SLC Punks

by Andy Wright

Inspired as a deliberate reaction to the boring music scene and stagnant society of the late 70s, punk rock offered the world an alternative to mass conformity. And while the musical form and fashion trends behind this movement have long dominated the headlines, the subculture is about more than Mohawks, safety pins, and three-chord riffs. By illustrating that anyone can do it themselves, the punk-rock attitude has empowered several generations of snowboarders to follow their dreams.Against the backdrop of Salt Lake, the world’s most prolific snowboarding city, a new crop of up-and-coming riders have taken the punk inspiration and begun to make their mark. But they invested plenty of years paying dues for nothing more than the gain of personal satisfaction.

With Salt Lake’s abundance of urban options, a lot of time was spent taking it to the streets. Make no mistake, though-this crew’s skills are far beyond the school yards and shopping centers. All possess a full range of talents that shine in any terrain. But the cityscape is where their teeth were cut and where individuality has best been expressed. Welcome to the world of the SLC punks, where it’s not about being a punk, but embracing the attitude that spawned a revolution.

Name: Andrew Forgash
Age: 21
Pre-Salt Lake hometown: Ithaca, New York
Sponsors: Nitro, DC, Blindside

What brought you to Salt Lake City?
After high school, me and my friends Cris and Matt moved here to snowboard. We all worked in the Brighton rental shop-that was a nightmare.

Why is urban snowboarding so big in Salt Lake?
It’s just easier than going to the hill. It only snows in town four or five times during the winter anyway, so people just take advantage of it all at once, you know?
Plus, where I live, I can just strap in my front foot and push down the street to all the hot spots. That’s what everyone here does-push around town in a big posse. Not to mention (Kevin) Zacher and A. Wright can just sit in their cars where it’s warm and shoot (laugh).

Do you consider yourself amateur or pro?
Well, let’s see-I don’t have a laptop, I’ve never had to go to Japan, I don’t have one of those real small Nokia cell phones or a snowmobile, and I don’t drive an Audi. Jordils and the Nutz have Audis, though. Oh, and I don’t make any money.

What are some of the things you do for money in Salt Lake?
Lately not much, just selling clothes at thrift stores and stuff like that. But yesterday, I woke up early and went down to this temp agency-that’s where you do crappy labor but get like ten bucks an hour, and you get paid that day. I was the only one under 35 with all of my teeth. Other than that, just little jobs here and there. I did get in the bad habit of borrowing money. That’s a mistake-I owe my girlfriend like 600 bucks. Never start borrowing money.

What are some of the struggles in snowboarding right now?
Dealing with people is the hardest for me. Some of the guys who have a say in snowboarding are just f-king kooks, man. Hearing the shit that comes out of their mouth is a struggle, for sure.

Name: Seth Huot
Age: Never
Pre-Salt Lake hometown: EverywherevSponsors: CAPiTA, Volcom, APX, Dragon, Subject:, Milo, Bakoda, Nixon, TechNine

Where do you spend more time snowboarding, around the city or in the mountains?
This year for me was all about the city. We had tons of snow in the town all season.

Do you feel pressure to produce a video part or get photos?
Pressure from myself. I don’t stress, but it lets me reflect on what I am doing with my life at the moment when I see my part or a photo in a mag.

What are some other things you do for money in Salt Lake?
I’ve had gnarly jobs-mostly construction and stuff. Manual labor pays the best. One time I tried to work a graveyard shift at Fuji, processing photos. I lasted two weeks before I wentuts. The smell of the chemicals and being up all night-not to mention the weirdos who worked there. Vampires come out of the woodwork to for those jobs.

Is it intimidating to ride alongside pros you once looked up to?
Yeah, especially when you’re not feeling it and Mikey does some gnarly handrail first try, or Marco is throwing every trick forward and switch off a huge gap or something.

Does snowboarding in Salt Lake have an influence on the rest of the world?
A lot of talent comes from here, and there’s so much to offer, as well. The coolest thing is going to the “rail garden” where ten pros are sessioning, and out of nowhere some random kid drops in and does the sickest 270 or something, and everyone’s like, “What?
Where did that come from?

