The #VANSFIRSTLAYER project began back in 2015 to showcase the talent Vans snow has across Europe. This year we invited the team across the globe to make them focus on one specific region…the land of the rising sun.

Each year snowboarders are constantly searching for the best snow and venturing to Japan seemed like the perfect choice. The plane was loaded with a unique squad of Vans european riders, mixing eclectic riding styles and approaches heading on a journey through deep powder and endless urban riding opportunities. Riders, Nils Arvidsson, Valérian Ducourtil, Markus Keller and DBK went on a crazy powder mission to the northern island of Hokkaido. Meanwhile a crew consisting of Sami Luhtanen, Will Smith, Cees Wille and Benny Urban explored the main island and looked to discover the exciting street spots on offer…street & powder is what it’s all about.

"I think the whole #VANSFIRSTLAYER project is great, especially the way it brings together a bunch of very diverse and talented snowboarders to go ride terrain which is new to every single one of us. A great spirit was evident throughout the whole trip on our journey in Japan! I’m stoked to say I was able to be a part of #VANSFIRSTLAYER,’ says Benny Urban, Vans Snow team rider.

The man responsible for being behind the lens was MK’s long time partner Pirmin Juffinger whilst Tim Schiphorst from the european video production “Portland Theory” covered the urban side. On top of that rad lineup, we were really stoked to extend our collaboration with the french photographer Matt Georges. 

"We started this project from scratch last year and it's been a truly great experience, seeing it unfold and grow with so many talented and motivated people involved is truly rewarding. Last season for this second volume, our two Japan trips were all about exploring new places, wandering around and sharing with locals. I'm thankful to Vans for supporting the whole #VANSFIRSTLAYER project and making things happen,”says Matt Georges, project videographer.

The final result from Matt Georges is a limited edition photo-book & Newspaper covering the trip.


The Firstlayer movie will be launching at the Vans store, Lyon on October 12th with a further screening at the Snowboard Garden festival, Grenoble on October 13th. Furthermore the video will be available to view on the Vans youtube channel from October 13th.