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Throwback Thursday: 10 Classic Photos of the Day From 2003

May 25, 2023
by Mike Kazimer  
Pinkbike's early days were filled with freeriding - stair gaps, skinnies, and all sorts of hucks to flat were constantly on display during the site's formative years. Looking back through the Photo of the Day archives is a great way to travel down memory lane, to a time before crystal-clear smartphone shots and 8K video. The actual image quality isn't the highest, but the 10 photos below do a great job of capturing the overall feeling of the time period.

Will POD ever return? I'm not sure, an answer that's about as clear as these photos. In the meantime, take a spin through some classic shots from two decades ago.

photo
John Taplin hitting the Max Bell drop in Calgary.

photo
Brad McKay at the Leeside skatepark.


photo
Rider: Kurt D.

photo
Rider: Johnny.

photo
Rider: Darren Berrecloth.
photo
Photo: Danny Brody. Rider: Jerry Willows

photo
Clair Buchar at the 2003 Grouse Mountain DH World Cup.
photo
Rider: Jason Jacobs. Photo: Nick Quinn

photo
Rider: Steve Romaniuk.

Unfortunately, some of the information about the riders and photographers in these pics has disappeared into the ether - if anyone knows who's who, or has the story behind the shots please chime in in the comments.

Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,753 articles

148 Comments
  • 262 0
 Bring back the POD and the VOD
  • 9 0
 Yes!!
  • 98 2
 Honest question, how would you change POD and VOD so people cared about them again? I'd love to bring them back, but probably not in the form they used to take. Open to ideas that I definitely will steal and take credit for!
  • 51 1
 @brianpark: Maybe as a quick post on the main page instead the little thing by the sidebar? Something that is easily visible on the mobile page
  • 14 0
 @brianpark: my assumption is the metrics were saying no one was clicking?
  • 15 0
 @a-b-c: yes. Somewhere with more visibility other than the sidebar. But I guess they're really chasing clicks, so I suppose posting them in a way just tantalizing and large/small enough to compel me to click. Or maybe Pick of the Week on whatever the slow news day is, replete with caption and a brief story behind the shot, rider, and photographer.
  • 121 0
 @brianpark: Make it POW (week) and let people vote. People love polls/voting. Every Monday pick 5 photos...have it be a poll and release the winner on Friday.

