Scotty Lago
Front And Sender
Interview And Portraits By Kurt Hoy

It’s an hour after dark when the sound of a four-stroke quad thumps up the tree-lined drive to number one Blacksnake Road. Scotty Lago walks through the door of his grandparents’ house wearing knee-high Northerners and camouflage coveralls-unzipped, the arms tied around his waist.
Late September is bow season in southern New Hampshire, and Lago is consumed with hunting. He leaves the house each day before five and spends the morning in his tree stand-a small platform wedged between the branches of a hemlock, fifteen feet above the ground and just big enough for his size-eleven feet. A Hoyt Supertech in hand, Lago holds statue still for hours at a time, just as he’s done since he was ten years old. He is strategic, methodical, and disciplined. He’s also a natural.
“Hey, Papa,” he greets his grandpa, one hand already on the refrigerator. He continues to dig as his dad and younger brother show up. Over reheated chicken cacciatore, the Scotty Lago story unfolds.

(koop/can we start this on the second page?)

Scotty Lago became a snowboarder on the day after Christmas 1995, when his grandfather bought him a 125-centimeter Nidecker-the smallest board for sale in nearby Portsmouth.
Twelve years later, at nineteen, Lago knows every curve in the road to professional snowboarding. He and his dad slept in their car at the 2002 Mammoth Grand Prix, and couch surfing has become a way of life.
Sponsorships, contests, injuries … school-these are the universal themes of snowboarding’s “childhood stars.” They are familiar subjects, but Lago’s is a one-of-a-kind approach: partly joking, half serious, and all-in. He’s front and sender.


General Info
Birth date: 11/12/1987
Age: 19.
Height: 6’1″.
Weight: 160 pounds.
Stance: Goofy, 25 inches, fifteen degrees front/negative-nine- degrees back.
Setup: Flow Scotty Lago pro-model board, Flow Assault boots, Flow NXT bindings.
Hometown: “The Brook,” Seabrook, New Hampshire
Sponsors: Flow, Billabong, Smith, Grenade, and Saucony.
Results: Best Trick, quarterpipe and slopestyle, ASJ 2007; First, 2007 New Zealand Open quarterpipe; Second, 2007 New Zealand Open halfpipe; Best Trick, 2007 NZ Open quarterpipe and halfpipe.
Video Part: Mongo Productions, The Constant Struggle (2007).

State your reason for shredding:
I feel like God had and has a plan for me in snowboarding, I think I was meant to be a snowboarder.

It’s easy to pick things up when you’re a kid. Does that ever change?

I’ve grown since I was a little kid. When I started riding, I was four-foot something. Now I’m six foot one. There were a few years when I felt kind of awkward, adjusting to my body and trying to learn new tricks and save the tricks I already had. Once I stop growing, I think I’ll become a more consistent rider.

How does a kid-who started riding when he was seven-get to where you are? You didn’t do it alone, did you?

If it weren’t for my family, I wouldn’t have been able to snowboard at all. They took me to all the contests. They supported me in my decisions-like when I told them that I wasn’t into school. They kind of had to trust me on that one. My dad’s always had a lot of faith in me.

Any pressure to pay your dad back for all the gas and hotels-everything he did for you?

No, not really, we sometimes joke about it. My dad’s like, “You better get me a new truck or something cool for my birthday, because I took you up to the mountains for years, son.” (Laughs). The only pressure I feel is from myself.

Your last year in school was the eighth grade. What has snowboarding taught you that you wouldn’t have learned at Seabrook High?

A lot about life-life lessons. You know, this is life. A lot of kids are in school, not really thinking about the future, but I just got thrown into it. This is the real deal-it’s ke or break.

What if you didn’t make it, or don’t? What are the consequences?

If I didn’t make it, I’d be a dropout-like a legit dropout. Who knows where I’d be.

A lot of parents have nightmares about their kids leaving school behind to pursue snowboarding. How did that go down?

After the 1999 USASA Nationals in Telluride, I got a sponsorship with Billabong. At that point I was still in school, but I was thinking about going pro, or at least doing well in snowboarding. I was missing a lot of school; my report card listed almost a month of absences. It was a record for my school, and the teachers weren’t having it. I had to make a decision: either go after snowboarding half-assed or try to be a pro. That was my turning point.

Billabong’s been behind you ever since, and you also ride for Flow and Smith. But the word is out-agents and team managers from heavy companies are calling you up. At some point, will your opportunities outweigh your loyalties?

