Just a short trip over the border and you’ll find a snowboard scene different from that of the U.S., with its own teams, snowboard magazines, and pro/am riders. We were wondering if it’s easier or harder to get noticed, get flowed, and get pro in Canada. Once you get to the worldwide pro status of these guys, that’s all water under the bridge, but they’ve been there.—Annie Fast

Is it easier or harder to come up through the ranks to pro status in Canada?

Simon Chamberlain

Age: 21

Sponsors: Stepchild, DC Shoes, Nomis, Dragon, Vestal, Bear Mountain, Active, IMI

“I think climbing the sponsor ladder is the same everywhere, so really wherever you’re from, to get to pro status, it’s all about how hard you work for it. My advice would be to snowboard as much as you can until you get noticed, and then go with it and try your hardest to climb that ladder. Most of all, though, play safe and have fun. God bless.”

TJ Schneider

Age: 26

Sponsors: Capita, Sessions, Oakley, Deeluxe, Union, Defcon, Airblaster, Active, Kicker F-ker Chicken

“I think that it’s harder for the average Canadian to move up in the ranks as a pro snowboarder. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “We have too many Canadians on our team,” and then seen Canadian riders fully dropped and less-talented U.S. riders get bumped up to the pro team. Also, so often you hear, “We have too many riders in that area,” but then you see Company A with ten riders in Mammoth. For sure, there are hot spots, but personally I’ve seen some of the most talented riders come out of some of the weirdest areas like Saskatoon, Kelowna, and Calgary. It’s just too bad that a lot of those kids won’t see much more than a high five from their local rep, while the hot spot kid gets an easier ride to the top. Not that tons of these guys don’t deserve it, it’s just hard to see it happen-ya know? I guess it’s just harder to get noticed way up here in the Great White North!”

Chris Dufficy

Age: 26

Sponsors: Option, Planet Earth, IS Design, Celsius, Active, RDS, Wildcats, DVS, Whistler/Blackcomb.

“I don’t think it’s harder to get sponsored or to come up in the ranks snowboarding in Canada. Canadian team managers might look for different types of riding styles that are influenced more by the big mountains, but in the end, it’s definitely going to be an all-around rider. It really doesn’t matter where you grow up. Different surroundings bring different types of riding styles to snowboarding, and that’s what makes it awesome.

Also, a lot of Canadians are lucky enough to grow up around snow and without having to travel, which definitely makes it easier to progress-and cheaper. At the same time, the terrain can’t be accessed by foot, so sledding can get expensive. In all reality, it’s the person who wants to push themselves to become better, the person who keeps having fun whatever the conditions are, and the person who is dedicated to snowboarding who’ll make it.”

Chris Dufficy, Simone Chamberlain, TJ Schneider.

Photo: Dice-K