Aaron Biittner is a hot commodity. With a full Mack Dawg part under his belt, and one more in the oven, the future is blindingly bright for the young man. I had a few minutes to shoot the breeze with Aaron and catch up on things at the local Mtn. Lab between heated games of ping-pong and tall glasses of crunk juice--word to Renee.
How did the whole Mack Dawg thing come about?
I barely got into the Red Bull Heavy Metal contest in Salt Lake and Mack Dawg was filming that. I tried my best and they put some footage in the extras for Chulksmack. So, I did that contest and didn’t talk to any of them, but later on in the summer I got a call from Mike McEntire asking if I’d be down to film with them. I thought someone was playing a joke on me for sure.
Are you filming with them again this year?
Yeah, we’ve been doing a lot of rails already, and we’re getting into the jumping season a little bit more. We drove up to Whistler four about four days, I hurt my knee but it got crappy up there anyways. As of right now that’s the only jump trip I’ve done with them. As soon as my knee gets better, we’ll be doing stuff wherever it’s good.
Any lessons learned your first year in the majors?
Yeah definitely, the whole thing with Mack Dawg was great but I really over spent my budget. I tried to do everything I could to film at all times, but I wasn’t really doing the best things for me.
I spent a lot of time traveling around to different park shoots in the spring with Eero Ettala, and Heiki Sorsa. I was trying to be a part of the crew, but riding the park probably wasn’t the best idea for me at that point. I should have been hitting more backcountry jumps and trying to finish off my part well instead of going to a park jump and maybe hitting it, or maybe just watching those guys hit it. I couldn’t even see myself hitting jumps with them after a while. They’d be doing tricks in warm up that I wanted for real--they’re gnarly in the park.
It was a really good learning experience, but if I could go back I would have done it a bit differently, and spent my money more wisely.
How close were you to inking with Burton?
When I got the call from Mack Dawg I figured that Tech Nine wasn’t going to be able to support a travel budget like that. So I told them that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it riding for them, and they put the word out that I might need a different sponsor. Burton was interested so I was talking with them, and I was basically into it. My main goal was to film with Mack Dawg--that’s a dream come true.
So that went down and then Tech Nine really pulled it together and made it happen for me. They gave me a better offer than Burton, so I stuck with them and it’s working out. That was crazy for sure, it would have been cool to ride for Burton but I’m definitely stoked on where I’m at--no regrets, I’m having fun.
Is snowboarding a job now?
Sometimes it seems to be a job as I’m getting more and more known. A lot of times, people know me more than I know them now. Especially at trade shows and weird industry events like that, it gets a little overwhelming.
With people approaching you out of the blue and what-not?
Yeah and I’m not sure if I actually know them or if I should know them or what. It’s cool, it just gets a little hectic sometimes. I guess it doesn’t even feel like a job--it’s a great job.
Have you been getting a lot of crazy offers?
Over the course of last summer I was approached by a couple of the guys at Forum, and they wanted me to do that thing. They’re making their movie this year too--THAT. I was so close to doing it, but it meant I would’ve had to quit Tech Nine and I would’ve had to quit Mack Dawg. I wasn’t prepared to do that based on my experience with them--I had no reason to leave. There was no way I could justify bailing out, especially for the same kind of money I’m making now.
What’d you do over your summer vacation?
I ended up having to work a lot last summer. I went to Colorado and painted a house for a month and a half trying to make some money back to pay back pops. He really helped me out with traveling and everything. That was a good little vacation.
Did that help ground you a little bit?
It did for sure. I went out there with Deadlung (Mark Edlund), and he helped me paint for about three weeks, then I did the rest by myself. It was tight not knowing anybody, I didn’t have to deal with a lot of people and got to think a lot--think about where I wanted to go with everything.
Coming up, did you ever think snowboarding would be what it is now?
It was always a dream, I was always hopeful, but I never really expected it. I wasn’t ever really trying that hard. I never had my heart set on it, that way I wasn’t setting myself up for disappointment. I just wanted to have fun with it, and see how far it could take me as long as I loved it. It’s going well now, I’m stoked on where I’m at for sure but I never really expected it or knew it was going to happen.
If snowboarding didn’t happen what would you see yourself doing? Is there anything else, would you be going to school, painting houses?
Yeah I’m a painter by other profession I guess. I started on a crew when I was seventeen and I’ve painted off and on since then. I could run my own crew and everything, and I’ve done a few solo jobs. I know what I’m doing, and I’d probably be doing that for some income, but I’m sure I’d be going to school trying to figure out somewhere I could work within the industry because I love snowboarding, and as long as I can be a part of it I’m stoked.
Any last words or advice for the kids?
Keep doing what you’re doing and see where it can take you. Don’t try to hard. I was never the one sending out tons of sponsor me tapes, trying to talk to everybody I could and telling everybody how good I was. Keep having fun and if it takes you somewhere then big ups to you, but don’t spend all your time worrying about who’s looking at you or who’s paying attention to you--take it easy and have fun with it.