To be honest, I don’t really know. It’s something I’m dealing with now. If a sponsor is holding you back in your progression or your career, that makes it time to move on. But if not and you’re totally set with it, then there’s no reason to jump ship. That’s how I feel.

Does the brand make the rider, or does the rider make the brand? Does it matter?

It depends on the brand. In the case of Flow, I feel like Antti, Risto, Mikka, and I seriously helped legitimize the brand. It matters, for sure if someone is out there selling himself as someone he’s not, that’s wack. I think everyone would agree with that. That kind of ties into the video-part thing-riders can get away with an image.

Do contests give a rider more credibility?

A lot of people will hate on this, but I think so. It’s like you get to see somebody ride in person and see what they’re about. Not to take any credit away from some of the film-part kids, but I’ve seen a couple of banger video parts, and then I’ve seen the same guys ride in person, and I’m all, “What?” But honestly, the reason I do contests nowadays is to make some money.

Because you also want to get a full-on video part, right?

It would be a battle against contests and filming. Out of all the companies, I’d want to be involved with Travis Rice and that crew, hands down. I would drop a lot of contests to film with those guys. They’ve got the sickest program.

But it’s not that easy. You’d have to ride for at least one of the companies that Travis rides for-a company that’s involved in producing the movie.

Yeah, I can’t film with them because of sponsors. Sponsors have to pay for you to be in a snowboard movie. It’s the people who are throwing down the money who get to decide which riders get a chance. It kind of sucks that it’s like that. I think it’s a lot of bullshit. Movies would be a lot sicker if they had the riders they wanted-like casting a real movie. It just doesn’t make sense-the way the whole deal goes down.

Do you learn things more easily than other people do?

Yeah, I pick things up a little bit easier. Once I start something, I have a one-track mind. That’s all I think about. I had such a passion for snowboarding-I loved it-and that helped me to pick it up and learn it fast. I’m always doing it and I’m always thinking about it.

Are there things you don’t learn as easily as other people do?

I’m an outdoors person, you know? I’m definitely not a person to be stuck inside, sitting around doing paperwork. All the schoolwork, you know, I could do it, but I just wasn’t into it and I didn’t try that hard.

You’ve been traveling to shred since you were nine. Are there any drawbacks to the dream?

It might not seem like a lot to someone else, but I’ve given up spending time with friends-all my homeys back in Seabrook. I’ve lost contact with a lot of my friends because I’ve been gone for so long, always out West, you know? I miss my friends and, actually, I never got to go to prom. It’s not a big deal, but everyone talks about it when they get older.

Seabrookers have a language of their own-take a second to give your bros a nod.

Ike booooyyy, to ull the bubbas out thea, like give a shout out to TS-Team Seabrook; all the clam diggas out thea, keep diggin’, boy; South Main, the heart of the ghetto. Some hum dingas down the track, bub, won twenty bucks yesteday. There you go, boy Tilly, Silva, Duggan, Dube, my boy Loyd-rest in peace.

Everyone who knows you says how funny you are. Is everything a joke?

I’m a weirdo. I’m pretty sarcastic. I was always the class clown in school. My goals are serious, but I go about them in a joking way. I take a step back, look at what I want to accomplish, and do it in the most fun way.

Contests got you noticed and landed you a spot on the U.S. Team. The benefits and the support are clear: the Team produces results. Are there disadvantages to the U.S. Team deal?

The cons are the bigger organization-like the U.S. Ski Team has its say in everything. That, and being labeled a pipe jock. That’s not the kind of rider I am. I like to shred everything from handrails, to backcountry, to park jumps.

Why aren’t well-rounded riders more common?
There are a lot of good all-around riders: Travis Rice and
Danny Kass, just to name a couple. I don’t know why some people choose just one thing. I like to do everything, you know? I look up to riders that are well rounded.

Any tips for other riders to get rounded out?
A lot of it comes from a background of riding whatever you have in front of you. Shred everything.

What’s the best advice a coach has given you?

The best piece of advice for a contest is to have fun with it. I know it’s the simplest advice, but it took me so long to figure out. I ride best when I’m having fun. If I think about what I’m doing too much-dwell on it-I’ll choke. It’s a learning process-relax, be myself, and take it like it’s another day.

At this point, where do contests fit in?

You go to a contest hoping to do well, and if you don’t do well, it’s kind of a waste of time. I’d rather be filming and shooting photos, without question. But contests are what I grew up doing, and I’m going to stick with them, for sure.

(check facts on this)
You set a record at X Games last season, didn’t you?