Has snowboarding become stagnant?
Not at all. I hear Devun Walsh is spinning 55-foot cliffs or better. Snowboarding is only on its way up.

Is doing your own thing a conscious part of your approach to riding?
Yes and no. I like to try to do things nobody has done before, then at the same time, I might see somebody do a trick and I’ll get stoked and want to do that trick all day long.

Name: Nate Bozung
Age: 20
Pre-Salt Lake hometown: Whittier, California
Sponsors: Electric, MiloSport, Nixon, Neff

Where do you spend more time snowboarding, around the city or in the mountains?
About the same. More rails in the beginning of the year, then it’s usually the mountains, then hit up some more rails.

Do you feel pressure to produce a video part and or get photos?
I did … but whatever.

What’s in your current musical rotation?
A lot of rap, some G N’ R-just whatever I’m in the mood for.

Who are the up-and-coming riders you see as tomorrow’s hotshots?
Stimpy and Homewreck.

Has snowboarding become stagnant?
I don’t even know what stagnant means. Sorry, I cheated a lot in school.

Is doing your own thing a conscious part of your approach to riding?
Yeah, you gotta do your own thing.

What does “selling out” mean to you?
More money.

Which is more important, where you are or how you got there?
I’m psyched where I’m at, and I do feel lucky to be here.

Name: Micah McGinnity
Age: 23
Pre-Salt Lake hometown: Circle Pines, Minnesota
Sponsors: M3, Volcom, Osiris, Spy, Hansen’s, Celtek, Cal Surf

Is it intimidating to ride alongside pros you once looked up to?
It’s mostly super fun, but once in a while it gets intimidating, and I have to try and step it up to show them that I can chill.

Is there anywhere else you’d like to live while pursuing snowboarding on this level?
I love it here in Salt Lake City. If I could live anywhere else, I’d check out Tahoe, maybe. But for now, I like it here.

What inspires you to progress?
My parents definitely, and guys like Seth Huot, Chris Coulter, Justin Hebbel. They push me to try things when I’m second-guessing myself.

Is doing your own thing a conscious part of your approach to riding?
I always do what I think is sick, no matter what. Style is an important part of my riding and everyone has their own. That’s what makes snowboarding so fun.

Which is more important, where you are or how you got there?
How I got there. Learning and progressing with my friends is what keeps me stoked! When I look back on the “old days” of snowboarding, it’s amazing to know that I’ve turned this love into a career and it’s shown me so many new places and people. I’m stoked to be where I’m at.

Name: Matt Ryan, a.k.a. Homewreck
Age: 21
Pre-Salt Lake hometown: Manchester, New Hampshire
Sponsors: Forum, FOURSQUARE, MiloSport, Oakley

What brought you to Salt Lake City?
I just wanted to get out of New Hampshire for a bit. Winters ain’t really off the charts, and I really didn’t have much going on, so I got in the “The Lifer” (his ’88 Civic) and broke out.

Why is urban snowboarding so big in Salt Lake?
That shit’s just way fun. It feels like I’m going skating.

What’s there to do in Salt Lake when you’re not snowboarding?
Skateboard, go to rock shows, party with the homeys, watch Forgash piss people off at bars. Mostly just sit on the brown at my place.

When was the last time you did a straight air?
Every time I go thrash around-I usually bust out a crooked cop here and there.

Is doing your own thing a conscious part of your approach to riding?
You can try all you want to do your own thing in Salt Lake, but the TechNine fools will be right on your tail biting shit.

What does “selling out” mean to you?
That stupid Nestea commercial those Olympic dudes did.

Name: Chris Coulter
Age: 22
Pre-Salt Lake hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sponsors: Elevation, Rip Curl, Anon, TechNine, Vans, Beach Zone, MiloSport

What are some of the things you’re doing for money in Salt Lake?
Making pizzas, running projection at the local dollar show, waiting tables, working on the Brighton terrain park crew, detailing cars, delivering pizzas.

What’s there to do in Salt Lake when you’re not snowboarding?
Mostly outdoors stuff. Tons of cement skateparks have been or are being built all over the valley. Mountain biking around here is super fun. Mostly staying active with friends.