Issue with clicks on POD and VOD was mobile site it didn't really work (I think we can all agree PB is not great on mobile).
  • 30 0
 @brianpark: Rather than POD and VOD maybe do them by the week? Post them on the main page and try and contact the owner for a little write up on them if there's a story behind the video or pic?
  • 11 0
 @brianpark: what about a weekly vote between three images?
  • 5 0
 @brianpark: You could just do a weekly round up of photos people send in, choose the good ones. The cultures changed and people aren't taking lots of riding photos anymore, even though people are carrying around better cameras haha.
  • 4 1
 @brianpark: perhaps make it POW as voted on by the users. Show the live voting results through the week as the photos or videos trend and change spots in the rankings. Every so often, throw in a prize and make it a themed week or something.
  • 5 0
 @brianpark: well, don't know exactly how to change them but obviously pinkbie photos was a social media image platform, like bike-instagram, in pre-fb, pre-ig era. So maybe one should start from that, not mimicking, as it wasn't working anymore, but like integrating with i.e. existing ig accounts. Also, the force of photos of the day and all that uploading was that they were as far away from commercials as possible. Social media is full of rad photos, but as ads, for profit. I think people are sick of it and want something real, like community-building thing, as it was 20 years ago.
  • 8 2
 @brianpark: A bike check of the week would be fun. Video format, user submitted.
  • 4 1
 @brianpark: put it on the pinkbike insta/tiktok.
  • 6 0
 @brianpark: I think people became numb to photos every day. The endless scroll on IG is bad enough. How about just bring back photo of the year so you guys could build up or even an IRL gallery event around it at crankworx? Instead of a public roost contest having it judged by actual photographers and photo editors might also give it substance and credibility.
  • 3 0
 @wolftwenty1: That was going to be my exact recommendation.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: How about a slightly longer format and done weekly. So a few photos and videos of the week?
  • 2 0
 @wolftwenty1: now we’re talking!
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: have a regular feature on the page exhibiting professional photographers work in the sport but then for the users perhaps an instagram # where they submit their favourites and weekly someone selects the best to display... perhaps a small prize for top photos?
  • 10 0
 I think the issue here might be that people don't upload to PB anymore... You might have to run a campaign asking people to upload to socials using #PBPOD or VOD and you can scrape it through there. People upload to instagram nowadays. I think having votes weekly and then building up to a Photo of The Year could get people excited about it again
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: agree with all the people saying POW. Could even be once a month with a voting option. Anything that happens every day soon gets tired.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: maybe not as constant uploading without any result but build up for photo of the year or even month. With the rule that pics cannot be published in the social media before/in the meantime, until the annual or monthly result. So it will be pinkbike only semi-exclusivity, but the pics will be 'free' after each period. Picture of the month is cool, will give a lot of wallpapers and will be always fresh. Monthly prize is something industry can afford Wink also possibility for promotion of products, but please leave the photos free of obvious advertising.
  • 15 1
 @brianpark: for me POD & VOD were all about celebrating the amateurs and user uploaded content on Pinkbike. As the overall quality of the articles improved and photo's were just chosen from those and taken by professional photographers as part of a photoshoot it began to lose it's USP. If they were brought back I would love to see it as a chance for the local heroes to get their five minute of fame and for us all to share the stoke. They should still be inspiring pics / vids though that stand up in their own right. I'm not sure how it could be enforced though and how you decide what photos are candidates. Maybe in addition to having a favourite button next to user photos you could have a nominate for pod button so the users can vote. And maybe have a limit on PODS / VODS per user per year so that once the same user has had POD three times they have hit their annual limit. That way it spreads the love!
