Just getting invited to the Arctic Challenge says a lot about a snowboarder. If Terje’s backing you … but to win the event says it all. Kevin Pearce is on his way-he killed it at a number of seriously stacked contests last season with wins at the Nippon Open Slopestyle, the Toyota Big Air, and he took fourth place overall on the TTR world tour. And while his resume’ might lead some to believe Pearce is driven by a desire to win, he’ll be the first to tell you that snowboarding always has been and will be something he does for fun. “Growing up, I never took it too seriously, and that’s why I loved it so much,” says Pearce. “My parents never put any pressure on us to go and do contest or win anything, we’d just do it ’cause we loved it and that’s what I think it’s all about.” -L.G.

Birthdate: 11/01/1987

Hometown: Norwich, Vermont

Sponsors: Burton, Volcom, Oakley, Adio, Go211.com, Frends.

How did you make it to where you are now?
I started off riding with my brothers and uncles when I was five but didn’t do my first contest until I was fourteen. Then I started doing the USASA contests and kind of came up through that and then did some of the Grand Prix contests and just went from there.

What do you think you’d be doing if you didn’t get into snowboarding?
I think I’d probably be at University of Vermont. I applied there two years ago not knowing what was going to happen with snowboarding and kind of had that as my default. So I guess if I didn’t have snowboarding, I’d be in college, which would suck!

Who are your influences?
My main influence growing up was definitely Terje. He was the guy my brother and I always looked up to. Subjekt Haakonsen was always our favorite movie. And then in the last couple of years Travis Rice has influenced me a lot. But now, I’d say Mason (Aguirre), Danny (Davis), Jack (Mitrani), and Scotty (Lago) are my biggest influences. Those are the guys that push me the most when I’m riding these days.

What scares you?

Getting injured is what scares me the most. But you kind of just have to deal with; it just comes with the sport. I just try not to live in too much fear. I try not to think about my fears too much, because if you worry about them, things will just turn out bad.

What’s more important-contests or filming?
In the past, contests were more important to me, because that was just my way of coming up and getting known in snowboarding. But now I think it’s changing for me, now that I’ve done well in a couple contests I really want to focus on getting a good video part. So hopefully over that next couple of years I’ll get to focus a lot more on that and put a lot of my energy into making movies.

What direction do you thing snowboarding is headed in?
I think it’s definitely headed more toward a contest scene just because of TV and that’s how the mainstream is getting into it. In a way I think it’s good, but in another way I think it sucks because it kind of takes away from the sport. Snowboarding isn’t all about just beating other people, it’s about going out there with your friends and having fun, so I hope that kids can just realize what snowboarding was and is all about.

What has snowboarding taught you?
It’s taught me a lot of different things, from the traveling to learning about the mountains to dealing with pressures, there are so many different things you can learn from snowboarding. It definitely teaches you a lot of life lessons and matures you at a young age. Most people my age are in a dorm partying, but what I’m doing is a job, so it makes you to grow up a little faster.

What is the job part of your job?
There’s a lot required, especially with Burton, we have to go to a lot of round tables and give a lot of input and sometimes that just feels kind of like a job, because it’s not just snowboarding. I think it’s really important to give good input, because that’s what makes the brand what it is. So for me that sometimes feels like a job, but really that’s the least of my worries right now. Life’s pretty good.

What’s next for you in snowboarding?
What’s next for me is showing people that I’m not only focused on contests. And I think some people saw that with my part in Mack Dawg’s Picture This. I’d really like to explore more in the backcountry and next year I definitely want to take it to the next level and get some good backcountry shots and start moving that direction.