It’s not often that you encounter the phrase ‘queer as fuck’ in a snowboard project proposal, but that’s exactly what we found ourselves reading after opening an email from Casey Pflipsen about the upcoming Pink Dollar Possy video. The language was direct and the graphics were loud. We knew we had to get him and his Possy co-founder Elias Lamm on the phone to find out more about what’s going on with the video, the Possy, and everything in-between.
The message is clear.
The game is changing.
Interview. Theo Acworth
Extracted from Method Mag issue 21.1
"It puts meaning to our snowboarding, you know? What we’re doing is more than just snowboarding. We’re trying to send a message, make some waves and change the game."
Hey Casey, hey Elias. Tell us, what is the Pink Dollar Possy?
CP: We are a crew of queer snowboarders who snowboard together and make videos.
Elias Lamm: It’s a space for queer snowboarders to just be themselves. In this kind of hetero snowboard world that we grew up in, we’re just trying to create that kind of space for future generations.
CP: We’re here to change the game.
Well, it seems like you guys are already doing exactly that. In the project deck you described the movie as an ‚unapologetic approach at bringing the queer as fuck, in your face attitude to snowboarding’.
CP: Amen, that’s exactly the vibe we’re going for.
There definitely isn’t too much of that sort of approach in snowboarding. Actually, there isn’t really any of that in snowboarding. What was the motivation for you to start this project and create this space?
CP: We’re just sick of hiding and assimilating into a straight atmosphere, you know? When you’re around straight people all the time, it’s not as easy for us to be in your face and queer because you’re not sure how people will react. But when we’re together, we’re stronger in numbers. And we are queer as fuck and in your face.
Whereabouts are you guys in the US? What are attitudes like there towards queer culture, and how have people been reacting to the Possy?
EL: We’re in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Minnesota. For the most part, we’ve been getting super positive feedback. Both from friends and people who’ve seen us on the hill or at spots, they’ve heard about the Possy, and they ask us about it. This is cool because then we can be more open with non-queer people. And we’ve also been getting a ton of love from people all around the world and the United States.
CP: Actually, I think Minneapolis is one of the top five gay cities in America right now. It has a very high gay population, but not really inside the snowboard community. But it’s starting to intermix, which is really cool.
Were you guys nervous about putting yourselves and also the project out there?
CP: Oh yeah, a little bit at first.
EL: Yeah, at first we were nervous and didn’t know where to start to get things going. And then Seen Snowboarding and Torment did the Pride stuff last year, and after that, we were just like, ok, let’s get the ball rolling.
That’s really nice to hear that those interviews and features gave you the strength and the confidence to do your own thing. That was only a year ago, and it’s already having such positive effects and bringing some big changes to snowboarding
EL: Shoutout to Tanner Pendleton. He’s doing a lot behind the scenes for snowboarding and the queer community.
"I love being able to talk about hot guys with the Possy, or hot cops, but fuck cops."
Absolutely. I’ve also seen some clips and photos of Russell Winfield and Krush Kulesza repping your merch?
EL: Yeah, that was so sweet to see those guys support and reach out. They are some great allies.
And it’s really cool to hear that people have been coming up to you on the hill and talking to you about the Possy.
Elias. Yeah, it kind of opened the door to more people talking about it with us, which makes us more comfortable to talk about it and be ourselves around other people on the hill. And around spots too.
This isn’t the nicest question, but have you received any negative feedback, and if so, how do you handle it?
EL: It’s pretty much all been positive. The only thing that I think people have said is stuff like, ‚Why does your sexuality have to be involved with snowboarding?’
CP: Yeah, some people are like, ‚No one cares.’ One time someone commented that on a TikTok video, and it was a bangin’ video! We were throwing down at Timberline. So I went onto this dude’s profile, and I shot back in the comment section on a video. I clapped back.
Was there any response from him?
CP: Surprisingly not, there was no response from him. I was hoping for a nice little fight.
Have you ever had anything like that said to you in person?
CP: I doubt anyone would ever say that to my face. If they did, I would beat their ass. And they know that.
