Daniel Franck-The Stuff Legends Are Made Of.

When TransWorld asked me to interview Daniel Franck, I was excited. Excited, but nervous. A few years ago I interviewed Norwood Fisher from the band Fishbone for Rip magazine. That was easy and it turned out really well. He’s in band, I’m in a band Anthrax, lots in common, et cetera, et cetera. Last year I got to interview Mayor Ed Koch (New York’s greatest mayor) for Bikini. That was tougher-I’ve never aspired to be mayor of New York City and politics are just not my passion. Music is. Snowboarding is. I’m already lucky to be living my dream of being in a band, but to be able to ride like Daniel Franck, now that’s stuff that legends are made of.

Legends of the Norse.

Like the mythical Norse Gods of his homeland, Norway-Odin, Thor, and Loki (Thor’s evil half-brother)-Daniel is a nomad. He takes on all challenges with the intense determination of Hogun the Grim. Enjoys life with the mirthful gluttony of fat f-k Volstagg. (Can you tell I grew up with Thor comics, the Norwegian connection?) One more-he cuts his own path like Fandal the Dashing uses a sword; he’s a warrior riding through the fabled land of Valhalla, forever wielding his board through an eternity of fresh powder, endless hits, and perfect landings. Dramatic, huh? You betcha, but deservedly so. Daniel is possibly the most complete rider there is. Not just pipe riding, not just big air-he’s got it all. The full monty. What else is there to say? Done. Jeez. That was easy.

The Slippery Hot Dog.

What? Oh, the piece needs to be longer? Well I guess I could tell you what Daniel and I talked about instead of spewing adjectives about his riding for the rest of this article. Yes, I spoke to the “Slippery Hot Dog” (coined by Troy Eckhart), who lived up to his nickname as I tried to track him down across Europe. Cell phone number, home number, sponsors, friends, lift operators, people who say they saw him ride by while they were on the chair, someone who said they once saw him, but it turned out to be a hoax. Daniel sightings at every turn until finally …

TWS: Scott, I just spoke to Daniel. He’s home right now.

I quickly dial the 30 or 40 digits to call Oslo and … weird ring, weird ring

“Hello.”

“Hi, Daniel. It’s Scott.”

“Oh boy, Scott. They said you were going to call. How are you?”

“Great. How are you?”

Blah, blah, blah.

The pressure’s on.

Neither Daniel nor I wanted this to be a standard question and answer piece. You know …

Scott: “Uh, like, where do you see snowboarding going in like five years from now?”

Daniel: “What do I look like, a f-kin’ crystal ball?”

We’d met in early ’98 in New York City through mutual friends from Arnette. At that time, Daniel asked me if I’d be into doing something like this. He expressed that he found most interviews to be the same-boring, boring, boring. Unless he could do something different, he didn’t want to do it at all. This put a little pressure on me because I certainly didn’t want to disappoint. We hung out for a few days, eating, drinking, and laughing at Rob Wells. In case you’re not familiar with Rob, he’s the star of the Arnette My Way video. Rob rules!

The interview never happened in New York, but it was cool to meet Daniel and just hang out. I found him to be a very solid, up-front, and focused person. It turns out we have a lot in common. Our love of music and riding is the same, both being the passions that drive our lives.

A true headbanger.

Daniel got into music at a very young age. His father played rock records in the house, so naturally Daniel gravitated toward aggressive music. The first concert he went to was Metallica and Anthrax in Oslo. It’s pretty cool to think that this little eleven year old’s first concert experience was my band. Gee, I sort of feel responsible. Daniel told me he was so little he didn’t have to wait in line. He’d lied to his mother about going the show, because she’d said no when he first asked her. He told her he was staying over at a friend’s, and then went to the show. A true headbanger. Anything for metal.

Daniel got to meet Metallica’s bass player Cliff Burton that night. He saw Cliff standing out in the crowd and recognized him by his Misfits tattoo. He spoke to Cliff for a few minutes and got his autograph. It was only a day and a half later that Cliff was killed in a horrible bus accident. Daniel was lucky to have met Cliff, and talks about this moment as if it were yesterday. He’s still got the ticket stub-September 25, 1986-on his refrigerator. Daniel considers music to be his biggest passion, and intends to someday put this energy into his guitar playing.

