Features 14.6: Risto Scott

By Brad Makepeace

Risto: Before this begins, I want to dedicate these pages to the memory of my great friend Mike Passmore. I love you and miss you!

The first time I heard of Risto was back in 1995 when the word spread that some little kid from Kelowna, B.C. had just beat all the big Whistler pros in the first-ever Kokanee big-air contest at Blackcomb. I heard he stomped a Cab 900 with Jamie Lynn style! I didn’t even believe the rumor until I saw the footage of the jump. At that instant I knew I had to start hanging out with this guy because he had the attitude and ability to lead the next generation of pros coming out of the Whistler area.

I eventually met the legend of the Kokanee big air, and the rest of his Kelowna posse, who were honestly the most progressive riders I’d ever been with. Since then, Risto and I have become awesome friends and traveling companions. Risto is doing quite well for himself these days. He’s looking to buy his first house in Vancouver, and I heard he even bought his best friend one, too. Risto is a true professional, whether working his butt off filming or just hanging out with the summer-camp kids. Risto is an all-around good guy who has given a lot to our sport.-Kevin Sansalone

First of all, let’s get all the boring stuff out of the way. State your name, where you’re from, and who pays for you to live the dream.
My name is Risto Scott, and I live in Vancouver. I was born in Scotland, but grew up in Canada in a town called Kelowna, which is about four hours east of Vancouver. I’m sponsored by M3, Billabong, Thiry-two, Etnies, GMC gloves, Island Snow in K-town, and my friend Todd just opened up a shop in Edmonton called The Summit, so if you’re around, check it out. And coming soon, check out switch5.com, too.

Do you have any nicknames?
My friends call me Twisto.

Blond hair, blue eyes … what background creates such a pretty boy?It’s the Scandinavian in me. My mom is from Finland and my dad is from Scotland, but pretty much all of my appearance genes are from my mom.

You spent five years in Whistler and recently made the jump to Vancouver. What was the big draw to Whistler?
I moved to Whistler because I wanted a change. After growing up in Kelowna and riding at Big White all the time, I just wanted something different. All I did back then was snowboard or think about it-at least it seemed like that. So I decided to go to the center of snowboarding, which was Whistler. I moved there with a couple of friends, Mike Passmore and Aaron Eykhout. We got jobs and rode every day. It was awesome. I was a busboy at this hotel restaurant. I hated my job, but I got a free pass out of it.

Why the change to Vancouver?
I stayed in Whistler for five years. Even though it’s nice, I wanted to do other things with my life. When I’m not snowboarding, it’s nice to be able to do something totally unrelated to snowboarding. I have a whole group of friends from K-town who all live in Vancouver now, so I love hanging out with them. It helps to keep me from getting burnt out on the snowboard scene.

What else do you do besides shred the rad?
Basically what everyone else does-I like to hang out with my friends and party. We go to the beach, we golf … I don’t know. I do know that anything’s more fun when you turn it into a two-liter party, though!

So seriously, can you be beat at Ping-Pong or gnip-gnop?
Laughs Oh yeah, it’s just that all the Whistler folk have been feeding my confidence for the past few years.

Of all the M3 team, who do you think would win a “battle royal”?
Laughs Let’s see, Mitch Nelson and Brandon Bybee are out as they wouldn’t want to fight. Gabe Taylor and Scotty Wittlake would be out next.

Why? Because they’re the smallest?
Yeah, then Blaise Rosenthal probably ’cause his vegan bones would be snapped laughs. Michah McGinnity, Kendal Whelpton, and I would fall next. Let’s see, that leaves Chad Otterstrom and Mikey LeBlanc. Hmmm, Mikey is small but tgh. But I think I would have to give it to Chad. I hear he fights cowboys back home, so he would finish off Mikey. Yeah, Chad!

Who stokes you out the most when it comes to snow sliding?
Jamie Lynn, without a doubt, has always been my inspiration to shred. When I was younger I would be on the hill with my friends and we’d be at a jump or something. If we were ever nervous or about to back out of it, we’d say, “Would Jamie do it?” to the other. Then we’d say, “Yeah, he’d Cab five it,” and we’d all be stoked and charge.

Do you think good style is something you’re born with, or can you purposefully work on it?
Both. There’s no question that Jamie Lynn has great natural style, but there are others in the industry who try for it. You can kind of tell, though; some just look too manufactured-too stinky or too yo!

