Features 14.5: Todd Richards Interview

You’ve been in this crazy game for a while now. Are you still stoked?
I would say I’m more stoked now than ever. I was starting to get bored with it a little while ago, but I think it’s because all I did was compete and ride the pipe all the time. The last few years I’ve rediscovered a part of snowboarding I thought I’d lost-I’ve been concentrating more on progression. I want to learn new tricks all the time and do stuff that scares me; you hardly ever get that in a halfpipe.

So you’re stoked jibbing’s back?
It never left, they just hid it. It was all a marketing scheme.

Is that why you’ve kept your place in Breckinridge for so long?
Are you being sarcastic? If so, eat a shit-Breck rules. I’ve been there since ’93 and I’ll always have a place there.

What about competing, is the fire still there?
Somewhat, but in other areas. I like the way there’re slopestyle events now. Those are the contests that are the most fun for me. I crave the challenge they give me. I still like doing pipe contests, but I have a new way of looking at them to keep them interesting. Now I want to challenge myself to do a new trick in every contest I do. It’s a little challenge for myself that is more important than the actual placing I get from some judges. I know this sounds corny, but I get so stoked when I see riders do a trick I’ve never seen. That’s rare now for kids to just bust out something no one’s ever seen, especially at a contest. Remember how stoked everyone was the first time they saw Michalchuk do the “Chuk”? I want to try to give that back to the sport. I just saw Bobby Meeks do that front-flip thing on the frontside wall of the pipe. I got so pumped.

Are there any big rivalries?
Rivalry between another rider and me? No. The only rivalry in my life is learning frontside airs on my surfboard before you.

Surfing is where it’s at, huh?
Surfing is seriously so hard. It’s the most fun you could ever have being constantly frustrated. I’ve been having so much fun just trying to learn how to do little airs and stuff. I think snowboarding helped me figure some of it out. The hardest part is learning how the ocean works.

Since you’re a local, are you really getting a Beacons tattoo?
Not after I saw what they did with yours. The tattoo artist thought you said, “Bacons.”

It’s true-I love bacon. But this is your interview. Do you ever get sick of traveling around to contests?
Sometimes, like when my eating habits go to shit and I start feeling unhealthy, or when I haven’t seen Lindsy for eons. I guess I’m jaded, but living out of a duffel bag for the whole winter makes me feel like I don’t have a home. I need to feel grounded. It’s tough when you get to be home for a night and then have to leave the next day to go somewhere else for who knows how long.

Does your chick get bummed that you’re gone so much?
Lindsy gets bummed and it’s understandable. It’s hard to have a relationship over the phone. In this profession, it’s tough to make and keep plans because the nature of this sport is get it when it’s good, so when you gotta go, you gotta go. This doesn’t always fly with the little lady. You might ask, “Why doesn’t she just go to contests or filming trips with you?
” She hates going to contests because it’s all about standing around in the cold, stressing out for me. She stresses more than I do at contests, and filming is more about hiking and waiting for weather than riding. I don’t blame her, hiking all day to some jump just to find out it’s crappy.

Couldn’t she just play with your action figure or with one of the video games you’re in?
Just kidding. But seriously, what’s it like being part of those things?
Call me a geek, but it’s like a dream come true. I never thought in a million years this sport would ever see action figures. The whole thing from the games to the figures and trading cards seems so surreal. It’s rad because I play a lot of video games and have a toy collectio The coolest thing about it has got to be being able to give those things to your kids when the time comes. I’ll be all, “Here you go.” And my kid will feed it to the dog or something.

So are other doors opening up for you because of your accomplishments in snowboarding?
Yeah, The Familie an athlete management firm has really helped with the outside-of-industry stuff, like the toys and the games. Now they’re trying to get us roles in movies and commercials, stuff like that. It seems like corporate America really wants to use action sports for everything now. I’m not sure the average snowboarder is aware of the influx of corporate America into our sport. I think a lot of the credit for that goes to the X-Games and Tony Hawk’s video game. Some think it’s bad for the sport-that it makes it less ‘core. How core can you be when a lift ticket costs 65 dollars? I think it’s cool, not just because of the money you can make, but the amount of people who are exposed to this sport.

Did the Hollywood producers see your acting debut in Destroyer?
Yeah, Speilberg just called. They should really call LeBlanc, the kid’s a born actor. He plays the best gay cop. I would pay money to see a movie starring Mikey and Twos.

