By Chris Coyle

I got this theory, and it goes a little somethin’ like this: There are a handful of people who make up tricks in the snowboard world, and the rest just do ‘em in their video parts the following year. Peter Line is numero uno on the list of innovators.

Let’s take a journey back through time, shall we? The year is 1993. Most of the snowboard community is draped in neon and stabbing tindys, when all of a sudden, a crew of kids from the northwest corner of the United States step on the scene—and blows the doors off everything. In the front of that pack was a crazy looking kid from Bellevue, Washington.

Over the next few years this kid would be responsible for shaping a lot of what snowboarding would become. At first, he brought a barrage of switch tricks and led snowboarding in a whole new direction (literally). Then, once everyone caught up, he unleashed the corkscrewy stuff. In the later years, when everybody thought there wasn’t much left to learn, he let loose with all the weird spin-off-your-heels type shit. You know, backside rodeos and the like. And don’t forget the buttering into jumps he did in True Life, neither.

Meanwhile, he had started a few of the biggest snowboard brands in the world (Forum and Four Square), and still somehow kept an image that never got stale. How, you might ask? Because like all the greats, Pete always stayed true to himself. It was take it or leave it—no apologies. Which is what snowboarding is really all about in the first place—doing whatever the hell you want.

Now, you can argue that snowboarding would have progressed without him—but I, for one, am damn happy he was leading the charge for the last ten years.

Thanks Pete.

Pete’s InterviewWhat gets you excited to snowboard?Riding chairlift runs—just freeriding and dorking around without having to hike much. I hate hiking, unless it’s the pipe. It’s more worth the work with as many hits as you can get. I also get excited about learning new tricks and riding weird jump-obstacle type terrain—stuff I don’t get to ride everyday.How do you feel about the lack of creativity in snowboarding lately?I think it all comes from the limitations of the sport itself. I feel like the lack is actually coming from the aging of the sport, not really from the riders so much. It’s hard to create new tricks these days.

When I started, snowboarding was still relatively new. There was still a lot to learn and work on. It kind of showed with the technology as well—the boards needed to be improved on and specialized. People were still learning about sidecut, and nose lengths were shrinking and growing. Remember short noses, so you could spin faster? My first board had the shortest nose and tail—a 145. What was that? I didn’t know how to design a board back then. I just rode what I liked and got influenced by other board designs.

It just seems like kids don’t go out looking for the “Weird jump-obstacle terrain” stuff anymore. Mostly when you film that sort of stuff, it doesn’t look as fun or as hard as it is. Sometimes the craziest shit you can ride is at your home mountain. Not crazy like you’re going to kill yourself if you come up short—but sometimes there’ll be some weird gap with a two-foot tranny landing, and if you over or undershoot it, it’s going to hurt. F—k, it could be the craziest, most tech thing ever, but it would look like shit on film. Sometimes you do find that kind of fun, weird shit that looks good in the movies, and those are the best shots. But just riding, you find it every run. Mogul gaps, tree bonks, whatever—every stupid trick is fun.

Is there anyone nowadays you see doing that kind of shreddin’?The Robot Food guys film a bunch of fun stuff, buMarc Frank Montoya always stokes me out. He did the sickest trick at the X-Games last year. He hits this long, low rail going like 50 miles per hour, does a cab boardslide or something, then halfway through this 80-foot rail, he pops out of it in a Marc Frank shifty, airs the rest of the rail and bonks it at the end. It was such a MFM trick.

You were one of the first pros to start a company while still very much in the game. Why? Basically, the opportunity presented itself, and I took it. There weren’t any companies around who I wanted to ride for, and honestly, who could afford me—so I invested in one. To help start a new company and to spearhead the team was something I thought would never happen to me. It was just a dream and an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

How are you guys doin’? There’s been a lot of rumors floatin’ around about Forum lately …

