One of the major struggles here at the magazine last year was trying to decide which photo of Josh Dirksen hitting the June Mountain hip to use for our September-issue cover-the record-breaking 34-foot backside air? Or the twenty-plus-foot one-footer air? On the one hand, the backside air looks ridiculous, we reasoned. But the one-foot air has that whole “freak of nature” appeal. In the end, we tossed up our hands, decided to use both, and put out two different covers for that issue.
And that pretty much sums up any analyses of Dirksen’s riding-choosing between the sick and the sicker, between the bangers and the hammers. He’s a tech freestyle veteran who rides with a quiet, smooth style-and best of all, he’s a huge proponent of fun. Over the next few pages, take a look into three days of early season backcountry riding in the life of Mr. Josh Dirksen.-J.S.
How hard is it to get back in the groove of filming at the beginning of the season?
This was the first couple days of my film season, but I’d spent the beginning of my winter riding at home in Oregon at Mt. Bachelor. I think getting a lot of days riding chairlifts and taking runs helps me feel more comfortable when I show up to film-and it also makes me feel like a true snowboarder, not just a circus show for the cameras. Usually snowboard filming means riding a snowmobile to the top of a kicker, riding your snowboard straight for 50 feet, and then jumping 100 feet down. That’s definitely not your average day snowboarding, so I try to warm it up with a lot of preseason shredding.
I’d say the hardest part about filming down in Sonora or at any other popular spot is finding somewhere to jump or ride before one of the other twenty crews finds it first. The search for fun stuff to ride ends up being more difficult and more time-consuming than the actual snowboarding.
Who’s on your film crew this year, and how’s the dynamic different from last season?
I’m filming with Mack Dawg again, but a lot of riders on the MDP crew got changed up this year because of team videos and other obligations. I rode a lot with Lukas Huffman last season, which was super fun. He’s one of my favorite riders to film and shred with, but he’s off making his own video/book this year. I did go on an amazing trip to Austria with DCP, Andreas Wiig, Jussi Oksanen, and my roommate Thayne Mahler, though. That was a really smooth-running crew. My riding seems to be dependent on how much fun I am having, so by choosing the right crew, I can make my life a lot easier.
How has the world of snowboard movies changed over the past couple years?
I like that there’re more shredders shooting snowboard movies these days. It makes it harder to produce a unique video part, but it also makes all the end products even more fun to watch. Nowadays, instead of heading to a “secret spot” down in Tahoe, we travel to Russia or the middle of Canada to find our “super top-secret zone.” I think this is a change for the better and more exciting.
What music were you listening to on this trip?
I guess one album that I always listen to on road trips is Tool, Lateralus. It’s a good album to play from start to finish. There’re a lot of sweet air-drumming-on-the-steering-wheel opportunities. The rest of the time I’ll listen to Fungus 53 on the XM radio-it’s the punk-rock station. I get sick of searching for new music all the time. I leave it up to my buddies and the radio stations to find it for me.
What was making you happy this season?
I was happy to be able to ride so much at Mt. Bachelor with my friends. Pro snowboarding has given me a lot of opportunities, but I think being able to ride a lot at my home mountain is the most satisfying. It’s funny how my buddies in Bend dream of traveling for snowboarding, and I dream of being able to stay at home and ride every day.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in life so far?
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
When wwas the last time you were scared to death?
I am guessing it would be heli-skiing in Valdez. The blind rollover at the top of every heli run in Alaska usually feels like a bad idea.
What are some of your other recent obsessions besides snowboarding?
I’ve always loved surfing. With my snowboard schedule, I don’t get to go too much, but hopefully that will change in the future. It’s always fun being a beginner at a sport. With surfing, every day I go out is usually my best day ever, but with snowboarding, it’s rare that I get an all-time day, because I’ve already had so many perfect days.
Do you have a sense of the future of your snowboard career?
I plan on snowboarding forever. As far as pro snowboarding, I want to travel for a couple more years, and then I’d like to go to school so I can feel smarter. I don’t have this whole “career” thing planned out too far ahead. To tell you the truth, I thought that pro boardin’ would be done ten years ago for me. Right now I’m just enjoying whatever comes my way.
“Getting a lot of days riding chairlifts and taking runs helps me feel more comfortable when I show up to film-and it also makes me feel like a true snowboarder, not just a circus show for the cameras.”
“It’s funny how my buddies in Bend dream of traveling for snowboarding, and I dream of being able to stay at home and ride every day.”
“The blind rollover at the top of every heli run in Alaska usually feels like a bad idea.”