoples standards that could be considered cheating. Although if you look at the advancements over the last 25 years in boards, boots, bindings, and outerwear that too could be considered cheating. Snowboarding has always been touted as a progressive sport and this advancement in camber theories is no less progressive.

This also poses the question of is it the board or the rider? Looking for an answer to this question I asked Darren Reithmiller, lead for Breckenridge Ski Resort park crew his thoughts;

“To me, snowboarding has always been about the rider, not what you’re on. From the days of step-ins, the number of contact points on your sidewall to reverse camber, it comes down to the level of the rider. A good rider is going to excel on a reverse cambered board. Someone who is average, is going to be stay average unless he or she is pushed.

Reverse camber, however, is one idea that is going to benefit everyone. It’s not pressing for dummies by any means. With my experience with the Evo-R, my overall riding experience has been transformed. Start the morning off with pow runs then finish with park laps, it’s my do-everything.

It might not be for everyone, but certainly needs a try from the 100+ day rider to the weekend warriors.”

This sticks to the theory that a good rider could ride anything to get down a mountain and anti-camber only gives added benefits.

Ultimately the best way to decide if it’s cheating is to get out there and see for yourself. There’s an option now for every style of rider on the planet.

Posted in Snow | 4 Comments »

Burton Method 2010: How Much Is That Snowboard in the Window?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

burton methodThis past weekend, I was basking in the sun, snow, shred and schmoozing known as the US Open. For a few days, all talk of Obama, recessions, dumped inventory, closings and layoffs were silenced by the roaring crowds. I got a chance to watch some awesome aerial aerobatics, spend time with friends and test a few 2010 snowboards.

One of the latest boards on my hot list was the Burton Method. This board is quoted as having more technology than the space shuttle, and “If you were handed the keys to Shangri-la, what would you build?”. With tech specs like titanium alloy edges, Alumasuperfly core (say that three times fast), S2 carbon vaporskin, including weaved, striated carbon fiber, the board is crazy light. They even removed the topsheet graphics layer opting to use a thin clearcoat to show the guts. So how much does this marvel of snowboarding cost? Anywhere from $1,300 to $1,600 depending on who you ask.

It appears that the price to snowboard has increasingly ratcheted up over the last few years. Now this is not your standard inflationary percentage, this is a serious increase in technology which results in increased cost. Or is it?

Burton is not alone. There are at least three to four manufacturers with snowboards close to or over the $1,000 mark including Lib Tech, Palmer, Head, Nidecker, and probably a few more that I can’t remember. As the demographics of the “average” snowboarder change (read: get older), so does the board lineup for manufacturers.

One of my buddies made a comment that custom longboard surfboards can run you upwards of $1,000 so for someone who is really into their “performance snowboarding”, it isn’t out of the ordinary to spend that much money on their passion. Another person chimed in on the lift about how the cost is nothing compared to an expensive road bike or mountain bike.

Warning, old man flashback! I remember when with $400 you could outfit yourself from head to toe in boots, bindings, board, jacket and pants. Not anymore, where high performance boards alone routinely cost upwards of $600.

The beauty of the overall situation for the customer is that by cutting through the hype, you can take advantage of the trickle down tech from these mega hoverboards. Things like EST/ICS, asymmetric highbacks, heat molded liners, sintered bases, smoother ratchets, better shapes and lighter cores all came from the top down. Once they were only on the expensive stuff, and now, all this product innovation makes it way to the Average Joe Shred. Amazing boards can be found for under $400 that will take you anywhere that you can dream from rail to pipe to pow.

So how’d the Method ride? It was surprisingly a fun ride. I took the 155 and the conditions were classic spring VT (ice in the AM and slush in the PM). It handled everything well, but was a bit too dead compared to the liveliness that I’ve come to expect from Burton. The best way to easily describe it is: a Burton T6 and a Vapor had a baby, but the Palmer Crown LE snuck in for a quickie too.

burton method

In the air, it was ridiculously light, like hit a kicker and totally overshoot the landing, light. After a few runs, I got a handle on the feel and started getting really comfortable with the board. I did a few rock taps and log jibs with no problems. You have to test the durability right? The new shape (which is really an old shape, using those blunt tips and tails) really works for me. I’ve been moving to smaller boards with a more blunted tip/tail shape so this fits in that category. According to the Demo Tent Dude, it’s lighter than a Chopper kids board (that’s with bindings), whoa. I’d say my biggest issue was fearing that someone would steal it, so I had to bring it into the bar with me to keep it safe.

