We posted our original cover vault a few weeks ago and have had a tremendous response from the guys who we are posting about, and the many people who were firmly entrenched in the scene back then. Memories and old friendships have been rekindled and stories retold of the glory years.

After some debate over who was actually on our original cover we found out it was Stuart Johnstone. We got in touch with Stu and asked him a few questions about the cover and his era of snowboarding. After digging through his boxes of old mags and photos he got back to us and shared his thoughts with us...

Tell us about the shot Stu, who took it and did it come about?

1994 was my first season in the states, I'd decided to base myself there because at that time the Tahoe area was the epicentre of professional snowboarding with Squaw valley offering the best combination of pipe, park and free riding. I arrived not knowing anybody or having any hook ups, just the goal of becoming a pro. I was accepted into the local crew and made life long friends.

I was stoked to be asked along on some photo shoots by Scott, he was working with the biggest names in the sport at the time.

That pipe was super fun, I rode it nearly everyday unless it snowed. Squaw had a pipe cutter, which was new and exciting technology at that stage, and the park maintenance guys were legends. One of my fondest memories of that season is when they groomed the pipe and kept it closed for the morning so I could session it on my birthday.

What was the scene like back in 1994? Who was killing it?

The scene was amazing back then everything was new and progressive we were experimenting with so many new tricks like hitting street rails, switch airs and one foots. No area of the mountain was out of bounds so we rode everything. It was super raw, kind of that whole youth against establishment thing. There was definitely a big skate influence and there was a real camaraderie between the top guys, especially with the few Aussie riders that visited during the later part of that season.

This is the era when the true legends and innovators arrived such as Jamie Lynn and Terje Haakonsen. I was more inspired by the Euro guys their style was more polished.

Tell us what it meant to be a “pro” back in the 90’s?

For me making it as a pro at that stage was the number one goal. I was obsessed. I would eat, drink and sleep snowboarding. I'd just recently been asked to join Burton and Volcom, Oakley was to come soon after so I was very lucky in that respect, I'm still thank full for the help those guys gave me. Corporate sponsorship was yet to really develop for individual riders but was being seen at major events. No energy drinks then just Snapple.

1994 was the first year I started competing in ISF sanctioned events mostly the APSS (American Professional Snowboard Series). FIS was yet to take over.

There was no internet so networking was a lot more difficult and traveling to contests was a logistical nightmare sometimes I'd have friends just turning up on my door step and vice versa, good times for sure.

Where has life taken you post snowboarding?

Surfing now fills the gap that snowboarding once did. It's also taken me to some amazing locations throughout the Pacific and Indian Ocean although being a little closer to the equator. I sell surfboards for a living and the best thing about surfing is I'm still progressing. I spend every chance I get in the ocean when I'm not with my number one love, my amazing two year old boy, who I hope will also enjoy surfing, skating and snowboarding.

It's been fun digging back into the memory banks and thinking back to the start of my snowboarding career, but the one thing that keeps ringing true about all the experiences I had is the amazing people I shared them with.....

1994 Cover Stu Johnstone Stu Johnstone. Squaw Valley Halfpipe, 1994. PIC: Scott Needham