What does “selling out” mean to you?
It better mean that you never half to work some B.S. job again.

Which is more important, where you are or how you got there?
How I got there. Props to Brandon Madrid, Nate Coan, Todd Sloan, Pat Fry, Jermy Engel, Jasen Bowes, Jared Winkler, Ken Gatior, Cole Taylor, E-Stone, Shane C., Mikey LeBlanc, Andy Wright, and my sponsors-Elevation, Rip Curl, Anon, TechNine, Vans, Beach Zone, MiloSport.

Name: Jordan Mendenhall
Age: 21
Pre-Salt Lake Hometown: Highland, Utah
Sponsors: Sims, Dragon, Vans, Atticus, MiloSport

Do you consider yourself an amateur or pro?
Am, for sure.

Do you feel pressure to produce a video part and or get photos?
Yeah, sometimes-it depends on who I’m riding for. Some companies stress you out so much that you don’t want to do anything-you’d rather get a job.

Who are some of the up-and-coming riders you see as being tomorrow’s hotshots?
Josh Feliciano is sick. He’s fun to shred with.

Has snowboarding become stagnant?
Yeah, it’s boring-all the same videos every year. Everything is so serious, all the landings are so perfect. There needs to be more sketchy landings, more team videos, more f-k around footage without that Jackass type shit.

What does “selling out” mean to you?
When you’re done snowboarding in five years, it’s not going to matter who you rode for, so f-k it-make money.

and broke out.

Why is urban snowboarding so big in Salt Lake?
That shit’s just way fun. It feels like I’m going skating.

What’s there to do in Salt Lake when you’re not snowboarding?
Skateboard, go to rock shows, party with the homeys, watch Forgash piss people off at bars. Mostly just sit on the brown at my place.

When was the last time you did a straight air?
Every time I go thrash around-I usually bust out a crooked cop here and there.

Is doing your own thing a conscious part of your approach to riding?
You can try all you want to do your own thing in Salt Lake, but the TechNine fools will be right on your tail biting shit.

What does “selling out” mean to you?
That stupid Nestea commercial those Olympic dudes did.

Name: Chris Coulter
Age: 22
Pre-Salt Lake hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sponsors: Elevation, Rip Curl, Anon, TechNine, Vans, Beach Zone, MiloSport

What are some of the things you’re doing for money in Salt Lake?
Making pizzas, running projection at the local dollar show, waiting tables, working on the Brighton terrain park crew, detailing cars, delivering pizzas.

What’s there to do in Salt Lake when you’re not snowboarding?
Mostly outdoors stuff. Tons of cement skateparks have been or are being built all over the valley. Mountain biking around here is super fun. Mostly staying active with friends.

What does “selling out” mean to you?
It better mean that you never half to work some B.S. job again.

Which is more important, where you are or how you got there?
How I got there. Props to Brandon Madrid, Nate Coan, Todd Sloan, Pat Fry, Jermy Engel, Jasen Bowes, Jared Winkler, Ken Gatior, Cole Taylor, E-Stone, Shane C., Mikey LeBlanc, Andy Wright, and my sponsors-Elevation, Rip Curl, Anon, TechNine, Vans, Beach Zone, MiloSport.

Name: Jordan Mendenhall
Age: 21
Pre-Salt Lake Hometown: Highland, Utah
Sponsors: Sims, Dragon, Vans, Atticus, MiloSport

Do you consider yourself an amateur or pro?
Am, for sure.

Do you feel pressure to produce a video part and or get photos?
Yeah, sometimes-it depends on who I’m riding for. Some companies stress you out so much that you don’t want to do anything-you’d rather get a job.

Who are some of the up-and-coming riders you see as being tomorrow’s hotshots?
Josh Feliciano is sick. He’s fun to shred with.

Has snowboarding become stagnant?
Yeah, it’s boring-all the same videos every year. Everything is so serious, all the landings are so perfect. There needs to be more sketchy landings, more team videos, more f-k around footage without that Jackass type shit.

What does “selling out” mean to you?
When you’re done snowboarding in five years, it’s not going to matter who you rode for, so f-k it-make money.