Speaking of snowboarding videos, what are your plans for this year?
It depends. If the qualifiers for the Olympics are going down, I want to do those. I’ll probably live in Colorado for the beginning of the winter, ride Breck, just get ready to film, and do a few contests here and there. Then go to Utah or Tahoe and film. The schedule has been the same for the past ten years.

Do you want to talk about the 2002 Winter Olympics?
They are definitely a lot more appealing this time strictly because they are in the United States, and the food will be a lot better. Nagano had the worst setup as far as housing the athletes. Maybe now that they’re in the U.S. the snowboarding events will actually be shown on TV. Who knows? I sound really bitter about the whole thing, but the last one was such a fiasco/hoax. I really hope the Olympic Committee learned something. I’m going to try and make the team, though, if that’s what you meant by the question. I feel like Nagano was just a warm-up for this one. I don’t think I will be as stressed out this time.

Which contests do you feel are important, and why?
I think the X-Games are pretty important. There’s so much media coverage there. I don’t really know. The contests that are important to me are because of fun locations or good events like slopestyle or a superpipe. That’s about it. The Olympics are important, too, but for different reasons, more for self-promotional reasons. When you pull the Olympics apart it’s just a glorified U.S. Open anyhow-the best riders but with tons of hype and drama attached. If you get a gold medal in the Utah Games it could mean big bucks. You might think that’s a lame attitude, but the Olympics are just a moneymaking, ratings game now-the real spirit of the sport is at contests run by snowboarders, not the U.S. Ski Team.

Sorry about all the contest questions. Now will you please tell everyone how much you love riding powder?
Why, do they think I’m retarded?

I’m not sure everyone knows how well-rounded you really are. But is it even important for people to be able to shred it all?
Being able to hang in the pipe and then go hit some kickers, rails, or just going ripping around the mountain keeps it more fun. I don’t know how important it is to some riders now, but I definitely respect the riders who can do it all a lot more.

What are your relationships with your sponsors like these days?
Great, Morrow is the best. I’ve been with them for about twelve years. We have a sick team, and everything is smooth. I love those guys-Tyler, Josh, Billy, and Erik. I don’t know of any other team that gets along as well as we do. I just started to ride for DC last year. I’ve been friends with Ken Block for a long time, and I’m just stoked to have the opportunity to work with him, and the fact that Brian Botts is the gnarliest team manager I’ve ever met. He’s a better snowboarder than I am. Oakley is dope; Gus (Uncle Buckets) Buckner keeps it fun over there. Clive has the coolest-looking bags, and Tim Swart-I think the latter is more important to me. And then there’s my current clothing thing. Special Blend has been one of the coolest companies I’ve ever had the chance to work with, Ruff and Raul rule. I’m going to miss not getting to hang out with the boys anymore-it was just time to move on.

I don’t think I’m supposed to ask who took Blend’s place, so any other thank yous?
Lindsy and her constant support. Mamo, Linda, and the rest of the Lozano clan. The Morrow crew-Billy, Josh, Tyler, Erik, Reba, and Greg. Shem, Dave, Natedog, Rucker, Andy, Chad, Geb Gebbers for the intro, Palmer ”Look Everybody I Peed My Bed” Brown, The Familie, Chris Owen, Ruff, Raul, Peter, Bozung, Mikey, Whitey, Kramer, Kevin Jones, Swart, Colin and RDS, Block and Botts, Brian and TDK.toked to have the opportunity to work with him, and the fact that Brian Botts is the gnarliest team manager I’ve ever met. He’s a better snowboarder than I am. Oakley is dope; Gus (Uncle Buckets) Buckner keeps it fun over there. Clive has the coolest-looking bags, and Tim Swart-I think the latter is more important to me. And then there’s my current clothing thing. Special Blend has been one of the coolest companies I’ve ever had the chance to work with, Ruff and Raul rule. I’m going to miss not getting to hang out with the boys anymore-it was just time to move on.

I don’t think I’m supposed to ask who took Blend’s place, so any other thank yous?
Lindsy and her constant support. Mamo, Linda, and the rest of the Lozano clan. The Morrow crew-Billy, Josh, Tyler, Erik, Reba, and Greg. Shem, Dave, Natedog, Rucker, Andy, Chad, Geb Gebbers for the intro, Palmer ”Look Everybody I Peed My Bed” Brown, The Familie, Chris Owen, Ruff, Raul, Peter, Bozung, Mikey, Whitey, Kramer, Kevin Jones, Swart, Colin and RDS, Block and Botts, Brian and TDK.