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Two Vans No Plans: interview with Alex Stewart

With: Northwave & Drake
ITW: Alex Stewart
By: Denis Piccolo
Photos: Federico Grego

Rusty Toothbrush is not just a crew, a video, an Instagram profile made of young riders who like to shoot videos. There’s a lot more. It is a sort of an art project. Behind it there is not only the vision of one person but of all those who participate in it. We could define it as a real community art project in the form of a video. 

Alex, where did the idea of traveling on two vans without any kind of schedule come from?
The idea of living and traveling in a van was born several years ago. I’ve always dreamed of having all my friends with me, going wherever we want following winter. It’s a very wild way of living, just the way I like it.

Did you have to do a lot of work on it? Was it difficult and expensive to renovate it?
I’ve bought the van about 4 years ago. Chiara and I, my girlfriend, put together some money and in the end we found a van that costed 2300 euros but it was all broken! We had to replace a bit of everything, ending up spending another 8-10.000 euros over the years on solar panels, battery, fridge, heating, insulation for the winter, shower, etc. In short, little is left of the original van! But in the end it was worth it because now we can truly stay where we want when we want, even during winter.

You all ride with Drake boards and Northwave boots. How important was their support in making your dreams come true?
There aren’t enough words to describe the love I have for them and the support they have given us all throughout these years. Brand manager Davide Smania and general manager Davide Rossetti have always believed in all our projects, they trusted us and listened to all our feedback, without them we would not be here. Rusty crew is made up of many people now and the fact that we all ride with Drake boards and Northwave boots unites us even more, it makes us all feel part of a big family. The fact of living so many experiences together makes us even more united.

Drake Battle Rusty

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Talking about family, you recently became a dad, how’s it going? Is it possible to combine family and snowboarding?
Becoming a dad is crazy! Every day is different, the love I have for India, my little girl, grows more and more every day but also it changes the way I see the world, my priorities. Surely she is an addition to our life, we already had a very full life but now it’s truly complete. In my opinion it is possible to combine the two things but you must have the right support. At the same time you must learn to choose your own battles, you cannot expect to live the same life as before. It’s all a matter of finding the right balance.

What about the crew? Tell me a nice comment on each one of them.
The crew has become huge over the years so I will tell you about the protagonists of Two Vans No Plans! Nicholas Bridgman is an animal, when you see him snowboarding it’s clear he has a lot of fun. He is a bit crazy, for example, during a trip we found deer antlers and from that moment on he always carries them around: he is a real funny dude. Dusan Kriz sometimes is good, sometimes is bad. He goes from a full party mood to a completely zen one, you never know what the next day will be like. Federico Grego is our filmer and photographer, he’s always in a good mood. He doesn’t talk much but when he does you have to listen to him, he says very meaningful things and acts as a glue between us who are all a bit of a diva. For Simon Gruber there is no need for descriptions. The first time I met him, I discovered how different he is from what he seems: from the outside he looks like the perfect athlete, and in fact when he works he is super precise and attentive, but as soon as he sets the board down he is a real mess, always high-spirited. Paula Benito and Sophia Schroll are very smart and super nice girls. Paula always makes us laugh and never stops talking, Sophia is very serious and has a strong personality. Brothers Jake and Joe Simpson are always happy and excited about anything, it’s nice to have them around.

In the video there is a lot of Italian music, that’s so cool, why this choice?
Two Vans No Plans is a real dedication to the Italian snowboarding scene. We filmed it in Italy with many Italian riders and filmers. And I feel Italian too! So it seemed like a good idea to use Italian music. We bought the rights of all the songs because it seemed fair to the artists and they were all happy to be part of this project. In short, we realized a pure Italian project from start to finish and many people have been enthusiastic about this choice.

You did a lot of premiere tours around Europe. What is the difference between a real premiere and one on a digital platform?
In the past we have always done great premiere tours, but for the project before Two Vans No Plans, however, we decided for various reasons not to do it and I realized that something was missing. After so much effort, if you simply throw the video online, you really feel that the energy of the people watching is missing. These videos have to excite people, inspire them, so seeing these videos all together gives a lot of energy both to us as a team, because we see all our efforts rewarded, but also to the community because it makes it feel alive.

Can you tell us something about the board you designed for Drake?
The new Drake Battle Rusty is the second generation of board born from the collaboration of Rusty Toothbrush and Drake. In terms of structure we have added a strip of carbon that gives more pop. I use it for everything from powder to street. This year’s graphics stand out, we thought of using a painting by Caravaggio that we had seen in an exhibition to which we added our little touch of irony because we think we should never take ourselves too seriously.

What are you planning for the future?
This year the crew’s vision is to give us more time. Time to find new spots and not necessarily rush to get a shot a day. Maybe we will do a longer project, who knows, it will surely be even cooler than Two Vans No Plans.