My parting words? Let the AIG investment banker buy the $1,300 boards with their bonuses. In a year or two, you’ll see some of the same innovation in your $400 park deck. That’s probably the best ROI you’re guaranteed to see in the next few years. At the same time, I’m already scheming to see what contacts that I can hit up to secure one for next season.

Posted in Snow | 4 Comments »

Interview with Brad Steward from Bonfire

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Happy 20th Birthday to Bonfire! This upcoming season marks the 20th Anniversary of the company that broke down the fashionista doors of snowboard outerwear with iconic items like the Fireman’s jacket and sponsored riders such as Jason Ford, Leanne Pelosi and David Benedek. To celebrate their birthday, they’re releasing some really stylie boots.

bonfire boots

Leading the charge is former pro snowboarder turned company man, Brad Steward. Brad’s seen it all as a pro, as one of the first entrepreneurs of snowboard business, acquired by Salomon and maintaining an individual identity while holding it down in Portland, Oregon. 5ones sat down with Brad for a few minutes to gain some insight in these turbulent times from one of the pioneers of the sport. What we got was a no-holds-barred breakdown of what makes Brad Steward (and Bonfire tick). Listen up y’all as he drops some knowledge.

Name. Occupation. Location. Regular or Goofy. Astrological sign.

Brad Steward, Snowboarder, Portland Oregon, Reg, Virgo

brad stewart

Tell me how you got into the snowboard clothing business.

Wrote the name down in 1989, during lunch break at Sims Snowboards. Started Morrow (Snowboards) – Left one day – Went by the Mac store, bought a computer – Went upstairs and started to work on Bonfire.

A lot of people are saying “Expletitive, another boot company!” how are you responding to the critics? And how are you distinguishing yourselves from the pack?

We’re distinguishing ourselves by fully constructing, designing and developing our boots with our Italian boot design group. When final protos are finished, we take them to Asia for production. Most brands draw some boots up, e-mail a file to China and let the factories figure it out from there. We don’t do that – We get it perfect with people who’ve been making boots for years – Then go to the factory with specific instructions on how to make the boot. This is why right out of the gate we’ve got an incredibly comfortable fit.

(more…)

Posted in Snow | 1 Comment »

The 27th Annual Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

burton us open

The Burton US Open is one of the longest standing snow competition traditions, helt this year at Stratton Mountain, Vermont, March 16-22, 2009. Not only is the USO the final stop of the Burton Global Open Series, where the top male and female in the series will be awarded $100,000 each, but the USO is also the culminating stop on the men’s TTR World Snowboard Tour and the top male will be awarded the TTR world title. What makes this event so special is that it is an open invitational contest, only the best of the best will prevail. Check out the events schedule below:

2009 USO EVENT SCHEDULE
All events take place at the Sun Bowl

Monday, March 16th
• Women’s Halfpipe practice: 10am-12pm
• Men’s Halfpipe practice: 12pm-3pm
• Rider Meeting: 3:30pm-4pm

Tuesday, March 17th
• Men’s Halfpipe Pre-qualifiers: 9am-2:45pm
• Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle practice: 1pm-3pm
• Rider Meeting: 3:30pm-4pm

Wednesday, March 18th
• Men’s Slopestyle Pre-qualifiers: 8:30am-4:30pm
• Men’s and Women’s Halfpipe practice: 10am-2pm
• Rider Meeting: 5pm-5:30pm

Thursday, March 19th
• Women’s Halfpipe Qualifiers: 8:30-11am
• Men’s and Women’s Halfpipe practice: 11:30am-2:30pm
• Junior Jam Halfpipe practice: 2:30pm – 3:30pm
• Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle practice: 9am-1pm
• Rider Meeting: 3:30pm-4pm

Friday, March 20th
• Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle Qualifiers: 8:30am-2:30pm
• Men’s and Women’s Halfpipe practice: 9am-1pm
• Junior Jam Halfpipe practice: 1pm-3:30pm
• Rider Meeting: 3:30pm-4pm
• Men’s and Women’s Quarterpipe Practice: 1:30pm-3:30pm
• Men’s and Women’s Quarterpipe Semi Finals: 5:15pm-6pm
• Men’s and Women’s Quarterpipe Finals: 6:15pm-7:45pm
• Quarterpipe Awards: 7:50pm
• Concert in the Sun Bowl: 8:00pm

Saturday, March 21th
• Men’s and Women’s Halfpipe Semi Finals: 8:30am-1:15pm
• Men’s and Women’s Halfpipe Finals: 2pm-3:45pm
• Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle practice: 9am-1pm
• Halfpipe Awards and Autograph Signing (in Sponsor Village): 4pm
• Concert in the Sun Bowl 4:30pm
• Rider Meeting: 5pm-5:30pm