EL: If someone said that to my face I would just not respond, because I just feel bad for them. If that’s your mindset, that sucks for you. Because that’s a shitty place to be.
I’m not sure why, but something about the internet seems to make people feel entitled to pass judgement on other people’s lives. Some stuff I saw in the Snowboarder IG comments on this topic was pretty horrific. But it seems like you’re in a very confident space at the moment?
CP: For sure, I wouldn’t let any negative comments get me down. If anything, it makes me stronger. They hate us ‚cause they ain’t us.
EL: That’s a fact. If what we do is affecting you, then you’re probably a little insecure about your own sexuality.
I reckon that’s pretty bang on.
So going back to the project this year, I don’t actually know what it’s called. Have you settled on a name?
CP: The name is ‚Performance.’ It derives from Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity and how we’re all just performing our own gender. But also when we’re on a snowboard, whether you like it or not, we’re just performing, you know? You’re performing for the camera when you’re filming a video. You say you do it for yourself, but when you’re out there risking your life, we’re really just doing it for the performance.
Am I right in thinking you’ve also been sourcing imagery from queer historical narratives and incorporating them into the film? Can you tell us a bit more about that?
CP: Yeah, so even with the title, I thought about it with Eli. The title is giving a shoutout to queer theory. I’ve also been working on some motion graphics with the help of Eli that will bring in historical images of queer theory or queer events such as Stonewall and The Compton riots, as well as everything in between then and what’s going on right now.
It’s not that common to take a conceptual approach to making a snowboard video. How has that been as a process for you?
CP: It feels good. It feels amazing. It puts meaning to our snowboarding, you know? What we’re doing is more than just snowboarding. We’re trying to send a message, make some waves and change the game.
EL: And we have all this B-roll that maybe isn’t what you’d typically see in other movies.
CP: Instead of clips of us throwing back beers, It might be shots of us twerkin’ that ass *laughs*.
*Laughs* It sounds like a rewarding process and also an entertaining one.
CP: We’re hoping we can put on a good performance for anyone who watches it. These are good questions. I’m glad that you’re asking about the project.
"Instead of clips of us throwing back beers, It might be shots of us twerkin’ that ass."
Happy to hear that. Eli, am I right in thinking that besides ripping, you’re also editing the movie?
EL: For the most part, yeah. We split up some stuff and collaborated on things. Casey is putting together Instagram edits, and I’m doing that too. But as the movie goes, I’ve been in the stew and getting familiar with all the footage and stuff. Just trying to make things flow.
CP: Eli is the main editor for the movie. But as for filming, we split it up pretty evenly. Basically, we go to the spot, and I’ll film Eli do his trick, and then he would film me doing my trick. It worked out really good.
That’s nice to hear that it works well between you. Not having a dedicated filmer can sometimes be a tricky one to balance.
EL: We’re both filmmakers. So it’s kind of cool to just bring our ideas and minds together to try and create some cool shit.
CP: It’s super fun.
You never get torn between the filming and riding roles?
EL: Sometimes it can be hard when you’re at a spot, and you’re trying to focus on the trick, but then you’re filming and going back and forth. But for the most part, it’s really fun. One person gets a trick, and then you hop on the cam and you shoot your homie getting a trick.
CP: Sometimes it’s hard. Say if I’m doing a trick, Eli will be filming it. We also might have another camera on a tripod, so I might have to press start and stop every time before I drop if the camera is too far away from Eli, or vice versa. So sometimes you’re the filmer and the snowboarder at the same time.
EL: We have had some other filmers at spots. Dan Pergrin from Onlookers helped us out, that was tight. And John Rapinac, Collin Maynard and other various homies have filmed for us.
CP: Having a filmer at spots has been so cool. You just get to relax. I don’t even have to think about how the shot’s gonna look ‚cause I know that Dan is going to make the shot look good. Or with people like Spencer Nelson or Riley Erickson from 1817.
It’s always good when you know the filmer has their shit dialled.
Were there any standout moments or stories from filming this winter?
