People like Danny Kass keep snowboarding honest. He’s an individual, a natural leader, and the first and last word in a kind snowboarding that says “f-k you” and “thanks” at the very same time. It’s no wonder the mainstream media went so nuts when he silver medaled in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Most journalists were smart enough to smell out his charisma but too ignorant to realize that Danny was actually smarter than them-and probably making fun of them half the time.

Four years later, we’re navigating the stormy seas of yet another Olympic year. Danny’s no longer a teenager-he’s 22, a homeowner, a record holder, a power-tool user, a businessman, a punk, and a boyfriend. He’s many more things than that, in fact, but as I write this, the jury’s still out on whether or not he’ll be a two-time Olympian. However, since when have the Olympics reminded you how fun snowboarding is or that a little bit of edge and a lot of graciousness goes a long damn way? Yeah, there’s a place in snowboarding for Danny Kass, with or without the Olympics-but hopefully he’s flipping us off from the podium in Torino!

Have you ever been propositioned by a fan?

I’ve definitely heard a lot of weird stuff from people. On the Smell The Glove tour, some girl gave me her little sister’s underwear with her phone number on them. I thought it was pretty funny, but I threw them away, even though I was running out of clean undies from living in an RV for a few weeks. I think Dave Schiff from Retard Riot sniffed them, but I could be wrong.

Have you ever Googled your own name?

No. Should I?

Just thought you might want to know that your name pulls up 60 Google pages-pretty crazy. There’s this one article written right after the 2002 Olympics called “Dude, Kass Is The King Of Cool.” Do you feel like the mainstream media latched on to you most as the “stereotypical snowboarder” out of you, Ross, and J.J.?

That sounds like a weird article. We all got a lot of coverage from the Olympics. I don’t know if I’m a stereotypical snowboarder, but I know a lot of people like to think I am. The weirdest thing about the Olympics was all the press coming out from writers who had no clue what the sport was about. I remember one question someone asked me at a press conference-out of the whole team, he picked me and said, ‘Snowboarding seems like an easy sport, and it’d be really easy to do all sorts of drugs and still compete.’ I think the journalists liked to ask me questions because I was serious half the time and they took me seriously all the time.

Did that media attention change you at all-make you a little more introverted as a “snowboard personality”?

The attention didn’t change me as much as it changed people’s perceptions of me-even people I’ve known for a long time. I did have a few bad articles come out. Right after the Olympics, I was in my hometown in New Jersey, and I wanted to snowboard and hang with the kids, so I refused to do this interview-then they printed this crap about me not doing my part. I thought riding with fans was more important that doing another interview-was I wrong?

No, I think you were right-that sounds like the dark underbelly of the media coming out. What’s something you know now that you didn’t know four years ago?

There’s so much I didn’t know four years ago-like how to use a computer, build a powder jump, make meatballs, convince a girl to be my girlfriend, sell out, lose friends, do backside rodeos, speak Japanese, power tool, graduate high school … I’ve learned a lot, but honestly, I still don’t know how to speak Japanese-just a few words.

Do you ever miss New Jersey?

Naw, I don’t really miss it. I miss the food and my family. My mom lives in Florida now. She did move to Mammoth with me a few years ago and claims she’s moving back here in a few years. She gives me great advice and makes sure we talk at least once a week.

Who influences or inspires your riding?

I’m influenc by a lot of people-Jamie Lynn, Terje, Daniel Franck, my big brother, Peter Line … But lately, the younger guys have been doing it for me, like the Jackson brothers, Shaun White, little Tyler Flanagan, and Lucas Magoon. It’s so awesome to ride with the kids, because it reminds you how much fun it is to dork around and how lucky we are to be doing this.

Who’s the most underrated rider in snowboarding?

My roommate Dennis Bongiorno (a.k.a. “Sketchy D”) is definitely underrated. He should be paid more so that he can pay me rent on time. I think there’re a lot of people who deserve more exposure, but they either don’t care or the contest guys hog all the spotlight. Snowboarders are lucky to get paid for doing what they want and riding toys-it’s really different than other sports. I mean, would Lance Armstrong be where he’s at if he didn’t compete? Or would he just be some dude in tight shorts riding a bike?

Speaking of which, there’re a lot of people in snowboarding who might be considered “jocks,” but you’re not one of them. Where do you stand on training? Do you go to the gym?

I think training is good. To do your best, you need to be in peak physical and mental health. I don’t believe that squatting 300 pounds will help your riding, but I should go to the gym more often-I haven’t been in a few years.

One thing that amazes me about your riding is how you know exactly when to turn it on. I’ll be watching you warm up, thinking to myself, “Why is he being so mellow?” But the second it counts, you flip the switch and get wicked. Do you feel like you perform well under pressure?

I definitely like to save some energy for when it counts. I like to have fun riding, so I’m not always getting crazy-but the pressure does help to step up your game.