Do you think it’s important to be able to ride all terrain well?
I think so. It’s definitely something that I’m working on more and more. To me, nothing is more fun than hitting jumps, but I think it’s rad to be able to go and ride a steep line or drop a big cliff, too. So yeah, it’s important. You want to be a well-rounded rider, just the same as you want to be a well-rounded individual in all aspects of life.

Do you think the new pipes and parks being built are going to breed a new type of super shredder?
I guess so. When the terrain gets better and more consistent, so will the riders. Pipe and park to me is just a means to an end. You ride those to get better and learn tricks so you can take that knowledge and talent into the backcountry. That’s where it really pays off.

Are there tricks out there that annoy the hell out of you?
Mute grabs. Don’t ever, ever, ever grab mute on a straight air. And when doing crank-a-rounds (a.k.a. methods), always grab between the bindings-but that’s just a pet peeve.

Where do you see yourself in the whole pro-snowboarder scene?
What? I don’t know, caught between fantasy and reality.

What is your dream world like?
My dream world, eh? Well, lots of beautiful girls. Oh, here’s something: I thought it would be cool if riding powder was like eating a jawbreaker. The deeper you go, the more colors you hit. So the top layer would be white, then orange, red, green, blue, purple, and black. Something like that. You could come off the hill and someone would ask you how it was that day, and you could smile and be like, “Dude, it was so dope. I hit dark purple today.” Then you could just walk away with the memory.

If you suddenly came into a lot of money, let’s say 50-million dollars, would you continue to do what you’re doing, or would you do something totally off the wall?
I would continue to do this-I’m really kind of living a dream. I love to snowboard more than just about anything, and I’m getting paid for it. It doesn’t get much better than this. I remember reading a story in TWS years ago about how Terje Haakonsen threw a board into this icy river and kids swam after it to win it. I thought, “Wow, that would be so cool to be able to just throw a board away like that.” I guess I can do that now.

What do you do more of, contests or filming?
Oh, filming for sure. Contests are fun because you can win some quick cash and you get to see everyone, but filming is way more productive. No one really cares who wins what, but everybody is willing to talk about whether Devun Walsh or Jussi Oksanen had a better part last year.

What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done snowboarding?
That would have to be about five years ago. It was summer on the glacier at Blackcomb, and there was this big-air contest. My friend Kris Elliot had just hit the jump and did the sickest Cab spin, just like Jamie Lynn. I was like, “Damn, that was dope.” I can’t remember if I’d hit the jump yet or not, but I knew I wasn’t feeling comfortable on the in run. But I felt this pressure to beat him as I knew he was at the bottom thinking, “Ha, let’s see him top that.” We always try to one-up each other. Anyway, I went off the jump and tried to Cab nine it-I came up short like 90 degrees. I was knocked out, broke my neck, and spent days in the spinal-cord unit in Vancouver. It turned out I was okay, but what a scare. So the moral of the story is always make sure you’re comfortable with a jump before hucking-or never huck.

So I, being from a metal/rock/punk background, think your music sucks. Tell people about it. For example, your Britney Spears poster.
Laughs I didn’t put that poster up. See, I like to listen to whatever is around. Music’s not a big part of my life. I like hip-hop, but I tend to just listen to whatever’s on the radio-and sometimes that’s Britney Spears. But that’s an inside joke!

You travel a lot. Tell everyone where you’ve been.
Yeah, I’ve been to a lot of places. I’ve been to six of the seven continents, which is pretty cool. The only continent I haven’t been to is Antarctica, which is kind of ironic as it’s the one with the most snow. So yeah, I’m really lucky and I have snowboarding to thank for much of it.

What place stokes you out the most?
Hmmm, Africa. I went to South Africa for a couple of months, which was amazing. My friend and I went down and spent time just hanging out, surfing, partying, and checking out lions and elephants. It was epic.

Speaking of surfing, what was your favorite trip you took this summer?Ha, ha! Obviously the one we just took-four days of surfing and camping with the boys. It was sick, bro.

Totally unpracticed and spontaneous, say something deep and profound for everyone.
Just make sure you make the most out of every opportunity presented to you. If you meet someone and get a poor first impression, don’t turn your back on them. Take another chance to get to know them, because they could give you some insight and open up a whole new side of yourself that you never thought you had. Meeting other people and gaining their knowledge is what helps to make you a better person. Just try to absorb everything that comes your way, as knowledge is power.

Not bad, kinda carpe diem-ish-live in the now.
I guess.

