An Old Fashioned Winter

Inspired by this raw, rugged province of ours, one businessman goes way out there to showcase what Newfoundland’s great outdoors has to offer


Alex Henniffent is the proud founder of VOLTFUSE, a Newfoundland-based company that produces specialty headwear and apparel that primarily markets to the snowboarding community.  But that’s not what caused Henniffent to reach out to The Herald on this stormy winter’s day. 

‘‘We created Old Fashioned Winter, an exploitative cinematographic journey into the mystical backcountry and rich culture of Western outport Newfoundland, a place that many people know little about and many don’t realize what exactly exists there,’’ he begins.

 The project, he continues, is named after an old local saying. ‘‘You’d hear, ‘we’re in for an old fashioned winter,’ or the old folk would say ‘we’re about to have an old fashioned winter,’ so we thought, we’ve been able to make a name for ourselves within the accessories category so now we’ll add to that by creating really cool content  by producing various video projects, including here at home.’’

Backcountry snowboard

As a passionate snowboarder and a equally passionate Newfoundlander, he wanted to explore a little further where it is he came from. 

It all started when he was issued a challenge. ‘‘A gentleman reached out and said, you’re a Newfoundland-based company, why not explore a little bit deeper where you come from here on the island itself? My interest was peaked by a gentleman who nudged this whole idea of producing a backcountry snowboard piece right here on the island of Newfoundland Labrador.’’ 

The experience, he says, ‘‘was incredible.’’ 

‘‘It was an eye opening experience. I’ve had the privilege that I’ve been able to travel and to go snowboarding in some amazing places, and I’ve been able to see and experience big mountains elsewhere. But to go to somewhere here in my own backyard and really kind of take it in, these insane, spectacular mountains and the snowboarding that secretly exists here within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, was pretty incredible,’’

Two professional snowboarders, one from Seattle and one from Vancouver, were flown in. 

Sean Genovese and Kevin Hanson were the two come–from-away athletes who got to experience the wilderness Newfoundland offers snowboarders. There were also a handful of local Newfoundland-based snowboarders. ‘‘Along with the producers and the videographers, we saddled up and went out in the midst of what can only be called an old fashioned winter. We just got soaked with rain when the temperatures went above freezing and we were nailed with upwards of 20 to 30 millimeters of rain, so we really had no idea what to expect. And then miraculously, the weather shifted and then we were nailed with upwards to 30 centimeters of snow.’’

Raw culture

Henniffent laughs, adding that he was just happy the weather proved that in this province, anything can and does happen, which was kind of his goal. 

‘‘I didn’t want to just capture technical backcountry snowboarding in this part of the island. We also wanted to cross over into that very distinct, raw culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. And if you watch Old Fashioned Winter, you really get a solid understanding of the type of characters that we spoke with and spent time with while producing this piece.’’

In Henniffent’s eyes, this province of ours has so much to offer.

‘‘I was just proud to showcase my home in a way that few get an opportunity to do.’’ 

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