Yeah, the rumor mill has been churning. Well, with the state of the snowboard industry right now, the poor winter last year hit everyone pretty hard—us included. Our sales are still increasing, but it was the fact that a lot of shops went out of business or couldn’t pay us that hurt us the most. Unlike nearly every other board company out there, we depend on our own income to sustain our payroll and production costs. We’re not financially backed—we’re not owned by a jellybean company or someone like that. We depend on our income to pay the bills, and when we aren’t getting paid ourselves, it’s hard to cover expenses. We’re back on track now that the product is hitting the stores. But for a while, yeah, we had to hold paychecks in order to pay the factories. But it’s all good now.Speaking of jellybean companies, where do you stand on all these mega-corporations that wanted nothing to do with snowboarding ten years ago, all of a sudden jumping on the bandwagon?Mega corporations? Like Target and Taco Bell? I don’t know, it seems like they jumped into extreme sports as a whole and have lumped everything together. Rollerblading, BMX, street louge, snowboarding, what’s the difference? Whatever or whoever is more popular. They make everything look so stupid. When big corporations like that get involved, it always seems to get spoiled. Look at pop music, or the Spiderman movie. They’re crap made for the masses. That’s what they’re trying to make the “X” sports—turn them into a Vin Diesel movie. Whatever.

If I would have had it my way—yeah, there still would be an X-Games, but without all the stupid cheese. I would make them cool, have them filmed like snowboard videos, with cheerleaders, and cannons—stupid, funny shit that’s fun to watch, not just the same three runs over and over.

I tried to help with the X-Games a little while back by giving them feedback and being an interviewer, but they fired me. I was too weird. A lot of the head X-dudes are cool, though, they thought I was funny. I guess it was some super head douchebag that hated me. Whatever, dude, go be normal. That’s funny, ’cause the most frequently asked question we get down here about you is, “Is he really that weird?” So what’s up? Are you? Do you have any pet monkeys or sleep in some crazy chamber like Michael Jackson? I don’t know, am I weird? I have a stupid sense of humor. I like weird movies and drawing stupid pictures, but nothing, like, Michael Jackson weird. I just don’t like the ordinary—I get bored with it.

Ten years ago, snowboarding was something that was sort of “outlaw,” for lack of a better word. How do you feel about the shift? It was kind of the outcast or individuals that started snowboarding ten years ago. They might have been the first kid in their school to start riding. A select few always see something inspiring and don’t care that it’s not the everyday cool thing everybody is doing. Like the kid who was listening to Nirvana three years before they were cool. When I started, the culture was as much a draw as the sport was. Back then, snowboarding was relatively new—not everybody could know about it. That’s what made it more fun, it was small. I’ve seen the culture of it completely die down as its popularity grew, but I don’t completely believe that (popularity) is the reason for its (the culture’s) near demise.

Well, what is then?It’s a mix of things. The advertisements back in the day were more fun. Now, it’s just so boring. Still photo, product photo, logo, company name, done. In the beginning, companies added so much to the image of the sport. And there were a hundreds of cool little snowboard brands owned by snowboarders, run by snowboarders, with a small team of punk-rock kids who loved the company to death. They couldn’t stand up against the bargain deals the ski companies were giving the shops. I think some shops shot themselves in the foot on that one.

I don’t know, the draw of the sport in the first place was that it was small and hardcore. It was fun to be a minority on the slope, where every other boarder was your buddy. We were proud to be individual and part of a unique sport—we lived by it, from what we wore to what we listened to. It’s just different now.

Not to be a dick—but I gotta ask, doesn’t Forum sort of use that ad formula?

Whatever, dick … Nah, we’ve done everything. My ad last year was a painting of me with a bunch of crippled kids around me. We did those bug ads—the ones where we’re covered in worms, cockroaches, and spiders. What else have we done? Team advertisments to a level that snowboarding hadn’t seen. Now, all we’ve been advertising is Video Gangs, our movie. But yeah, a lot of our stuff is that formula.

I think it’s just the blatant product photos that I’m getting bummed seeing. I hate turning the page only to look at another full-page picture of a black binding. I don’t know … We’re all guilty. It’s how the product sells, I guess. That’s the reason we started Jeenyus, to have a fun company. It seems like all the fun has left snowboarding, even the Gnu ads are serious now.

It seems you’ve been a little more reclusive in the past few years—is retirement in the cards?

I don’t know, I’ve been doing this for a long time now. This is my tenth year as a pro. I still love snowboarding, but I want to step back from the pressures to perform and just enjoy it—cruise my home mountains more, and not be expected to film all season long for a video part. I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at. It was fun work, yeah, but I don’t want to get burned out on it all. I’ve made a great career out of snowboarding, one that I never would have thought could happen. Now, I just want to cruise and do something else. Who knows, I’ve taken my name off my pro model for next year. So I guess it kind of is a retirement … My body hurts.