Sunday, March 22nd
• Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle Semi Finals: 8:30am-1:15pm
• Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle Finals: 2pm-4pm
• Girl’s Junior Jam Finals: 8:30am-10:30am
• Boy’s Junior Jam Qualifiers: 10:30am-1:45pm
• Boy’s Junior Jam Finals: 2pm-3pm
• Junior Jam Awards (in Sponsor Village): 3:15pm
• Slopestyle Awards, Volvo Most Valuable Rider Awards, BGOS Champions Awards, and Men’s TTR World Champion Award: 4:15pm-4:45pm

RJD2 AND SANTIGOLD WILL BE HEADLINING ON THE CONCERT STAGE IN THE SUNBOWL FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHTS!

The bands are confirmed for the 27th US Open of Snowboarding. RJD2 will headline at on the concert stage at 8:00pm following the Quarterpipe Competition and Awards in the Sunbowl. Santigold will grace the concert stage at 4:30pm, following the Halfpipe Finals and Awards.

Posted in Snow | No Comments »

Shaun White’s Private Halfpipe

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Not that we ever doubted the rumors of Shaun White having a private halfpipe hidden deep in the Colorado mountains, but with the recent pictures floating around the web, that rumor is now confirmed.

shaun white secret halfpipe

The pipe sits at an elevation of 12,300 feet, making it the highest pipe ever. It cost over $500k to construct and was funded by both Red Bull and Oakley. No surprise that Red Bull is behind something like this. Red Bull has also rented Shaun a house in a nearby town and pays for a heli to transport him up there everyday. Not to mention covering the cost of avi control (take a look above the pipe). Apparently the pipe is open to all Red Bull and Oakley riders, not just Shaun.

The other day when we wrote about Shaun White making an estimated $9 million per year, we apparently were only telling half the story. The number is obviously a lot higher when you consider all the amazing perks he gets. Between the house, the pipe, the heli trips, and avi control… that alone has gotta add at least another milli for Mr. White.

Forget being a pro ball player, becoming a professional snowboarder is the new dream.

Posted in Snow | 6 Comments »

Burton Goes Direct: It’s on Like Donkey Kong!

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

burton logoWhoosh! Bang! Ka-Boom! That was the sound of a bomb dropping around Vegas when the rumor then confirmation occurred. The 800lb Gorilla and the White Elephant in the room had a crazy one night stand in Vegas… and the offspring? Yep, the announcement that Burton is going to sell snowboards, boots and bindings (otherwise known as hard goods) online. As a direct result, they’ll be scaling back their partner links on their website. The Earth quakes, the hellfire burns, Belezabub walks the streets, and retailers run for the hills. Before you ask me when Nike is buying Burton, Let’s take a closer look at the facts:

1. The economy is in the crapper. To cut costs and boost profit, Burton will sell direct to the consumer. Cutting out the middle man increases Burton profit and in theory, connects the user to the brand directly. You’d do the same thing in their position.

2. By releasing stores from their partnership agreements, this legal change frees up stores to stock other brands, diversify, instead of stocking up on tons of Burton volume to hit minimum numbers that will have to be discounted come springtime. Minimum order volumes kill the industry.

3. Have you been to the Burton online experience recently? It’s a dynamic, Flash-filled, whizbang rollercoaster if you happen to be on a T3 line. But when you get to the online retail experience, you go from 2007 web experience to 1996 web experience. The cohesiveness of the online retail, those weird gnome and Stash yeti emails and the Reebok-esque brand experience is shaky at best. And all the crazy discounting like 30%-50% current products pre-Christmas, ever play drinking Jenga?

burton store

All of these factors give retailers a chance, an window of opportunity, to diversify their brand portfolios, reach out to more customers and have a fire lit under their asses. Embrace the green, create a core kiosk, enable live chat, explore Twitter! Those online properties like Backcountry, Sierra, TruSnow, Moda3 and ColoradoBoarder are three steps ahead of Burton with proven sales and hands-on UI data.

trusnow

But don’t rest on your laurels. Burton didn’t become number one by being a slow study. Honestly they should have done this years ago and it’s now time to play catch up. And guarantee you me, they’ll come guns blazing. If the 2010 dealer catalog is any indication, time to man up!