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: Hey - I think it might be a good idea to bring POD in a "POW" format (Photo of the Week). Having a bit of details about the story behind the photo (a cool trip through South America, why the photo was challenging to make, why did it make POW etc.) could bring some added value for the readers I think! Basically - less frequent pictures, more elaborated content. It could even be mixed up with the classic "POD" format. Once a week you would deep dive in a specific shot... Just throwing ideas around
  • 2 0
 @wolftwenty1: That sounds great!!
And release a pb app (i don't really know why there is no such app?!)
  • 4 0
 @brianpark: From memory POD didn’t show up on mobile when browsing the home page, as more people moved to mobile devices over the years i’m sure engagement numbers dropped at the same rate.
  • 5 0
 @brianpark: POD and VOD were special way back then, because there wasn't this insane flood of MTB content. I have a hard time seeing how it'll ever be the same thing - even just on the PB home page, every day there's stuff that'll blow your mind. Add in all the social media most folks consume, where there's no shortage of people who've made it their job to be present and visible pushing out images and videos everyday.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: bring POD/VOD back just on your Insta. Maybe even on a new handle. Its the perfect platform and would boost your following. Plus people could hashtag their own insta photos so youd have stuff to choose from. Boom, youre welcome,
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Make POD and VOD non professional riders and photographers.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Choose YouTube videos as well! Have a way people can submit their videos from other platforms
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Not on a side bar where nobody sees them but on the front page like Vital does it. I feel like visibility was the main problem with the POD feature in the past.
  • 72 0
 PB can we please get a "Where are they now: Steve Romaniuk"?!
  • 48 0
 This should be a video series with all of the legends... Romaniuk, Dwyer, Bourdon... but also the guys who are still in it like Chase, Lenosky and Strait.
  • 31 0
 @chainsmoked: yessir! I agree. Mike Kinrade. Mike Montgomery. Nathan Rennie. Super T Klassen. John Cowan Ben Boyko.....all the fellas from back in the day
  • 21 1
 @chainsmoked: Drop In reunion
  • 3 0
 @Ironchefjon: Kinrade was insane ! Watched him at monster park @snowshoe WV go sooo big !
  • 1 0
 I immediately wondered the same thing after I saw that photo.
  • 9 0
 Thrasher Epicly Laterd style
  • 1 1
 @chainsmoked: Strait came quite later than the other ones you're citing.
  • 3 0
 @djyosh: Wow, is that five years already. I was just going to comment that there was a recent update, but it clearly isn't recent anymore.
  • 12 0
 Call it "Old World Disorder"
  • 4 1
 @cool3: you literally couldn't be more wrong
  • 1 2
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: From what I remember, Bourdon, Simmons, Super T and the likes were ruling freeride in the late 90's-early 2000 (I was there). Strait made his debut at Rampage when he was 14 in 2001 (www.pinkbike.com/news/pinkbike-time-capsule-revisiting-2001.html), while Bourdon was already a well-established freerider, so they're not from the same generation. Prove me wrong.
  • 5 0
 @cool3: How many years is that apart if you'd call it a different generation?
  • 1 0
 @vinay: In such a nascent sport with the rate of evolution, that's definitely a salient period of time
  • 1 0
 @chainsmoked: Bourdon and Kinrade both live in Nelson now and can still be seen on the odd ride.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark I think this holds the seeds of an idea. This thread has noted that POD/VOD is just not the same in the phone and Instagram era, but there might be more appetite for Historical POD particularly, especially if you could get current comment from the riders and especially stunt builders. This sport is old enough and there are enough people who were around for the emergence of freeride, eg 1996-2006 or so, that there might be some cool historical nuggets that younger riders would find of interest.
  • 1 0
 YES PLEASE... Romaniuk was a savage!!!
  • 38 0
 POD back in the day was a life goal.
  • 3 0
 totally
  • 1 0
 it was what we all wanted, 1 day of web fame
  • 26 0
 Nice palette cleanser from the Pueblo article
  • 11 0
 "these are deviant people you know, they're really degenerates" annnnnd ive seen enough
  • 28 1
 OMG I'd missed that, and now I very much regret going back to watch it.

