Riders to Watch

Danimals (Dan Liedahl) 

Birth Date:January 27, 1991
Home:Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Sponsors:Cal Surf, Gnarly, Ashbury, Signal, Quiksliver, 1817, Hobo, Make
Video: Videograss The Darkside
Interviewed by Hondo

You may have never heard of Danimals. That’s fine, but you will after this. With his effortless style and unique trick selection, we have a feeling everyone will be seeing a lot more of him. —Hondo

A back tail through a kink is a trick people dream of doing. Well if that’s the case then Danimals lives in people’s dreams… weird. Helsinki, Finland. PHOTO: Pasi Salmenin PORTRAIT: Mark Welsh

Are you able to make a living off of snowboarding, or do you have to work a second job? 

I work a second job at a bike shop. During the summers it’s a bike shop, and during the winter it’s a ski and snowboard shop. In the summer I fix bikes and tune them and build them. In the winter I tune skis and snowboards all day—you know, wax them and stuff. But I haven’t really been working too much in the winters, it’s been mostly summers lately.

What’s it like having all these influential people calling you the next big thing? Do you ever feel like there’s too much pressure? 

No, I don’t think about it like that. It’s mellow. I ride with all my friends, hang out, and just don’t think about it. Honestly, I don’t hear that much stuff about myself since I don’t really own a computer. I have a computer, but it’s so slow and I can’t watch videos on it or anything. I rarely go on the computer, like it’s pretty much when I’m at a friend’s house and we’re not doing anything. So it’s really once every two weeks when I’m on a computer and checking my e-mail.

How did you end up filming for Videograss? 

I don’t know really, I guess I just have a bunch of friends that ride for VG and I met Justin [Meyer] from going up to Bear and riding with Jonas [Michilot] and Jake [Olson-Elm], and Joe [Sexton]. I also met Lance and Mike [Hakker] from Ashbury there. Also a good friend of mine is a filmer for VG, Riley Erickson, and it all just kind of worked itself together somehow.

What is it about Minnesota that keeps people there? It seems like that state creates some pretty sick snowboarders. 

I think it’s just because everyone lives close by. Like I go to Highland Hills every day, and a lot of my friends go to Highland every day. I never have to call anyone or anything, I can just go there and everyone’s there. In the winter it’s awesome because you just know you’re going to run into someone wherever you’re going. Hitting rails there is awesome, too. We get a lot of snow, we just don’t have mountains. But it’s still super fun to be there. Highland, Trollhaugen, Buck Hill, Wild Mountain—every place is similar. I can wake up, eat a little bit, go to Highland, grab lunch. It takes me maybe 10 minutes to get to Highland from my house, go hit a spot, go back to Highland. I don’t know, it’s just awesome. It’s real easy.

Now that you’re on Quiksilver, do you think you would go on a heli trip to Alaska with Travis Rice?             [Laughs] I’d like to. I think that would be sweet. He’s a pretty wild dude. He just runs off adrenaline. But I think it would be sweet to do that.

What do you think about contest snowboarding? Or kids who go to snowboard academies? 

I don’t know, I guess I think about it. Like back home we have this thing called G-Team. There’s a ton of G-Team kids at Highland, and it’s the same thing like a school—they learn new things and do contests. I guess that’s kind of cool if that’s what they’re into. It kind of goes both ways, like there’s contest kids and there’s kids that don’t do contests, and there’s always going to be the little turd contest kids running around that don’t have their head straight. But there are also awesome contest kids, too. It’s the same way with kids who film parts: there are little turd munchkin kids, and there’s cool-as-hell kids. It’s really all about how they look at it.

What do think the biggest problem in snowboarding is right now? 

Kids just need to be into more cool shit. It’s hard to explain, ’cause I don’t think about that that much. I just have fun and ride with my friends, and I don’t really worry about anything. I think a lot of kids are just so focused on trying to get sponsors and get free stuff, and that’s not really what it’s about. You’re just riding with your friends for fun, and it will just happen. If you get a sponsor, or get hooked up, it will just happen. It’s nothing to try and push and do all this stuff. It might help, but kids’ priorities just seem a little backwards.

What’s one thing every snowboarder should do? 

Every snowboarder should go somewhere with a towrope, snake some kids, get snaked, and not get mad about it.

Continue to next page to read the interview with Frank April…