Live to board.

This same passion he has for music fueled his desire for boarding; it was never about money. Never about fame or sponsors. Daniel lives to board. He told me so.

Scott: Board to live, or live to board?

Daniel: Definitely, live to board.

When he first started traveling, he had no money. He was sleeping in train stations, stealing food-all the perks of a rider starting out. He did everything himself. No sponsor, no agent. Other riders he became friendly with would help out, but it was Daniel’s self-sufficiency that forged his attitude of doing things his own way and not compromising his art. Once the sponsors came calling, it was on his terms. Smart guy. It’s all about who has the cards. I asked Daniel what he considered to be the most extravagant thing he’d done once he started making money. Hooker trips to Vegas? Ridiculously expensive car? Drug and booze binges? No. He bought an apartment in Norway. No loans. You see-smart, something most people don’t think of when they think of snowboarders. Daniel will never be a cliché.

Even as hard as things ever got, he always appreciated what he had. He feels now that this is the reason he still has so much to give. Daniel looks back on his early days fondly because it was all about the riding. Riding for himself, which is something he can’t do very often anymore.

Scott: I know from being in a band that it’s not all booze and chicks and Austin Powers all the time. When is it not fun?

Daniel: When you stop progressing.

A pound of flesh.

Daniel has a lot to say about the business side of boarding. Much like the music world, the business side is the dark side of the Force, Luke. It’s important to hear what he has to say, because it’s all useful information to anyone-it’s not just about boarding, it’s about life.

Most people in the public eye will take the safe road when answering questions. Daniel’s honesty is refreshing in the world of political correctness. The last thing he wants to do is travel halfway around the world to some shitty contest with a shitty crowd and not be able to ride at the level he knows he can ride at. There is no motivation to do this if he can’t progress as a rider. So many contests, so much money involved, and everybody wants a pound of flesh. Daniel found that riding in too many contests made him turn on the auto-pilot, doing the same tricks over and over for the camera because it was the easy way. No progression and no self-fulfillment equaled burnout.

Scott: Who comes up with all of the ridiculous trick names?

Daniel: Laughs. I don’t know, it’s stupid. Trick names are confusing.

Daniel said it had gotten to the point where he couldn’t talk about boarding when he wasn’t boarding. He said he found himself “feeling old,” looking at young kids just starting out already with coaches and lawyers-riders getting sponsored so fast that they have no perspective at all. Established riders getting lazy and spoiled by their sponsors, the good hotels, the good restaurants. Remember, a crap hotel will make you get your ass out on the hill.

The picture becomes clear.

Daniel knows that he has it good. Better than most. He will never bite the hand that feeds him, and when he’s feeling spoiled, he just thinks back to his beginnings and does what he has to do. No complaints.

Recently he decided to take five months off. He spent this time focusing. If he couldn’t ride for himself anymore, then why ride? The time off was what he needed, because now he feels motivated again. He has a clear picture of what he wants to do-compete much less by picking and choosing contests. If he can’t express himself through contests, the world is not seeing him as he wants to be seen. His recognition as a rider opens so many doors for him.

Daniel’s Words Of Wisdom Part One: I’ll choose to be judged, and I’ve got nothing to prove.

Simplify.

How does he want the world to see him? In films. His passion for riding has been stoked by making films. He already achieved the goal he set for himself by winning at the Olympics. It was one of the hardest things he has ever done, and he came out of it with a silver medal. Now, his goal is to make movies. He is a natural ham who doesn’t care how he looks to anyone else. For Daniel, this is the motivation for him to stay on top.

Daniel’s Words Of Wisdom Part Two: You have to make twice as much fun of yourself as you would of someone else.

When he first started filming, Daniel was riding with Terje and other big-name riders. They introduced him to this world; he jumped in and fell in love with it. No one remembers three weeks after a contest who did what. Film is forever.

Stream of consciousness moment.

Scott: Is there really bull semen in Red Bull?

