Three years ago, I was standing outside the MGM in Las Vegas, following the opening-night event at SIA (the annual snowboard industry tradeshow). I was about to start looking for friends, when suddenly this crazy-dressed young man grabbed my arm and said, “We’re leaving, come on!” 2 minutes later, I’m sitting in the back of a stretch Hummer, rocketing down the strip towards the Hard Rock Casino. After a few minutes, it dawned on me that this mystery kidnapper was a young Nick Visconti. It’s hard to beat that kind of first impression, and we’ve been good friends ever since.
Since his breakout part in Think Thank’s Thanks Brain!, Nick’s provided more than enough fodder for both sides of the debate. Those who focus on the level of snowboarding or take a moment to know the kid will share the love, while those who don’t know or disapprove are more than happy to spread the hate. A gifted and creative snowboarder, skateboarder, coach, and marketer, he’s also forward and unapologetic with his words, choices, and beliefs.
Bagging the opener in this year’s Right Brain Left Brain, leading the online efforts of TahoeDangerzone.com and the Chile Con Nick series on FuelTV.com, and just last week winning the coveted Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails event at Bear Mountain, CA, 2010′s looking like the year it all comes together for Nick. Previously underappreciated and misunderstood, after the past few seasons of hard work and maturation—both on and off the snow—Nick finally seems ready for the next level. The question is, is snowboarding ready for Nicky Fresh? ~ AH
Name: Nick Visconti
Nickname: Nicky Fresh
Hometown: San Ramon, CA
Currently Living / Riding: Where The River Flows / Where The Snow Falls
Sponsors: Arbor, Flux, Von Zipper, Windells, Pow Gloves, Porters-at-Tahoe
Set-Up: Arbor Coda 157, Arbor Draft 149, Flux Super Emblems
Stance/Angles: 22 inches, 18 and –12
Riding Crew: Think Thank, Dangerzone
Music To Ride To: Club Bangers!
Best Trend in Snowboarding: Hating.
Trend You’re Happiest Has Gone Away: Fun.
Superstitions: The answer is, “Yes”—with my shirt off, I do look like Brad Pitt in Troy
Life Coach: Genie in a Bottle
Nick Visconti Sneak Preview / Think Thank’s Right Brain Left Brain
What’s good, Nick?
‘Morning! I’m alive! So stoked.
Congratulations on winning HDHR! How you feeling?
I’m thankful for the Bear Mountain staff, who developed such a creative venue to shred on. I feel inspired after watching the talent and the progression that all the riders showed while killing it. I feel humbled that the iconic figures who judged the event felt that I deserved first. I feel f—kin’ stoked!
Go out celebrating a bit?
That’s like asking an alcoholic if he drinks.
Is this the start of a big contest season for you?
No, not this year. But next season I begin training for the 2014 Olympics in Boardercross.
Oh, man. You totally should.
I think I could actually do it! I mean, I can ride my board. Someone from a freestyle background would probably do really well—pumping tranny, jumping, etc. I’d just have to learn the racing part.
Maybe start with the Banked Slalom or Dirksen Derby.
I would love to! I have no idea how to get in or anything, but I’m down. It’s such a legendary event. Let’s both do it together this year, and it’s a deal! Couple of bros, running it at Baker! [Laughs]
Ha! Deal. Any big plans for the remaining HDHR $$$?
I just bought a massage table and registered my new business, “Feel Fresh”.
How was the end of summer down in the Southern Hemisphere?
A series of fortunate events: 1 Sleeping Pill, 2 Broken Planes, 3 Layovers, 4 Pisco Sours, 5 Attractive Argentinian Bebe’s.
Spanish getting better? ¿Ayuda que tienes relaciones con Chilenas hermosas?
¡Solamente necesito mas tiempo por todas las bebes yo conocí!
“16 Brazilians dudes in Speedos in the hot tub. Should I get in?” — Nice FB update.
Drinking Pisco Sours while celebrating Aprés ski in a warm, circular bath at 12,000 feet; with 16 Brazilian, Speedo-wearing men; in Valle Nevado, Chile? No man answers no.
Was it magical?
A rhetorical question always has an obvious answer.
It was like the Speedo Prism Of Light. The hot tub was a myriad of colors…
You do a lot of coaching during the year, spending the summer at Windells and then again down in Chile. What brings you back each season?
To fulfil Michael Jackson’s mission of Love For The Children. Uhhhh!
Being a professional snowboarder can be very narcissistic at times, and it’s a blessing to be able to give back to the snowboard youth and inspire young minds around the world.
Ok, let’s talk about some fun stuff now. You’re one of the few college-educated pro snowboarders out there.
Yeah, I’m still studying Speech Communications and Philosophy at the University of Nevada, Reno. I passionately believe in the constant stimulation of the mind. Our brains directly affect our snowboarding, and in the same way that we need to exercise our muscles and train our physical bodies for shredding, our minds need to hit the gym as well.
A while back, you said, “I believe nonverbal communication is drastically more empowering than verbal.”
How many times has a girl broken up with you, and she said, “It’s not you. It’s me”? Verbally, she said it was her, but you knew it was you! Our bodies develop an unfathomable amount of interactive characteristics—both conscious and unconscious. Our nonverbal communication is more powerful than the words we deliver.
Let’s all go back to handshakes and eye contact.
Hecka yeah! So right. No one has any communication skills anymore. It’s ridiculous.
Man… I build my life and relationships—plutonic and romantic—on communication. Eye to eye… call me “traditional.”