Some Things I really like about this sport:

* Watching talented people doing things that take talent.
* Watching Feats of skill.
* Watching Feats of bravery.
* Watching Feats of stupidity.
* Watching Someone Send it and Succeed.
* Watching Someone Send it and Fail Spectacularly.
* Watching People Older Than Me Send it Harder than I Can
* Watching People Much Younger Than Me Send it Harder than I Ever Could
* Pushing Myself Beyond My Limits
* Watching Other People Push Themselves Beyond Their Limits
* Downhill Racing
* Enduro Racing
* XC Racing
* Not Racing
* Being Outside
* Seeing Outside Change with the Seasons
* Solo Trailwork
* Trailwork with a Group
* Having a Beer By Myself at the Top of a Climb with a Good View
* Having a Beer with Friends After a Group Ride
* Group Rides
* Solo Rides
* Tech Trails
* Flow Trails
* Bike Parks
* Backcountry Epics
* Obsessing over Bikes
* Obsessing over Bike Setup
* Learning to Take Care of my Bike
* Being Much Less Fat Than I Would Be if I Didn’t Ride
* Watching my Kids Learn to Ride
* Getting Passed by my Kids on Rides

Something I really, really dislike:

* Old Men Like Me Thinking They’re Awesome Because They’re Drinking Beer, Wearing a Loud Outfit and Screaming Into the Camera at a Mountain Bike-Related Event
  • 3 0
 @atourgates: I think we have a lot in common
  • 3 0
 @atourgates: that's a fairly comprehensive list, thanks for taking the time
  • 21 0
 That Balfa!!! Still want one!
  • 16 0
 The BB7 is the bike equivalent to those unknown bands that your favourite band listens to.
  • 5 0
 I wanted one so badly.
  • 4 0
 So far ahead of its time.
  • 6 0
 @brianpark: my dream hard tail is still the MinuteMan. Would complement my .243 so well
  • 3 0
 I have a beautiful one hanging above my work bench, duel 24" with Gazos, it's art! In my photos if your interested
  • 2 0
 Canadian rider, on a Canadian bike, and a Canadian race. Pretty cool!
  • 1 0
 Is this what Danny Hart was racing before he got on LaPierre?
  • 10 0
 First photo is John Taplin. He stopped me in the hallway at school and said I had to come with him, he had a plan. An old table strapped to the roof of his Saturn and a film camera and we were off. Set the table up, run around to get an angle, take the photo and then find John buried in the bushes at the bottom of the hill. One hit, and we were gone. The third photo is ME! Mike Johnson. Steve Tuchiwsky had these jumps that he was hitting in his front yard all the time, one weekend while I was in town we set them up and I think he took this photo from his parents roof.
  • 3 0
 lol I was just about to message you about this.
  • 9 0
 Steve Tuchiwsky was a legend on the PB forum back in the day for his photos and video skills, i think his handle was something like "chump".

He went in the raceface ultimate freeride challenge, and we all thought he might win but he lost out after the first round I believe.
  • 1 0
 Such a chill dude, but still shreds.
  • 3 0
 www.tuchiwsky.com

Dude is taking some amazing photos these days!
  • 1 0
 He was one of my favourite riders. He made it to the round of 16 twice. 1st time he made it far I believe. 2nd video featured the ord road gap in Kamloops which was HUGE
  • 2 0
 Steve Rom hitting Ord Road: www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXStcXidJ7I&ab_channel=jeffkill

