Sean Johnson Interview

By Who Knows

Let’s start off with Whiskey 4. Are you guys pleased with the results?

It’s the first film where I’ve actually been happy when it came out. It was a lot of work and we couldn’t have done it without Todd Bowman. I think were the first snowboard film to incorporate a storyline and pull it off without it looking like cheese-although I’m sure there are many people out there who think it’s cheese, but you can’t please everyone.

Did you guys do anything different this time in your approach to making a movie?

Fucking not filming ourselves drink.

You’ve been getting good shots in the mags and had a good part in your film. Your riding has taken a turn for the better. What brought that out?

Oh fuck, I’ve always ripped, man.

So you quit drinking?

Well, I’m trying to. I’m currently in a battle with the bottle that I’m winning, but the next time I talk to you the score may have changed.

Are you in AA?

Yeah moaning.

That’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I’m not ashamed of it at all. It’s not so much that I’m a compulsive alkie, it’s just that when I drink I’m an alkie.

That makes sense?

Well, there’re different kinds of alcoholics. I’m the kind that just shouldn’t drink at all.

Kind of like Barney on the Simpsons?

Yeah, when I drink.

What American cities have you lived in?

Reno, Lake Tahoe, Silverthorne.

Why did you go to Colorado?

Because Bert Lamar said he would pay me two-hundred bucks a month for a three-year period. I fucking thought I was rolling in the money. I was competing and stuff, and then I broke my elbow and moved back to Canada.

So you’re in school now. How is that going to help your life?

Mostly just with organization and the production companies that I’m doing. We’ve been flying by the seat of our pants, it seems like, so maybe now we’ll get some structure and organization.

Whoa! Who the hell am I talking to?

Whatever, I’m fucking 26. The party’s over. I can’t be a drunk partying snowboarder the rest of my life. You have to move on. You either keep drinking or you get your shit together. I’m one of the guys who can’t have a mellow three beers, I’ve never had three beers in my life. It’s like my throttle’s cracked after two!

What is there to look forward to then?

Moaning I don’t know. Buying a house and maybe having kids down the road. Just living a happy, sober life and not being bitter-knowing I have a little direction and a clue of where I’m gonna be in five years.

You’re gonna be so boring that nobody will want to hang out with you.

Oh, fuck, hopefully! I don’t know, it will help my snowboarding because I only have a few more years professionally, so I might as well try my hardest for them.

So you’re hungry now?

Oh, very. I don’t want to just fade away or keep lingering. I want to wake up one day and just go, “Hey, I’m done” and move on with the rest of my life.

How’s the scene in Canada these days?

It’s good. I’ve been all over the world, and I’ve realized we’ve got the best shit right here in our backyard. As far as the industry goes, the standards have gotten really high, so we’re lucky we’ve got such a good place to live. You almost can’t get away with going to a resort anymore to shoot, you’ve got to be able to ride helis and have sleds to stay on top and get the best stuff. That can get tricky because not only do you need the means to do that, you need the brains to stay alive out there in the backcountry.

You’re all set up in that department, right?

Sarcastically Yes. I have my truck and I have a sled.

And?

You want me to elaborate on that?

Hey, I’m just giving you the opportunity to brag about your rig.

Much laughter Oh, fuck, Ford F250. Screaming Fuck off! No, really I’ve got a Chevy S10 two-wheel drive and a four-sled loader.

Who’s rippin’ up there now?

Well, Duffiicy would be if he wasn’t drinkin’ so much. And I hope his dad reads this. That kid’s got so much talent, but he’s blowin’ it.

I would think it’s hard to keep that stuff under control hanging out with you.

Well whatever, you have to separate the two. You can’t keep going on being a drunk forever, and you can’t be a great snowboarder forever, but you do have to choose one or the other and stay somewhat focused.

There seem to be quite a few kids up there trying to emulate you …

Whatever. Next question.

Seriously.

It’s all an image. I’ve got this reputation of just being a drunk, eh? But the people saying that shit don’t even know me. At the same time, I don’t care. No one’s trying to emulate me. Shut up.

Do you have any advice for kids coming up?

A lot of kids coming up haven’t really had a real job before snowboarding. It’s important not to think you’re some kind of fucking rock star, because you’re not. And be careful of that because it could ruin you down the road. Just take things slow, and they rewards will come to you. It’s hard for a young person coming into the sport because some companies will want to place you on a pedestal, and some kids may not be ready for that. It can be overwhelming. I can look back and see a lot of the mistakes that I made, and then watch kids now doing the same things. It doesn’t matter how much you drink and party or how good of a guy you are, you have to focus on your riding and things will happen from that.

Name some older guys who are still ripping?

I think K.Y. Kevin Young and Morri Marc Morriset are still riding good. Ev Dog Evan Feen can still do a fuckin’ mean badger. Halopoff, too-when he’s not cuddling. Kevin Jones isn’t old, but I like his riding.

How’s being on the World team?

It’s great! We’re all getting pretty old, though laughter. As soon as we get more developed, we’ll bring in some new guys. World’s the first company I’ve ever ridden for that pays their bills on time. I would like to thank Sluggo for getting me on the team.

You don’t have the token hard-booter on the team, though.

Yeah, but Dufficy’s thinking about switching over to hard boots, so we might try to pick him up. I think B.J.’s gonna start riding them, too. I heard he’s got some deal working with Nordica.

When will you know it’s time to move on?

Like I said before, I don’t want to just linger around. I do want to keep riding and working really hard for the next couple of years. When the time to move on comes, I’ll be ready. I want to travel the world without my snowboard for once. I’ll be nice to live for myself and not have to worry about satisfying other people. Fuck, I don’t know-get a house.

That’s about it.

Call me back and get me in a different frame of mind, and I’ll let bitter Johnson come out. I would like to thank my family and all my friends for everything. Plus my sponsors and Amber.

Sounds good.

Don’t make me sound like a fucking hippie!