But I mean… Don’t you ? I cant figure out how people live so robotically. Let’s live Life!
“Nick’s Tough Day” — When asked about the difficult transition into more backcountry riding and jumping:
I suppose it’s like when you get married and have the sexy party: you know you love it, but it takes some practice to do it right!
We gotta ask: How did the baggy-pant mall-gangster from the original Think Thank films turn into the Nick that we all see today?
Once and for all: Skateboarding is my roots. I grew up in the Bay Area, California, and my life is and was skateboarding. I have been a Thrasher Rat my entire life. When I graduated from high school was right when The Bay Area Renaissance was exploding—Hyphy!
I had inspiration coming from the Bay—music and lifestyle. As ridiculous as Hyphy was, so was I. It just so happened that the jibbing footage I filmed while I was in Utah was progressive and I got somewhat noticed. When I moved back to Cali the next year, I jumped back into my kits and started shredding. I never changed who I was by loving Cali; I just progressed. I was a Thrasher Rat, and I still am.
We’re all influenced and inspired by the things we are passionate about and love. During the 9 months I lived in Utah, Hyphy and East Bay G was my thing. We are always transforming. I have and will continue to.
Alright, so who is Nicky Fresh?
My life is extremely eccentric, dynamic, and multi-faceted. [Laughs] The Fresh Guy is the entertainment.
Your style—riding, fashion, energy, life, etc—is a polarizing topic in snowboarding. I’m sure you’ve heard the good and the bad.
[Laughs] I’m like an Army Humvee. The lovers are the big ass wheels, the machine guns, and the dual 16-inch subs, bumpin. The haters are the gasoline—the fuel so that I can keep runnin’ over shit!
I’m confident enough in who God has made me, the morals that I live by, and my evolving lifestyle, to be vulnerable and transparent to the world. I love the dichotic controversy that the snowboard industry has captivated me with. The love and the hate are both blessings. Its the polarized atmosphere that inspires me to continue creating.
Good. Well, then in the spirit of negativity, I thought we’d just clear some stuff up. Here’s your chance to set the record straight.
A few random myths about yourself that we’ve heard…
Nick Visconti once killed a Marmot with his bare hands.
- American Bad Ass.
Nick is responsible for Pat Milbery no longer riding for Arbor.
- Pat Milbery has more fans in Japan than I have freckles. He and Allian have known each other for years, but just got engaged.
Nick’s a Jesus-Freak.
- F—k Yes.
Nick could have incredible video parts year after year, but doesn’t assert himself.
- Think Thank’s Right Brain Left Brain
Nick Visconti is gay.
- F—k no.
Nick Visconti is a member of Al Qaeda.
- Absolutely, The are the same organization as the US Government right?
Nick plays spoons in a bluegrass band.
- Mistake. I’m the dancer.
Nick once wanted to ride for Technine.
- Excuse me! I rep rode for Technine! And HELL YES I had my finger on the trigger. [Laughs] I just didn’t have any ammo to fire.
Nick Visconti’s eyes can pierce armor.
- A womans heart is stronger than Armor.
What’s the DangerZone project all about? How much are you involved?
DangerZone is the Looking Glass that Alice of Wonderland uses to see snowboarding and I’m the Mad Hatter.
It’s an interactive online media project. Each episode has a distinct message that portrays some defining aspect or ridiculous controversy in snowboarding. The goal is to show snowboarding at its roots — individuality in community, creativity, and fun. I’ve reinvented Season 3 and am stoked to unveil the mystery of the National Drug of Snowboarding in December 2010…
Do you see riders creating their own media as the future? You have the Helgasons.com, Torstein.net, DangerZone, VHS, etc.
Snowboarding is a blank canvas. Snowboards are the paintbrush. Snowboarders are the artists. We find inspiration from the world that surrounds us to create what we will. Likewise, the expression of true individuality and art that snowboarding exhibits is infinitely being redifined. For one shredder, powder and terrain satisfies, for another, the park and a beer, and yet another, contests and filming. Snowboard media is just another blank canvas. Take your brush and paint it.
How the s—t do you do tuck-knee front boards?
How the do you do a tuck-knee boardslide? I was sick of snowboarders and snowboard media failing to recreate a skateboard tuck-knee, and calling it “Gold”. Grabbing your board from outside your knee and doing a Michael Jackson pelvic thrust is not a freakin’ tuck-knee. Slam your knee flat on your deck and tweak the shit out it. Unfortunately, bindings prohibit this without tearing your ACL. So I did like Michael, grabbed my crotch, and invented a way to do it right.
Top 5: Most important things in the life of Nick.
2) My Family
3) My Friends
5) Getting Weird
Last Question: You’re stuck in a white-walled, boxed-in room. There’s a small door on one side, but nothing else. The door opens. A small child runs in, screaming. He attacks you. You become aware that this child is trying to kill you. You have to defend yourself. After 60 seconds, the door opens again, and another child runs in, screaming. You begin to realize that this trend will continue. Another 60 seconds, and now three children are attempting to end your days. If you don’t fight back, you won’t make it. How long would you be able to survive, before you succumb to the small, icy hands of death?
I would use Pelicanesis to telepathically signal all the pelicans of the world to swallow up the children as they attacked me. The children would then be transported in the pelican’s beaks and dropped off at the houses of pregnant married couples. Instead of killing life, I would create families.
Wow. Good answer.
[Laughs] Okay, my friend. I have six campers looking for me to explain why they can’t do a front three right now.
Ha Later, Nick.
Until another moon, love!
Hey! Bend your damned knees!!