Oh jeez, I think I set a new world record for the worst X Games performance in history. I got last place in halfpipe and in slopestyle. I’m pretty pumped about that. That was a big accomplishment, for sure.

How many days a season do you dedicate to training, like practicing for contests?

That’s an issue I’m addressing right now. Last year I didn’t have enough time to ride for myself and to get better. I was going from contest to contest and trying to film in between. I look back on the days when we were chillin’ in Mammoth-me, Mason, and the Frends crew. We’d all get up at the same time, cruise to the mountain, and have such a good time riding together-learnin’ new stuff. That’s the best part of snowboarding-just riding with friends.

Are you lucky?

I would never say I’m not lucky, but I wouldn’t exactly use the word “luck.” That kind of gets to me. Whatever I’ve done, whatever I’ve accomplished, I’ve worked really hard at. I’ve put my mind to it and I’ve done it.

You believe that if you can envision something in your head, that you can do it. What do you see?

I’m going to try out for the Olympic team in 2010. I’ll still compete, but I want to get a movie part with a serious production company. That’s definitely a goal of mine. I can see myself hitting bigger jumps and some gnarly backcountry stuff. I feel like the limits of snowboarding haven’t been reached at all. I want to be one of the guys doing next level shit, that’s all.



Seabrookers have a language of their own-take a second to give your bros a nod.

Ike booooyyy, to ull the bubbas out thea, like give a shout out to TS-Team Seabrook; all the clam diggas out thea, keep diggin’, boy; South Main, the heart of the ghetto. Some hum dingas down the track, bub, won twenty bucks yesteday. There you go, boy Tilly, Silva, Duggan, Dube, my boy Loyd-rest in peace.

Everyone who knows you says how funny you are. Is everything a joke?

I’m a weirdo. I’m pretty sarcastic. I was always the class clown in school. My goals are serious, but I go about them in a joking way. I take a step back, look at what I want to accomplish, and do it in the most fun way.

Contests got you noticed and landed you a spot on the U.S. Team. The benefits and the support are clear: the Team produces results. Are there disadvantages to the U.S. Team deal?

The cons are the bigger organization-like the U.S. Ski Team has its say in everything. That, and being labeled a pipe jock. That’s not the kind of rider I am. I like to shred everything from handrails, to backcountry, to park jumps.

Why aren’t well-rounded riders more common?
There are a lot of good all-around riders: Travis Rice and
Danny Kass, just to name a couple. I don’t know why some people choose just one thing. I like to do everything, you know? I look up to riders that are well rounded.

Any tips for other riders to get rounded out?
A lot of it comes from a background of riding whatever you have in front of you. Shred everything.

What’s the best advice a coach has given you?

The best piece of advice for a contest is to have fun with it. I know it’s the simplest advice, but it took me so long to figure out. I ride best when I’m having fun. If I think about what I’m doing too much-dwell on it-I’ll choke. It’s a learning process-relax, be myself, and take it like it’s another day.

At this point, where do contests fit in?

You go to a contest hoping to do well, and if you don’t do well, it’s kind of a waste of time. I’d rather be filming and shooting photos, without question. But contests are what I grew up doing, and I’m going to stick with them, for sure.

(check facts on this)
You set a record at X Games last season, didn’t you?

Oh jeez, I think I set a new world record for the worst X Games performance in history. I got last place in halfpipe and in slopestyle. I’m pretty pumped about that. That was a big accomplishment, for sure.

How many days a season do you dedicate to training, like practicing for contests?

That’s an issue I’m addressing right now. Last year I didn’t have enough time to ride for myself and to get better. I was going from contest to contest and trying to film in between. I look back on the days when we were chillin’ in Mammoth-me, Mason, and the Frends crew. We’d all get up at the same time, cruise to the mountain, and have such a good time riding together-learnin’ new stuff. That’s the best part of snowboarding-just riding with friends.

Are you lucky?

I would never say I’m not lucky, but I wouldn’t exactly use the word “luck.” That kind of gets to me. Whatever I’ve done, whatever I’ve accomplished, I’ve worked really hard at. I’ve put my mind to it and I’ve done it.

You believe that if you can envision something in your head, that you can do it. What do you see?

I’m going to try out for the Olympic team in 2010. I’ll still compete, but I want to get a movie part with a serious production company. That’s definitely a goal of mine. I can see myself hitting bigger jumps and some gnarly backcountry stuff. I feel like the limits of snowboarding haven’t been reached at all. I want to be one of the guys doing next level shit, that’s all.








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