Posted in Snow | 1 Comment »

The Upside of the Downturn

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

The economy is in shambles, the dollar is weak (substitute Yen, Pound, Won, Euro, etc. for our international readers) and the pages of your favorite action sports mag look like the Wall Street Journal with talks of mergers, bankruptcies, acquisitions and layoffs. What happened to stories about Shaun White’s favorite flavor of Red Bull or Anne Flore Marxer’s beauty tips?

The down economy sucks, no doubt. But guess what? It’s snowing! It’s been snowing like crazy in places like Colorado, Utah, Jackson and even Vermont. Locals, weekend warriors and touristas have reported wicked awesome conditions across the board. If you haven’t scored a fun powder day, you need to move out of the Panhandle.

The combination of the high pressure economic conditions and insane weather conditions have created a perfect storm for snowboarders and skiers. You’ve got great snow from Wachusett to Whistler plus you have the best snow sliding equipment to date on sale for 30% to 50% off. You can have your powder and shralp it too!

Yes I understand that budgets are tight, and that these discounts are bloody murder on retailers and manufacturers, but like the stock and real estate market, for those with cash, now is the time to buy. If you’ve got the cash, you’re in a prime position to slide on some of the finest equipment we’ve seen since someone had the bright idea to add ptex to the bottom of those wood planks.

And now more than ever, brands need to flex their muscle to keep their current customers and try to entice new ones. Even in this shitstorm, it’s a chance to trounce the competition. Remember the last culling of brands back in the mid 90’s? Of course not, because you were probably 6.

This crazy environment will make even the most diehard Burton Ion boot wearer think twice and consider those Vans Cirros. Resting on your company laurels will result in a quick trip to the dumpster. Keeping customers happy is hard work! There’s a reason Johan from C3 is going bald. Brands will have to prove their worth in 2009 and 2010 to an increasingly skeptical customer. Don’t believe me? Look at any of the shred blogs and the feedback on the green movement. It’s brutal.

But I digress. Back to the consumers. Like David Caruso, it’s your time! Demand more from your gear than a cool topsheet and a solid team. Your gear should be high quality, work well and look damn tight. If not, vote with your wallet and walk to your nearest retailer and check out the latest and greatest. I guarantee you’ll find something that will make you have more fun on the hill whether it’s reverse camber, smoother ratchets or more supportive boots. Now that’s what I call economic stimulus.

Posted in Snow | No Comments »

Interview with Jim Zbinden from Yes (We Can)

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Quick, name the company creating the biggest buzz at SIA, ISPO, online and in the lift lines? Is it Burton, Ride, the 686 x New Balance collab, Nike buying Quiksilver? No, hands down everyone will agree that it’s YES (we can).

With the death of Burton’s Uninc line of boards/ethos, YES has risen like a phoenix out of the ashes. JP Solberg (JPS), Romain De Marchi (RDM) and David Carrier-Porcheron (DCP) quickly shrugged off the dust, regrouped and agreed to continue the wildly successful spirit of Uninc through a new snowboard company with a twist. YES promises to provide a lineup that will be released over the course of a year-round season of chasing the snow (including “gasp” bindings). Think skateboard decks, Nike dunks or limited art-hippie t-shirts.

With the assistance of Jim Zbinden (JMZ), shop owner, Nidecker graphics designer and global playboy, YES was (un)incorporated. 5ones sat down with Jim Zbinden to learn more about YES and their future plans. He calls them as he sees them so grab a warm shot of tequila and strap yourself in.

Name. Occupation/job. Astrological horoscope sign.

Jim Zbinden, godfather of pulp68 family (shop and crew in Geneva, Switzerland) DJ, artist, graphist, and many more… Taurus

Tell me a little bit about how YES was founded. Why now in this bad economy?

I’m graphic designer for Nidecker. When my friends were fired from Burton, I offered up the idea to do a graphic series without any brand. Just for them to use post-Burton, before they got new sponsors. I did the boards (Yes We Can) and RDM, JPS & DCP really liked it. Bang! The idea for a new company came naturally after that. We stick together, fix the rules and the roots of Yes were born…

(more…)

Posted in Snow | 4 Comments »

Shaun White, Travis Rice, and Pat Moore Ring Closing Bell on WallStreet

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Shaun White, Travis Rice, and Pat Moore were all business yesterday as they had the honor of ringing the NASDAQ closing bell to help kick off the Red Bull Snowcrapers event.

shaun white travis rice pat moore closing bell
Photo: NASDAQ

While the rest of the market continues to tank– these guys’ stock just keeps going up. Make sure you don’t miss the Snowscrapers event today in all it’s HD glory at 3PM/6PM EST online at Fuel.tv.

[Via: NASDAQ.com]

Posted in Snow | 5 Comments »

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