 

(Sidebar)

Pete’s Video Parts

Originally, I wanted to give you a blow-by-blow of all Peter’s groundbreaking video parts over the years. But as the movies started rolling, one thing became vividly clear–doing Pete’s footage justice by just writing down the tricks is impossible.

Take, for example, Upping The Ante. The tricks might not look that crazy, but if you consider that in 1993 most folks were still trying to wire frontside 360s and a big jump was twenty feet, it’s amazing. Or in Decade: Sure, most pros had the frontside seven in their bag of tricks, but hardly anyone was doing them off their heay cool thing everybody is doing. Like the kid who was listening to Nirvana three years before they were cool. When I started, the culture was as much a draw as the sport was. Back then, snowboarding was relatively new—not everybody could know about it. That’s what made it more fun, it was small. I’ve seen the culture of it completely die down as its popularity grew, but I don’t completely believe that (popularity) is the reason for its (the culture’s) near demise.

Well, what is then?It’s a mix of things. The advertisements back in the day were more fun. Now, it’s just so boring. Still photo, product photo, logo, company name, done. In the beginning, companies added so much to the image of the sport. And there were a hundreds of cool little snowboard brands owned by snowboarders, run by snowboarders, with a small team of punk-rock kids who loved the company to death. They couldn’t stand up against the bargain deals the ski companies were giving the shops. I think some shops shot themselves in the foot on that one.

I don’t know, the draw of the sport in the first place was that it was small and hardcore. It was fun to be a minority on the slope, where every other boarder was your buddy. We were proud to be individual and part of a unique sport—we lived by it, from what we wore to what we listened to. It’s just different now.

Not to be a dick—but I gotta ask, doesn’t Forum sort of use that ad formula?

Whatever, dick … Nah, we’ve done everything. My ad last year was a painting of me with a bunch of crippled kids around me. We did those bug ads—the ones where we’re covered in worms, cockroaches, and spiders. What else have we done? Team advertisments to a level that snowboarding hadn’t seen. Now, all we’ve been advertising is Video Gangs, our movie. But yeah, a lot of our stuff is that formula.

I think it’s just the blatant product photos that I’m getting bummed seeing. I hate turning the page only to look at another full-page picture of a black binding. I don’t know … We’re all guilty. It’s how the product sells, I guess. That’s the reason we started Jeenyus, to have a fun company. It seems like all the fun has left snowboarding, even the Gnu ads are serious now.

It seems you’ve been a little more reclusive in the past few years—is retirement in the cards?

I don’t know, I’ve been doing this for a long time now. This is my tenth year as a pro. I still love snowboarding, but I want to step back from the pressures to perform and just enjoy it—cruise my home mountains more, and not be expected to film all season long for a video part. I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at. It was fun work, yeah, but I don’t want to get burned out on it all. I’ve made a great career out of snowboarding, one that I never would have thought could happen. Now, I just want to cruise and do something else. Who knows, I’ve taken my name off my pro model for next year. So I guess it kind of is a retirement … My body hurts.

 

(Sidebar)

Pete’s Video Parts

Originally, I wanted to give you a blow-by-blow of all Peter’s groundbreaking video parts over the years. But as the movies started rolling, one thing became vividly clear–doing Pete’s footage justice by just writing down the tricks is impossible.

Take, for example, Upping The Ante. The tricks might not look that crazy, but if you consider that in 1993 most folks were still trying to wire frontside 360s and a big jump was twenty feet, it’s amazing. Or in Decade: Sure, most pros had the frontside seven in their bag of tricks, but hardly anyone was doing them off their heels all crazy corked style like Pete. Then there’s the backside rodeo–nowadays a staple, but in 1998, mind-boggling. And a 720 backside rodeo? Yeah right. Plus, the kid can ride the pipe like no man’s breakfast. Don’t even get me started on the gianormity of the backside airs, or the fact he was doing switch tricks long before anyone else. To top it off, somehow, in every part, the fun shines through.