Let’s talk about your sponsors. You’ve been riding for Gnu since day one. What is it about Mervin that makes riders stick with the company for so long?

I’ve been riding Mervin boards since I was twelve years old-I just love the way they ride. It’s such a tight family-they care about snowboarding and, most importantly, making the best snowboards in the States. They’ve been doing it for over 30 years, but they still really listen to riders.

There’s now a little microcosm of Grenerds on the Mervin team-you, Zach Leach, Kyle Clancy, Travis Rice. How much of a hand did you have in T.Rice surprisingly signing with Lib when everyone was sure the deal was sealed with him and Forum?

I didn’t have much to do with it, but when I heard he was unhappy snowboarding for skiers, I told Jeannine James (from Mervin) that she should step up to the plate, because he’s one of the best things in snowboarding right now. I’m truly glad he’s part of the family, because he has crazy ideas that need to be brought to life-like the Donkephant. Weird, huh?

What’s that-a cross between a donkey and an elephant?

It’s his new Lib Tech pro model. It’s a sick graphic, and I believe it comes in Magne-Traction and has almost as much pop as a Gnu-what?

So what about Grenade-why does everyone think it’s owned by Quiksilver? It’s still independently owned by you and your brother, right?

It all started with Quik being interested in buying us a few years ago-but we decided to stay independent and see how far we could take it. Rumors came out anyway, though. I think a lot of people there were excited about it and started claiming it before the deal was sealed. Another reason is that a lot of people seem to think we couldn’t do what we did without deep pockets backing us up … but here we are.

Quik was a pretty key sponsor for you-was it a tough decision to leave that behind in support of Grenade’s outerwear program?

Leaving Quik was a big decision, for sure. They offered me a lot of money to stay-but I came to a point in my life where I didn’t want to just sit back and collect paychecks. I was also getting tired of people telling me what to do when I knew they were wrong. Toward the end, no matter how well I did, it was how I was wearing too much Grenade, and I always felt like I wasn’t doing a good job. So I decided to finish what I had started with Grenade, and I lit a fire under my own ass. I wanted to snowboard for myself with friends-the way I started.

We always joke around here about how Grenade is just an excuse for you and Matt to give jobs to all your friends-but honestly, that’s kind of true, right?

I’m so proud of our staff here. All of our employees snowboard and are friends. Half of our box packers are better at jibbing than me. I pack orders and work nine to five. Sketchy D is making stickers for Zumiez right now. We have a staff of over twenty people currently, and they all shred-they may not be the best counters, but they snowboard.

The Dingo is one of your original crew-what do you reckon about his recent fame? He’s quite a celebrity, you know?

I love the Dingo-he’s like the little brother with a funny accent I never had. I’m super proud. We’re working together on the TPS Report video magazine project. Grenade actually helped him get his visa. I signed the papers, and they let me have him.

What do you think of Grenade now compared with your hopes for it when you first got going?

Grenade has surpassed all of our expectations. At first, our only goal was to make gloves-and we did lots of gloves. Our goal now is to ship on time-we’re still working on that one, but we get closer every year. Big ups to all the shops and kids out there that support us.

I heard you were getting into the backcountry more these days. Is that true?

I’m super pumped on the backcountry. All last year filming for Smell The Glove my friends and I were earning stripes on our pow ninja belts. I think we’re brown belts now-but we still have a ways to go. The backcountry can be a fun and dangerous place, so it’s good to team up with people who have more knowledge than you. I’ve had a snowmobile for three years and finally felt comfortable riding it last season. I love learning new things. Last season I crocheted a hat, too-how about that?

Damn! So you got any new tricks up your sleeve for this season?

No, not really, but who knows what I’ll pull out of my ass. Sorry, that sounded weird. I just want to work on my skills and my amplitude.

Do you have any rivalries going right now-friendly or unfriendly?

I try not to get hung up on things like that. Let’s see, I’ve kind of had a rivalry going with Shaun White since I published his phone number in Snowboarder a few years ago. He has gotten me back a few times, but his new number is 760-481-8___. Oh, I’m in big trouble now! Good luck cracking the code.

What if-and this is purely hypothetical-you don’t make the U.S. Olympic team? Will it be the end of the world?

I’m not really that worried about it, because that’s something I’ve already experienced. It would never be possible for me to top what Ross, J.J., and I did last time. I’m just looking forward to trying. You wanted me to tell you I’d cry, huh?

No, really, I’m glad you said that. I don’t want to see anyone cry. What would you say is the best, most redeeming thing about snowboarding?

The places you can travel, and how it brings people of all types, countries, and races together. There’s just something about playing in the snow everyone loves.

What’s the worst, stupidest thing about it?

It’s the people who take it too seriously and kill the fun in it. Haters. You know who you are.

Totally agreed. Anyone you want to thank?

