2008 RIDERS POLL RIDER OF THE YEAR:WOLFGANG NYVELT
INTERVIEW EXCERPTS from TransWorld Dec 2008 Issue
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Here’s some random questions pulled off the original interview tape. For the complete interview, grab the new issue on newsstands now.
… Snowboarding seems very focused on the next young kid, yet you won this award at 30 years old. What do you think about the age factor?
The bar is getting raised all the time, but snowboarding has so many different paths. There are so many ways to ride what the mountain offers to you. I guess I started snowboarding when I was 15 or 16 and started with kids who were 5 or 6 years younger than me. I just saw footage from Mark Schultz, this guy who is our guide for sledding. His kid is one-and-a-half and he has his first filmed run already. Look at Terje—he is breaking world records. How old is he? That air obviously woke people up. You have guys like Shin Campos in Whistler; maybe some guys get lost in the backcountry—you don’t see what they are doing, but it’s going on. They don’t call that guy the Wizard for no reason. You have to put in a lot of time in a place as big as Whistler to know the terrain, like that. Look at surfing, guys like Mark Occhilupo, guys like Danny Way. These guys prove you can you can step it up after 30. No problem. But the creativity, the whole movement of snowboarding depends on the youth. Its so cool now to see kids like Kevin [Pearce] and Scotty [Lago] coming up to AK—its really sick to see them ride and see the flavor they bring into snowboarding. The best heat ever this year, was watching Danny [Davis] and Kevin at the Air & Style riding together. Such good friends, throwing down back-to-back frontside 10s and then chest-bumping in the landing. It’s rad, man.
… And now kids start and get go straight to a perfect park, first day.
I’m telling the kids at home, you’ve gotta leave the park at one point. You see all those natural talents like Nicolas Müller and Freddi Kalbermatten and Gigi—they all started in parks, not well maintained ones, but then they left. Some Whistler crews and crews in the Northwest, Mount Baker kids, some of them still don’t give a shit about the parks! It’s just different skills. Like, to ride as good as Temple [Cummins], how old is he? Kids would need to train their whole life and would be lucky to ever reach that level of board control. With jibbing coming back and the whole progression thing— it’s not pushing something out of the sport, its actually adding more to the sport. It’s all just creating more paths for everybody to go on. I rode with BJ [Leines] for the first time, he was a big-time hero for me and the crew—you know him from the Forum movies. To see him ride ride, I think he is a year older than me, and he blows my mind, and Terje. Its important for the kids to know, to know that you have to take care of yourself, eat good, take care of your body—especially your knees, and you can shred a long time.
Is that how you’ve stayed healthy?
When you’re young, you’re just drinkin’, smoking cigs. At one point I started traveling and eating fast food—especially when I came over here to North America, and then thought, I gotta change something and that is when I started to become a vegetarian—been a veggie for like 8 or 9 years. I didn’t really start it with any belief, you know? I think it just has so many positive effects if you think about it after. But at first I just thought it was a healthier way to be and it just cut out all the fast food for me. That’s when I started being more conscious. When I first became a vegetarian, I had some people around me who were totally poison-free, who were just kind of an inspiration—they showed me some books … there are lots of different strategies, but what’s important is being conscious about your body and finding out what’s best for you. Not to sound too proud about it, but these days with so many people living on the world, vegetarians can feel good about this choice. The stuff going on with genetics is scary— if you see some movies like We Feed The World and Our Daily Bread and see whats really going on with companies like Monsanto, who are seeking patents on genetics—there must be some natural things that are better for us. The best advice is maybe local food and organics.
… It seems like among riders, the most popular contests right now are events like the Arctic Challenge, this Natural Selection. Contests organized by the riders themselves.
The rider driven contests just have that personal touch to them, where you feel like its real. If there’s a riders meeting and Travis jumps in, and asks, “How do you guys feel about that?” and he sees some faces that don’t look stoked, he’s like “lets solve this problem. In these types of events, you feel taken care of.
… And what about mountains you haven’t ridden yet—where do you still need to go?
Well, one place I really want to go is like Kyrgistan and Uzbekistan. Maybe go for fun to India, shred one day in the Himalayas. But the last frontier will always be Alaska. Even though I’ve been there so many times, there are so many mountains still to explore. That’s always a big goal—hoping for a good winter.
See Wolle’s full part in the new Absinthe release Ready. http://www.absinthe-films.com/