In The Mix 13#6

In The Mix 13#6

The best part of being pro was all the free stuff, food, travel, product. And being able to hang out with some really cool industry people; hanging out with Ken Block before he got his gold tooth was unreal. As for the worst part about being pro, well that would have to be when you blow out your knee and then you try really hard to rehab it, then your sponsors of several years fire you, and then you have no money, a bum knee, and then you have to get a really shitty job, where you limp around all day, get depressed and no one likes you any more or cares what you're doing. What's that? Oh, this question is for people who are still sponsored. Sorry!–Nathan Yant

We asked four people who are still in the limelight the following question: what's the best thing about being a professional snowboarder, and what's the worst thing about being a professional snowboarder?

Lukas Huffman

Age: 21

Sponsors: Nitro, Northwave, Sessions, Dragon, ASS Industries, DaKine, and Mom

“For me, the best and worst thing about being a professional snowboarder can be summed up in one sentence: I do what I love for my job.

“I look forward to going to work. Work means I wake up, meet my friends, then we snowboard the most amazing terrain in the best conditions possible. I don't go to sleep regretting that I have to wake up and 'work' the next day.

“But wait, someone is paying me to do what I love! Can you still love something when it's on someone else's terms? Sometimes when I go snowboarding it's not just because I love it, but because I have to please someone else. Maybe I'm naive, but that disrespects snowboarding some.

“When you boil all that down, there is no better way in the world to bring home the bacon.”

Jesse Huffman

Age: 21

Sponsors: Nitro, Northwave, Session, Dragon, ASS Industries, and Mom

“As my two-month summer of work is coming to a close, I can say positively the best thing about being a pro snowboarder is that snowboarding is your job. There's nothing like a seven to three 40-hour week to put things in perspective. Traveling and riding with your buddies as a job is one of the best things you could do.

“Conversely, the very fact that it's your job is the worst part of it. There is a huge bubbling cauldron of hype and drama just waiting to swallow you whole. In order to get the job done properly, you need the right tools, and to get the right tools you need money. But in order to get the money, you need to get the job done right. Having this whole financial conundrum relate directly to snowboarding can really disaffect and blind you to the beauty of it all.

“It comes down to money–it enables you to shred for free, but is the root of all evil, the thing that sullies one of the purest sources of fun, snowboarding; it is the best and worst part of pro snowboarding. In the end it comes down to balancing the two and coming out with your integrity on top.”

Chris Engelsman

Age: 25

Sponsors: K2, Dragon, E-Tree Clothing, AZP, Patagonia First Layer, Snowbird

“The best thing about snowboarding is it has opened the door to the world for me. I've been able to see and experience more by the age of 25 than most people get to do throughout their entire lives. I can't think of any bad things about snowboarding. I love it all, and feel I've made it to where I am today because of my love for snowboarding. So, if I have to name the worst thing about snowboarding, it would have to be injuries, because when I'm injured I don't get to do what I love.”

Bjorn Leines

Age: 22

Sponsors: Forum, DC, Oakley, Hot Skates Co., and Drop Gloves

“The best thing about being a pro is probably all the opportunities that come along with it. Like being able to travel, meet new people, and see different things. And you're pretty much your own boss, so you can do anything you want. It's really cool being able to do what you love.

“The worst thing about being a pro is not being able to see your family or girlfriend as much as you want. Just when you get settled in somewhere, you end up going somewhere else.

“Also, someone pays for you to travel the world with your friends, that sucks!