EL: One time we were at a spot, we’d been a few times and would get kicked out right away. You can only hit it right after a storm, and one morning we thought we had a chance. Three of the neighbours came out into this cul-de-sac, and they all started screaming and yelling at us. We wanted to get this shot so bad. And they were all screaming that they were calling the cops and standing in front of the rail and stuff. So that was kind of funny.
CP: Imagine three Karens coming at you. [The crazy woman in St Louis waving a gun at protestors]. They were so aggressive, just because we wanted to snowboard on the rail in the park. It wasn’t even their property. It was so wack.
Did you get the shot in the end?
CP: In the end, I walked up with my shovel in my hand and went up to one of the guys. I flipped him off and I said some gnarly shit.
EL: Casey blew up on this dude. He fully had my back.
CP: I really wanted Eli to get this clip. It would have been the most fire shot.
Is there footage of this interaction?
CP: There is, Dan was filming long-lens. One of the guys was filming me on his phone, so I went up and screamed in his face. That clip is probably on Facebook somewhere.
You should have asked him to AirDrop it to you. What’s the best thing about filming with the Possy?
CP: I love being able to talk about hot guys with the Possy, or hot cops, but fuck cops.
EL: That’s a cool thing about the Possy in general, though. We will be done at spots, and when you get back in the car you can say, ‚damn, that guy was hot’. Back in the day, you’d get back in the car and hear the people in the front saying, ‚Oh my God, she was so hot. Check out that girl. Did you see that girl?’
CP: ‚I don’t care!’ It’s just nice to be surrounded by your people who are like you. But we still love snowboarding with our straight friends. They’re fucking awesome. Shoutout to all the straight friends who I filmed with in the past. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. Our allies are amazing.
What was coming out like for you guys? Did any of your friends inside or outside snowboarding know you were gay before you started the Possy?
CP: I definitely hid it from snowboarding. A year or two ago was when I started coming out to snowboard friends. It was mostly positive reactions from family, school and snowboarding. What about you, Eli?
EL: I came out, and I guess people were surprised mostly. Friends and snowboard friends started finding out. I guess one thing I found out is trying to guess whether someone knows or not. You come out, and you think they might know, and people might find out, and then you realise that people are still finding out. So you kind of end up coming out over and over again. So that’s why it’s important to just be visible.
Have you guys got any advice to offer anyone who might be struggling with aspects of who they are?
CP: There’s no rush to come out until you feel like you’re in a safe environment and you know your situation.
EL: It’s ok if you don’t feel comfortable to come out right now. But just know that you’ve got people that love you. From our perspective, it’s been the best thing to come out and just be open. You get so much love, and you can find so much more love for yourself.
"Just be conscious about who’s getting what exposure, and how much of it."
Where do you hope the Pink Dollar Possy will go in the future?
EL: Hopefully it can be a platform for younger kids to look up to who might be struggling with their sexuality. We know that growing up in the snowboard scene wasn’t that easy for us, so we’re just trying to normalise things for others. Also trying to get new members for the Possy. Maybe doing a full 30-minute movie with all-queer riders.
CP: I hope we just keep building our queer army, and hopefully someday we’ll have money to travel to our queer friends who live far away who we can’t film with right now.
EL: Or even sponsoring other queer riders, or having someone like Jake Kuzyk ride with us.
It seems like what you’re doing is already having a very wide impact beyond what’s immediately around you, and we’re stoked to see how things develop. What’s the best thing we, as a magazine, can do to help support the Possy?
CP: The best thing you can do is just make sure you’re including people from all different genders, races and sexualities. Not leaving them out in the pages. Just be conscious about who’s getting what exposure, and how much of it. But it seems like you guys are on the right track for this progression. So thank you for reaching out to us and letting us tell our story.
That’s what we’re here for. Ok, I think we can leave things there. Any last words or shoutouts?
CP: Shoutout to our photographer Mariah. And Dan Pergrin, Riley Erickson, Jeff Deforge, Devi Gupta. And Josh Tramby for letting us borrow his winch. He’s also a fellow gay snowboarder.
EL: Shoutout Sierra. Charlie Falcher, Collin Maynor. There are some allies who helped us out a lot along the way. Shoutout to anyone who helped us at a spot last winter.
Check the Pink Dollar Possy on Instagram
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