Back to the issue at hand–the following lists are some shots from our favorite parts, tricks that made one or all the staff go “Damn!” while watching. At the very least, I hope it makes you dust off the VCR (you know, the thing you used before DVDs came out), pop in some classic Pete, and remember why you started shredding in the first place. I know I did.

Key

FS= Frontside

BS= Backside

(O)= Bigger than Oprah

Upping The Ante–Mack Dawg Productions, 1993

BS 360 in the pipe

BS 540

BS 720

(O) Air to fakie in the pipe

Switch shifty

Switch FS 360

(O) FS 360

Melt Down ProjectMack Dawg Productions, 1995

Switch FS 540

McTwist

FS alley-oop tree bash

BS 180 method

Switch FS 360

FS alley-oop 540

Switch BS 180

(O) BS air

FS alley-oop tree bash, method out

Switch McTwist

FS 360 double grab

FS 720

Switch BS 360

FS 900

The Natas twirl

DecadeMack Dawg Produtions, 1998

BS rodeo

FS 720

Switch FS 900

A ton of crazy BS rodeo variations in the pipe

BS rodeo 720

(O) Switch method

Switch FS 540 nosegrab

Switch FS 720 on a quarterpipe

Switch BS 360

Back-to-back flippers in the pipe

Switch backflip on a hip

Switch BS 720

Air-to-fakie bystander head jib

Switch underflip

Switch FS 1080

(O) Switch FS 540

The ResistanceMack Dawg Productions, 2000

(O) BS 360 on quarterpipe

Switch BS 360

BS 360 off a sketchy quarterpipe to boardslide on mailbox six feet above

Switch BS 360 to nosestall, BS 360 out on same setup

BS 720

Switch FS 720

(O) BS air

Mute BS rodeo in the pipe

Switch BS 720, underflip in complete darkness

(O) BS 360 off a cliff

Off axis FS 360

(O) Japan to fakie in the pipe

(O) Backside air

(O) Switch BS 540

(O) Switch BS 720

r heels all crazy corked style like Pete. Then there’s the backside rodeo–nowadays a staple, but in 1998, mind-boggling. And a 720 backside rodeo? Yeah right. Plus, the kid can ride the pipe like no man’s breakfast. Don’t even get me started on the gianormity of the backside airs, or the fact he was doing switch tricks long before anyone else. To top it off, somehow, in every part, the fun shines through.

Back to the issue at hand–the following lists are some shots from our favorite parts, tricks that made one or all the staff go “Damn!” while watching. At the very least, I hope it makes you dust off the VCR (you know, the thing you used before DVDs came out), pop in some classic Pete, and remember why you started shredding in the first place. I know I did.

Key

FS= Frontside

BS= Backside

(O)= Bigger than Oprah

Upping The Ante–Mack Dawg Productions, 1993

BS 360 in the pipe

BS 540

BS 720

(O) Air to fakie in the pipe

Switch shifty

Switch FS 360

(O) FS 360

Melt Down ProjectMack Dawg Productions, 1995

Switch FS 540

McTwist

FS alley-oop tree bash

BS 180 method

Switch FS 360

FS alley-oop 540

Switch BS 180

(O) BS air

FS alley-oop tree bash, method out

Switch McTwist

FS 360 double grab

FS 720

Switch BS 360

FS 900

The Natas twirl

DecadeMack Dawg Produtions, 1998

BS rodeo

FS 720

Switch FS 900

A ton of crazy BS rodeo variations in the pipe

BS rodeo 720

(O) Switch method

Switch FS 540 nosegrab

Switch FS 720 on a quarterpipe

Switch BS 360

Back-to-back flippers in the pipe

Switch backflip on a hip

Switch BS 720

Air-to-fakie bystander head jib

Switch underflip

Switch FS 1080

(O) Switch FS 540

The ResistanceMack Dawg Productions, 2000

(O) BS 360 on quarterpipe

Switch BS 360

BS 360 off a sketchy quarterpipe to boardslide on mailbox six feet above

Switch BS 360 to nosestall, BS 360 out on same setup

BS 720

Switch FS 720

(O) BS air

Mute BS rodeo in the pipe

Switch BS 720, underflip in complete darkness

(O) BS 360 off a cliff

Off axis FS 360

(O) Japan to fakie in the pipe

(O) Backside air

(O) Switch BS 540

(O) Switch BS 720