Do you attribute any of your focus today to your training back when you were racing, and Jerry Masterpool was your coach?
Yeah, I think especially early on, the whole process of racing. Jerry would always say, ‘if you’re not totally focused, don’t take the run. Either 100 percent or go in the lodge.’ So, now I’ve been able to take the ten focused race runs in a day under total focus, and simplify it and not over think stuff, and with freeriding, I do that a lot. Especially up here, there is a lot on your mind, but when you drop in I really try and simplify it. If something goes wrong, then you can focus on those couple things that you’ve kept up front, and you let the things in the back of your mind drift away… I’m usually only concentrating on a couple of cruxes…
Rossignol has supported you for a long time, eh? Care to throw down some props?
I’ve been with Rossi for 11 years, they’ve supported me through racing, when racing wasn’t too cool. Now they follow through with my freeriding career. They give me a lot of freedom. I only have to do a couple of mandatory shoots a year, and other than that I plan the rest of my trips, and they don’t ask any questions. They really let me do what I want. They have a lot of faith that I’ll get the job done. I was in a position with them and racing that a lot of racers didn’t get to experience. A couple years before the Olympics, I told them I was thinking of quitting the circuit. They said they’d support my decision either way. Then, I started to go to Alaska without any filming experience or big mountain experience and they paid my way, kinda supported my education up here in Alaska. So, yeah, I’m really happy with Rossignol’s support. Not too many companies would have seen through a racer and then into the freeriding…
Jackson Hole? You told me once about the zones you’ve found for powder and just what it’s like getting to know a mountain, especially when you’re so accustomed to riding at weird new places.
I’ve enjoyed the last two years living in Jackson and being able to really study a mountain and get lines dialed, so when it does snow, you know where everything is and you can charge lines like never before. Usually I’m out charging stuff for the first time. There’s nothing like a powder day, coming into a line with some airs underneath you and the top turns are bottomless, so you know the airs will be perfect. So you’re hitting them as fast as you can without even thinking about the landings. That type of going off is rare for me, and when it happens, I know why it is I’ve dedicated my life to snowboarding… It’s been a blast for me to go through all my lines effortlessly, just riding, brainlessly charging… Also with the boundaries open at Jackson now, to lines that I used to look at all the time. Now, they will open up. I mean, Jackson is a big enough area where… Well in the past, there was only like two weeks a year where you could go out of bounds legit, and now the boundaries are open. So on any day, we can go out on a three foot powder day and hit faces that we could only hit when they were spring like with corn snow. So we’re riding these high alpine faces with perfect conditions. It has made Jackson that much more better. It’s the perfect training ground. In one day, I can hit so many lines and so many faces… It’s kinda like all these little mini simulators where I just push a button and I’m in the middle of a new level of a game with the mountain. And then, the hiking aspect too. I’ve had a lot of days that I’ve spent five or six hours hiking with one or two runs, but really, really enjoying the long walk and tting stuff I’ve been looking at for years. Just taking the time to get there, and even if it is one or two lines, it’s super quality. And a nice change.
Any local vibes in Jackson? Some people have been there for years and you’re a newcomer.
It’s so far from any localism vibe. There are so few snowboarders in Jackson. If somebody moves there, then the riders are just stoked to have another rider to ride with. It’s pretty isolated, right. I mean really, I think we could use more snowboarders there. Outside of the powder issue, there are all these great places to build jumps. You know, Lance Pittman can only build so many jumps by himself. It’s like, I ride with so few snowboarders because the riders who do make Jackson their home are so good and it’s so big. You don’t hook up with each other too often. Sometimes I’ll just see a track rolling off some cliff, or into some line and I’ll try and guess who it might have been who beat me there.
Filming and working with your brothers.
It’s been good because I’ve spent so much time in the mountains with them, they know what kind of lines I like, they can talk me into stuff really well. I feel very comfortable with them, they know how to move about the mountain, I never have to worry about their safety in the mountains which is sometimes an issue with other filmers. As far as rescues and stuff, they are way on top of that. They were both mountain guides here in AK, we just did a transceiver search with like five guides. They all had Trackers and my brother had a normal Pieps and he smoked them all, hands down. Stuff like that. They are so on it, and I really feel a lot of trust and a lot of fun. It’s a blast being out there, and being in the heli. We’ve been to incredible places. I’ve spent incredible days in new areas just laughing at how ridiculous the terrain and the beauty is. It’s something a lot of brothers can’t share. I feel really fortunate.
Anybody who really keeps you pumped about snowboarding for yourself and just because you love it.
For sure, Tom Burt, Craig Kelly, Jim Zellers, Steve Klassen, I can relate to those guys a lot and have a lot of respect for them in the sense that they’re snowboarders. They love being in the mountains and they’re going to continue to be in the mountains whether they get paid to or not and it’s just a part of their life. And they develop as riders every year. I was blown away riding with Craig, and all those guys. Every time I ride with those guys, or see them on film, or hear a story about something they’ve done, I mean their game is just getting better and better. With knowledge, and style, and line selection. It really is just a pleasure to watch. Very inspirational.
How about the rock stars, not to generalize, but often with a more freestyle background who cant be bothered. Sometimes, they’re just over it? Yet they’re getting big salaries to ride.
Luckily I’m removed from that. Everybody that I am around is doing it because it is in our blood. We have to be doing this or else we’re freaking out. But it is weird, and I have seen it every once in a while. I just think it’s kids growing up and figuring it out. It’s weird to me because I fell in love with snowboarding long before people were making money doing it and now I think some kids get into it because they want to be rich and famous. It’s a different upbringing within the snowboarding community. I mean especially people like Craig and Tom… I mean the thought of making a living was unheard of. And that has changed the sport a bit, but it has pushed it. It is amazing in the freestyle aspect, it never ceases to blow me away.
Future goals? Aspiration? You’re firmly entrenched in your career. That isn’t changing anytime soon I would guess?
With me, I’m wrapped up in what I’m doing snowboarding wise. I have a lot I want to do with my riding. Getting more diverse with my riding, and really pushing my freeriding. The progression. With racing, I kinda flattened out. I would progress, but it was in micro seconds, I can actually feel the progression every year.ould progress, but it was in micro seconds, I can actually feel the progression every year.