Synopsis by Mark Deming
When snowboarding first rose to popularity in the 1980s, many people didn't know what to make of it -- taking the thrashed-out style of skateboarding and moving it to the ski slopes, snowboarding was hardly welcomed by the old-school winter sports establishment who regarded 'boarders as punks and misfits. But as more people took up the sport and the extreme sports community developed a following that couldn't be ignored, a grudging acceptance of the sport (and the skills of the best board riders) followed, and now snowboarding is one of the world's leading winter sports. First Descent is a documentary in which some of the pioneers of the snowboarding movement (among them Nick Perata, Shawn Farmer, and Terje Haakonsen) talk about the past, present, and future of the sport with some of the top new riders on the slopes (including Hannah Teter and Shaun White). But along with sharing some friendly conversation, these snowboarding legends get together for the trip of a lifetime -- a journey to a beautiful Alaskan mountain range that has never been skied or 'boarded before, giving the veteran riders a chance to show that they still have what it takes, and the new stars a challenge no one has ever faced before.