Interview by Ethan Stone
So, I've heard you don't like giving interviews much.
Well, it's not that I don't like doing them, but I'm not like Tanner, you know, I don't do a hundred of them each month. So I'm always a little shy for each one.
I tried calling you three times last night. What were you up to?
I was just doing pretty much the same thing that I do every night, I just go to the skatepark and hang out with the guys I've known since I was in school. We just skateboard and drink a bunch of beer and listen to music. We skateboard all together, and I've been enjoying the new weather. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been warm and hot and stuff, it's great.
What's the name of your hometown again?
You can just put Monthey... M like Mick, O like oh my God [laughs], N like Nick, T like t-shirt, H like hash, E like entrance, and Y... just like Y.
Do you spend a lot of time at home in Monthey during the year? We don't see you too often in the U.S.
Well, it's just that I go do the things I gotta do in the wintertime for the past season 'cause I was with Dynastar, and now that I'm with Ninthward it's way better 'cause now I can go do what I want to in the States and not just what they want me to do. I'm super stoked that I can do more there 'cause I haven't done much there for the past season. It wasn't a good time for me because we had a bad connection with Steve Winter and Murray Wais at Matchstick so I pretty much just filmed for Chronic Crew.
So now that you're with Ninthward, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have more time to ski in the U.S.?
Well, now that I can have a choice, I think I'm going to stay for as long as possible.
And you'll be out here this summer, right?
Oh yeah! I'll be out there in like, five days. First in Mammoth, just to sign my contract with Ninthward, and then just to Mt. Hood, do a couple of shots and pictures for the new movie with Tanner and with the new skis for Campbell [McKeogh of Ninthward] too.
Is there a pro model prototype ready for you when you get here?
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if it's ready... you should just ask Campbell. I know they're making one for me right now.
You must be excited to finally be getting a pro model.
I'm really excited about that, because I think I deserve it much more than Marie Martinod or the three Phils, you know what I'm saying? I was pretty upset on that one, because you know I designed the Troublemaker, right? I shaped the ski and everything... you remember Dynastar had pointy, whack noses before? Now itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all round. I designed that. It's like, these guys didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give me a thousandth of what I gave them. So now I know that I'm going to be with someone who's half-half, you know: I give, you give me back. That's how it works.
So you don't have any qualms about leaving Dynastar?
To tell you the truth-I don't want to sound all dicky and shit-but six years with the same enterprise, and you're over it. You just don't want to see the same people for more than five years. I mean, if it's like Ninthward, and I know the team is cool, and I'm good with all the boys and it's a good vibration, it's all nice. But when you gotta go out there and you know, all these French people are going to talk shit behind your back and all that, it's not cool, you know?
When did you first hear about Ninthward?
Oh, long ago, because Campbell is like my dad, you know? I love him like my dad, even if I don't have one, you know? It was the first year I went to Mammoth. He hooked me up with a place to stay for a bit, and he was like the cool older guy around, you know. So I was chilling with this guy because I didn't know many people. I lived in Mammoth for an entire season with Iberg, Sarah Burke, the three Phils, Thomas Rinfret, and all of these guys, so I was always seeing him around. We got to be good friends, close friends, and we're super good friends now.
Are you planning on doing more U.S. competitions now?
I'm going to try to do as much as I can- all the contests I get invited to, I'm going to do them, and the ones I don't get invited to, I'm going to go film instead. And for sure, I'll do all the contests that are open.
Do you want to win the U.S. Open again?
Well, to tell you the truth the Open is something I've sort of forgotten since last year, because we ended up sleeping in jail the night before the big air. I'm kind of a person who doesn't forget things that happen to me that easy, you know, negative stuff, so now I'm not into the U.S. Open anymore just because of that.
What happened that night?
Well, it was a bunch of friends, you know, peeps in the club, having fun, and these four guys didn't like the way we were-- we were riders, we were in Aspen, we had at least two girls each, and we went up on the stage, started freestyling on the mic, all of that, and these guys didn't like that. So they cut us off, and they threw us outside, and they grabbed Tanner with three people, and that isn't right, you know? They started choking him, three people on one, and this is family here, so we just jumped on the crowd, and then the cops were close to us, so they got us.
Well, it's not even that, you know, I don't really care if I have to do these contests- I'll do it, because it's my job, first of all points, after- well, first of all points is fun and amusement, but the second point is the job. So if Campbell tells me I've gotta go to the U.S. Open, I will, but if he says I can choose, I won't.
Do you focus more on competitions or on your video segments?
[Laughs] I think you know that answer, right?
Yeah, I definitely do, dumb question. That said, what did you think of your WSKI segment last year? Were you happy with it?
You know what- I don't know if you know this, but my family was in the circus and in carnivals back in the 1920's- I never lived in that lifestyle, but that was what my family was like before I came, a couple generations before. But for me, it was like the sickest seggie I could ever have, because that's what my grandfather was looking like fifty years ago. So it was great, and Shoya [Okazaki] is one of my best buddies, I hooked him up with a bit of English, I hooked him up coming to Europe, and T always hooks him up to come to the States- he's our buddy, our little Asian buddy. It was great. I was stoked. I don't think you could be more 100 percent stoked about it than I was.
Who's your crew on the hill?
Well, not just skiing, because I love to ski with snowboarders. But I want to give a big shoutout to the C-Crew, because that's who I ride with, that's who cares about me, and always helps me out when I need it. That's who I like to ride with and spend my life with.
Do you really have CHRONIC in gold across your teeth?
Yep! Well, I do not right now, because I've got a brand new grill on. It's just two Cs on the fenders, and that's it. A friend of mine is a good technician dentist, and he wanted good gear to ride, and I just told him, "We can do a trade." So I got him some ski gear, and he got me some grill.
I'm surprised how good your English is- I didn't think you were this good with the language.
Well, I just want to give another shoutout to Tanner and E-rock and Evan Raps and Eric Iberg for that, because without these guys I wouldn't have even spoken a word.
Any other shoutouts?
First of all, thanks Mom for putting me out in this world and making me good as I am. Without her I would'Ã¢â‚¬â„¢t be anything. Without my big bro Rookie, my dog, I wouldn't have that motivation to be alone by myself, because I have no brothers and sisters, so he's the one that always keeps me motivated even if I'm not myself all the time. And a shoutout to Eric Iberg for being a true friend, Tanner Hall, all C-Crew fam, all of these guys, brand new team Ninthward. What's up to anyone who likes me, I love you all!