Poor angle of Steve T. no hander. I know there was a better angle out there: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gGFTPF4fyY&ab_channel=firefightjason
  • 9 0
 jerry on his namesake trail (jerry rig)! i'll admit to taking a pass on that entrance log. as well as several other features, for that matter... there were some burly structures on this trail. them's were the days...
  • 2 0
 yup... that's jerry-rig. First time riding it was on snow. NSX 7 with the vid.
  • 2 3
 Its a sad day when the editors of pinkbike wouldn't catch that!
  • 8 0
 I remember ticking off the banana log, and then promptly doing a very un-graceful body slide down the wall ride. Such a classic trail.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: haha, yeah, i've shoulder checked that wall ride.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: You got the Billboard Benny pic from McLeod Trail?
  • 6 0
 I loved that era. It was raw, it was real, it was painful. Today everything is build and shaped perfectly, bike suspension is set up by using computers, riders are top level, using gyms and airbags for training.
The early freeride days were (for most of us) just about party and doing stupid stuff.
I probably haven't watched a full video clip since the days of Fro Riders, Bender and Metal Mulisha Big Grin
  • 6 0
 The biggest thing is there was almost nobody in front of us, no blueprint, no marketing l, nothing to guide us nothing to live up to. Just taking chances in the forest in tiny groups. It's difficult to articulate. It was harder to do this back then. A lot of newer riders just show up and it's all laid out and approved. I suspect the same people 25 years ago wouldn't have been interested.
  • 1 0
 @alexsin: You're right, but I don't think that it's a bad thing the way things have changed. Think about the Chainsaw Massacre up Cypress in the early days... The RCMP threatening to arrest anyone caught riding GMG... etc.
  • 9 0
 Bearclaw with an OG mullet on the BigHit!! (26/24)
  • 5 0
 Ah, the days of photos where you didn't actually have to land a trick! I'm joking I'm pretty sure some of the riders survived these feats of wonder.
  • 3 0
 I find myself coming back to this POD from back in 2011. www.pinkbike.com/photo/7118671
Such an insane road gap, I can only imagine what this man was going through in his life to live so fully and ultimately succumb to his depression.
  • 4 0
 Vod was great, plenty of currently world recognozed mtb movie creators started by posting their clips here hoping for getting the VOD
  • 5 0
 Please bring back POD- we used to buy printed magazines to see that sort of art but now we only have the internet.
  • 2 0
 @korev: Bought the Hurly Burly book of the 2022 DH season. I can only recommend it. I really enjoyed reading all the background information and having something physical from what was such an amazing DH season. James and his crew do a really good job there.
  • 5 0
 The drop with the rider Johnny is in Lethbridge, Alberta. Featured on 'Drop In' Season 2, Ep 12. Still ridable to this day!
  • 2 0
 Ah, the Max Bell drop, do you ride the dirt and transition onto the concrete retaining wall, or do you just send with a slat of wood bridging the two. Looks like the rider in the photo opted for the slat of wood. PB was still in YYC at the time and I even remember its sister site, Biglines.com Is that still around?
  • 3 0
 Bearclaw's double can-can with the original 246 mullet! All these guys really pushed the boundaries at the time. Some of the gaps, drops and jumps still look massive for today's standards.
  • 2 0
 This was the best era of pinkbike, it took alot of work to get get good photos and videos back then! I used to wake up everyday and check the video section for new ones uploaded, then you'd get really lucky when something from the likes or aaron larouque came up. Its crazy how much more work it was 15 years ago to get quality videos. today there are probably thousands and thousands of high quality videos uploaded daily from peoples phone its just too much to see! where as back then it was only on here, and you had to wait for it. what a world.
  • 2 0
 The one with Ridder Johnny, is the Full Nelson (large) and Half Nelson(small) drops in Lethbridge. I'm pretty sure Johnny is Johnny Korthuis, but someone else would need to confirm that.
  • 1 0
 Yup, that’s right…pretty sure the photo of Steve Tuchiwsky is also in Lethbridge
  • 6 0
 Great stuff!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer Top pic is the max bell drop, off the retaining wall that runs along memorial drive. You would have to come in 90° to the drop get 3 or 4 pedal strokes in then turn in and you were off. I've got a photo of myself doing it
  • 1 0
 What a trip down memory lane! POD and VOD were always such great things, it would be awesome to see them implemented back somehow to highlight the accomplishments of where this sport is progressing everyday. The PB community has always been awesome, thanks for everything!
  • 1 0
 As mentioned by Mikey already that’s him in the pic.
  • 4 0
 What ever happened to Steve Romaniuk? Him and Tyler "super T" Klassen??
  • 2 0
 you can find them on IG
  • 2 0
 Is Tippie Podcast no more? He had many of the old timers on there.
  • 3 0
 I've been digging through the pre-2010 photos on Pinkbike. The vibes were so good.
  • 1 0
 POD should be POW. Make it simple and pasted on main page, but put some highlight tags/flairs. A simple description and the regular photo details would suffice. I, for one miss POD
  • 2 0
 Is that pic of romanuk in Squamish? I believe it was ditch pig drop. I believe Hercules used to hit it all the time. A giant sixteen yr old kid.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer - It's in Squamish but not on ditch pig. It goes over the Ring Creek FSR, probably about where Free the Speedos now comes out. There is no evidence of it anymore (at least there wasn't last year when I was poking around). We borrowed a friends dad's mini-ex on a weekend and shaped the landing at night with the lights. As far as I know, Kyle (Hercules) never hit it nor did anyone who actually built it. The run up was very flat and a complete sprint. I believe Bourdon and may Joe Swartz hit it for a NWD, I"m pretty sure Gully hit it but can't remember what for and Wade also did it for something.
  • 3 0
 The road gap was featured on Drop In, Season 2, Ep.4, (Squamish, BC)

The photo must have been taken @ the same time as filming the episode because Romaniuk is wearing the same shirt & shorts

Here's the link to the episode, the road gap footage starts @ 04:00

www.pinkbike.com/news/throw-back-thursday-drop-in-tv-season-2-2014.html
  • 4 1
 these are why my bones ache every AM...
  • 1 0
 First one is max bell drop in Calgary. Went to look at it as a kid. Such a bad set up. Run in is probably 10 ft before the drop.
  • 2 0
 For sure is the max bell drop, pretty sure this picture inspired my buddy Trent to give it a go. Not many people have tried it! I feel like Steve romo tried it? (Might even be who’s in the pic?)