Shout-outs!
God. My mom and dad, thank you-your love and support is my backbone. My sister Maija; Dano, Serfas, Kettela, Whitey, and Wright; Mark and Romey at M3; Sully, Enich, and G at Billabong; Eddie and Garret at Thirty-two/Etnies; Todd at GMC; Kristy and the girls at Whistler Physio. J.L. for the inspiration. To my friends, for the memories and lack thereof … Tim, Darren, Mike, Ghost, Rookie, Delbeck, Steve, Sansalone, Makepeace, McWatt, Sparky, Ian Bolton, and the K-town crew: Baxter, Ellio, Munt, Sambo, Wheezie, Taylor, Baz, Matsonx2, Demers, Sahota, and Mistal. And to anyone else I didn’t mention (you know who you are): I love you, too!

Name: Risto Scott
Born: Dundee, Scotland
From: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Years riding: Ten
Local mountain: Whistler, Big White
Likes: Girls, golf, my friends
Hates: Spite, revenge
Stance: Goofy
Sponsors: See interview
Worst injuries: Fractured vertebrae, torn rotator cuff
Hobbies: Spending time with my friends
Days riding in a year: 100-plus
Movie parts: Destroyer, The Revival
First snowboard: Gnu Antigravity
Favorite trick: Frontside Cab
Food: Sandwiches, lasagna
Actor: Jaime Pressly
Movie: Friday, The Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting
Music: Almost anything
Snowboarder: Jamie Lynn
always try to one-up each other. Anyway, I went off the jump and tried to Cab nine it-I came up short like 90 degrees. I was knocked out, broke my neck, and spent days in the spinal-cord unit in Vancouver. It turned out I was okay, but what a scare. So the moral of the story is always make sure you’re comfortable with a jump before hucking-or never huck.

So I, being from a metal/rock/punk background, think your music sucks. Tell people about it. For example, your Britney Spears poster.
Laughs I didn’t put that poster up. See, I like to listen to whatever is around. Music’s not a big part of my life. I like hip-hop, but I tend to just listen to whatever’s on the radio-and sometimes that’s Britney Spears. But that’s an inside joke!

You travel a lot. Tell everyone where you’ve been.
Yeah, I’ve been to a lot of places. I’ve been to six of the seven continents, which is pretty cool. The only continent I haven’t been to is Antarctica, which is kind of ironic as it’s the one with the most snow. So yeah, I’m really lucky and I have snowboarding to thank for much of it.

What place stokes you out the most?
Hmmm, Africa. I went to South Africa for a couple of months, which was amazing. My friend and I went down and spent time just hanging out, surfing, partying, and checking out lions and elephants. It was epic.

Speaking of surfing, what was your favorite trip you took this summer?Ha, ha! Obviously the one we just took-four days of surfing and camping with the boys. It was sick, bro.

Totally unpracticed and spontaneous, say something deep and profound for everyone.
Just make sure you make the most out of every opportunity presented to you. If you meet someone and get a poor first impression, don’t turn your back on them. Take another chance to get to know them, because they could give you some insight and open up a whole new side of yourself that you never thought you had. Meeting other people and gaining their knowledge is what helps to make you a better person. Just try to absorb everything that comes your way, as knowledge is power.

Not bad, kinda carpe diem-ish-live in the now.
I guess.

Shout-outs!
God. My mom and dad, thank you-your love and support is my backbone. My sister Maija; Dano, Serfas, Kettela, Whitey, and Wright; Mark and Romey at M3; Sully, Enich, and G at Billabong; Eddie and Garret at Thirty-two/Etnies; Todd at GMC; Kristy and the girls at Whistler Physio. J.L. for the inspiration. To my friends, for the memories and lack thereof … Tim, Darren, Mike, Ghost, Rookie, Delbeck, Steve, Sansalone, Makepeace, McWatt, Sparky, Ian Bolton, and the K-town crew: Baxter, Ellio, Munt, Sambo, Wheezie, Taylor, Baz, Matsonx2, Demers, Sahota, and Mistal. And to anyone else I didn’t mention (you know who you are): I love you, too!

Name: Risto Scott
Born: Dundee, Scotland
From: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Years riding: Ten
Local mountain: Whistler, Big White
Likes: Girls, golf, my friends
Hates: Spite, revenge
Stance: Goofy
Sponsors: See interview
Worst injuries: Fractured vertebrae, torn rotator cuff
Hobbies: Spending time with my friends
Days riding in a year: 100-plus
Movie parts: Destroyer, The Revival
First snowboard: Gnu Antigravity
Favorite trick: Frontside Cab
Food: Sandwiches, lasagna
Actor: Jaime Pressly
Movie: Friday, The Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting
Music: Almost anything
Snowboarder: Jamie Lynn