Regional Sales and Marketing, Burton Snowboards
Widely regarded as today's Frothfather, Alex Andrews is a literal nucleus of kinetic energy that is released into the atmosphere every single time he straps in, drops in, pedals his mountain bike, pushes his skateboard or generally partakes in just about anything. I can honestly say that I have never in my life seen someone so infectiously positive about anything they do, let alone everything they do, and after a stint as a pro snowboarder, Alex's job now consists of bottling all that energy up and releasing it upon retailers and the general snowboarding public in order to fire people up about Burton Snowboards. Together with Dave Downing, Alex quite literally spreads the stoke and his gig takes him all over the globe, from rail contests in Japan to snowmobiling and frothing out in the Tahoe backcountry and all shred-centric locales in between. But he's not just gallivanting around having a blast. Alex is focused on broader topics in the snowboard world, like sustainability in an age of drastic climate change, retention and growth rates for the general snowboarding public and board design, and I can't think of anyone else that I would rather have in a position of that power an influence than my friend Alex. Froth on, Alex, and know that you inspire me to.
What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.
I work with sales and marketing at Burton. Big tasks are helping with sell in and sell through for the seasons. I also work with retailers all around the country on a regular basis. I do a lot of product demos and clinics with shops and reps, as well as any and most events we put on, or are a part of. I’m sometimes involved with product, but mostly for spitballing ideas. I also try to relay what I’m seeing at shops and territories around the country, hopefully to make our brand better suited for each zone.
Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I was born and raised in Ogden, Utah, but have lived in Salt Lake City, Utah for the past 10 years.
How did you start snowboarding?
Both my parents were snowboarders, which was rare, and my uncle worked at Powder Mountain in the ski shop. I started at 6 years old, and my family would go a few times a season when I was young, but I mostly backyard shredded, setting up small rails and jumps with friends around the neighborhood. We would watch videos and try to mimic what the pros were doing. Eventually, I started to ride the local resorts more often as I got older.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?
For me I realized that snowboarding, skateboarding, biking, etc. were going to be a part of my life forever at a young age, but you know when you are in school and they ask you what you want to be or do in life? My answer was a snowboarder. I remember telling the junior high counselor that and followed it with, "How do I graduate high school as a fast as possible so I can snowboard everyday?" She set me up and I graduated a half year early! Literally, my motivation to do well in school was to get the hell out of there so I can do what I actually care about.
And how did you make that happen?
Growing up I was obsessed with snowboarding and skateboarding. I would hang out at my local shop, Blindside, pretty much every day. They had a mini ramp in the shop. I would skate and became close with everyone that worked there. One of my good homies, Zak Nichols—who at the time was riding for companies and working at the shop—took me under his wing. This led to me getting my first free snowboard from a company called Galleon. This lasted a season or two and I was working at my dad's small engine shop fixing and selling yard equipment year round during high school until I graduated. A small shop opened up near my house called Decade Snow and Skate and I approached them about a job and I worked there for a couple years, snowboarding before or after work almost everyday. I eventually started to get flow from Atomic Snowboards and a few other companies from working at the shop. I stayed in Ogden for a couple seasons shredding and working, but eventually I wanted to make the move to Salt Lake so I could shred Brighton and be more involved with the local scene. I quit my job at the shop and started working at a sushi restaurant in Salt Lake making pretty good money and shredding everyday. I got connected with the local Burton rep Josh Fisher who put me on the Burton flow program, which at the time was called "NOW" (New World Order). I ended up meeting a group of friends who were from all around the country who moved to Salt Lake to snowboard and go to college. Eddie Grams being one of them, who was stoked to pick up a camera and push us for his movie projects. That led to Variety Pack, which was our film crew for a few epic seasons! All of us were driven and inspired by our peers to film video parts and chase the dream of being a pro snowboarder. The Burton gig turned into the Knowbuddy program, which I was on for a bit until one day while I was driving to a spot, I got a call from Jeremy Jones. I pulled over and was shaking, stumbling my words. I had never met or talked to him, but he was obviously one of my idols. He asked if I could go on a trip with Burton, and basically that was my chance to prove myself. He by far has been one of the biggest influences in my life. I rode professionally for 3-4 years with Burton and Analog. I filmed video parts and attempted to do some rail contests. It was by far some of the best years of my life. Dave Downing and I grew close over those years, He was heavily involved with both brands, but Analog was our baby and we both loved being a part of that family. So one nice summer day I'm working at my dad's small engine shop and get a call from the Burton Team Manager, who tells me that Burton isn't going to continue my contract as a professional snowboarder…but If I was interested, I had an opportunity to work with the brand under Dave and the sales team. It didn't take me long to realize that having the opportunity to work with one of my childhood idols and all-around badass was a no brainer! It's been about 5 years since then and I still continue to work with Burton and the sales team. I have grown and learned so much about the industry from Dave and the Burton team. The experience is something I'm very grateful for and plan to keep working hard for!
Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?
My inspiration and life decisions were basically because of Mack Dawg, Kingpin, F.O.D.T, Robot Food, and other videos. I would also obsess over the magazines. These productions shaped who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I looked up to so many riders, and was especially influenced by local Utah legends such as Jeremy Jones, Seth Huot, Marc Frank Montoya, etc. Currently, I look up to people like Dave, and JG from Burton Snowboards, who continually show me that age and passion for the shred is unstoppable! I also look up to Jake and Donna Carpenter who have fought and continued to stay true to snowboarding even in the toughest of times. I'm also inspired by others in the industry like the fine folks at Drink Water and P.O.W. I'm also inspired by all the riders who have taken the chance and risk to start their own companies. I think it's important to have the right people for the right reasons running our sport.
What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?
This is a tough question because I try to stay humble, but I just want to inspire people! I want people to get outside and snowboard, make something out of nothing, or take in and enjoy those times when it's epic. When it comes down to it in my line of work, I always remind myself that we sell and promote snowboarding, surfing the earth! It's not just fun, but something that can shape a person's life. For me, I just hope to leave a positive impression when I shred and work with people that we are so fortunate to do what we do!
What do you want to accomplish that you haven't yet?
Personally with my snowboarding, I would like to educate myself and ride more backcountry. I'm addicted to learning the mountains and exploring! As far as the snowboard industry goes, I would like to help with a few changes that I personally think need attention; one being climate change. I personally would like to be more proactive about this and help others as well. Another is participation. In this day and age it's ridiculous what it costs to go snowboarding with your friends or family. I've dabbled with some ideas on how we can make it more cost effective for people to get into or continue snowboarding. Another is local shops. I would like to help with the continuation of these amazing places and try to find ways from a brand standpoint on how we can support these shops and help get customers in their doors. It's important for snowboarding to have local shops that can help shape the snowboard community around them. The last thing is I want to move into the mountains permanently!
Anyone you'd like to thank?
Yes, first and foremost is my parents and fiancé for being such radical humans! I'd like to thank all my friends from the old Blindside days, Decade Snow and Skate, the Variety Pack crew, everyone from Burton Snowboards (shout out JG, Zach Nigro, Mark Wakeling), the old Analog crew, Videograss, Four Horsemen Agency, Josh Fisher, Trevor Brady, Bolts Action squad, Jeremy Jones, Seth Huot, Tonino, Jake Hobbs, Jared Winkler and the Brighton crew, everyone at Bonezone, Powder Mountain boys, Loren Brinton. But I really owe a lot to Dave Downing for his continued support and knowledge. He is a true legend. There are so many more people I would like to thank, but you know who you are and I'm so fortunate and grateful to have had your influence in my life! Cheers and froth on!