I’d like to thank everyone who has ever had fun on a snowboard, everyone who bought this magazine, all of my sponsors for the support, all of my family, friends, co-workers, my girlfriend and PHF, my plumber Dr. Weird, my pets, and you. Viva la Grenade!

“Danny’s creativity really stands out. It’s not the big tricks he does, but how he puts a spin on the everyday stuff. Danny is si the end, no matter how well I did, it was how I was wearing too much Grenade, and I always felt like I wasn’t doing a good job. So I decided to finish what I had started with Grenade, and I lit a fire under my own ass. I wanted to snowboard for myself with friends-the way I started.

We always joke around here about how Grenade is just an excuse for you and Matt to give jobs to all your friends-but honestly, that’s kind of true, right?

I’m so proud of our staff here. All of our employees snowboard and are friends. Half of our box packers are better at jibbing than me. I pack orders and work nine to five. Sketchy D is making stickers for Zumiez right now. We have a staff of over twenty people currently, and they all shred-they may not be the best counters, but they snowboard.

The Dingo is one of your original crew-what do you reckon about his recent fame? He’s quite a celebrity, you know?

I love the Dingo-he’s like the little brother with a funny accent I never had. I’m super proud. We’re working together on the TPS Report video magazine project. Grenade actually helped him get his visa. I signed the papers, and they let me have him.

What do you think of Grenade now compared with your hopes for it when you first got going?

Grenade has surpassed all of our expectations. At first, our only goal was to make gloves-and we did lots of gloves. Our goal now is to ship on time-we’re still working on that one, but we get closer every year. Big ups to all the shops and kids out there that support us.

I heard you were getting into the backcountry more these days. Is that true?

I’m super pumped on the backcountry. All last year filming for Smell The Glove my friends and I were earning stripes on our pow ninja belts. I think we’re brown belts now-but we still have a ways to go. The backcountry can be a fun and dangerous place, so it’s good to team up with people who have more knowledge than you. I’ve had a snowmobile for three years and finally felt comfortable riding it last season. I love learning new things. Last season I crocheted a hat, too-how about that?

Damn! So you got any new tricks up your sleeve for this season?

No, not really, but who knows what I’ll pull out of my ass. Sorry, that sounded weird. I just want to work on my skills and my amplitude.

Do you have any rivalries going right now-friendly or unfriendly?

I try not to get hung up on things like that. Let’s see, I’ve kind of had a rivalry going with Shaun White since I published his phone number in Snowboarder a few years ago. He has gotten me back a few times, but his new number is 760-481-8___. Oh, I’m in big trouble now! Good luck cracking the code.

What if-and this is purely hypothetical-you don’t make the U.S. Olympic team? Will it be the end of the world?

I’m not really that worried about it, because that’s something I’ve already experienced. It would never be possible for me to top what Ross, J.J., and I did last time. I’m just looking forward to trying. You wanted me to tell you I’d cry, huh?

No, really, I’m glad you said that. I don’t want to see anyone cry. What would you say is the best, most redeeming thing about snowboarding?

The places you can travel, and how it brings people of all types, countries, and races together. There’s just something about playing in the snow everyone loves.

What’s the worst, stupidest thing about it?

It’s the people who take it too seriously and kill the fun in it. Haters. You know who you are.

Totally agreed. Anyone you want to thank?

I’d like to thank everyone who has ever had fun on a snowboard, everyone who bought this magazine, all of my sponsors for the support, all of my family, friends, co-workers, my girlfriend and PHF, my plumber Dr. Weird, my pets, and you. Viva la Grenade!

“Danny’s creativity really stands out. It’s not the big tricks he does, but how he puts a spin on the everyday stuff. Danny is sick because he does things his way.”-Shaun White

“Danny is the most relaxed snowboarder there is. He’s like a cat-always landing on his feet and using minimal effort.”-Eric Jackson

“I think the journalists liked to ask me questions because I was serious half the time and they took me seriously all the time.”

(Pull quote options)

“Would Lance Armstrong be where he’s at if he didn’t compete? Or would he just be some dude in tight shorts riding a bike?”

“I came to a point in my life where I didn’t want to just sit back and collect paychecks. I decided to finish what I’d started with Grenade, and I lit a fire under my own ass.”

“It would never be possible for me to top what Ross, J.J., and I did last time. I’m just looking forward to trying.”

s sick because he does things his way.”-Shaun White

“Danny is the most relaxed snowboarder there is. He’s like a cat-always landing on his feet and using minimal effort.”-Eric Jackson

“I think the journalists liked to ask me questions because I was serious half the time and they took me seriously all the time.”

(Pull quote options)

“Would Lance Armstrong be where he’s at if he didn’t compete? Or would he just be some dude in tight shorts riding a bike?”

“I came to a point in my life where I didn’t want to just sit back and collect paychecks. I decided to finish what I’d started with Grenade, and I lit a fire under my own ass.”

“It would never be possible for me to top what Ross, J.J., and I did last time. I’m just looking forward to trying.”