Daniel: Laughs. I don’t think so. I can’t drink that stuff. I mixed it with vodka, and I was just floating around.

Scott: Do you still get nervous?

Daniel: Yes.

Everything gets bigger, faster, more extreme, higher risk. Every time a rider pushes the envelope, someone else will try to push it further. Especially in making films. Daniel specifically mentions Johan Olofsson dropping an insane amount of vertical at something like a 50-degree pitch and only making three turns. This is the sickest thing he has seen so far.

Cheap gossip question.

Scott: What other riders do you like?

Daniel: Imaginary answer spoken in kung fu movie-dub voice. I am the master killer. I can not be defeated. I shall exact my revenge on the families of all those who challenge me!

Daniel’s real answer: There are so many. Terje, Peter Line, Devun Walsh, Jamie Lynn, Craig Kelly.

Words to live by.

Keep your eyes open. That blur that passed you may have been Daniel Franck. Pay attention. You were wiping your nose when he disappeared off that kicker into thin air. Like the mighty Sasquatch, he’s one slippery hot dog.

Daniel’s Words Of Wisdom Part Three: Everyone is born an original. Most die as a copy. I just want to make tracks wherever I go.

Pull Quotes:

I’ll choose to be judged, and I’ve got nothing to prove.

You have to make twice as much fun of yourself as you would of someone else.

Everyone is born an original. Most die as a copy. I just want to make tracks wherever I go.t. He will never bite the hand that feeds him, and when he’s feeling spoiled, he just thinks back to his beginnings and does what he has to do. No complaints.

Recently he decided to take five months off. He spent this time focusing. If he couldn’t ride for himself anymore, then why ride? The time off was what he needed, because now he feels motivated again. He has a clear picture of what he wants to do-compete much less by picking and choosing contests. If he can’t express himself through contests, the world is not seeing him as he wants to be seen. His recognition as a rider opens so many doors for him.

Daniel’s Words Of Wisdom Part One: I’ll choose to be judged, and I’ve got nothing to prove.

Simplify.

How does he want the world to see him? In films. His passion for riding has been stoked by making films. He already achieved the goal he set for himself by winning at the Olympics. It was one of the hardest things he has ever done, and he came out of it with a silver medal. Now, his goal is to make movies. He is a natural ham who doesn’t care how he looks to anyone else. For Daniel, this is the motivation for him to stay on top.

Daniel’s Words Of Wisdom Part Two: You have to make twice as much fun of yourself as you would of someone else.

When he first started filming, Daniel was riding with Terje and other big-name riders. They introduced him to this world; he jumped in and fell in love with it. No one remembers three weeks after a contest who did what. Film is forever.

Stream of consciousness moment.

Scott: Is there really bull semen in Red Bull?

Daniel: Laughs. I don’t think so. I can’t drink that stuff. I mixed it with vodka, and I was just floating around.

Scott: Do you still get nervous?

Daniel: Yes.

Everything gets bigger, faster, more extreme, higher risk. Every time a rider pushes the envelope, someone else will try to push it further. Especially in making films. Daniel specifically mentions Johan Olofsson dropping an insane amount of vertical at something like a 50-degree pitch and only making three turns. This is the sickest thing he has seen so far.

Cheap gossip question.

Scott: What other riders do you like?

Daniel: Imaginary answer spoken in kung fu movie-dub voice. I am the master killer. I can not be defeated. I shall exact my revenge on the families of all those who challenge me!

Daniel’s real answer: There are so many. Terje, Peter Line, Devun Walsh, Jamie Lynn, Craig Kelly.

Words to live by.

Keep your eyes open. That blur that passed you may have been Daniel Franck. Pay attention. You were wiping your nose when he disappeared off that kicker into thin air. Like the mighty Sasquatch, he’s one slippery hot dog.

Daniel’s Words Of Wisdom Part Three: Everyone is born an original. Most die as a copy. I just want to make tracks wherever I go.

Pull Quotes:

I’ll choose to be judged, and I’ve got nothing to prove.

You have to make twice as much fun of yourself as you would of someone else.

Everyone is born an original. Most die as a copy. I just want to make tracks wherever I go.