The run up is horrendous, like maybe 6 feet between the barriers and edge of the drop, you have to turn in once moving, but also have to be going so slow to not overshoot. He made 3 pedal strokes and still managed to land like 15 feet down the tranny then bucked off and rag dolled down the hill.
  • 4 0
 Thanks! Location has been updated.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: nice! Can’t let red deer get that credit that easily!

Dug in my archive and found another shot of the drop, pretty sure this was the one from my above description, but it’s hazy that far back in the mind.

m.pinkbike.com/photo/248314
  • 2 0
 Max Bell Drop, Yes - Rider John Taplin. The Jason Jacobs photo from the old Panorama Drop park, I think I took the photo 2002ish.
  • 6 0
 That piece of wood on the Max Bell drop was a folding table donated by my high school. This was the first time it was hit that I knew of, I remember picking up a lot of speed on the run out.
  • 2 0
 That drop on that hardtail is huge, and I don't even see the landing. Johnny is the man
  • 2 0
 This takes me back! Remember when most of these were originally up on the POD day
  • 2 0
 Yeah a "where are they now" piece with Romo and the like would be the bees knees.
  • 4 0
 My first World Cup!
  • 3 0
 Bring back the Grouse DH course!
  • 1 0
 i was gutted when POD disappeared, I was using it to amass a huge carousel of pictures on my desktop wallpaper on my work pc. Bring it back so I can start again
  • 3 0
 So much Alberta, I LOVE IT!
  • 1 0
 That moment when you find out that that slick edit you just made, was first done by your dad on a bike that would be considered unridable today.
  • 3 0
 So much Calgary!
  • 2 0
 Holy crap- Johnny is one sendy boy!
  • 2 0
 steve romaniuk the best.. he is still riding ?
  • 1 0
 Bikes are awesome. Looking at these pictures does make me feel though that we have lost our way….

Now back to my cats
  • 1 0
 Woah! Back on Pinkbike! Hard to believe that was 20 years ago! Leeside was a health hazard.
  • 1 0
 Oh the old Balfa B1 which that company would come back to life the Bel air would rival the new Digit datum
  • 1 0
 How many of these folks are still shredding at the same level?
  • 7 0
 Kurt D is, lol sorta. Check me out on insta if you like @kurtdesjardins
  • 2 0
 @monstert: He lived! Legendary!
  • 1 0
 The bearclaw pic is so bad. Bike all "hung up" in the chairlift cables
  • 2 0
 So....Canada.
  • 1 0
 Romaniak and Clair Buchar are badd asses.......... serious as chicken
  • 1 0
 Whatever happened to Steve romaniuk?
  • 1 0
 Where is Steve Romaniuk nowadays????
  • 2 0
 judging by that picture... Dead.
  • 2 0
 He’s a dj in kelowna, DJ ROMO
  • 1 0
 The balfa bb7 was a thing of beauty
  • 1 0
 Bring POD back. Or POW with a poll
  • 2 0
 This was the golden era!
  • 1 0
 I was hoping to see a pic of @klarko hucking the Fitz Chair hut . . .
  • 1 0
 that`s awesome i started at 2003, best year ever
  • 1 0
 Josh bender?
  • 1 0
 It seems like he dropped off the face of the planet. He was running that tour outfit in NorCal, but that appears to be shut down (at least their website/IG is).

Hope the dude is still shredding.
  • 1 0
 @KavuRider: I'm not totally sure what happened with him on the riding front but I know he used to be or still is heavily involved with RedBull Rampage.
Yeah I think he's still riding but he's settled down with a family etc now so I dont think chucking himself off mental drops has much priority these days ha

Legend of a Dude!
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